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Old October 23 2012, 11:52 PM   #60
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Re: Did we ever see anyone vote in the Federation?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Sci wrote:

And it would be morally disgusting if it did not protect the inalienable right of all of its people to participate in the democratic process and to be equal citizens before the law.
Not so much.

Federation law would dictate how it's members interact with each other. Not the rights of citizens on individual member worlds.
Except that: TNG's "The Drumhead" establishes that the Federation Constitution guarantees certain rights for all Federation citizens throughout the UFP (with the Seventh Guarantee established as the right to refrain from self-incrimination); DSN's "Accession" establishes that the Federation Charter bans caste-based discrimination on UFP Members; and VOY's "Author, Author" established that the Twelfth Guarantee defines an artist and the rights of an artist.

So the canonical evidence is very clear: Federation law enumerates the rights of citizens on individual Federation Member worlds.

Isn't that what the Prime Directive is all about?
The Prime Directive is about foreign cultures, not about saying that anyone in the UFP itself gets to oppress others under the excuse of cultural diversity.

RPJOB wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
RPJOB wrote: View Post
While the Federation Council may be a democratic body I would imagine that not all of the member planets are what we would call democracies. Ardana in The Cloud Minders was a Federation member but the Troglytes certanly were not casting votes either on their planet or in the Federation Council. In Amok Time T'Pau asks T'Pring if she is willing to become the property of the victor. Perhaps married Vulcan women don't vote either, letting their husband deal with such matters. The Federation would be pretty boring if all the planets looked like mid 20th century American their politics.
And it would be morally disgusting if it did not protect the inalienable right of all of its people to participate in the democratic process and to be equal citizens before the law.
That sounds like the arguments people are using against same sex marriage. It's not the way our ancestors did things. It was good enough for them. It's good enough for us and we say it's good enough for you too.
Nonsense. I did not make an "appeal to tradition" argument -- in fact, I would argue that there's almost no "tradition" to appeal to when it comes to democracy, because true democracy -- that is, universal adult suffrage -- did not exist anywhere on Earth until the mid-20th Century. (Indeed, the United States of America was not a democracy in any meaningful sense of the word until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.)

I argued, instead, that all sentient beings have a right to democratic governance; the implication of my argument is that no government that is not democratic has any moral legitimacy and that thus the Federation should not accept non-democracies as Members.

This is not an appeal to tradition; this is an insistence that all people deserve equal representation in their government, and that no government has a right to exist without obtaining a democratic mandate. And it is certainly not an attempt to in any way limit or inhibit the rights of the individual or to perpetuate a system of oppression the way opposition to marriage equality is.

Aliens are not us. We are not them.
Sure. And the Federation has no right to impose democracy upon foreign cultures. But that doesn't mean that the Federation should let non-democracies into the club, either.

To make a comparison: The United States has absolutely no right to impose feminism on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But if Saudi Arabia were to apply, the U.S. should absolutely not allow it to become a U.S. state without a guarantee of equal rights for women.

And what makes you think democracy is a uniquely Human idea? ENT's "Home" establishes that before the High Command took over the government, Vulcan was led by a First Minister -- implying a democratic government that was overthrown by a military coup. (And goodness knows that Vulcan under V'las is a good example of the negative consequence of undemocratic governance.)

It's more likely that democracy is a system that's arisen on numerous worlds independently. A system that ensures everyone has an equal voice in their government and which obtains a popular mandate for the government is eminently logical and practical. It makes perfect sense for Vulcan and Andor to have been democracies long before contact with United Earth. (In fact, since this is Trek lit, the novel Andor: Paradigm establishes exactly that about Andor.) And God knows democracy lends itself to exactly the sort of argumentation that Tellarites love so much.

From TUC

We do NOT impose democracy on
others. We do believe that every
planet has a sovereign claim to
human rights.

"Human rights." Even the name is
racist. The Federation is
basically a "homo sapiens" only
False. Chekov makes no such reference to democracy.

The actual lines are as follows (source):

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country wrote:
CHEKOV: We do believe all planets have a sovereign claim to inalienable human rights.

AZETBUR: Inalien... If only you could hear yourselves? 'Human rights.' Why the very name is racist. The Federation is no more than a 'homo sapiens' only club.

CHANG: Present company excepted, of course.
Chekv can be reasonably criticized for using the phrase "Human rights" rather than the phrase "sentient rights." At no point is democracy mentioned.

So the Federation does not demand that every culture be democratic but they still haven't gotten to the point of realizing that every culture will have it's own idea of what constitutes a right.
Of course every culture will have its own idea of what constitutes a right. And that's why the Federation has been established on numerous occasions -- especially in episodes like TNG's "Attached" and DSN's "Accession" -- not to allow just anyone as a Member. By the 24th Century, they carefully evaluate applicant cultures to determine if their values are compatible.

Remember, if every culture has its own ideas about what constitutes a right, that includes the Federation. The Federation has no obligation to allow cultures in as Members whose values violate the Federation's.
Democratic socialism is the hope of human freedom.
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