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Old August 14 2011, 03:33 AM   #96
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Location: Montgomery County, State of Maryland
Re: The Federation Must Die.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^If by consistency, I mean "lack of hypocrisy"--and I do--of course!

If you don't practice what you preach--it means that, subconciously (at the very least), you don't take what you preach seriously.
I dunno. I think there's room for saying that a given principle is true and should be held to 99% of the time, but that in rare circumstances the rule should be nullified, but in also acknowledging that that 1% of the time doesn't make ignoring it the other 99% of the time okay or make those who do ignore that rule whenever they feel like it more honest than those who acknowledge some caveats 1% of the time.

But this is such a broad topic that it's almost useless to speak of.

As for the rest of your refutation--I think the central element of our disagreement comes from this:

No, institutional practices create the foundations for cultural problems. And institutional practices tend to reflect preexisting cultural mindsets -- it becomes a vicious circle.
Our disagreement is where the circular path begins. You think the foundations--and therefore, the solutions--for cultural problems are found in the institutions--I think it is other way around. As you yourself admit, here: "Iinstitutional practices tend to reflect preexisting cultural mindsets."
Yes, but I also think that cultural mindsets are initially created by institutional practices.

The best example is racism. Racism within the English nation existed to an extent, but it wasn't the all-encompassing thing it became in the English colonies until the arrival of African slaves. Upon the institution of slavery being established in the English colonies in North America, the wealthy elites began deliberately inculcating the lower European classes in the colonies with a sense of contempt for, and superiority to, Africans. By creating animosity between the enslaved Africans and the lower-class English, the elite were able to divide them and prevent them from uniting to threaten the elites' power over colonial society.

That done, the system of racist thought and feelings they inculcated took on a life of its own -- to the point where racism has long outlasted slavery itself, and then to the point where that racism continues to influence official institutions, so that, say, today, we have a system where police are much more hostile towards, and the judicial system more likely to go harder on, African Americans than European Americans for the same crimes.

The institution creates the cultural mindset, which then influences the institution. The only way to break the cycle is to force institutions to change, so that they can then start to influence the culture again.

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.

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.

I think you're misunderstanding what I was saying. When I asserted that the institutions of the Federation fail to take a hard look at the problems of society--I am referring to its look at internal bigotry. After all--it failed to anticipate Cartwright's conspiracy to destroy the peace talks
But that conspiracy failed, and it failed because other Federation bigots -- Kirk, McCoy, and the Enterprise crew -- felt strongly enough about Federation values like equality that they were willing to engage in self-examination, and to therefore recognize that they had been wrong and that other bigots needed to be stopped.

Yes, the Federation government failed to foresee the development of a treasonous movement in its Starfleet. But the Federation cultural mindset of equality and self-examination was so thoroughly inculcated into most Federates that they were able to recognize where they had been wrong in their bigotries and to work to overcome that treasonous plot. If anything, Kirk and Co's behavior in ST6 proves my point -- that Federation culture displays a remarkable capacity for self-reflection and therefore adjustment.

--and it failed to anticipate the consequences of the treaties with the Cardassians.
By the same token, wouldn't the relative ease with which Starfleet accepted Voyager's Maquis crewmembers point to, again, the Federation being willing to engage in self-reflection and adjust itself when it realizes it's been wrong?

Hell, according to VOY's "Endgame," the Federation of the alternate future went from not recognizing that sentient holo-programs like the EMH were even a form of life to recognizing in them full equality and equal citizenship within just a few decades of the first sentient holo-program being created. That's huge. It took America four hundred years to go from the arrival of the first Africans to granting them full equality; the Federation made that same journey with sentient holo-programs in less than half a century. That indicates an amazing capacity for Federation social change, self-reflection, and adaptability.

But I'm curious: has the Federation admitted to being wrong on the Maquis issue--which had arisen due to, not Cardassian politics--but the Federation's own arrogantly innocent misconceptions?
1. The Maquis issue arose both because of Federation blindness towards the Federation colonists' attitudes and because of Cardassian politics. If the Cardassians hadn't begun arming their colonists covertly to let them attack Federation colonists in the DMZ, the Maquis would not have arisen.

2. It's hard to suss out the UFP government's attitude towards the Maquis post-Dominion War from the canon. We know that the Federation seems to have accepted Voyager's Maquis crewmembers as heroes alongside its Starfleet crew. We know that the Federation President who presided over the rise of the Maquis, Jaresh-Inyo, was out of office by the last year of the Dominion War. And we know that there were almost no Maquis left once the Cardassian Union was annexed by the Dominion, because Jem'Hadar forces hunted them down and slaughtered them.

If we broaden our horizons to include the novels, Voyager's Maquis crew members were given full pardons and allowed to join Starfleet if they wanted. And of course we know that President Min Zife replaced President Jaresh-Inyo, and that Zife was much more militant than Jaresh-Inyo. So while we never got a formal statement, the impression I got was very much that the Federation government has completely changed its position on the Maquis and regrets its actions under Jaresh-Inyo.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
^Again, I am separating Jessep's actions from the speech.
You can't separate his actions from his speech. They're irrevocably interwoven. The guy ordered an illegal assault upon one of his subordinates that led to his death, and then tried to cover it up, and then tried to claim that the fact that he happens to be an officer in the Armed Forces gives him the right to ignore both the law and morality. It's pure narcissism through and through.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
No, there isn't. Defending the country doesn't give you the right to break the law.
So if obeying the law result in the country ceasing to exist, that preferable to breaking the law?

You're kidding right?
There is no law that if obeyed would cause the country to cease to exist.

Well, maybe except that "the President can't tell the Treasury Department to borrow money without Congress's permission" thing.

But I digress. A soldier obeying the law will not cause the country to cease to exist, and claiming such is just absurd.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Arpy wrote: View Post
The public can't handle the truth? Nonsense. Enlighten them. ...The world's adjusted fine to democracy. I think that it'd adjust equally well to greater openness.
Indeed? Well, then, what's the point of clandestine operations in the first place, eh? We don't need secrecy at all--of course not!
I for one think that there are some circumstances under which we need clandestine operations, but I also think that governments are often far, far, far, far too quick to resort to them, and that they should not be a primary recourse. I also think that there's a huge difference between saying you have clandestine operations and saying that the government and/or military should be able to do whatever they want because they "defend" us.
Democratic socialism is the hope of human freedom.
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