I'm going to be upfront about this.... I hate this episode.
The only good things are Brooks' performance and the simple fact that we're actually focusing on Sisko at long last. But that alone is just not enough to save this turd for me.
First off, if this was going to be an effective story of two competing philosophies, which is what I think the writers were going for, than Alixus really needed to presented much more sympathetically. As TheGodBen
said, as it stands, she's a fucking loon and it really shows. We're left with no philosophical, moral or simple common-sense choice but to side with Sisko. Now, I would have sided with him anyway because I've never understood the anti-technology/automation argument that it "takes away from a person's true potential." Like was said, technology is the way in which we make our lives better and more efficient so we can have time to indulge in self-improvement instead of being required to perform back-breaking, grueling labor.
Apparently, Alixus is of the the opinion that such back-breaking work is somehow conducive to the human spirit. "Break out the shovels men! Digging into that cow shit is going to make you a better human being!"
Second, something that goes along with my first point, is that Alixus is, essentially, a dictator/tyrant. She has literally kidnapped these people, systematically brainwashed them over the course of years, essentially imprisoned them and tortured them with her brutal discipline methods all in order to satisfy her own desires and philosophy. In addition to that, she forces them to do the hard work of society, while she enjoys a life of comfort with her philosophy and writings (Animal Farm
anybody?!) If that's not the definition of a tyrant, I don't know what is. And yet, all the colonists simply accept her commanded way of life seemingly without question (even to the absurd length of refusing to leave when they have the chance, which TheGodBen
covered). If someone tried to impose that life on me, I wouldn't be saying "Oh yes, please put me in the sweat-box!" I'd instead be reaching for my gun.
I said more on Paradise
's review thread, so I'll leave it with this, for now.