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Old March 19 2011, 12:21 AM   #441
Rush Limborg
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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....
Donatra's death seems to have had nothing to do with the Tzenkethi: Alizome reported as much to the Autarch, saying that as they expected Donatra met her end without any need for Tzenkethi involvement.
As I said...it was just a theory I was throwing out.

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.
How?
Time breeds indifference, dulling of passions, and so on.

Why would they do that? Seriously. Do you have any evidence suggesting that there's going to be a restoration of the Soviet Union? This is approaching the territory of the Free Republic conspiracists who told a friend of mine that the collapse of the Soviet Union was just a fake, that the Cold War was still to be won (or lost).
Oh, I'm not that nuts. I'm just saying Putin misses the days when Russia was a force to be reckoned with--that he wishes to make The Motherland "glorious" again, a major power once again.

... in Russia? Or of Section 31?
Both.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post

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.
"Values and Principles"? Why the capitalization?
Basically, I'm satirizing the mantras invoked when such questions are brought up.

The obvious distinction is that while it's far from obvious that discriminating against the genetically engineered--particularly against people who were genetically engineered by their parents, without their consent or contorl--is just, laws against murder remain just.
Actions are not considered just or unjust intrinically, so much as it is a matter of considering the scenario concerned. Killing in self-defense is not murder. Killing the last of a race (a la "The Man Trap") to protect lives is not genocide.

And is Sloan really an objective speaker?
Yes and no. Sloan notes that the actions he and 31 conducted were responsable for saving countless lives--numbers which, as far as he was concerned, did "justify the means".
Granted, he did have a vested interest in making that claim, but he was also very confident that in time, Bashir would come to agree with him.

Apparently, if "Zero Sum Game" is any indication, that could well happen sooner than we think....

Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
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.
Yeah, but the way you talk, it comes across like you perceive every damn thing as an existential threat and the "last resort" as being, at best, a third or fourth resort.
Well I can assure you, Sci, that is not my intent.

Murdering someone for corruption is just as corrupt as whatever the crime you're murdering for was.
Is it?
Yes.
Well, let's see. On Bartlett--

No, he was engaging in national self-defense.
By murdering to remove corruption from world affairs.

On the Vakerie conspiracy--

No, they were attempting to engage in an act of revolution in order to, again, engage in national self-defense.
By murdering, to remove the immense corruption Hitler instigated through the securing of his own power.

The key difference, of course, being that in Nazi Germany, there was no functioning court system, no real justice system; there was only the will of the Führer. The Federation, by contrast, had a functioning justice system. Even if one accepts the idea that Zife could not be openly tried for his crimes, the fact remains that the Federation system is built on the idea that if you can't convict someone, you let them go, and that Zife did not pose a threat to the Federation upon his resignation. Hitler's rule, by contrast, was tyrannical and posed an existential threat to Germany, both in terms of state violence against its citizenry and in terms of the war being waged against Germany as a result of Hitler's provocations.

You can't compare a state where there is no social contract to one where there is. You simply can't compare the two situations.
By that argument, Sci, neither can you compare the existence of prisions to the existence of the Mafia or Section 31. And yet you yourself claimed that all of those were equally accaptable as examples involving a society's dark side.

In a simmilar manner, Hitler and Zife are both examples of corruption. One is simply a more "extreme" example than another.

Again, you are clinging to the illusion of internal consistency within a person's character. That illusion is false. People are blatantly contradictory; that's just a fact of life. People's motivations are not consistent.
Well, I suppose it depends on the motivations, doesn't it?

In this case, I will remain cynical in regards to Madoff's motives until proven wrong.

No wars commenced as a result of the Church Committee Reports. No wars commenced as a result of the exposures of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay.
Of course not. The War was already going on.

And if anything, if the abuses had been ended and the perpetrators and enablers and others allegedly responsible for the abuses in those cases -- which, mind you, included John Yoo, David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. President George W. Bush -- had been impeached, removed from office, indicted for their crimes, given a fair trial, found guilty, and sentenced to terms in federal prison, we would probably have seen a significant reduction in recruiting by al Qaeda, since it would have taken away from them one of their key pieces of propaganda to recruit people.
As I recall, one of their major pieces of propoganda was a blatantly false story involving the "flushing" of Qu'rans down toilets in Guantanamo.

If the other side doesn't have anything, it can just take false information and play it up, or otherwise just make something up.

The former didn't happen -- the low-level abusers were punished, the mid-level abusers got slaps on the wrist, and the high-level abusers got away scott-free.

Of course you shouldn't do the latter. If you don't publicize both the events and your reforms, then people will think, "Abuses happened and they're covering it up." You need openness and transparency, both to prove that things have changed and to send a message to other would-be abusers that they would be in danger if they acted up. It's the same reason you walk the perp in front of the press on the way to the trial: It scares potential criminals.
Except the "high-level abusers got away scott-free" despite the exposure of the incidents.

You and I are operating on different definitions of "a system of internal accountability." I don't consider an uncodified system without a regulated form of adversarial argumentation before a neutral arbiter and key protections for the rights of the accused to be a system of internal accountability. If your "system of internal accountability" amounts to, "We'll kill you if you piss us off," that's not a system, that's just more criminal thuggery.
It's not a matter of killing or not killing. There would clearly be more efficient penalties than simply, "kill, kill, kill" for insubordination.

