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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    Well, this brings up the question of moral relativism. If a culture believes something is right, does that make it right?

    Personally, I don't think it does. While I don't claim to necessarily know with certainty what is right and wrong, I do believe that an act can be right or wrong regardless of how a given culture perceives it.

    Gulberat's point stands that if you're going to serve on a United Earth ship, you will be held to United Earth moral standards. If Phlox violated those standards, he is unfit to serve on that crew regardless of whether he believes his actions are justified.
    My point, is that gulberat's point is about their personal belief and standards and holding the episode to their values as if they are the only acceptable option...

    As I pointed out, Cardassians and Romulans would be equally capable/likely of taking the same (or similar) course(s) of action... If one is going to deal with a multicultural universe, one must deal with it on its terms, not one's own...
    I'm pretty sure that's still a case of human standards. Having not seen the episode, I can't say for certain, but I'm inclined to speculate that they can't order him to undergo a transfusion because they can't order him to undergo a transfusion, rather than because of anything to do with his moral standpoint. Human moral standards require consent for medical procedures. If I can perform a lifesaving treatment on a dying man, but he refuses it and is clearly competent to make that decision, I'm forbidden from saving his life, even if the man's death means his dependent children go without care. The law doesn't care if the man's decision is right, only that he made it.
    Regardless of the ifs and whys, the outcome was that they could not order Worf to comply with the transfusion (it's been a while since I saw it myself so I can't recall if he changed his mind due to guilting from them, or a genuine change of heart on his part)
    Phlox was not the only scientist aboard Enterprise, Archer could just as easily have ordered someone else to undertake the research, and Plot would have allowed that (had the writers wanted it to go that way) Fact is they were trying to shoehorn in a Prime Directive allegory, and it blew up in their faces. Bad writing... (like most of the series, IMHO)

    The point remains though, that when dealing with aliens, one cannot, and should not, expect them to always behave as a Human might, and then hold then in contempt when they do not, but do in fact, behave in an alien manner...

  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    I always found the part about Worf giving blood to a Romulan odd given that Romulans have the Vulcan copper-based blood while Klingons do not--why should he be chemically more compatible than all of the other species on board the Enterprise?
    I agree, it makes little sense from a scientific or medical point of view, although to be fair, they only required a particular element of Worf's ribosomes(whatever they may be) so in that macro scale, perhaps the chemical constituents happened to be compatible to the Romulan's needs... The actual point of the plot element, was to reinforce that Worf hates Romulans, and was not willing to save one (until his change of heart) and that despite serving as a Starfleet officer, he could not be ordered to comply with the procedure...

  • alexmakepeacealexmakepeace Member Posts: 10,633 Arc User
    artan42 wrote: »
    The Temporal Prime Directive works the same way--it assumes one "right" way for the past to unfold. Anything else, to quote that one timeship captain in Temporal Ambassador, "is an aberration." Why is the timeline we're familiar with the "right" one? Anything is possible, why is only one set of options allowed to be "good"?

    Not exactly. Cause then effect. If the future has already been witnessed then the past will have to happen a certain way for the future to come into being. This is essential if a traveller comes back from said future. Their future has to exist or else they would be able to come back into the past, so the 'right' way here is the way that allows everything to unfold as it did before.​​
    I could've sworn that Trek followed the form of "if you go back and change the past, it creates a new and separate timeline." JJ-Trek works that way, certainly.

    I guess I'm speaking more generally of the writers' attitude that the way things work out in the main storyline is the "right" way. Alternate realities are invariably worse--the mirror universe, the reality of Yesterday's Enterprise, that one reality in the final episode where the Borg overran everything (which, if I recall, was the only alternate reality they bothered to actually show us).
    The point remains though, that when dealing with aliens, one cannot, and should not, expect them to always behave as a Human might, and then hold then in contempt when they do not, but do in fact, behave in an alien manner...
    Yes, you should expect different morality systems, but you should absolutely be willing to challenge them. Saying "you're wrong, and this is why" is an important step in establishing what is and is not acceptable. Even if you don't change their actions, it allows you to refine your own moral system. Further, if an alien is serving on your crew, he should conform to the standards of your organization just like you do. Some differences can be permitted--if your religion stipulates you can't eat pork and have to cover your head at all times, okay--but some should not be: The USAF would not allow a pilot to use kamikaze tactics, and the army would allow a soldier to perform ethnic cleansing. Why should Phlox, acting in the capacity of chief medical officer of a United Earth ship, be permitted to take actions contrary to the moral and procedural standards by which United Earth operates?
  • artan42artan42 Member Posts: 10,450 Bug Hunter
    artan42 wrote: »
    The Temporal Prime Directive works the same way--it assumes one "right" way for the past to unfold. Anything else, to quote that one timeship captain in Temporal Ambassador, "is an aberration." Why is the timeline we're familiar with the "right" one? Anything is possible, why is only one set of options allowed to be "good"?

