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Old August 7 2011, 02:30 AM   #77
Sci
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Re: The Federation Must Die.

Part Two:


And for all that the Federation and its citizenry can sometimes be dismissive of or condescending to aspects of foreign cultures with which they disagree -- there's no evidence the Federation ever tried to coerce those cultures into changing. So far as I know, the Federation never issued a trade embargo against the Ferengi Alliance for its treatment of women, for instance.


Here's my problem: where do you cross the line from mere intolerance into bigotry? Somehow, I doubt the Federation has ever really bothered to try and answer that question.


Then I really don't know what Federation you've been watching. I've been watching a Federation that reached out the hand of friendship to its mortal enemies when they were in need; that was willing to admit that the foundation of its society, warp drive, was destroying space-time and to work to fix it; that has institutionally banned racism and discrimination, even when it would be easy to discriminate. The Federation looks to me like a much more self-reflective, self-correcting culture than any that exists today.


The Federation, like all societies, is very flawed. But the Federation is also very adaptable and self-reflective.


To that, Sci, I would point to your separation of institutional bigotry from individual bigotry. Namely--we see individuals engaging in self-reflection--showing the guts to admit when they're wrong. But I don't really see much evidence of the institutions themselves taking a hard look at the problems of the society.


Again, nonsense. If Federation institutions were that inflexible, the Khitomer Accords would never have happened; the Federation wouldn't have sent the Enterprise to try to negotiate lasting peace with the Romulans in NEM; Federation Admirals wouldn't have refused to drink to the deaths on Cardassia at the end of the Dominion War; the Federation Council wouldn't have been willing to admit Kirk's saving the Earth in ST4 as mitigating circumstances in his trial. The Federation is extremely flexible as an institution.


Indeed, Sisko himself discussed the willing blindless in "The Maquis, Part I". He notes to Kira that Starfleet Command in general, and Admiral Nechayev in particular, are so used to the idea of paradise, they possess a naive kind of "sainthood", assuming that all living in "paraside" are therefore saints. But as Sisko himself concludes...the only reason everyone looks like saints is that "It's easy to be a saint in paradise."


Actually, if anything, the Federation's willingness to hand over so many worlds to the Cardassians is stronger evidence of their lack of bigotry. The Federation Council was so eager to make peace with the Cardassians that they didn't pause and consider that people on the periphery of the Federation were much more likely to experience anti-Cardassian bigotry, and thus engage in anti-Cardassian violence, than the average Federate. That's stronger evidence that personal bigotry within the UFP is relatively rare.

And we should also bear in mind that the Federation displayed enormous flexibility in its willingness to recognize the civilian government of Cardassia once it overthrew the military dictatorship, and then in its willingness to recognize the threat Cardassia posed once the Dominion took over. They're hardly a government incapable of reacting to changing circumstances, or of recognizing when they've gotten something wrong.


And meanwhile -- whatever its flaws, the idea that they're so great that the Federation deserves to die is just absurd.
Again--I do not in any way endore that notion. I do think those flaws run deeper than most would care to admit--but such flaws warrant reform, not destruction.


Agreed on this. But I also don't think its flaws run so deep as you seem to think.


Gary7 wrote: View Post
Captain Benjamin Sisko: 
"We live in a galaxy that has borders, and those borders have to be guarded by space stations and ships with weapons. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Bajorans and you curse the Federation. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that the occasional death of the innocent, while tragic, probably saves lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that border, you need me on that border. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to someone who rises and sleeps under the Federation blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand on guard. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."


I know that Jack Nicholson is very charismatic, but I do wish that people would remember that the entire point of A Few Good Men is that Nicholson's character is a pathological narcissist who thinks that his position in the United States Marine Corps gives him carte blanche to break the law whenever he wants. He's a character who thinks he's above the law and above morality, not a character to be admired.


Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
And that right there is a very disturbing thing: that the Federation counts conquerors like the Klingons as its allies. That to me proves that the Federation, for all its ideals, is almost as pragmatic in practice as the Cardassian Union.


In the novel A Time for War, A Time for Peace by Keith R.A. DeCandido, that contradiction between Federation ideals and Klingon imperialism becomes the deciding issue in the 2379 Federation Presidential Election. Federation Special Emissary Arafel Pagro of Ktar advocates sundering the Khitomer Accords and breaking the alliance, in response to Klingon imperialism.

