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Old October 18 2009, 02:51 PM   #58
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Re: In Defense of the Occupation

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post

As I think on it, the episode is kinda despicable in the way it fleshes out the paranoid rationalization for genocide--here it really is a war for survival; no, not a war, an animalistic struggle. But then, much as I love DS9, I was always creeped out by how easily the Dominion can be read as an allegory for the Ku Klux Klan/Neo-Nazi fantasy of Zionist global control. Here we have a species supremely skilled at disappearing into host populations (cf. Jewish assimilation in Europe) who, after being clobbered one two many times, retreat to their home-world (cf. Israel nee Palestine after the Holocaust) and engineer a proxy force of quisling humanoids (cf. white race-traitors who do the bidding of their evil Jewish overlords) and malignant, hyper-violent sub-humans who are addicted to a white narcotic (cf. the American bogey-man of the crack addicted gangsta). I doubt this model was in anyone's conscious mind when the idea of the Dominion was mooted and developed but it's eerie how close the allegory maps and how potent such an evil paranoid fantasy is even among those of us who should know better.

I am continually amazed by people's ability to find the most convoluted interpretation of an SF show plot that somehow makes it a parallel to this or that real world situation, and especially to use those convoluted interpretations as a basis for accusations of racism against the show, or proof that it has a specific political agenda.

According to the collective wisdom of various fans/viewers, it seems that pretty much every single race in Trek, apart from humans and Klingons, is some kind of analogy to Jews. Come on, people, make up your minds. Vulcans, Bajorans, Ferengi and the Founders can't possibly ALL be direct analogies for the Jews (with the Bajorans apparently doubling as an analogy to Palestinians).

Either there's just one, or we should agree that there are no direct analogies, just vague and general similarities (because every SF storyline has to have some grounding in real life) that anyone can interpret any way they want.

Kegg wrote: View Post

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
Kegg wrote: View Post
Hey, a German who refused orders to kill Jews would be a traitor. He'd also be doing the moral thing. These are not mutually exclusive, and by and large being a traitor to the Nazis is a more moral thing than supporting them (for obvious reasons.)
That's not the way the word "traitor" has been used in that discussion (and not how it is usually used).
No, that's exactly how it is used. He would be, in fact, literally guilty of treason. Disobeying orders? In wartime, no less?

Treason isn't in the eye of the beholder. Right and wrong, maybe, but not treason. As I observed, treason is very likely the moral course of action when a citizen of a fascist state.

Which doesn't stop it from being treason.
Treason is not a neutral word. You seem to think it is, but you may be the only person in the universe to think so. Treason is a very value-judgment-laden word. It is considered a serious crime in most legal systems and carries a sentence of death penalty (if it exists) or long prison sentence. It is also word with strong negative connotations, constantly used in propaganda to label people who think different.

And it is IMO very much in the eye of the beholder, more than anything else is. The episode and scene where this phrase comes from gives a perfect example. An agent of a secret police in an authoritarian system labels a dissident "a traitor" (gee, I haven't heard that one before...). A traitor to whom or what? His country/race/civilization? Other people might feel that the dissident is the one being loyal to it, a true patriot, by trying to help it and make it a better place to live and free it from an oppressive system.

And even in the situation you mention - disobeying orders in wartime? Some people would argue that a true patriot would have to disobey inhumane and illegitimate orders to commit crimes and that he/she is doing much more good for his country that way - by refusing to commit war crimes.

In your example with the Nazis, why should a German person feel loyal to the government, if they despise it and believe in to be wrong for Germany and the world? Did they ever pledge loyalty to the Nazi government? No, they just happened to be born in Germany and live at the time when Hitler came to power. Why should they feel any loyalty to the Nazis?

Finally, in a situation when one is committing an act that could be called "treason" with a good reason, against a country/government/nation/ethnical or religious group etc. that they feel no loyalty to, out of idealism and beliefs in something else... I wonder, how can you be a "traitor" if you never pledged loyalty to something/someone? Say, maybe a person commits an act of espionage or terrorism, or maybe he/she defects... and the country where they were born considers them a "traitor". But what if the person doesn't give a damn about the state as such and doesn't feel he/she owes anything to it, because they feel loyalty to, say, their religion, or the international socialist movement, or whatever? Or what if a person is a member of a minority and feels more loyalty and stronger ties to the country of their origin than the country they live in currently? Or the opposite - if they feel more loyalty to their new country, others who feel the opposite might label them "traitors" to their people.

The very idea of "treason" is usually based on the premise that a person owes loyalty to someone/something - even though, in many cases, they never pledged that loyalty in the first place. They just happened to be born somewhere - and this, somehow, makes the current government of that country feel that they have the right to expect loyalty from them. Why?

The only real treason, IMO, is when a person betrays something they truly believe in, out of weakness, fear, for material gain, etc.
Treason, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

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