Star Trek’s sci-fi utopia is one of the most beloved in fiction, and the Federation’s philosophy defines exactly how it came to be.

The philosophy that lies at the heart of the Star Trek universe has an official philosophical name: Astro-Liberation. In 2019’s Star Trek: Year Five #3, first published by IDW, Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise return to Sigma Iota II, only to find its inhabitants are now on the verge of a civil war between various factions, one of which wishes to colonize space – and it is this faction that finally gives a name to Star Trek’s core philosophy


Since its premiere in 1966, a key selling point of Star Trek has been its vision of the future; it has envisioned a world where humanity has finally addressed long-standing social issues, such as racism and poverty, and worked to create a utopia. Instead of working to obtain wealth and material possessions, humanity now works to better itself. Star Trek has presented a future worth striving for, and it is a future that has inspired countless people in all walks of life.

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Star Trek’s Astro-Liberation Is a Utopian Vision

star trek astro-liberation

As of Star Trek: Year Five #3, written by Brandon Easton and drawn by Martin Coccolo, the philosophy that guides humanity, and the Federation, now has a name: Astro-Liberation. When the Enterprise returns to Sigma Iota II, last seen in the classic episode “A Piece of the Action,” they find the inhabitants, who are highly imitative, used the communicator McCoy left behind to rearrange their society to resemble something close to the Federation. The main problem is the Iotans are attempting to condense hundreds of years of history; history that was often bloody and certainly not easy. This has led to a highly unstable society, and one faction, called the “Astro-Liberation Party,” are seeking to colonize deep space no matter the cost. Kirk is familiar with their belief system, identifying ‘Astro-Liberation’ as an aspect of Federation culture.

Star Trek First Contact Zephram Cochrane Vulcan

Although Captain Kirk does not go into great detail on what exactly comprises “Astro-Liberation,” he equates it with the Federation’s belief system – which gives readers a good idea of its definition. Part of Star Trek’s future is that humanity, in addition to eradicating poverty and racism, has become a star-faring species; numerous Trek shows and movies, including First Contact, have made it clear that humanity learning they were not alone in the universe was the catalyst for bringing the species together. Through space exploration humanity found its salvation and in this issue, the Sigma Iotans are striving for the exact same thing; the key difference between humanity and the Iotans, however, is humanity fought long and hard to create a better world, whereas the Iotans are trying to obtain this through rapid imitation.

Of course, the larger redefinition of priories involved in Astro-Liberation doesn’t necessarily hinge on alien contact – humanity could achieve a similar shift in consciousness by, for example, confronting the present day in comparison to the totality of Earth’s future – but it’s fascinating that Star Trek‘s utopia is so tied to its sci-fi ambitions, and that the Iotans’ mimicry of this necessitates technological progress as a step to societal enlightenment. For fans who have taken Star Trek‘s philosophy to heart, having a name for its core belief system is a huge win, though it’s clear that the franchise believes this belief system is reached gradually, and can’t simply be imitated into existence.

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