The system may be uncodified (but frankly, I'd wager 31 has its own code, just not one "revealed" to non-members), but as far as I am concerned, an uncodified system of internal accountability is a system of internal accountability nonetheless.

That is irrelevant, because the point is that both are consequences of the morally flawed state of human beings.
Except prisons are not examples of the "dark side". They are examples of the "light side" combating the "dark side".

And a dictator -- Machiavelli's Prince -- has inherently taken all freedom away. Machiavelli just advises him to give some of it back for a bit, conditional upon obedience to the Prince.

In the same way, a particularly sadistic man might totally block a victim's airway at first, but then ease his grasp just enough that the victim can gain a little bit of air if the victim agrees to do what the sadist tells him. Yet the sadist's hands still remain around the victim's neck, and we should not think the sadist therefore a generous man for not completely choking his victim, nor imagine he is acting out of respect for the victim's right to breathe.
Again, Rousseau would disagree with you. Machiavelli's other great work, The Discourses, shows a great love of freedom. He proposes a checks-and-balances system to preserve freedom.

The Price, at first glance, APPEARS to be simply advice for rulers on how to retain power. But as Rousseau pointed out, a careful reading strongly implies that Machiavelli's two works are not as conflicted as would meet the eye.

Again--the American Founders held that the right to one's own private property, and the right to keep and bear arms, are central to liberty. Again, they held that an armed populace is the great detriment to tyranny.

Therefore, if Machiavelli demands an armed populace--who are free to own private property as they see fit--that hardly sounds like advice allowing for a tyrant, let alone a sadistic one.

And yet all three actually subordinate themselves to the state in some manner: "Dirty" Harry by virtue of his status as a police officer; Batman by virtue of his alliance with Commissioner Gordon; and James T. Kirk by virtue of his status as a Starfleet officer. None of them truly place themselves above the law the way Section 31 does. And Batman, in particular, subordinates himself to an absolute moral standard that Section 31 disregards -- he never, ever kills anyone, for any reason whatsoever, and will always rescue someone in danger of death, even if they are murderers themselves.
Batman finds an interesting loophole, though. As he said to Ras-al-Ghul in the final battle of Batman Begins, "I'm not going to kill you...but I don't have to save you."

Furthermore, at the end of The Dark Knight, he tells Gordon that he has to go futher underground, and that Gordon has to chase him as a criminal, because the things Batman will have to do for a time can not be connected to Gordon.

(Batman, in particular, it might be noted, only works as an extralegal vigilante because systemic corruption in the City of Gotham is so pervasive on every level that the social contract in Gotham City simply does not work, and thus the government has no democratic legitimacy. He is, in other words, a citizen exercising his inherent right to protect the rights of himself and of others, which under normal circumstances is delegated to the democratically-elected government.

Were Bruce Wayne born and raised in Metropolis, he would almost certainly have responded to the murder of his parents by becoming a police officer rather than a vigilante.)
Of course. However, going to Dirty Harry for a moment, his beef isn't so much with corruption of the police as it is with their hands being tied by bureaucratic red tape and rules-and-regulations.

Asking why Donatra went to Romulus is a bit like asking why a chess player who know he might escape a checkmate if he makes one particular move and the other player makes a mistake, but that if he does not make that move, he will be checkmated in five turns. The player continues to play because there is no other choice; you either attempt, against the odds, to survive now, or you guarantee your loss later.
Using that analogy, Donatra's actions seem more like moving your king right into you're opponent's territory--surrounded by rooks, bishops, and queens--and expecting said opponent not to notice. I wonder how on earth she felt she had any chance.

... did you even read the damn novel? Donatra's reasons for going to Romulus were explained, in detail. It had nothing to do with any daring plan to escape prison.
Consult my previous answer to that question.

I agree that Putin's goal is to re-assert Russia's status as a major world power on the national stage, and to re-assert Russian control of the territories that both the Tzarist and Soviet regimes regarded as their "sphere of influence," and I agree that Russian diplomacy should be viewed through that lens.

But Putin is nothing if not a Russian nationalist. He was attached to the Soviet Union because it was a tool of Russian domination of the other Soviet republics, not because he had any real ideological attachment to Communism or to the idea of Russian equality with other Soviet nationalities. He's perfectly content to be the new Tzar of Russia (whether he calls himself "President" or "Prime Minister" at any given moment) under a Capitalist rather than Communist system.
Agreed. As you say--

Putin's goal is to unofficially restore the Russian Empire. That's why the Kremlin now appoints mayors and regional governors. That's why Moscow has created a new position to control the Caucasus-region territories of the Russian Federation -- essentially re-creating the old viceroy position the Tzars had. Putin's goal is Russian imperium.
Again, I actually see forthcoming a real-life kind of "Typhon Pact", among Russia, the other Former-Sovet-Union countries, and Iran, among other possible powers. This should prove especially interesting if Iran fixes up its nuclear program...and then tries to make good on its threat to wipe Israel off the map....
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