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View Poll Results: Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire
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Old March 16 2011, 11:38 PM   #436
Rush Limborg
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Which is fine, but there comes a point where you're asking so many questions about the book that you really ought to just read it first.

Picard did not report the existence of Section 31, nor the story of Corwin being hoodwinked. He was going to, but he was persuaded not to. If you want to know why, you'll need to read the book.
The problem, though, is that such facts are frankly important to this argument.
Then follow the old maxim: It is better not to speak of things you do not understand.
Tell that to all the great reporters and scientists of the world.

If I don't currently have access to a work...a legitimate alternative would be to ask questions of it.

If you don't know what happened in the book, read it before you start drawing upon it to make your arguments.
Which is precisely why I ask questions of it.

Yes, and now we're going in circles. That was my point. You asked what the Federation could do to stop the Typhon Pact powers from resenting it, and I said that the problem is unsolvable. All the Federation can do is manage it, is mitigate the possibility of hostility by trying not to be assholes.

In other words, there are no guarantees. All you can do is do your best. That's been my point this entire time, before you diverged from the point with a useless digression into the question of whether or not the Federation is susceptible to the sort of political corruption that can increase hostility from foreign states (which it can be) by arguing about the use of the word "try."
"Useless digressions" seem to be the whole of this thread now, Sci. Side discussions are hardly "useless"--as you know.

As to your other point--first, the fact that the opinions of foreign powers are so conflicting and self-contradictory should strongly indicate that you can't seek to "balance out" all those competing desires.

You say, "All you can do is do your best." I agree on that. What I disagree on is...what one's "best" is.

Second, your going back to your previous point actually proves my own point in invoking it. (Phew--I think we are arguing in circles....) Namely, it's not as..."simple"...as thinking, "what actions will make me not look like an a--hole?"

The problem with that logic is that there are no guarantees. You're always taking chances, no matter what choices you make. The relevant issue is not "certainty," the relevant issue is which policy choice is least likely to cause a war.
Unless, of course, as Sisko said, a war is one's best chance for survival.

The real world often has neither easy nor simple answers.
"Simple" and "Easy" are not the same thing. By that, I mean that many times, an action may be seen as "wrong", with fears arising that it would lead to war. However, it would indeed do what had to be done.

And you're wrong to doubt it. Murdering someone for corruption is just as corrupt as whatever the crime you're murdering for was.
Is it? Consider:

Which is an entirely different issue, because that relates to the conduct of foreign relations, not an assassination of your own president.
Was Bartlett not dealing with corruption, in a senst?

I'm sorry, but that's an absurd comparison, because the government of the Third Reich had no democratic legitimacy. Such an assassination would have been an act of revolution, not an act of treason or insurrection.

Hitler was elected Imperial Chancellor, yes -- but when the Imperial President died, he illegally and unconstitutionally assumed the position of head of state (declaring himself "Fuhrer and Reichschancellor"). To say nothing of the Enabling Act and the Reichstag Fire Act, which were patently violations of the Weimar Republic's Constitution.

He used the power of the chancellorship to then seize further power by force.
Was the Valkerie conspiracy not an attempt to murder someone for corruption?


You're assuming that a person's psyche is logically consistent and rational. It's not. Everybody has motivations that are logically in conflict with one-another and are mutually exclusive, and anyone who tells you they don't is either lying to you or lying to himself.

There's no need to invoke schizophrenia when basic humanity will suffice for an explanation. Darkness and light both dwell within our hearts, and neither one destroys the other.
Not when two characteristics are so blatant in their contradictions.

What of it?

That's a bit like saying that confessing your crimes is not morally more advanced than keeping your crimes a secret because it might lead to you being convicted of violating the law.
Convicted--and "punished" by a war?

When agents of the state commit crimes, other agents of the state have a moral and legal obligation to expose their crimes and to impose due process of the law upon the criminal agents, in order to preserve basic morality and the rule of law and in order to help try to prevent future crimes from being committed.

Exposing the abuses of Abu Graib or Guantanemo was not what damaged relations with the Muslim world or encouraged terrorism. The abuses themselves were what damaged relations and encouraged terrorism, and the only way to stop and prevent such abuses is to expose them.
As opposed to severe and intense punishment of the abusers in question, in and of themselves--and to then engage in reforms without publicizing the events in question?

By their not being formally organized, obviously. They have a hierarchy where they'll take orders, but there's no evidence they have a process by which they apprehend their members and try them for crimes. The Mafia has a hierarchy, but that doesn't mean it has a real system for internal accountability (beyond "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you rat us out," anyway).
More along the lines of "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you bring damage to our orginization".

In this case, Cortin's actions--and attempt to cover it up--would probably be considered as damaging.

