View Single Post
Old March 5 2013, 04:35 PM   #33
Sci's Avatar
Location: Montgomery County, State of Maryland
Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
I always tended to think of it as being "their" kind of society, that's to say that, unlike in totalitarian societies on earth, the majority of the population isn't behind it because of state propaganda or brainwashing, but because they like it that way.
In the history of humanity, liberal democracy did not exist until the 20th Century. What makes you think democracy is the default setting for the human race?

That's not to say the dissident movement isn't genuine, only to suggest that they're perhaps atypical for their race - like a Ferengi who isn't interested in profit. I prefer to think of Cardassians as a people who, unfathomably to humans, live in a dictatorial system out of choice,
How is that not a contradiction in terms? If you live in a dictatorship, you by definition have no choice.

that they're comfortable with it; and they truly do prefer general order, however it's ensured, over personal freedoms. It makes things more intriguing.
Maybe -- but I don't really see how Cardassian psychology truly differs from Human psychology in the Trekverse. Nothing about Cardassian culture is without its antecedents in real life. And what about Cardassians who dissent?

For much the same reason I never liked Rom becoming Nagus either. I loved the whole Ferengi female liberation theme and Moogie was a hoot!, but she was in actual fact being thoroughly Ferengi - she wanted a slice of the cake.
I liked the idea of there being some planet where the pursuit of profit really is the highest moral good. There should be incompatible value systems!
Of course, part of Trek's message is that while we value diversity, we also believe that some things are well and truly immoral and try to spread that belief peaceably, as equals rather than as cultural imperialists. And when you have a value system as oppressive as Ferengi Capitalism, it's quite natural that a more benign value system like the Federation's would eventually find purchase in Ferengi society.

Of course all the different races are there to reflect on aspects of us, but on the level of the story in and of itself, a mere mirror isn't all they should be. You can make a point about the repression of totalitarian governments, or the evils of exaggerated greed, by contrasting these with Federation/human culture, without having all the "good and true" Cardassians/Ferengi secretly aspiring to be just like us.
I don't think Rom was aspiring to be just like the Federation; he wants environmental protection, and a social safety net, and female liberation -- but he wants them because he (and Zek and Ishka) honestly believe that those things are more profitable for all of society in the long run. Their value system is, in essence, Capitalism with Socialist curbs on excess.
Democratic socialism is the hope of human freedom.
Sci is offline   Reply With Quote