Thread: Section 31...
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Old February 27 2013, 07:55 AM   #184
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Re: Section 31...

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Second, maybe I did go overboard. My impression has been that some poster have taken the position that the Federation was despicable for "letting" Section 31 deploy a genocidal weapon, and despicable for not stopping it immediately. If that's not the case, fine. My apologies for misrepresenting the opposite viewpoint. That merely demonstrates that I don't understand the opposing view.
Fair enough.

As for whether or not the argument you just constructed as a representation of the opposing side was valid as an argument...

I think that that would be a fair and honest argument, but it's not one I would agree with. I tend to agree that the Federation had a moral obligation to control Section 31, to thwart its actions, and to offer the cure to the Founders. I would tend to agree that the Federation's failure to do so is despicable.

But I would not agree that it therefore makes the Federation itself despicable. The Federation, after all, is a huge society, vast on a scale we can barely comprehend -- 150 planets across thousands of light-years, with likely dozens of billions, if not trillions, of citizens. I can't even bring myself to agree that a single planet-full of Founders who admittedly link their minds together are all guilty; I sure as hell can't agree to that logic with the Federation.

As for the Council's decision not to share the Founder virus cure -- I think we don't know enough about the circumstances of the vote to understand it fully, and to therefore judge it fairly. For one thing, it's unestablished whether or not the Council was made aware of Section 31's role in the virus's creation. Bashir, you might recall, lured Sloan to the station by claiming to have found the cure himself; if I were Bashir, I might well stick to that story afterwards, for fear of Section 31 deciding to do more than just wake me up early if I start openly spouting their name.

In that scenario, the Council may well have remained unaware of Section 31, and have been led to believe that the virus was a natural phenomenon -- in which case their vote not to share the cure would have been the moral equivalent of their non-interference policy, as in situations where pre-industrial cultures face extinction-level events and the UFP doesn't help them. Such policies are of course themselves morally questionable -- but hardly the equivalent of active genocide, either.

I do view not sharing the cure, ultimately, as a lapse -- but a far more understandable one if wartime anger drives them not to intervene in what they believe to be a natural phenomenon.

If, on the other hand, the Council knew about Section 31's role in the virus's creation and still decided to stand by and do nothing? That's far more questionable. But we don't have enough information to make a judgment.

I say it's better to have high ideals and principles and try to live by them, even if you fail, than to die because you won't violate your principles. I gather some would disagree on this point.
I certainly agree that a society can still be a good and worthy society if it tries but sometimes fails to live up to its ideals. But I also think that such a society very badly needs to be harshly criticized for its moral lapses, in oder that it may be forced to learn from its mistakes. The voices of social conscience can be harsh, but they are necessary for the health of the body politic.

And I absolutely reject the idea that the Federation had to choose between genocide and survival.
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