    Not exactly. Cause then effect. If the future has already been witnessed then the past will have to happen a certain way for the future to come into being. This is essential if a traveller comes back from said future. Their future has to exist or else they would be able to come back into the past, so the 'right' way here is the way that allows everything to unfold as it did before.
    I could've sworn that Trek followed the form of "if you go back and change the past, it creates a new and separate timeline." JJ-Trek works that way, certainly.

    I guess I'm speaking more generally of the writers' attitude that the way things work out in the main storyline is the "right" way. Alternate realities are invariably worse--the mirror universe, the reality of Yesterday's Enterprise, that one reality in the final episode where the Borg overran everything (which, if I recall, was the only alternate reality they bothered to actually show us).

    Yes and no. Some VOY episodes (the ones involving Braxton) and ENT (the temporal cold war) have corrections being applied in order to 'fix' the timeline. Others (such as Parallels and 09/ID) show alternate universes as the consequence.
    Both of which show that there is a 'correct or true' timeline and changes need to be made to get it back. When the timeline in Yesterdays Enterprise was changed the timeline reset itself back to the 'true' one.​​
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  • jorantomalakjorantomalak Member Posts: 7,133 Arc User
    i finally got around to watching a few episodes of enterprise and tbh archer has got to be the worst captain of an enterprise ever just the fact he let his doctor commit genocide by proxy for refusing a cure to a disease.

    Any other starfleet captain wouldve broke the prime directive to save those people , archer is spineless when he needs to take a stand he chooses not to .


  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    Yes, you should expect different morality systems, but you should absolutely be willing to challenge them. Saying "you're wrong, and this is why" is an important step in establishing what is and is not acceptable. Even if you don't change their actions, it allows you to refine your own moral system.
    Rather than 'challenge', I would prefer to say 'examine' and/or 'explore'... If one begins (as gulberat has) in assuming that one's own standpoint is inherently Right in such cross-cultural relations, then one is already displaying arrogance, ego and undermining any potential understanding between the parties...
    Further, if an alien is serving on your crew, he should conform to the standards of your organization just like you do. Some differences can be permitted--if your religion stipulates you can't eat pork and have to cover your head at all times, okay--but some should not be: The USAF would not allow a pilot to use kamikaze tactics, and the army would allow a soldier to perform ethnic cleansing.
    Three points of note:

    i) Chakotay was prepared to use kamikaze tactics when he put the Valjean into the Kazon cruiser. He was no doubt hoping that someone on Voyager would be able to beam him off, but, he was no doubt equally aware that the transporter could potentially go offline, and if it did, he was undertaking a suicide run. Now, Chakotay might well have resigned his commission and been part of the Maquis at that moment, but, he was not just a former Starfleet officer, but one of Starfleet's ATT instructors, ergo, he would be more aware than most of Starfleet's practices and procedures. He had to 'have it in him' to undertake such a maneauvre, in terms of both personal chops, and procedural awareness to be able to think to consider it.

    ii) Picard attempted to use the Enterprise-E's auto-destruct, and then resorted to a direct ramming, to try and take out the Scimitar... Slightly larger scale and stakes than a lone pilot screaming 'BANZAI!!!' or 'ALLAHU AKBAR!!!', but the same principle of sacrificing one's self (and crew) to take down The Enemy...

    iii) General Order Twenty Four allows a captain to wipe out all life on a planet if it is deemed a threat to the Federation. While the order has not been seen in action, that it exists as a statute, is concrete evidence to the lengths to which Starfleet is able to go...
    Why should Phlox, acting in the capacity of chief medical officer of a United Earth ship, be permitted to take actions contrary to the moral and procedural standards by which United Earth operates?
    Which, given Archer's actions and diplomatic shenanigans, said 'moral and procedural standards' are extremely questionable (ie Plot Dependant) and in terms of their scope and latitude, largely complying with Vulcan* 'advised' practices... As mentioned upthread, while the Valakians were not warp-capable, one could argue that any kind of Prime Directive-analogue need not apply, simply because they were already aware of extra-planatery life...

    The issue in episode, as I mentioned above, is one of Bad Writing, and in discussion, that one cannot hold the behaviour of aliens in contempt solely because of one's own moral bias, rather than judging it by the standards typically displayed by their respective species...

    *a corrupt government at the time...
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,231 Arc User
    Enh... that's kinda skirting the core issue. Was curing the Valakians right? this episode reminded me a lot of that TOS ep with the cloud city.....
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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    Enh... that's kinda skirting the core issue. Was curing the Valakians right? this episode reminded me a lot of that TOS ep with the cloud city.....
    Absolutely. I believe assistance was requested, it was not for Phlox or Archer to decide wether the Valakians were 'worthy of treatment' on an institutional level... For example, under the Geneva Conventions, a wounded or surrendering combatant, must be rendered medical assistance... Doesn't matter if that is The Enemy, or even if they were shooting at you seconds before... As soon as they become a non-combatant, they must be treated accordingly...

