Yeah, I failed to use quotes around "right" in my last post. Obviously anything they do is questionable just by their very existence. I just would love to see someone write something where S31's actions aren't so rigidly defined as "bad" like they generally seem to be. I just don't see the entire organization being as completely morally bankrupt as they're consistently portrayed.
In the 22nd century, they seemed to be well-intentioned. But by the 24th century, they've been dedicated to preserving their own secrecy and impunity for so long that those have become their overriding priorities and national defense is simply their excuse. Remember, they're an illegal organization, answerable to no one, willing to do anything to conceal their existence or fulfill their agendas. Would you have trouble seeing the Mafia as morally bankrupt? S31, the 24th-century version, is more of a criminal cabal than a security agency.
And that's my point that if Daniels was in fact part of the 31st century version of Section 31, then it wouldn't be the same Section 31 as in the 24th century.
There is absolutely no basis for that hypothetical. It's like saying "If Robert Picard were in fact part of the 24th-century version of the French East India Company." It's a totally random suggestion.
By general public, I mean Bajorans (who did want them around) and Cardassians (who didn't). It's easy to forget Cardassian civilians were living on Bajor. So were they innocent victims of the Resistance? That particular episode left it open to interpretation.
I don't know what episode you're referring to, but either way, it's not a valid analogy, because the existence
of the Bajoran Resistance was not remotely secret. On the contrary, they asserted themselves quite publicly. Let's be clear: the issue on the table here is not about how long an organization
can endure; it's about how long a secret
can endure. What I'm saying is that the larger a secret is, the shorter its life expectancy as a secret. The more people that are involved, the more opportunities there are for the secret to be exposed. What's implausible, what's self-contradictory, is the premise that Section 31 could be a huge, powerful, pervasive organization for centuries yet still be unknown to the authorities and the public
. Either they're big or they're secret -- it's not plausible for them to be both.
Although admittedly such a radically decentralized conspiracy could "mutate" easily. The Triads founded to oppose one Chinese dynasty or another became organized crime networks, for instance. There may be descendants of Section 31, somewhere, with very different aims.
Indeed, I'd argue that the S31 of the 24th century must be a largely different organization from the one operating in the 22nd. As I've said, the earlier organization seemed much more benevolent. The modern S31 essentially is
an organized-crime network.
But the postulate on the table is that S31 could be largely exposed and dismantled, but it would be decentralized enough that a few isolated cells would survive. It seems those cells would have to be fairly small and not have much influence. Whatever they evolved into, it would probably be something relatively petty on the interstellar scale. And Section 31 as a secret power within the Federation government and military
would still have effectively ceased to exist, so what remained would no longer be relevant. (In the same way that there are still fringe groups within the American South that consider themselves loyal to the Confederacy, but that doesn't change the fact that the Confederate States of America no longer exists.)