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Old August 1 2012, 12:16 AM   #40
Sci
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Captain Shatner wrote: View Post
We know, at any rate, that Soviet Russia must have survived into Kirk's day, even as a sub-state of the Federation. Chekov refers to Leningrad (modern-day St. Petersburg),
No doubt referring the the Leningard Oblast (province) that encompasses St. Petersburg!

which would indicate the the Soviet Regime had at least a nominal voice in the Russian government.
This makes no sense. When the Soviet Union still existed, Russia was part of the USSR. The Soviet Union was not part of Russia. Certainly, Russia dominated the Soviet Union -- in the same way that Serbia dominated the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, for instance, or similar to (though much more extreme and oppressive than) how England dominates the United Kingdom -- but the Soviet Union was never a division of Russia.

Obviously, the Federation as a whole is a democracy founded on American ideals,
Well, that depends on what you mean by "American" ideals. Certainly the Federation seems to be based on the values of the Enlightenment and classical liberalism -- freedom, self-determination, etc. The Federation probably believes in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. And we know that the Seventh Guarantee of the Federation Constitution protects individuals from self-incrimination, a la the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment.

On the other hand, the Federation Constitution probably also encompasses other rights besides those generally enumerated and agreed-upon by Americans. Universal healthcare and a guaranteed quality of life come to mind as probable rights in a post-scarcity economy. And I cannot believe that a Federation that encompasses interspecies marriages like Sarek's and Amanda's wouldn't protect something as mundane as same-sex marriage.

So I'd imagine the Federation system is also influenced by non-American traditions -- the economic rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for instance. And probably by Vulcan, Andorian, and Tellarite values, too. Between the ushaan and the kal-if-fee, I imagine the Federation Constitution protects the right to consensual homicide, for instance.

Obviously, Khan came out of the "Genetic Wars" placed sometime in the 1990s.
Eugenics Wars, not Genetic Wars.

Science seems to advanced hugely in some areas (interstellar travel!) and yet remained oddly primitive in others (tape-based computers?)
No doubt they're using the same name to describe their highly-advanced computer systems that was once used to describe early 20th century systems. Sheer coincidence. Or maybe it's sort of like how we call it "dialing" a telephone and say a telephone "rings," even though we're actually pressing buttons (no actual dial to be seen) and listening to pre-recorded music samples.

Also, the Federation, for all its talk of equal rights of races, seems oddly dominated by humans. Consider the fact that Spock is the only non-Terran serving on the Enterprise!
That only tells us that 23rd Century Starfleet practiced species segregation (perhaps as a concession to difficulties alien worlds had in integrating as single crews in an era when those worlds were still in the process of integrating themselves culturally even after uniting under a single federal government).

And we have no idea what other Starfleet crews are like, since we only ever got a good look at a few 23rd century crews.

Given the evidence, in comparison with later series, I would say the Terran Federation
The Terran Federation is from Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Star Trek's crews are citizens of the United Federation of Planets.

is not quite the ultra-pure democracy it is made out to be! Not only do Terrans dominate the corridors of the Enterprise, but every other ship that is seen in TOS has, (at the very least) a human captain.
A fairly meaningless statement, given how vast Starfleet must be and how few crews we encountered.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Given that Earth itself appears to have a Parlimentary based Government (i.e. Westminster).
Well, it's probably more a parliamentary republic than a straight-up Westminster system. Think less Britain, Canada, or Denmark and more Ireland, Germany, or Israel.

It could be argued that is the philosphy Earth would persue for the UFP council. With a simple one member one vote system.
But who's to say Earth would get to dictate how the Federation Council would work? Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar are a lot older space powers than Earth.

As for the Federation President themself, there is no indication that they have any special powers not afforded to a Parlimentary style leader.
Then why is he called "President of the United Federation of Planets" rather than "Prime Minister?"

Declaring martial law.
I'm fairly certain that PMs can't directly declare martial law themselves, but must instead advise the head of state (be it a monarch or president) to do so. We distinctly saw Federation President Jaresh-Inyo sign a declaration of a state of emergency on Earth himself, straight up, with no one else's approval.

