“Only question I ever thought was hard,” said white’n’nerdy Weird Al, “was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?”
Remember when The Riddler took control of the USS Enterprise and started flying it in the wrong direction? It was the first appearance of the self-destruct routine in Star Trek. What did “need a wheelbarrow for my balls” Captain Kirk say about that? Huh? Anybody? Bueller? What was the famous line?
“I am captain of this ship, and it will follow whatever course I set for it, or … I will destroy it.”
In the Picard era, the self-destruct device was used to illustrate the willingness with which the individuals would sacrifice their lives for the greater good. See, this is why Kirk beats Picard. Kirk was all about the triumph of the human will, ultimately, the triumph of the individual against chaos, misery, strife, insurmountable situations and impossible odds; Picard was all about subordination of that individual to the nebulous calling of the greater good.
Picard, of course, was quick to point out the necessity of that presumed Greater Good:
“The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.”
Then again, Picard wasn’t exactly blind to the universe around him:
“Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged.”
And these days, the latter far outnumber the former.