>VB47, I definitely take political sides, and I would argue the contrary - that Roddenberry's Star Trek future not only evidences a free market - which means a government that's strictly limited in its scope to little beyond being a defender of rights - but presupposes it, despite the utopian (and quite impossible) slip of positing a "moneyless society."
The inescapable precondition for political rights and freedoms is: economic rights and freedoms, which means, also inescapably, capitalism. IOW, to say to someone "You have a right to your life and your freedom," then say "But...you have no right to take action to earn and to keep the material goods you require to sustain that life," would be a crude contradiction. If you are to have political freedom, you must first have economic freedom. The one exists in direct proportion to the other; the degree to which economic liberty is confiscated, is the degree to which political liberty is confiscated.
If you look at all of the Star Trek series - again, ignoring the minor error of a stated "moneyless society," which could not coexist with liberty - the Federation is a fictional echo of Americanism in nearly every significant respect. The people of the Federation enjoy the basic human rights enumerated in our Constitution (insofar as they happen to come up in the course of the shows' episodes): the right to freedom of conscience, religion, speech, press, self-defense, due process of law, trial by jury, prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment and confiscatory fines, etc.
The Prime Directive itself is the most open embrace of the concept of Laissez Faire in all of American television: Like our American Constitution, the Prime Directive is not a restriction on the actions of the people, it's a restriction on the actions of government
(Federation officers being agents of the UFP government.) The dilemmas that arise from the Captain (whichever,) having to weigh the Prime Directive against some pressing need or other that would require violating it, became the moral choices upon which many a great episode hinged. Roddenberry's genius at storytelling (and that of the many screenwriters who worked with him) in this regard deserves our highest gratitude and respect.
The politial backdrop of Star Trek was only a backdrop - and didn't need to be anything more than a backdrop. But the signature element of the Star Trek world - and again, if you study philosophy and economics, it's a necessary pre-requirement for that world's very existence by implication - is individual liberty: The rights of the individual are paramount; the state is limited to the role of policeman or even less, a detached observer or moderator, especially regarding new races and species encountered on other worlds.
What I've been arguing here is for that precondition: That unless we return to and maintain individual liberty - which means political liberty, which presupposes economic liberty - there can be no Star Trek-like spacefaring future for mankind.
It's certainly possible - and likely - that a totalitarian regime like the P.R.C. will be able to get to space and to establish a presence there (they seem to be very interested in the Earth's Moon just now,) but a totalitarian collectivist regime is the polar opposite of what's presented in Star Trek as the Federation, at least in the context of that part of the Federation that originates on Earth. Further, history has shown that people can only be subjugated under collectivist regimes for a temporary period before they begin demanding the individual liberty that is their birthright as conscious beings, and rebel.
History also shows that totalitarian regimes typically accomplish little technologically in comparison to free societies. The reason for this is that human creativity cannot be coerced - science and industry require liberty in order to flourish. Politics, in turn, is the third of the five branches of classical philosophy, which philosophy is arranged hierarchically. Politics - of necessity - rests on Ethics, which in turn rests on Epistemology and Metaphysics. (I would argue that the Star Trek universe is nicely consistent with Americanism on underlying philosophy as well - it's explicitly Aristotelean - but I don't need to go into that here.) The Ethics of liberty, again inescapably, is: Individualism.
An excellent article in this context is Ed Hudgins' 2007 essay "Individualism in Orbit: Morality for the High Frontier