I certainly wouldn't want to live in the Cardassian Union!
But to me that's the whole point. I'm human, they're not. Obviously there are still more similarities than differences between the two races, but I like it when the differences are stressed. (Same as with the Ferengi, which is why I love the scene at the end of the series where Quark makes his little impassioned speech in the bar in defence of "traditional Ferengi values").
I find it makes those people more believable as being truly "other" in some respects, and that in turn makes them more interesting - otherwise they're nothing but
humans in disguise. I mean, even among my own species there are ways of living and of organising a society that I find totally incomprehensible; how much more so therefore must that be the case with another race altogether?
(Human society in the 24th century appears rather uniform, basically Federation culture seems to be an embodiment of today's Western European/American ideals - a generic statement that ours is the best possible culture...?)
I think of Cardassian ideals and society as being shaped fifty-fifty both by outside circumstance AND inherent inclination. There were those great hardships which are often hinted at, which made expediency in all things a guiding principle of necessity, and which required strength, aggression and endurance in order to survive.
tend to think that Cardassians as a species may well be more aggressive and more suspicious by nature
than, say, humans (even their courtship overtures are based on aggression, and if you're not behaving instinctively in that
situation, when are you?), and may be more group-orientated and so have a naturally lesser regard for the preservation of an individual life.
I'm therefore working on the assumption that the adverse circumstances they experienced in their history served to underline
and exaggerate certain natural tendencies which were species-specific. Their state ideology then built on this, encouraging the people to cultivate and exalt those qualities to the virtual exclusion of all others. That's my basic take.