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Old August 19 2010, 05:34 AM   #71
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Location: Montgomery County, State of Maryland
Re: Worldbuilding: New member integration in the UFP

Begging everyone's pardon for having been gone a few days.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Ohio is not the same thing as its citizens.
Wrong, the Ohio government isn't same thing as Ohio's citizens. Ohio is it's citizen,
No, it's not. Ohio is a state -- literally, it's in the name: The State of Ohio. A state is "a set of institutions that possess the authority to make the rules that govern the people in one or more societies, having internal and external sovereignty over a definite territory" and possessing the legal monopoly on the use of force within its territory. It is not its citizenry. Now, the State of Ohio works for its citizens, but it is not the same thing as its citizens.

And, by extension, no, the United States of America is not its people. It is the state that works for its people.

Claiming that the state is its people is like claiming that a car is its passengers.

Look I aware that there are employees (I consider elected politicians employees) who think that the US Government is somehow the entire country all by itself,
A country is the geographic area of land over which a state possesses sovereignty. Obviously a government cannot by definition be a country, as a political association is not the same thing as the territory over which it has jurisdiction.

And, no, the United States government is not the whole of society all by itself. But the United States is not its society; the United States is the political association that serves its society. If the United States were to be abolished tomorrow and replaced with the United Kingdom of Central North America, American society would still exist, but the United States of America would not.

that they are in no way "ambassadors" of the little people who elected them
1. American governance is based on the concept that there are times when the elected legislators need to exercise judgment independent of the populace who elected them because sometimes the majority of people are wrong or favor violating a minority's rights. There is a such thing as a tyranny of a majority -- this whole situation with the Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York, where 70% of the American people object to innocent people building a completely benign cultural center there because ten years ago some lunatics who happened to be Muslims committed mass murder is a prime example of a majority of people seeking to violate the rights of a minority. There is, as a result, a constant contest in American politics between what is called delegation (only acting on the will of the majority) and trusteeship (using independent judgment even if it is unpopular). Neither side is dishonorable, provided there is a balance.

2. Members of Congress are not ambassadors of their constituents, for that very reason. An ambassador is someone who is legally empowered only to represent the will of their bosses -- they are, in other words, never empowered to engage in trusteeship. The United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James's will never be able to make U.S. policy towards the United Kingdom; he can only represent the policies of the President of the United States. That's why Members of Congress are not in any way ambassadors -- they are expected to exercise independent judgment sometimes, and everyone knows that. The fact that if the consistently violate the will of their constituents, they will lose at re-election is the thing that serves as a check on their trusteeship. This is the essence of representative democracy (or, if you will, of democratic republicanism), and notably sets elected legislators apart from ambassadors.

The people are the ones (usually) in control.
It would be more accurate to say that there are constant checks and balances on everyone's power, even the people as a whole, but that the people as a whole are the ones from whom legislative power is by consent derived. That's why Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf can still build Park51, even when the American people are against him. Nobody is in complete control.

And the people of Ohio were asked (through their mouth pieces) about the declaration of war.
No, they weren't. They weren't given a popular referendum. Their elected representatives -- who do not work for the State of Ohio, but rather who work for their constituents in their districts -- were asked. That's not the same thing. And even if the majority of Ohioans had been against the war, the fact that the majority of Members of Congress were for it means that it would have happened, even if the entire Ohio delegation had voted against it.

And I want to emphasize, again, that Members of Congress do not work for their home states, but for the people of their home states. It would be illegal for the Governor of the State of Ohio to contact the Ohio delegation to Congress and order them to vote a certain way in Congress; the State of Ohio has no authority over the Ohio delegation in Congress. The Ohio Members of Congress work for their constituents and no one else.

What I'm seriously claiming is that Starfleet gets to decide when to engage in COMBAT, not war. That, barring any instructions from the politicians of the moment, Starfleet would fight a foreign force attacking the Federation.
As long as you're conceding that Starfleet has to obey the Federation President and Federation government, I've got no problem with that idea.

Starfleet officers operate under standing rules of engagement. They started fighting the Dominion under those standing orders.
If you're talking about the commencement of hostilities in "A Call to Arms," I don't think that's true at all. Starfleet mined the Bajoran Wormhole, sovereign Bajoran territory, over the legal objections of the Bajoran government (as indicated by Major Kira's "I must object to this course of action, good now that that's over, Kira Nerys reporting for duty sir" line); the Dominion attack was in retaliation for the mining of the Wormhole. As such, it seems clear to me that the start of hostilities in "A Call to Arms" was probably a deviation from the standing rules of engagement that had to be authorized by the Federation President.

Sci wrote: View Post
Oh, really? So, in other words, we should ignore their sovereignty and violate the will of the legitimate government of the planet being contacted?
Just that, we contact the planet, not the government. (maybe the government too, at some later time)

You are robbing that culture of its right to make its own choices through its legitimate government.
But a direct contact would be the epitome of the inhabitents "making it own choices."
Are you the democratically elected representatives of the people of Planet Zog? No? Then what gives you the right to make decisions for Planet Zog?

The people of Planet Zog have created their own government and imbued their government with the authority to make decisions for the whole of society. Who are you to take away that right to make decisions for Zogian society when you are not part of the Zogian populace that gave it the right to make decisions for all of Zog?
Democratic socialism is the hope of human freedom.
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