Voyager has been embroiled in controversy over Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker of the US House of Representatives from 1996 to 1999 and was known for his far-right policies and strange speeches about conservative values. During the 1994 midterm elections, the American Republican Party drafted a legislative agenda called the Contract with America, mostly copying Ronald Reagan’s speeches and using input from the evil Heritage Foundation, an obscure right-wing think-tank. The Contract aimed to implement multiple sweeping bureaucratic reforms, with each of its many sections presented with a sensationalist headline. Example: There was the “Take Back Our Streets Act,” which added money to police and prisons.

Notably for the creators of “Voyager,” the Contract contained the Personal Responsibility Act, which sought to erode welfare. Much of the right-wing rhetoric of the time – and to this day – is critical of welfare, often stating that the government should not send aid to its citizens without them first having to earn it; it’s all based on a long-debunked political theory that welfare should be linked to an ineffable Puritan work ethic. Gingrich talked a lot about how the government is not a gatekeeper and that people should learn to live without help. Self-sufficiency, etc.

The pilot of “Star Trek: Voyager” is about destroying a Caretaker and letting the child citizens finally grow up on their own, to take control of their society with hard work and devotion.

Taylor noted the parallels and was a little miffed that her story of personal responsibility was co-opted by Gingrich. “I think we were certainly aware of the issue of taking responsibility for oneself,” she said. “That was after the whole issue of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America came along and, unfortunately, in my mind they were lumped together.”

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