    Now, if interactions between the fledgling Federation and the Valakians post-treatment encouraged a revision of social attitudes and treatment towards the Menk via mere diplomatic process/cross-cultural interactions (ie contemporary Japanese wearing Western business suits and jeans rather than kimono and yukata) that is infinitely more desirable than leaving the fate of a species to the whims of an incompetent, who has command through no reason other than nepotism and cronyism...

    It's no better than Picard claiming status as Gowron's arbiter of succession when he wanted a Klingon ship to get him to Romulus, but then hiding behind the Prime Directive and refusing to get involved when Gowron wanted his assistance with the Klingon civil war...
  • rambowdoubledashrambowdoubledash Member Posts: 298 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    Any other starfleet captain wouldve broke the prime directive to save those people , archer is spineless when he needs to take a stand he chooses not to.

    If no one is ever going to follow the Prime Directive, then from a narrative standpoint it serves no purpose and should be discarded entirely. Except Enterprise was a prequel series and so it can't be discarded entirely. So that means we actually have to show a captain following the Prime Directive when it is hard to do so - when it will cause destruction on a massive scale. Because someone has to.

    Try to remember that the stance that Phlox and Archer take is identical to the stance that the Federation would take in just a few short years when it's founded. Calling Archer spineless and weak is identical to calling the Federation as a whole spineless and weak. Which is fine, you're entitled to your opinion, but I just want you to be aware that you can't hate Archer for this without also hating the Federation in its entirety as well.

    Additionally, as I like to point out, no one committed genocide. While Archer didn't intervene, Phlox's estimates was that the Valakians had about two centuries to find a solution to their genetic degradation. These people were bending the whole of their society to the problem and did not look to be much behind United Earth or the Denobulans in technology; sure, they didn't have warp, but a warp drive isn't needed for genetic research. The Valakians should have more than enough time to figure out their problem and, if they choose to do so, fix it.
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,231 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    Enh... that's kinda skirting the core issue. Was curing the Valakians right? this episode reminded me a lot of that TOS ep with the cloud city.....
    Absolutely. I believe assistance was requested, it was not for Phlox or Archer to decide wether the Valakians were 'worthy of treatment' on an institutional level... For example, under the Geneva Conventions, a wounded or surrendering combatant, must be rendered medical assistance... Doesn't matter if that is The Enemy, or even if they were shooting at you seconds before... As soon as they become a non-combatant, they must be treated accordingly...
    Well I mentioned Stratos for a reason. There's a close parallel with the way they have a working class who are slaves and a social elite who exploit the working class. Both cases had a somewhat similar ending. The elite class gets knocked down a notch.

    The Geneva conventions do not apply as this is not emergency medical care.

    The rest of your post was rubbish.
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  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 9,861 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    Any other starfleet captain wouldve broke the prime directive to save those people , archer is spineless when he needs to take a stand he chooses not to .
    Except that in "Pen Pals", Picard was quite ready to stand by and let an entire planet, and every species on it including one race of sophonts that could use subspace for communications, die when the Enterprise could easily have solved their problem. He only changed his mind because his supposedly "emotionless" android ops officer let him hear the pleas of a little girl on that world. Hell, he probably wouldn't have even entertained the idea of ordering Phlox to save the Valakians in the first place!

    As for Worf, Starfleet regs did not allow for ordering him to be the source for a transfusion - some groups have their own moral/ethical objections to the practice. The other bit has to do with Star Trek Lego Genetics (we can't even interbreed with apes, who share better than 98% of our DNA, but casual sex with creatures not even from the same evolutionary tree will do the trick??).​​
    Post edited by jonsills on
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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    If no one is ever going to follow the Prime Directive, then from a narrative standpoint it serves no purpose and should be discarded entirely. Except Enterprise was a prequel series and so it can't be discarded entirely. So that means we actually have to show a captain following the Prime Directive when it is hard to do so - when it will cause destruction on a massive scale. Because someone has to.

    Try to remember that the stance that Phlox and Archer take is identical to the stance that the Federation would take in just a few short years when it's founded. Calling Archer spineless and weak is identical to calling the Federation as a whole spineless and weak. Which is fine, you're entitled to your opinion, but I just want you to be aware that you can't hate Archer for this without also hating the Federation in its entirety as well.

    Additionally, as I like to point out, no one committed genocide. While Archer didn't intervene, Phlox's estimates was that the Valakians had about two centuries to find a solution to their genetic degradation. These people were bending the whole of their society to the problem and did not look to be much behind United Earth or the Denobulans in technology; sure, they didn't have warp, but a warp drive isn't needed for genetic research. The Valakians should have more than enough time to figure out their problem and, if they choose to do so, fix it.