Cestus III Governor Nanietta Bacco, on the other hand, advocates continuing the alliance -- pointing out that since allying with the Federation, Klingon expansionism has decreased, and conditions for the conquered peoples of the Empire have improved. She argues that the alliance helps maintain Federation security, and that the Federation has successfully been able to influence the Klingons into gradually abandoning their imperial designs on the galaxy.

Within two years of Bacco winning the election, in that novel's sequel, Articles of the Federation, she is eventually able to talk Chancellor Martok into abandoning any plans he might have for continuing to expand the Empire by conquering new worlds, in response to economic incentives.

The idea being: It's a slow process, but the Federation is gradually introducing egalitarian, democratic ideas into the Empire, and Klingons are gradually choosing to adopt them.


sonak wrote: View Post
Anwar wrote: View Post
No, I'm saying that the Cardassians probably forced whoever the Bajoran Government was at the time into formalizing the annexation (disruptor to the head negotiation) so it would all be legal under whatever standard Galactic Law is in those circumstances to prevent outsiders from intervening.

And there would be no proof that it was under duress except from those whom would be written off as terrorists, knowing how the Cardassians are with puppet governing.

So the Feds couldn't just go in and say they conquered them without violating Galactic law, since Bajor was legally signed over to Cardassia.

There's some other realpolitik at hand here too, since the Romulans and Klingons also have enslaved worlds in less legally binding manners and the liberation of Bajor would make them nervous about the Feds future intentions towards THEIR conquests which had less legitimacy.


Again, no Galactic Law worth anything would allow annexation by force just because there's a treaty.


Well, the thing to remember is that if we're talking about "galactic law," we're essentially talking about the equivalent of "international law." And the thing about international law is that it takes place within a framework of anarchy -- there is no higher authority to lend legitimacy to a given treaty. There is only what the traffic can bear.

Which means that even if the Federation doesn't view a Cardassian-Bajoran Treaty allowing Cardassian forces to occupy Bajor, the Federation doesn't get to dictate what is or is not legal for the Cardassian Union and the Republic of Bajor. They're foreign states, and the UFP doesn't get to tell them what kind of relationship they should have, or that their treaties are invalid, or that the Bajoran government is illegitimate.

For the record, the novel Terok Nor: Day of the Vipers depicts the Cardassian Occupation happening on Bajor as a result of the subversion of Bajor's government. Cardassian civilians, including a persecuted Cardassian religious minority, are allowed onto Bajor, and then the Cardassians offer their military to be station in Bajor as "protection" from attacks from the Tzenkethi, while the Cardassians begin gradually bribing or blackmailing members of the Bajoran government to support them. Eventually, the Cardassians fake a Tzenkethi assassination of the First Minister, and the new First Minister is firmly in the Cardassians' pocket when he allows the Occupation to begin.

In other words, the Federation is rendered legally unable to help -- because the Government of Bajor, the same legal entity that existed before Bajoran contact with the Cardassians and had governed Bajor for centuries, wanted the Cardassians there. It was the equivalent of the Vichy Regime: Universally recognized at the time as the legitimate government of France, and only later seen as traitorous once there had been a coup d'etat against it.


Nerroth wrote: View Post
I think part of the issue is how relatively rarely we are shown other star-faring democratic societies in the Franchise in general, or ones comprised of several species in particular.


This is probably a function of the fact that most of the liberal democracies in known space eventually decide that they want to join the Federation.


Sisko4Life wrote: View Post

If it is between morality and survival, Survival will and should always win.


Oh? Is that so?

(Also: Who determines when it's about survival? What does "survival" mean?)


Yes, Dr., because if we clung to the rules of war and morality there would BE no Federation.


Is that so?


Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Indeed. Say what you will about the "black hats"--but at least they're consistent.

Or at least...more consistent than the UFP.




I am reminded of a quote from comedian Stephen Colbert, speaking at the White House Press Correspondents Association's annual dinner on then-U.S. President George W. Bush:

"Say what you will about this man, but he's consistent. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday -- no matter what happened on Tuesday!"

Is consistency always a virtue?
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