3The Holodeck Creates (and Then Destroys) Hundreds of Sentient Beings
Forget about the starship -- the holodeck is the one Star Trek invention everyone wishes they owned. It's a special room aboard the Enterprise that can create fully tangible holographic versions of any experience its user requests, providing a place where every member of the crew can cosplay in quiet seclusion, free from the sneering japes of judgmental shipmates.
"Computer, initiate Femme Fatale Blowjob Delta."
And of course, to complete the fantasy, the computer makes sophisticated artificial people for you to interact with. For example, in the episode "11001001," Riker has the holodeck conjure a woman for him, because it's Thursday, and Thursday is boner night. Riker goes through several different potential virtual companions that he dismisses for their subpar whorishness until finally deciding on "Minuet" as the holographic projection sexy enough to listen to him play jazz trombone for three hours. He has a drink with her and develops real feelings for the fake girl.
"For you see, my erection is real."
But hell, if you can't use the holodeck for that, what good is it?
These artificial people are sentient beings.
When Picard is playing 1920s detective dress-up during one of his holodeck jaunts, the computer-generated people he interacts with begin to realize that they aren't real. One of them asks Picard:
"When you're gone, will this world still exist? Will my wife and kids still be waiting for me at home?"
"Will the whole world still dress like shitty cosplayers?"
That's right! He had an entire memory of a real life, and a family, and a sense of self-preservation programmed into him. He was a real person, and he didn't want to die. And nobody cared. In another episode, a holodeck character concocted a plan to escape into the real world, rather than be trapped in that virtual hell where he can be switched off at the whim of whoever's playing with it that week. Now think about how Riker went rifling through a bunch of different girls before settling on the one he found hottest -- each woman presumably had a lifetime's worth of memories programmed into her, only to be destroyed after five miserable seconds of existence because Riker didn't think she was worthy of feeling his beard against her bare breasts. We're pretty sure that makes him a serial killer.
So, the holodeck is full of sentient beings that are created to satisfy a user's whim. And when the user is finished playing make-believe, those sentient beings are cast into oblivion without a second thought. The Federation is portrayed as a progressive utopia, but the holodeck seems like it could rank among the most horrifying moral lapses in the history of time.
Slavery is 100 percent cool as long as you kill them and immediately destroy the body.
2Everyone in the Future Is Dangerously Naive
Working on the Enterprise is one of the best jobs ever imagined in any work of fiction, ever. Your ship is the most technologically advanced piece of equipment humanity has ever developed, you have limitless resources and funding, and your mission is "screw around in space until you find something awesome, then try to make friends with it." It's like spending five years on StumbleUpon, only instead of just pulling things from the Internet, you're drawing from the entirety of things that exist in the universe.
"As long as you stay in this general area, you're doing your job."
However, because they're exploring the perilous reaches of the unknown, they have to be prepared for anything. Luckily, they have the most competent and highly trained emergency specialists in the history of remote exploration.
Star Trek is a utopian vision -- it portrays a future in which mankind has advanced and left behind its primitive, savage ways. But somehow this has resulted in a race in which cynicism, and even basic caution, is in short supply.
A race naive enough to believe that a beard hides obesity.
For instance, nobody in the 23rd century seems prepared for any type of chaotic aggression. It's like the Enterprise is crewed by the G-rated future culture Sylvester Stallone wakes up to in Demolition Man -- they're so stunned to learn that anyone could actually be mean that half of the ship has already been taken over by the time any of them have heroically powered through enough of their disbelief to react. Heck, the problems at the center of most episodes of The Next Generation could've been solved in minutes if the crew had the slightest instinct to take basic precautions.
The episode "Symbiosis" features a particular alien race that has the ability to electrocute people through physical contact. Riker makes sure his security team is aware of this fact before stumbling headfirst into an electro-boob-clutch himself.
Pictured: Riker, not following one damn word of his own instructions.
No insulated vests, no "Don't let any of those daffy zap creatures get anywhere near you" level of alertness -- he just lumbers right into the alien and gets put out of commission.
In "The Neutral Zone," Lieutenant Data beams three frozen people from the late 21st century back aboard the Enterprise (without telling Picard, for some reason). When the three of them wake up, one of the guycicles starts hassling Picard over the intercom until the captain confronts him and tells him to stop. When the unfrozen douchebag asks why the intercom doesn't have any special security to keep jackasses like him from using it, Picard says, "Because most people have better judgment." Picard has clearly never been in a Walmart where the pager phone was carelessly left off the hook waiting for anyone walking by to practice their "Darth Vader shitting his pants" routine to the delight of everyone in the store.
"Welcome to the future. Think of it as one giant honor bar."
Oh, and what about diseases? The Enterprise is constantly beaming people aboard and sending crew members running up to shake the new arrivals' hands (or, in Riker's case, engaging their pelvic thrusters for crotch-docking) without so much as administering a quick blood test to make sure they aren't carrying an airborne strain of Space AIDS. Occasionally they reference bio-filters in the transporter technology, but that information gets a lot less comforting after you watch episodes like "Unnatural Selection," which specifically shows people bringing diseases on board through the transporter.
We'll accept that most people in the Federation are decent enough to not break the rules whenever they feel like it, and that civilized life on Earth has advanced to a point where criminal activity is more or less unheard of. But the whole point of the Enterprise's mission is to discover bizarre new life forms, and some of them are bound to be mind-ripping star beasts who simply do not subscribe to the honor system. And shoving your hands in your pockets and whistling your way through the galaxy isn't going to keep you safe from the billions of rapacious multidimensional contagions waiting to turn the Enterprise into the Event Horizon. The most competent and cautious person on the bridge is probably Lieutenant Worf, and, unsurprisingly, there's a montage of people telling him to shut the hell up.
And a montage of him getting beat down.