    As mentioned above, even if this was to be considered as an early application of the pre-Prime Directive, due to the Valakian's existing contact with extra-planetary life, that would (IMHO) negate their lack of warp drive as the criteria for making contact, in so much as, by 24th/25th Century terms, the Prime Directive prohibition of making contact would either i) not apply, or ii) could be strongly argued as not applicable by a captain who responded to a distress call... Also, the Federation was weak in hiding behind the Prime Directive... Both as a whole, when it did not render aid to end the Cardassian occupation of Bajor*, and in the individual, as I cited above, when Picard refused to get involved in the Klingon civil war, despite being asked for assistance by the man who's name he was prepared to drop when it suited his[Picard's] needs...

    *
    Which I would now compare to the current situation in Syria, where The Allies are taking direct action against IS on the ground in Syria, not sitting around at the UN, wringing their hands, and saying "Well we'd like to help, but it's an internal affair..."
  • ilithynilithyn Member Posts: 900 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    Sorry, wrong button. Pass along.
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  • gulberatgulberat Member Posts: 5,505 Arc User
    Personally, I don't think it does. While I don't claim to necessarily know with certainty what is right and wrong, I do believe that an act can be right or wrong regardless of how a given culture perceives it.

    Gulberat's point stands that if you're going to serve on a United Earth ship, you will be held to United Earth moral standards. If Phlox violated those standards, he is unfit to serve on that crew regardless of whether he believes his actions are justified.

    While I do agree with you on the former, Alex, you understood me correctly on the latter, which was my main point as far as the episode is concerned. If it were a later, Federation starship, while I would still *vehemently* disagree with the decision taken, I would not say that a captain had a specific right to enforce human morals because we know that Federation Starfleet is specifically set up to accommodate multicultural situations and while its ethics sometimes align with human ones, there are alien influences. I disagree with some of those influences and can state why but their existence cannot be argued against.

    In contrast, Archer's ship is strictly United Earth (even though the term "Starfleet" is already in use). He is in a position much more like a Klingon captain or a Cardassian gul than a later Starfleet captain...he answers to a single world and regulations derived from a single set of ethics. He is not beholden to anyone else but Admiral Forrest and his own superiors back on Earth, whether it be the Vulcans and their interference, or any foreign member of his crew. There is no multicultural standard, only an Earth one. Signing onto such a crew, as an alien, means an inherent risk that said alien's values will not be accommodated if they run afoul of the regulations and ethics of the host. Where a future Starfleet captain would unfortunately have Vulcan and Denobulan-influenced rules on the books that might make it harder to do the right thing without reprisals in a similar situation to "Dead Doctor," Archer did not have those restrictions. He would have every right to order Phlox to comply or to relieve him of duty and replace him with someone who would.

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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    Enh... that's kinda skirting the core issue. Was curing the Valakians right? this episode reminded me a lot of that TOS ep with the cloud city.....
    Absolutely. I believe assistance was requested, it was not for Phlox or Archer to decide wether the Valakians were 'worthy of treatment' on an institutional level... For example, under the Geneva Conventions, a wounded or surrendering combatant, must be rendered medical assistance... Doesn't matter if that is The Enemy, or even if they were shooting at you seconds before... As soon as they become a non-combatant, they must be treated accordingly...
    Well I mentioned Stratos for a reason. There's a close parallel with the way they have a working class who are slaves and a social elite who exploit the working class. Both cases had a somewhat similar ending. The elite class gets knocked down a notch.

    The Geneva conventions do not apply as this is not emergency medical care.

    The rest of your post was rubbish.

    It may not be a 100% applicable code, but it isgiving an example of a Human (and Earth Starfleet is primarily Human...) convention relating to the rendering of assistance 'to those in need', regardless of the person in need...

    Really? It's hardly like the numerous occasions when you've posted details about your head-canon species to discussions relating to canon Trek species... I've simply cited an example of a Starfleet captain hiding behind the Prime Directive when it suited him to do so, which is essentially, what the Valakian situation was something of a crucible...
  • rangerryurangerryu Member Posts: 284 Arc User
    You can blame UPN for the ending,they ordered it to be changed (although the original ending apparently involved phlox lying about not finding a cure)
  • rambowdoubledashrambowdoubledash Member Posts: 298 Arc User
    As mentioned above, even if this was to be considered as an early application of the pre-Prime Directive, due to the Valakian's existing contact with extra-planetary life, that would (IMHO) negate their lack of warp drive as the criteria for making contact, in so much as, by 24th/25th Century terms, the Prime Directive prohibition of making contact would either i) not apply, or ii) could be strongly argued as not applicable by a captain who responded to a distress call... Also, the Federation was weak in hiding behind the Prime Directive... Both as a whole, when it did not render aid to end the Cardassian occupation of Bajor*, and in the individual, as I cited above, when Picard refused to get involved in the Klingon civil war, despite being asked for assistance by the man who's name he was prepared to drop when it suited his[Picard's] needs...