When we did see it, he might still have needed final council approval or approval from the UE Government.
There is no evidence whatsoever that he needed anyone else's approval. Indeed, if he did, then Leyton would have had to appeal to THEM instead of Jaresh-Inyo. But that's not what happened -- we saw Jaresh-Inyo sign the declaration, and then we saw Starfleet troops beaming into the streets immediately thereafter.

Earth it's self might have a President as a head of state, whilst the real power lies in the Prime Minister (Head of Government)
This is how the novels have gone with it -- there's a United Earth Prime Minister and a United Earth President, and they continue to function within the Federation much as German länder still retain their own ministerpräsidents or to how Canadian provinces retain their own Lieutenant-Governors and Premier.

* * *

For whatever it's worth, the novels have established that Federation Members each get to chose their own Federation Councillor by whatever mechanism they want; the Federation Councillor from Betazed is popularly elected, for instance, while the Federation Councillor from Bajor is appointed by the First Minister with the approval of the Chamber of Ministers, and the Federation Councillor from Andor is appointed by the party that wins a majority of seats in the Parliament Andoria as part of the Andorian Cabinet.

The Federation Council is comprised of one Federation Councillor from each Federation Member, and meets on the first floor of the Palais de la Concorde in Paris (the Federation capitol), with floors three through eleven devoted to their office space. The Federation Council must approve anonymous petition for presidential candidacy based upon whether or not the potential candidates meet the legal requirements for the Federation Presidency.

The Federation President is popularly elected, with every single Federation citizen entitled to a vote; counting the votes often takes up to two weeks. The President serves a four-standard-year term, and is not term limited, but no Federation President has served more than three terms. There is no Federation Vice President, and in the event of a vacancy from office, the Federation Council appoints one of their own as President Pro Tempore; the President Pro Tempore serves for one standard month while a special election is called. The President appoints a Cabinet and appoints Federation ambassadors. Floors 13 through 15 of the Palais are devoted to the President and Cabinet officers' offices, with most of Fifteen taken up by the Presidential Office.

The relationship between the President and the Council is a sort of hybrid of the presidential and parliamentary systems. The President is legally required to preside over sessions of the full Federation Council except in extraordinary circumstances (usually interpreted to refer to the President being off-planet). The Council is organized into sub-councils, which are the equivalent of Congressional or Parliamentary committees; bills must pass through the relevant sub-council to be voted upon by the full Council. The President must appoint all members of a sub-council, with the approval of the full Council. (The only exception to this is the Federation Security Council, the legislative committee charged with national security, to which the Federation Councillors from Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri are automatically appointed as the founding Members; this is an anachronism that is controversial.)

The President has the option of presiding over sub-council sessions, but usually leaves that to the sub-council's chair. The exception is the Federation Security Council, sessions of which the President typically presides over. The President is expected to work closely and actively seek the advice of the relevant sub-councils and of relevant Federation Councillors, leading to a much closer relationship than exists in the U.S. system. There is no Federation Prime Minister. The Federation Security Council shares the right to issue binding orders to Starfleet Command with the President.

The President retains access to a dedicated civilian transport called Paris One, though he or she sometimes uses Starfleet vessels such as the U.S.S. Venture. (In at least one alternate timeline that diverged from the Prime Timeline when Spock was killed as a child, Starfleet vessels of any size carrying the President assumed the call sign "Starfleet One" in the 2280s.) The President also has access to three dedicated Palais-based shuttlecraft for intra-system travel, named after early UFP Presidents: the al-Rashid, the T'Maran, and the sh'Rothress. The Palais itself was in place by the mid-to-late 22nd Century.

And, of course, the DSN episode "Dr. Bashir, I Presume?" established the existence of a Federation Supreme Court with the right of judicial review; that same season, the episode "The Ascent" also established the existence of a system of civilian Federation courts and of a Federation Grand Jury system.
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