For purposes of efficiency in its carrying out its bidding, it would only make sense that the Mafia--and 31--have mechanisms for discouraging things like that.


Prisons are there to combat and compensate for corruption in society.
Which is besides the point. Kindly stop trying to create irrelevant tangents.
I was pointing out that it was the bringing up of prisons which was an "irrelevent tangent".

The point is that the existence of a prison, like the existence of a society's dark side, is a consequence of the fact that human beings are morally flawed creatures who lust for power, and that some put that lust for power above decency.
Again, it is apples and oranges, because prisions are meant to combat a "dark side".

There is also his advice for rulers to not infringe upon their subjects' right to keep and bear arms, to not confiscate their property, etc. In short, to let them keep their freedom, and to concentrate on the actual duties of government.
No, his point there is to give them just enough freedom that they won't rebel, not to give them real freedom. It's the equivalent of advising someone to give a prisoner just enough food that he won't starve, not of giving someone enough food that they're healthy.
There is a difference, Sci, between giving "freedom", and not taking it away. As Locke would tell you, you can't "give" real freedom. It's a part of mankind's nature--natural rights, if you will. A government could infringe upon freedom, or reverse said infringement, but it can't "give" freedom, because freedom is not the government's to give.

Furthermore, the Founding Fathers of the US constantly emphasized the importance of allowing a populace to be armed--in fact, I believe it was Jefferson who said that an armed populace is perhaps the greatest preventor of tyranny.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

The point is that the sort of willing brinksmanship that Kirk engaged in, however it may have ended well in the short term, ran longer-term risks of precipitating disaster thanks to his particular lack of care and scruples. How much more so Section 31, especially when acting beyond Federation borders against the interests of less scrupulous powers?
I see. On that same note, Peter David's short story in the "Dominion War" anthology establishes that Sisko's actions in "In The Pale Moonlight" eventually led to another war with the Federation.

Yes, there are consequences to actions--many of them immense. That does not mean that those actions were not the best ones to engage in at the time.
But that isn't an argument in defense of Section 31's chosen methods, and not only because Sisko's initiative took place outside of Section 31. It's arguably a point in my favour: policies undertaken by individuals and bureaucracies firmly under central control and supervision are more legitimate, and arguably less likely to go haywire, than policies enacted by people who exist outside of any control.
Perhaps. However, on the other hand: as Dirty Harry, and Batman--and James T. Kirk--would tell you, sometimes bureaucracies and regulations tie a person's hands, and result in people getting killed.

Her thinking processes as described in Rough Beasts of Empire seem sufficiently complete as to need no other explanation, but, hmm. What do you suggest?
I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps she's serving as a martyr while allowing her followers to regroup, or something. Basically, I'm allowing for the possibility that she wanted to be captured.

It's also possible that she had had something planned involving her being in prison, and then someone helping her escape and then, say, assasinate Tal'Aura--but her death (instigated by the Tzenkethi) prevented that.

I don't know. I'm just theorizing....

A sanction that Federation citizens knew about?
I'd say so.

One key thing in this discussion is that Starfleet, Leyton's abortive conspiracy aside, is an agency branch of the Federation government subordinate to the civilian branch, i.e. the democratic institutions under the control of the Federation citizenry. The willingness of some people in Starfleet--only some people, note--to let Section 31 do its business exists in the context of the Federation citizenry's ignorance of Section 31's existence and its activities. What happens when Federation citizens do learn of this?
Assuming they do--it would damage 31 severely, as unlike the Shiar and the Order, a great part of their strength lies in their secrecy.

Apparently, that's what Milke and Andy were getting at in The Good That Men Do.

However, again, if the remnents of 31 play their cards right, and return underground, making sure that no one gains knowledge of their continued existence...public fervor will wane, and the cycle starts over again.

It does: Once its existence is revealed to the general population of the Federation, as we know happens, Section 31's future chances for survival depend on popular attitudes, on the willingness of Federation citizens to let it grow back.

Will Section 31 find "ways" to deal with all the people--journalists, Federation councillors, photobloggers who find remarkable things, ordinary concerned people, et cetera--who will not be at all happy with the revival of the agency they despised for its violations of basic Federation principles and see as a real threat to their freedoms and their good name?
That assumes they'll find out about the revival. I doubt the newly reconstructed 31 would be so quick to repeat the mistakes which had led to its original "dismantling"--namely, underestimating those who desired to do so.

Earlier in this thread, you suggested that the prominence of ex-KGB people in 2011 era Russia constituted a data point in favour of your thesis of the likelihood of Section 31's revival to its former point. It doesn't: 2011 Russia is so different from 1981's RSFSR that the difference is funny. The position that the post-KGB agency does have, however, depends entirely on the willingness of many Russians--and the implicit consent of most--to accept that the former Soviet police-state bureaucracy wasn't irredeemable, and that its alumni shouldn't be hindered in their careers.