    The Prime Directive is actually about non-interference in general. It is most often cited as the reason why the Federation does not contact or uplift pre-Warp capable worlds; however it has been applied numerous times to cite the reason why the Federation doesn't interfere even in post-Warp species' affairs unless those affairs directly conflict with the Federation.

    Hence why the Federation didn't help the Bajorans, yes; also why they generally don't trouble themselves to interfere with Klingon or Romulan affairs unless directly asked to by the Klingon or Romulan governments. And yes, it's subverted on many an occasion, but like I said, if the Prime Directive is gonna exist at all, then sooner or later we need to have a captain who actually follows it, or else it really serves no narrative purpose.
    Which I would now compare to the current situation in Syria, where The Allies are taking direct action against IS on the ground in Syria, not sitting around at the UN, wringing their hands, and saying "Well we'd like to help, but it's an internal affair..."

    Syria is...complex. Turkish, American, French, and Russian desires do not coincide. Although having said that the thing that got me banned from alternatehistory.com was espousing that a larger and more unified front needs to be developed against Radicalized Islam as a whole and not simply ISIS, which is simply its latest iteration.

    However, that's not the point. Personally I've never been in favor of the Prime Directive as a principal; however, from a narrative standpoint, it exists, and needs to be followed if it's going to have any meaning.
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    The Prime Directive is actually about non-interference in general. It is most often cited as the reason why the Federation does not contact or uplift pre-Warp capable worlds; however it has been applied numerous times to cite the reason why the Federation doesn't interfere even in post-Warp species' affairs unless those affairs directly conflict with the Federation.
    Yes, it is generally about non-interference, I was simply illustrating that this was an instance when the 'warp capable' baseline for contact, would likely be overlooked due to the Valkarians already having off-world contact... So yes, the non-interference part could apply in terms of not directly interfering with the native culture, but, it should not apply at all, as the request for help came from the Valkarians. It should have been provided, rather than the Picard-esque "It's not my place to help..."
    Hence why the Federation didn't help the Bajorans, yes; also why they generally don't trouble themselves to interfere with Klingon or Romulan affairs unless directly asked to by the Klingon or Romulan governments. And yes, it's subverted on many an occasion, but like I said, if the Prime Directive is gonna exist at all, then sooner or later we need to have a captain who actually follows it, or else it really serves no narrative purpose.
    And absolutely so, I'm just pointing out that times when the Prime Directive is cited and upheld, is typically so Picard (or the Federation) doesn't have to get his hands dirty (except for when he caved on it in Pen Pals) rather than what I believe you're suggesting, as having a hard plot instance as prevention from doing the right thing, as being made to stick. And to also point out that in the instances like the Cardassian Occupation, it would i) have been right for the Federation to help, and ii) I find it hard to believe, in-verse, that the Bajorans never asked the Federation Council for help, as Gowron did, thus making the Federation weak, in terms of them not living up to their responsibility to do something, when they had the capacity to do so...
    Syria is...complex. Turkish, American, French, and Russian desires do not coincide. Although having said that the thing that got me banned from alternatehistory.com was espousing that a larger and more unified front needs to be developed against Radicalized Islam as a whole and not simply ISIS, which is simply its latest iteration.

    However, that's not the point. Personally I've never been in favor of the Prime Directive as a principal; however, from a narrative standpoint, it exists, and needs to be followed if it's going to have any meaning.
    For sure, I'm just giving that as an example of where 'outside intervention' is taking place in what is ultimately, an internal* Syrian matter.

    *Although I acknowledge, there are considerable influencing factors to that...
    Post edited by marcusdkane on
  • gulberatgulberat Member Posts: 5,505 Arc User
    @rambowdoubledash: A couple points on the Prime Directive and whether it should always be followed. Point 1 is that there seems to new major difference between the PD as it exists in the 23rd century and the 24th, so in-universe it might be possible to offer an argument that the 24th century version (which is kind of like what Phlox espoused) is an off-base or even corrupt interpretation of the rule that does not conform with the original intention of the PD...which was to prevent egregious abuse resulting from disparity of power. NOT to callously condone and aid abuse or be cold to suffering as Phlox was, or to allow an escape from responsibility just because it would be inconvenient. That is a debate that if fully pursued in universe would have yielded some good plot drama

    Similarly, the hero captains often are so (except Picard) for being unconventional and being rulebreakers sometimes. The tension and the interest in the plot comes from knowing there is this "rule" but choosing to violate it and working through the reasoning why. In a way such a plot also becomes about putting the right thing (in cases where the violation is the right thing) above politics and self-interest (selfishly putting one's career first). Those are good for plot and character drama. So the rule becomes most effective as a plot device in its violation (even more so since I consider it to be a certain road paved with initially good intentions at times).

