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Old November 9 2012, 01:57 PM   #29
Re: VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Sci wrote: View Post
neozeks wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post

Pretty definitive statement for a universe we haven't explored yet. There may be folks out there who have different concepts of what freedom is. It's not our job to go out and change them, just to attempt to bridge the gap.
If we were talking about something wildly biologically and culturally different like the Horta or some insectoid hive-mind species, sure, there could be room for debate. But the majority of Federation species are, with minor differences, very human-like. They're rational individual humanoid creatures with free will. Why shouldn't values that are universal to humans (well, unless you subscribe to moral relativism) be universal to them as well?
What I described isn't even about values, per se. I described an inevitable, objective scenario -- that when not made accountable to the full society in the form of a democratic mandate, any ruling class will become corrupted by power and begin oppressing the masses, who will in turn become resentful. A lack of democracy will inevitably produce class conflict.
What if the ruling class must preserve a facade of democracy? What if you have a corrupt oligarchy composed by people too smart to provoke the people by openingly oppressing it?
This may well be the situation in several professed "democratic" countries, but current politics aside, in this situation you can well have neither democracy nor oppression: the oligarchy damages the economic and social systems, sure, but does not reach a "point of non-return" where the economy collapses or a revolution starts. In such a country, also, people know democracy is a lie but accept it because the actual situation makes it better than a revolution. We can then talk about a well-educated, maybe even science-oriented, etc. country without a democracy - only, with a weak concept of active participation in the "res publica".

This said, rewatching TOS I feel like the self-improvement centered, value-oriented Federation just can't stand such a situation. Just imagine Kirk living under such a lie and not denouncing it, risking his life to make his galaxy better... and with him, many others, both in the Starfleet and outside it. If I'm interpreting well the psychology of a (human, at least) citizen of the Federation, few there would stand a government which is uncapable to deeply and truly reflect the values stated by the Constitution.
But this point of view also leads to be extremely diplomatic towards planet who make a different choice, thus considering their situation case-to-case.

I haven't watched DS9 though, I guess I'll get a better informed opinion by watching it.

EDIT: completed the sentence "I feel like the self-improvement centered, value-oriented Federation" with "just can't stand such a situation."
BMO: "What do you think about the stars in the sky?"
Finn: "They're all right, I guess."
BMO: "That is an interesting response. Battery low. Shutdown."

Last edited by Awesonne; November 10 2012 at 11:50 AM. Reason: I left a sentence uncompleted. No harm to the rest of the post, but I felt like correcting it!
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