Is the Federation's citizenry so little attached to democratic values?
My point was simply this: considering the prominence of Putin and others, the possibility exists that they would desire to restore Russia to its "glory days". Putin's diplomatic positioning should be viewed as suspicious, in that context.

In the same way, underground plans of restoration are not to be dismissed.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

I don't understand....
Of how it's the same, sorry.
Oh, okay. Remember, Sloan pointed out that Bashir had 1), covered up that he was an Augment; 2), lied, and therefore betrayed what Picard deemed "The First Duty" of a Starfleet Officer; and 3), quite probably would not have confessed to his actions had they not been exposed anyway.

Sloan's point was that Bashir was right to have done so, because of all the lives he had saved with his enhanced genius--lives which would not had been saved had he followed Values and Principles, and stayed out of Starfleet.

As the conversation goes:

SLOAN: How many live do you suppose you've saved in your medical career?

BASHIR: What has that got to do with anything?

SLOAN: Hundred--thousands? ...Do you suppose those people gave a dang about the fact that you lied in order to get into Starfleet Medical?

(Bashir says nothing)

SLOAN: I doubt it. We deal with threats to the Federation that jeopardize its very survival. If you knew how many lives we've saved...I think you'd agree that the ends do justify the means. I'm not afraid of bending the rules every once in a while if the situation warrants it...and I don't think you are either.
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Old March 17 2011, 07:18 PM   #437
rfmcdpei
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps she's serving as a martyr while allowing her followers to regroup, or something. Basically, I'm allowing for the possibility that she wanted to be captured.

It's also possible that she had had something planned involving her being in prison, and then someone helping her escape and then, say, assasinate Tal'Aura--but her death (instigated by the Tzenkethi) prevented that.

I don't know. I'm just theorizing....
Donatra's death seems to have had nothing to do with the Tzenkethi: Alizome reported as much to the Autarch, saying that as they expected Donatra met her end without any need for Tzenkethi involvement.

Assuming they do--it would damage 31 severely, as unlike the Shiar and the Order, a great part of their strength lies in their secrecy.

Apparently, that's what Milke and Andy were getting at in The Good That Men Do.

However, again, if the remnents of 31 play their cards right, and return underground, making sure that no one gains knowledge of their continued existence...public fervor will wane, and the cycle starts over again.
How?

That assumes they'll find out about the revival. I doubt the newly reconstructed 31 would be so quick to repeat the mistakes which had led to its original "dismantling"--namely, underestimating those who desired to do so.
My point was simply this: considering the prominence of Putin and others, the possibility exists that they would desire to restore Russia to its "glory days". Putin's diplomatic positioning should be viewed as suspicious, in that context.
Why would they do that? Seriously. Do you have any evidence suggesting that there's going to be a restoration of the Soviet Union? This is approaching the territory of the Free Republic conspiracists who told a friend of mine that the collapse of the Soviet Union was just a fake, that the Cold War was still to be won (or lost).

In the same way, underground plans of restoration are not to be dismissed.
... in Russia? Or of Section 31?

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

I don't understand....
Of how it's the same, sorry.
Oh, okay. Remember, Sloan pointed out that Bashir had 1), covered up that he was an Augment; 2), lied, and therefore betrayed what Picard deemed "The First Duty" of a Starfleet Officer; and 3), quite probably would not have confessed to his actions had they not been exposed anyway.

Sloan's point was that Bashir was right to have done so, because of all the lives he had saved with his enhanced genius--lives which would not had been saved had he followed Values and Principles, and stayed out of Starfleet.
"Values and Principles"? Why the capitalization?

The obvious distinction is that while it's far from obvious that discriminating against the genetically engineered--particularly against people who were genetically engineered by their parents, without their consent or contorl--is just, laws against murder remain just.

And is Sloan really an objective speaker?

Last edited by rfmcdpei; March 17 2011 at 07:19 PM. Reason: typos
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Old March 17 2011, 08:45 PM   #438
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

I am sure when the Typhon Pact was being considered as 6 novel series the 2 stories in this book would have received a novel each which I think would have been better as this novel seemed to be spread a little thin.

can't wait for DRGIII next 2 trek books hopefully the will carry on the story of DS9 and Captain Sisko
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Old March 17 2011, 11:25 PM   #439
Sci
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
The problem with that logic is that there are no guarantees. You're always taking chances, no matter what choices you make. The relevant issue is not "certainty," the relevant issue is which policy choice is least likely to cause a war.
Unless, of course, as Sisko said, a war is one's best chance for survival.
Yeah, but the way you talk, it comes across like you perceive every damn thing as an existential threat and the "last resort" as being, at best, a third or fourth resort.