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  • hfmuddhfmudd Member Posts: 881 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    The PD was definitely expanded between the 23rd century (where the Enterprise crew explicitly but covertly intervened in saving a primitive population from being wiped out from a "natural" disaster - TOS "This Side of Paradise", aka "the one with the Indians") and the 24th (where it apparently not only forbade such secret interventions, but also applied even to the affairs of other manifestly post-warp states). I suspect this expansion was a case of the sort of "noble", conceited, self-righteousness often on display in the first couple of seasons of the show, being used as a fig leaf for a more practical and cynical streak of realpolitik (which we got to see later on). As Eddington said, "it's easy to be a saint in Paradise" - and it's easy to declare that you're more evolved and morally superior beings if you find excuses to never have to actually act on or question or test those principles, never get your hands dirty, just stand around on top of your cloud patting each other on the back about how very special and pure you are.

    You cannot observe a system, let alone be part of it, without influencing it. It is absurd for the Federation to claim "we're not getting involved" when they already are. Inaction is also a choice - often the easiest, most selfish one. Figuring out what the proper or best available action is in a situation, that's hard. It requires effort, and wisdom, and often giving up something. Let's not, and frame that as a position of principle.

    I also find that strong/hard interpretations of the PD, both conventional and temporal, are uncomfortably close to the notion of Fate - that things are "meant" to follow a certain path, and woe to those who try to turn them aside, who will be punished for their hubris. Isn't that one of those superstitions which 24th century humanity boldly claimed it had outgrown? Clearly not, IMO - just repackaged into a more palatable form, where it lets them justify inaction as the result of humility in the face of God's Will (by any other name) rather than simple cowardice.

    If humans, and/or the other races of the Federation, truly wish to be pure and uninvolved, they can always pull back to their homeworlds, never go anywhere, and spend all day contemplating their navels and how perfect they are. They can all be like the officer that Picard tried and thought he wanted to be, when given an opportunity to tidy up his past and act more mature - people who never do anything, never take chances, always play it safe, and never matter to anyone. The rest of the universe can go on without them, and when they inevitably die off, in the "natural order" of things, it will be as if they never existed at all. Just the sort of "zero impact" a truly moral civilization should aspire to.
    Join Date: January 2011
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 9,861 Arc User
    One point, Mudd - it was in fact Sisko who said those words (and I had occasion to cite his speech in another context not long ago), not Eddington. Other than that, though, I can't say I disagree, and I prefer the TOS Prime Directive, General Order One - which forbids interference in the normal development of a viable, pre-spaceflight society. If someone else (the Klingons, for instance, or a rogue history professor) has already interfered, the development can no longer be called "normal"; some societies, such as the people of Va'al in "The Apple" or the Betans in "The Return of the Archons", aren't really terribly viable; and once a species has achieved spaceflight, they should be expecting alien contact.

    The TNG version, on the other hand, does indeed seem to be an excuse to stand back and pretend to be impartial because it's easier than trying to figure out what the right thing to do would be. I can't really call Picard a coward for following his orders, but it wasn't exactly heroic of him either. And there's no excuse for invoking the PD in cases involving interstellar empires (for instance, when they found the Romulans working with one side of the Klingon civil war), or former interstellar powers like the Bajorans.

    Almost as bad to my mind is that Starfleet is inconsistent with the application of this so-called "principled stand". When Sisko was assigned to DS9 and immediately became a religious figure to a large portion of the Bajoran population, by the then-current interpretation of the PD he should have been immediately recalled and another officer assigned in his place. Jolee Bindo would have been ashamed of Starfleet in this instance.​​
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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,231 Arc User
    The Prime Directive is actually about non-interference in general. It is most often cited as the reason why the Federation does not contact or uplift pre-Warp capable worlds; however it has been applied numerous times to cite the reason why the Federation doesn't interfere even in post-Warp species' affairs unless those affairs directly conflict with the Federation.
    One of the more famous examples is the Ornarans and Brekkians. A rather odd turn of events left both civilizations in a state of decline. Instead of telling them what to do Picard chose to simply leave them alone in the hope that they would figure it out before their civilizations completely self destructed. why not explain the situation to them? Well... that would have probably meant starting a war.

    But as Janeway pointed out, the "Prime Directive" was not a rule. It was a book of rules regarding how the Federation interacts with outside political entities. http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Prime_Directive It was most often cited in regards to "pre-warp" civilizations, but some aspects applied to all other civilizations too.

