Dale Sams wrote:
"Kirk's view", a humancentric application of values and morals to an alien race is EXACTLY why the PD exists.
But what gave Vaal's builders any more right to impose their
values and morals on the Triangulans? Kirk interfered to eliminate someone else's interference, and afterward left the Triangulans free to determine their own future. Sure, maybe there's a certain "White Man's Burden" mentality in believing it was his place to save them, but I think what Vaal's builders did was far worse. They enslaved the Triangulans, Kirk set them free.
Despite how TNG dumbed it down, the Prime Directive was not meant to be an absolutist, rigid rule. Every situation is different and a useful rule needs to be adaptable. Captains in the field are expected to use their judgment in determining how to interpret and apply the regulations, because they're actually on the scene and better able to assess each situation than the lawmakers back home.
Seriously, tell me: what do you think a captain should do when he comes upon a planet where someone else
is egregiously violating the Prime Directive and enslaving or controlling the natives? How do you uphold the Prime Directive by turning a blind eye to another's violation of it?
Putting aside the fact that Vaal seems to maintain the ecosystem, and not soon after Kirk left, the natives are all wiped out. And assuming your narrative is correct and that Vaal isn't a relic from the Triangulan's own past, but rather alien influence...and...puting aside the fact that Kirk's excuse is 'stagnation' (his interp) and not 'alien influence'.
1) How long has that culture been like that? For them that IS the natural course of things. Kirk has wiped away their way of life.
2) Dead serious here: That culture is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. If Kirk just walks away 'leaving them to figure it out for themselves' They are arn't going to survive a year. And even if Kirk sends in teams like in 'Miri'...it would be like driving a tractor through a tribe of South American Indians who had never seen the outside world and making a mall. We're talking Future Shock to the nth degree.
Once they get over the novelty of boning whenever they want, then what? Any introduction of ideas like 'self-determination' and 'creating your own world' is just further contamination. There only appear to be like 30 of them. They may as well just lift them all off the planet.
All Kirk did was BS rationalize saving 400 crew over some 30 natives stuck under some aliens glass slide.
Edit: I will say this, all credit to the writers for mentioning the PD more than once and for Spock even saying "Starfleet may not agree with you".