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Old July 10 2013, 09:29 PM   #99
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Re: Why do so many people rag on "Dear doctor"

Holy crap, that's very, very far from the right thing to do! The whole reason there needs to be a Prime Directive is that forcing that kind of rapid change on a culture is bound to be destructive. That kind of "We have a moral obligation to raise them to our level" mentality is what led the British Empire to inflict profound cultural subjugation and abuse on India, Africa, and other parts of the world, causing traumas that have resulted in ongoing turmoil and strife to this day.
Well I go under the assumption that the Federation is an organization that is moral and just, and not greedy and corrupt like real life empires like the British Empire. In the case of the British Empire subjugating India, it was done to steal resources under the premise that they were "enlightening" the local population. The same thing that the USA is doing in places like Iraq.
I make the assumption that the Federation is not such an organization, and that Federation assistance of a primitive race might genuinely be helpful to them.
The fundamental mistake is assuming that it's your decision. It's not. It's their life, their society. The PD is about having the sense and humility to recognize that it's their choice what to do about it, that they're more qualified to make that choice than you are. If they want more contact, if they're given the freedom to govern how the contact happens and how much they adopt from other cultures, then they can advance successfully and in a healthy way, as long as it's at the pace they choose.
In the case of Who Watches the Watchers, the Mintakans were already at a pretty socially advanced level. Their technology might only have been at the level of prehistoric tribes, but their social way of life was actually more like the renaissance period of Earth. They themselves requested assistance (they said "but there's so much you could teach us!") but Picard shot them down saying that this too, would be interference. Sure it would be, but would it have been wrong? Those people were clearly ready to handle the knowledge. I could see them in a few decades starting to slowly integrate into the Federation.
No, the PD was there because the show was made in the 1960s, when the harmful consequences of Western colonialism and imperialism were rearing their heads in many parts of the world, particularly Southeast Asia; and the makers of the show were intelligent and aware enough to recognize how destructive well-intentioned cultural imperialism could be and how a responsible society needed a check against it.
Then they misunderstood the reasons governments do this. Usually it's simply because they want resources from a 3rd world regime, and come to plunder the land under the guise that they want to help.
As for the show's budget, with my comment, I refer to 24th century Trek specifically. TOS never had qualms about breaking the PD when Kirk felt it was appropriate (because common sense dictated it was the correct action, which is why we cheered him on). Picard on the other hand simply uses it to never get his hands dirty (and therefore saving production costs since there is nothing to do). How convenient.
Could be he hates the fact that the policy of the Prime Directive is to send a note saying "you're screwed" in the case of a natural disaster or disease.
Yes, this is exactly it!!!! if the Federation has the means to save a primitive culture who is dying out or somewhat in danger of something, isn't it the right thing to help them survive?
Reminds me of the movie "When the Earth Stood Still" where a sort of "Federation" sends a representative giving humanity an ultimatum regarding its nuclear technology. That is considered a classic masterpiece pretty much unanimously. If it had been Star Trek's Federation, no one would have ever been sent at all.
Sure it could. I despise the PD for that same reason.
But the PD is a good idea in general... Just not very well thought through.
I think the PD needs to have more leeway in letting Star Fleet captains make decisions based on common sense. I think it's implied that usually when a captain breaks the PD, if he can make a good case as to why, most of the time the Federation forgives the act.
Picard in particular is extremely rigid on it though. Everytime he's broken it is because he's basically had his arm twisted to do so.
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