As I see it, the notion of the Prime Directive boils down to a question of commitment. Either you're going to interfere in a given planet's local affairs, or you're going to avoid doing so. There may be a grey area in-between, but I suspect that STAR TREK's makers (manifest in the actions of the characters) makes one thing clear: grey areas are sticky, and it eventually comes down to that question of commitment... "in for a penny, in for a pound".
I don't see Captain Kirk as an outlaw. The difference between Kirk and Tracey is that while both routinely "play God", Tracey stopped using command judgement and started resorting to his own personal agenda.
Maybe that's what the Prime Directive is about
: keeping starship personnel from playing God.