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Old March 11 2013, 10:36 PM   #62
Sci
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
No, it was not -- not by a reasonable modern definition of the term. It certainly called itself a democracy, but no society that excludes women from the franchise or includes slavery is a democracy in a realistic, non-self-aggrandizing sense of the term. A democracy is a society in which every adult member of that society has an equal vote; Athens was not a democracy.
It's not "reasonable" to apply our definitions to past societies. To hold the past up to our standards means it will inevitably fall short.
So what if they fall short? The goal isn't to justify idolizing earlier cultures, it's to accurately describe them. "Democracy" literally means "rule by the people," but basic logic says that a society in which more than half the population is disenfranchised is not rule by the people.

What is unreasonable is mindlessly adhering to their own propaganda and submitting to their ideological paradigms.

Just as you will be seen by future historians as some kind of imperfect human from a society that was imperfect.
1. Who's talking about individuals?

2. I already think my society is deeply, deeply flawed and oppressive; I have no problem with future historians coming to the same conclusion.

What's the point of applying a future standard to a past society? What does it gain us?
An accurate understanding of the nature of that society which does not rely on buying into the ideological justifications for their oppressions.

Athens called itself a democracy. The concept of rule by the people surely owes a great debt to Ancient Athens. But the simple fact remains that by no reasonable standard can a society in which only an elite set of property-owning men were allowed to vote be called a genuine democracy; to uncritically call Ancient Athens a democracy is to make the women, the poor, and the people held as slaves in Ancient Athens invisible to history - it is to say that they were not really people and did not really count. But those people were there; they existed, and they were an important part of Ancient Athenian society -- even if the ruling elite wanted them invisible.

...Cardassians quite literally did not have a choice in their form of government, as the state possessed an overwhelming capacity for violence which literally does not exist in the real world.
We don't really know that.
Numerous, numerous episodes of DS9 and TNG made it very clear that the Cardassian state was controlled by the unelected military.

I think this is one time where we just have to accept that things are ret-conned and disregard what Janice says in "Turnabout Intruder" as being no longer in continuity with the rest of Trek.
The fact that Janice Lester thought swapping minds with Kirk was a legitimate way to live out her fantasy of being a starship captain suggests she was not sane. Given her loose hold on reality, why should her statements have any authority with regards to the matter of sexism in Starfleet?
For one, there's the fact that Kirk seems to agree with her assertion. And the fact that women in TOS were never indicated to hold any higher social status than women in early 1960s America does not factor into this?

TOS reflected many of the social mores of early-to-mid 1960s white America, and that included the subordination of women. Sorry to say, TOS was not a product of second-wave feminism.
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