This was raised in another forum, but since Kirk is often the one bashed with this I thought it could work as discussion here.
In TOS Kirk states that a starship Captain vows to sacrifice himself and even his ship and crew rather than violate the Prime Directive.
The PD as originally stated in TOS was made to seem very cut-and-dry, but as we saw there were obviously exceptions and grey areas. In many cases it probably isn't necessary to sacrifice oneself or one's crew and ship.
It would be interesting to contemplate a scenario where it actually was necessary.
In "The Apple" or "Bread And Circuses" or "Return Of The Archons" should Kirk have sacrificed himself and crew and ship (setting aside the series would then be over)?
In "The Apple" and "Return Of The Archons" the ship was under attack by a computer and not a society. The vast majority of the inhabitants likely never knew they were there (assuming there were other tribes around the planet). In "Return Of The Archons" there was even an underground working against Landru and Kirk basically helped them make it happen (while saving his ship). In Bread And Circuses" the Proconsul already knew of their existence because of Merrick, but the vast majority of the population had no inkling of what was going on.
In TNG's "Who Watches The Watchers?" should Picard have sacrificed Troi and the rest?
There's another way to look at this, depending on the degree and nature of interference, I suppose. What if ancient humans had actually been visited by alien star travellers? Would that be classified as interference? If it happened then they were likely remembered as gods of ancient mythology. And if so how has that hindered or affected us?
Today we are actively seeking signs of extraterrestrial life and intelligence. What would it mean if it were revealed to us? A lot would depend on any ensuing interaction (if any). If they actively interacted with us to the extent of drastically affecting/altering our civilization that would be quite different than if they behaved in a more remote and hands off approach. How might we react if we asked for knowledge of advanced science and technology and yet they refused?
The PD raises all kinds of questions.