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Old March 16 2011, 11:38 PM   #436
Rush Limborg
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Which is fine, but there comes a point where you're asking so many questions about the book that you really ought to just read it first.

Picard did not report the existence of Section 31, nor the story of Corwin being hoodwinked. He was going to, but he was persuaded not to. If you want to know why, you'll need to read the book.
The problem, though, is that such facts are frankly important to this argument.
Then follow the old maxim: It is better not to speak of things you do not understand.
Tell that to all the great reporters and scientists of the world.

If I don't currently have access to a work...a legitimate alternative would be to ask questions of it.

If you don't know what happened in the book, read it before you start drawing upon it to make your arguments.
Which is precisely why I ask questions of it.

Yes, and now we're going in circles. That was my point. You asked what the Federation could do to stop the Typhon Pact powers from resenting it, and I said that the problem is unsolvable. All the Federation can do is manage it, is mitigate the possibility of hostility by trying not to be assholes.

In other words, there are no guarantees. All you can do is do your best. That's been my point this entire time, before you diverged from the point with a useless digression into the question of whether or not the Federation is susceptible to the sort of political corruption that can increase hostility from foreign states (which it can be) by arguing about the use of the word "try."
"Useless digressions" seem to be the whole of this thread now, Sci. Side discussions are hardly "useless"--as you know.

As to your other point--first, the fact that the opinions of foreign powers are so conflicting and self-contradictory should strongly indicate that you can't seek to "balance out" all those competing desires.

You say, "All you can do is do your best." I agree on that. What I disagree on is...what one's "best" is.

Second, your going back to your previous point actually proves my own point in invoking it. (Phew--I think we are arguing in circles....) Namely, it's not as..."simple" thinking, "what actions will make me not look like an a--hole?"

The problem with that logic is that there are no guarantees. You're always taking chances, no matter what choices you make. The relevant issue is not "certainty," the relevant issue is which policy choice is least likely to cause a war.
Unless, of course, as Sisko said, a war is one's best chance for survival.

The real world often has neither easy nor simple answers.
"Simple" and "Easy" are not the same thing. By that, I mean that many times, an action may be seen as "wrong", with fears arising that it would lead to war. However, it would indeed do what had to be done.

And you're wrong to doubt it. Murdering someone for corruption is just as corrupt as whatever the crime you're murdering for was.
Is it? Consider:

Which is an entirely different issue, because that relates to the conduct of foreign relations, not an assassination of your own president.
Was Bartlett not dealing with corruption, in a senst?

I'm sorry, but that's an absurd comparison, because the government of the Third Reich had no democratic legitimacy. Such an assassination would have been an act of revolution, not an act of treason or insurrection.

Hitler was elected Imperial Chancellor, yes -- but when the Imperial President died, he illegally and unconstitutionally assumed the position of head of state (declaring himself "Fuhrer and Reichschancellor"). To say nothing of the Enabling Act and the Reichstag Fire Act, which were patently violations of the Weimar Republic's Constitution.

He used the power of the chancellorship to then seize further power by force.
Was the Valkerie conspiracy not an attempt to murder someone for corruption?

You're assuming that a person's psyche is logically consistent and rational. It's not. Everybody has motivations that are logically in conflict with one-another and are mutually exclusive, and anyone who tells you they don't is either lying to you or lying to himself.

There's no need to invoke schizophrenia when basic humanity will suffice for an explanation. Darkness and light both dwell within our hearts, and neither one destroys the other.
Not when two characteristics are so blatant in their contradictions.

What of it?

That's a bit like saying that confessing your crimes is not morally more advanced than keeping your crimes a secret because it might lead to you being convicted of violating the law.
Convicted--and "punished" by a war?

When agents of the state commit crimes, other agents of the state have a moral and legal obligation to expose their crimes and to impose due process of the law upon the criminal agents, in order to preserve basic morality and the rule of law and in order to help try to prevent future crimes from being committed.

Exposing the abuses of Abu Graib or Guantanemo was not what damaged relations with the Muslim world or encouraged terrorism. The abuses themselves were what damaged relations and encouraged terrorism, and the only way to stop and prevent such abuses is to expose them.
As opposed to severe and intense punishment of the abusers in question, in and of themselves--and to then engage in reforms without publicizing the events in question?

By their not being formally organized, obviously. They have a hierarchy where they'll take orders, but there's no evidence they have a process by which they apprehend their members and try them for crimes. The Mafia has a hierarchy, but that doesn't mean it has a real system for internal accountability (beyond "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you rat us out," anyway).
More along the lines of "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you bring damage to our orginization".

In this case, Cortin's actions--and attempt to cover it up--would probably be considered as damaging.

For purposes of efficiency in its carrying out its bidding, it would only make sense that the Mafia--and 31--have mechanisms for discouraging things like that.

Prisons are there to combat and compensate for corruption in society.
Which is besides the point. Kindly stop trying to create irrelevant tangents.
I was pointing out that it was the bringing up of prisons which was an "irrelevent tangent".

The point is that the existence of a prison, like the existence of a society's dark side, is a consequence of the fact that human beings are morally flawed creatures who lust for power, and that some put that lust for power above decency.
Again, it is apples and oranges, because prisions are meant to combat a "dark side".

