The Overlord wrote:
Well Vulcans did come off as extremely unlikable in the first couple of seasons of Enterprise, they were "Flanderized" in that series to far more cold and unlikable in that series, that past series presented the Vulcans in a more postive light, so yeah in Enterprise the Vulcans were often extremely unlikable.
Heck Archer himself would often rant against the Vulcans and there were many episodes that wanted us to take his side against the Vulcans. So frankly Enterprise itself presented the Vulcans as unlikable.
The problem is, as the Star Trek series went, traits and ideas became warped and all consuming that they lost their original meaning. The Prime Directive started as a reasonable idea and then became inflexible dogma and the Vulcans went from logical and moral to cruel and callous. At first in Star Trek, there were episodes like "Patterns of Force" and "Who Watches the Watchers" that presented the PD in a positive light, but later there were only episodes that presented in a negative light, the positive ones were no where to be found.
Real ethics are always cold. I want people to have access to water, food and healthcare precisely because I am not compassionate and don't care about them.
If you frame the issue in warm, emotion-soaked words like compassion, cruelty, likability and so on you naturally arrive at the conclusion that the responsible folks are cruel, unlikable and not compassionate.
Just think about what would have happened if Vulcan had helped humankind in the late 21st century, then you might get it.
You claim that Archer and Phlox are wicked, evil psychopaths whereas all they do is follow future Federation rule number one. The Prime Directive is not about what you consider "positive" and "negative", it's not a feel good rule. Ethics never are about feeling good, they are about doing the right thing even when it is monstrous like killing a tyrant, taking someone's property or not assisting someone who asks for your help.
I don't find the way the Prime Directive was enforced in this particular case was particularly ethical. Heck the Prime Directive didn't even exist back then, so it didn't exist as a system of ethics that guided the Federation, Phlox and Archer were just making stuff up on the spot in this case.
I don't see any particular morality or logic in letting an entire race die, when you can save with extremely minimal effort. I think the positives far outweigh negatives, so even from a purely logical standpoint I don't think Phlox and Archer's actions hold water. The Prime Directive doesn't even exist, so what ethical system are they following? None, besides Phlox's arguments based on eugenics and pseudo science.
From a basic moral standpoint, helping people is almost always considered better then letting people die. As Edmund Burke said " All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." That's what Phlox and Archer did nothing, they allowed a disaster to occur that would kill millions in a slow and painful manner. I would say that is a greater evil then the mistreatment of Menk. The Valakans could have reformed in the near future and started to treat them as equals, but once the Valakans are dead, nothing can bring them back.