    While it seems odd that the Federation would be willing to let others die due to "natural causes"... I have to wonder what the end result of some of those would be? In the case of Boraal, it was a massive cataclysm that was set to eradicate all life on the planet. IIRC Picard didn't even know IF it could be stopped. The Federation lacked the needed resources to relocate the entire planetary population, and only one village was saved in the end. Also, it wasn't always invoked in that manner. In the case of Miri, Kirk chose to save the people. This did not require massive resources from the Federation. Also, the people of that world had no real government or any true society of their own any more.

    Thus it would seem that the Prime directive is in part a political construct an not solely a moral one.
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    My character Tsin'xing
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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    jonsills wrote: »
    One point, Mudd - it was in fact Sisko who said those words (and I had occasion to cite his speech in another context not long ago), not Eddington. Other than that, though, I can't say I disagree, and I prefer the TOS Prime Directive, General Order One - which forbids interference in the normal development of a viable, pre-spaceflight society. If someone else (the Klingons, for instance, or a rogue history professor) has already interfered, the development can no longer be called "normal"; some societies, such as the people of Va'al in "The Apple" or the Betans in "The Return of the Archons", aren't really terribly viable; and once a species has achieved spaceflight, they should be expecting alien contact.
    Was there an episode where Kirk supplied weapons to one side of a faction, after the Klingons had given them to another, thus restoring the status quo? I know that was a point Admiral Jameson was held accountable for in TNG, but I seem to remember Kirk doing it too, for some reason...

    jonsills wrote: »
    The TNG version, on the other hand, does indeed seem to be an excuse to stand back and pretend to be impartial because it's easier than trying to figure out what the right thing to do would be. I can't really call Picard a coward for following his orders, but it wasn't exactly heroic of him either. And there's no excuse for invoking the PD in cases involving interstellar empires (for instance, when they found the Romulans working with one side of the Klingon civil war), or former interstellar powers like the Bajorans.
    My beef, as cited above, is that Picard was prepared to namedrop Gowron and his [Picard's] standing within the Empire when he needed a ship, but when called upon to help (which could arguably be part of an arbiter's duties) he played the PD card to prevent getting involved. Arguably, he could have resigned his commission along with Worf, even if it was just to stand at Gowron's side. And of course, we know he then did just that in Insurrection (in a matter which he wanted to lend personal support to)
    jonsills wrote: »
    Almost as bad to my mind is that Starfleet is inconsistent with the application of this so-called "principled stand". When Sisko was assigned to DS9 and immediately became a religious figure to a large portion of the Bajoran population, by the then-current interpretation of the PD he should have been immediately recalled and another officer assigned in his place. Jolee Bindo would have been ashamed of Starfleet in this instance.​​
    This is a slightly stickier wicket however... The office/position of The Emissary, was long-established within the Bajoran beliefs and culture. And unlike where the observer, Gil, set himself up as a TRIBBLE figurehead (for what he thought were the right reasons) Sisko didn't roll up on Bajor declaring himself as The Emissary, they insisted that he was The Emissary, although he eventually became comfortable with the status. In that regard, he was simply following local custom, and indeed, Picard reminded him that his orders were to do everything short of violating the PD to ensure that Bajor would be ready to become Federation members. Which then touches back on the point I made above: Why would Bajor and the Bajoran people, even want admission to the Federation which refused to render them aid during their time of need? I can understand the idea that gaining Federation membership might indeed 'keep the Cardies out' (despite kicking them out themselves without Federation assistance) but I would still think there would be a fair amount of resentment toward the Federation as a whole...
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,231 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    jonsills wrote: »
    One point, Mudd - it was in fact Sisko who said those words (and I had occasion to cite his speech in another context not long ago), not Eddington. Other than that, though, I can't say I disagree, and I prefer the TOS Prime Directive, General Order One - which forbids interference in the normal development of a viable, pre-spaceflight society. If someone else (the Klingons, for instance, or a rogue history professor) has already interfered, the development can no longer be called "normal"; some societies, such as the people of Va'al in "The Apple" or the Betans in "The Return of the Archons", aren't really terribly viable; and once a species has achieved spaceflight, they should be expecting alien contact.
    Was there an episode where Kirk supplied weapons to one side of a faction, after the Klingons had given them to another, thus restoring the status quo? I know that was a point Admiral Jameson was held accountable for in TNG, but I seem to remember Kirk doing it too, for some reason..
    Kirk did it to balance out the actions of the Klingons. But unlike Jameson he did it after the fact. Also the Klingons were planning to annex the world after their pet faction took over.
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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    jonsills wrote: »
    One point, Mudd - it was in fact Sisko who said those words (and I had occasion to cite his speech in another context not long ago), not Eddington. Other than that, though, I can't say I disagree, and I prefer the TOS Prime Directive, General Order One - which forbids interference in the normal development of a viable, pre-spaceflight society. If someone else (the Klingons, for instance, or a rogue history professor) has already interfered, the development can no longer be called "normal"; some societies, such as the people of Va'al in "The Apple" or the Betans in "The Return of the Archons", aren't really terribly viable; and once a species has achieved spaceflight, they should be expecting alien contact.
    Was there an episode where Kirk supplied weapons to one side of a faction, after the Klingons had given them to another, thus restoring the status quo? I know that was a point Admiral Jameson was held accountable for in TNG, but I seem to remember Kirk doing it too, for some reason..
    Kirk did it to balance out the actions of the Klingons. But unlike Jameson he did it after the fact. Also the Klingons were planning to annex the world after their pet faction took over.
    Absolutely, Kirk was restoring the balance between them, rather than say, returning them to their pre-intervention state, where if I remember, Jameson provided arms in exchange for hostages, but also armed the other faction to keep both sides equal at the same time. Under other plot requirements, he might have been hailed as a hero for getting the hostages back and keeping that planet's status quo...
  • djf021djf021 Member Posts: 1,361 Arc User
    null
    It's interesting that you should bring up the Vulcans. My first thought was, "why not see if the Vulcan scientists could help find a cure, and they could get there a lot quicker too.
    C4117709-1498929112732780large.jpg

    Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there... you can make a difference.
    -Captain James T. Kirk
  • hfmuddhfmudd Member Posts: 881 Arc User
    edited November 2015
    marcusdkane:
    Which can probably be seen as an example of how real-world public opinion re: politics of intervention shifted between the 60s and 80s... again, we liked to at least pretend we were better than that, now, as a result of blowback from our earlier efforts.


    Also, one of my captains once observed, "I've never felt that the natural course of development for a species was to end."
    (For clarity, and at the risk of spoiling a nice soundbite, they were referring not to self-destructive behavior, or getting conquered by someone else, but the case where a pre-warp civilization is going about their "natural course" and a random comet or whatever lands on them.)
    Post edited by hfmudd on
    Join Date: January 2011
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 9,861 Arc User
    Jolee would still have been ashamed. (Character from the Star Wars game Knights of the Old Republic; Jolee Bindo had been a Jedi during the Mandalorian Wars who had secretly fallen in love with and married his padawan. She fell to the Dark Side during the war, and he was forced to kill her; he later exiled himself from the Jedi Order and disavowed the group when they refused at his trial to punish him for marrying - which is, after all, against the Code...)​​
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  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Member Posts: 35,231 Arc User
    jonsills wrote: »
    One point, Mudd - it was in fact Sisko who said those words (and I had occasion to cite his speech in another context not long ago), not Eddington. Other than that, though, I can't say I disagree, and I prefer the TOS Prime Directive, General Order One - which forbids interference in the normal development of a viable, pre-spaceflight society. If someone else (the Klingons, for instance, or a rogue history professor) has already interfered, the development can no longer be called "normal"; some societies, such as the people of Va'al in "The Apple" or the Betans in "The Return of the Archons", aren't really terribly viable; and once a species has achieved spaceflight, they should be expecting alien contact.
    Was there an episode where Kirk supplied weapons to one side of a faction, after the Klingons had given them to another, thus restoring the status quo? I know that was a point Admiral Jameson was held accountable for in TNG, but I seem to remember Kirk doing it too, for some reason..
    Kirk did it to balance out the actions of the Klingons. But unlike Jameson he did it after the fact. Also the Klingons were planning to annex the world after their pet faction took over.
    Absolutely, Kirk was restoring the balance between them, rather than say, returning them to their pre-intervention state, where if I remember, Jameson provided arms in exchange for hostages, but also armed the other faction to keep both sides equal at the same time. Under other plot requirements, he might have been hailed as a hero for getting the hostages back and keeping that planet's status quo...
    Also, as Picard pointed out, Jameson did not initiate hostilities. Even before his interference the two parties were trying to wipe each other out. It seems likely that the war would have had similar casualties either way.
    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
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  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    hfmudd wrote: »
    marcusdkane:
    Which can probably be seen as an example of how real-world public opinion re: politics of intervention shifted between the 60s and 80s... again, we liked to at least pretend we were better than that, now, as a result of blowback from our earlier efforts.
    Yes, I'd say that shift in real-world opinion is definitely responsible for the variation interpretation and applications... And a I very much agree with your above post, that the mere presence in a situation is an impact on the outcome.

    hfmudd wrote: »
    Also, one of my captains once observed, "I've never felt that the natural course of development for a species was to end."
    (For clarity, and at the risk of spoiling a nice soundbite, they were referring not to self-destructive behavior, or getting conquered by someone else, but the case where a pre-warp civilization is going about their "natural course" and a random comet or whatever lands on them.)
    I'd counter that, with 'to everything, there is a time...' Pandas, for example, would appear to be on the route toward extinction, and with little interest in maintaining numbers, but regardless, that is still a rather nice soundbite B)
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