There is also his advice for rulers to not infringe upon their subjects' right to keep and bear arms, to not confiscate their property, etc. In short, to let them keep their freedom, and to concentrate on the actual duties of government.
No, his point there is to give them just enough freedom that they won't rebel, not to give them real freedom. It's the equivalent of advising someone to give a prisoner just enough food that he won't starve, not of giving someone enough food that they're healthy.
There is a difference, Sci, between giving "freedom", and not taking it away. As Locke would tell you, you can't "give" real freedom. It's a part of mankind's nature--natural rights, if you will. A government could infringe upon freedom, or reverse said infringement, but it can't "give" freedom, because freedom is not the government's to give.

Furthermore, the Founding Fathers of the US constantly emphasized the importance of allowing a populace to be armed--in fact, I believe it was Jefferson who said that an armed populace is perhaps the greatest preventor of tyranny.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

The point is that the sort of willing brinksmanship that Kirk engaged in, however it may have ended well in the short term, ran longer-term risks of precipitating disaster thanks to his particular lack of care and scruples. How much more so Section 31, especially when acting beyond Federation borders against the interests of less scrupulous powers?
I see. On that same note, Peter David's short story in the "Dominion War" anthology establishes that Sisko's actions in "In The Pale Moonlight" eventually led to another war with the Federation.

Yes, there are consequences to actions--many of them immense. That does not mean that those actions were not the best ones to engage in at the time.
But that isn't an argument in defense of Section 31's chosen methods, and not only because Sisko's initiative took place outside of Section 31. It's arguably a point in my favour: policies undertaken by individuals and bureaucracies firmly under central control and supervision are more legitimate, and arguably less likely to go haywire, than policies enacted by people who exist outside of any control.
Perhaps. However, on the other hand: as Dirty Harry, and Batman--and James T. Kirk--would tell you, sometimes bureaucracies and regulations tie a person's hands, and result in people getting killed.

Her thinking processes as described in Rough Beasts of Empire seem sufficiently complete as to need no other explanation, but, hmm. What do you suggest?
I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps she's serving as a martyr while allowing her followers to regroup, or something. Basically, I'm allowing for the possibility that she wanted to be captured.

It's also possible that she had had something planned involving her being in prison, and then someone helping her escape and then, say, assasinate Tal'Aura--but her death (instigated by the Tzenkethi) prevented that.

I don't know. I'm just theorizing....

A sanction that Federation citizens knew about?
I'd say so.

One key thing in this discussion is that Starfleet, Leyton's abortive conspiracy aside, is an agency branch of the Federation government subordinate to the civilian branch, i.e. the democratic institutions under the control of the Federation citizenry. The willingness of some people in Starfleet--only some people, note--to let Section 31 do its business exists in the context of the Federation citizenry's ignorance of Section 31's existence and its activities. What happens when Federation citizens do learn of this?
Assuming they do--it would damage 31 severely, as unlike the Shiar and the Order, a great part of their strength lies in their secrecy.

Apparently, that's what Milke and Andy were getting at in The Good That Men Do.

However, again, if the remnents of 31 play their cards right, and return underground, making sure that no one gains knowledge of their continued existence...public fervor will wane, and the cycle starts over again.

It does: Once its existence is revealed to the general population of the Federation, as we know happens, Section 31's future chances for survival depend on popular attitudes, on the willingness of Federation citizens to let it grow back.

Will Section 31 find "ways" to deal with all the people--journalists, Federation councillors, photobloggers who find remarkable things, ordinary concerned people, et cetera--who will not be at all happy with the revival of the agency they despised for its violations of basic Federation principles and see as a real threat to their freedoms and their good name?
That assumes they'll find out about the revival. I doubt the newly reconstructed 31 would be so quick to repeat the mistakes which had led to its original "dismantling"--namely, underestimating those who desired to do so.

Earlier in this thread, you suggested that the prominence of ex-KGB people in 2011 era Russia constituted a data point in favour of your thesis of the likelihood of Section 31's revival to its former point. It doesn't: 2011 Russia is so different from 1981's RSFSR that the difference is funny. The position that the post-KGB agency does have, however, depends entirely on the willingness of many Russians--and the implicit consent of most--to accept that the former Soviet police-state bureaucracy wasn't irredeemable, and that its alumni shouldn't be hindered in their careers.

Is the Federation's citizenry so little attached to democratic values?
My point was simply this: considering the prominence of Putin and others, the possibility exists that they would desire to restore Russia to its "glory days". Putin's diplomatic positioning should be viewed as suspicious, in that context.

In the same way, underground plans of restoration are not to be dismissed.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

I don't understand....
Of how it's the same, sorry.
Oh, okay. Remember, Sloan pointed out that Bashir had 1), covered up that he was an Augment; 2), lied, and therefore betrayed what Picard deemed "The First Duty" of a Starfleet Officer; and 3), quite probably would not have confessed to his actions had they not been exposed anyway.

Sloan's point was that Bashir was right to have done so, because of all the lives he had saved with his enhanced genius--lives which would not had been saved had he followed Values and Principles, and stayed out of Starfleet.

As the conversation goes:

SLOAN: How many live do you suppose you've saved in your medical career?

BASHIR: What has that got to do with anything?

SLOAN: Hundred--thousands? ...Do you suppose those people gave a dang about the fact that you lied in order to get into Starfleet Medical?

(Bashir says nothing)

SLOAN: I doubt it. We deal with threats to the Federation that jeopardize its very survival. If you knew how many lives we've saved...I think you'd agree that the ends do justify the means. I'm not afraid of bending the rules every once in a while if the situation warrants it...and I don't think you are either.
"The saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia.... 'Needs and abilities' are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to 'the State shall take, the State shall give'."
--David Mamet
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