And you're wrong to doubt it. Murdering someone for corruption is just as corrupt as whatever the crime you're murdering for was.
Is it?
Yes.

Consider:
Which is an entirely different issue, because that relates to the conduct of foreign relations, not an assassination of your own president.
Was Bartlett not dealing with corruption, in a senst?
No, he was engaging in national self-defense.

I'm sorry, but that's an absurd comparison, because the government of the Third Reich had no democratic legitimacy. Such an assassination would have been an act of revolution, not an act of treason or insurrection.

Hitler was elected Imperial Chancellor, yes -- but when the Imperial President died, he illegally and unconstitutionally assumed the position of head of state (declaring himself "Fuhrer and Reichschancellor"). To say nothing of the Enabling Act and the Reichstag Fire Act, which were patently violations of the Weimar Republic's Constitution.

He used the power of the chancellorship to then seize further power by force.
Was the Valkerie conspiracy not an attempt to murder someone for corruption?
No, they were attempting to engage in an act of revolution in order to, again, engage in national self-defense.

The key difference, of course, being that in Nazi Germany, there was no functioning court system, no real justice system; there was only the will of the Führer. The Federation, by contrast, had a functioning justice system. Even if one accepts the idea that Zife could not be openly tried for his crimes, the fact remains that the Federation system is built on the idea that if you can't convict someone, you let them go, and that Zife did not pose a threat to the Federation upon his resignation. Hitler's rule, by contrast, was tyrannical and posed an existential threat to Germany, both in terms of state violence against its citizenry and in terms of the war being waged against Germany as a result of Hitler's provocations.

You can't compare a state where there is no social contract to one where there is. You simply can't compare the two situations.

You're assuming that a person's psyche is logically consistent and rational. It's not. Everybody has motivations that are logically in conflict with one-another and are mutually exclusive, and anyone who tells you they don't is either lying to you or lying to himself.

There's no need to invoke schizophrenia when basic humanity will suffice for an explanation. Darkness and light both dwell within our hearts, and neither one destroys the other.
Not when two characteristics are so blatant in their contradictions.
Again, you are clinging to the illusion of internal consistency within a person's character. That illusion is false. People are blatantly contradictory; that's just a fact of life. People's motivations are not consistent.

What of it?

That's a bit like saying that confessing your crimes is not morally more advanced than keeping your crimes a secret because it might lead to you being convicted of violating the law.
Convicted--and "punished" by a war?
No wars commenced as a result of the Church Committee Reports. No wars commenced as a result of the exposures of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay.

And if anything, if the abuses had been ended and the perpetrators and enablers and others allegedly responsible for the abuses in those cases -- which, mind you, included John Yoo, David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. President George W. Bush -- had been impeached, removed from office, indicted for their crimes, given a fair trial, found guilty, and sentenced to terms in federal prison, we would probably have seen a significant reduction in recruiting by al Qaeda, since it would have taken away from them one of their key pieces of propaganda to recruit people.

When agents of the state commit crimes, other agents of the state have a moral and legal obligation to expose their crimes and to impose due process of the law upon the criminal agents, in order to preserve basic morality and the rule of law and in order to help try to prevent future crimes from being committed.

Exposing the abuses of Abu Graib or Guantanemo was not what damaged relations with the Muslim world or encouraged terrorism. The abuses themselves were what damaged relations and encouraged terrorism, and the only way to stop and prevent such abuses is to expose them.
As opposed to severe and intense punishment of the abusers in question, in and of themselves--and to then engage in reforms without publicizing the events in question?
The former didn't happen -- the low-level abusers were punished, the mid-level abusers got slaps on the wrist, and the high-level abusers got away scott-free.

Of course you shouldn't do the latter. If you don't publicize both the events and your reforms, then people will think, "Abuses happened and they're covering it up." You need openness and transparency, both to prove that things have changed and to send a message to other would-be abusers that they would be in danger if they acted up. It's the same reason you walk the perp in front of the press on the way to the trial: It scares potential criminals.

By their not being formally organized, obviously. They have a hierarchy where they'll take orders, but there's no evidence they have a process by which they apprehend their members and try them for crimes. The Mafia has a hierarchy, but that doesn't mean it has a real system for internal accountability (beyond "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you rat us out," anyway).
More along the lines of "we'll take you out to the woods and shoot you if you bring damage to our orginization".
You and I are operating on different definitions of "a system of internal accountability." I don't consider an uncodified system without a regulated form of adversarial argumentation before a neutral arbiter and key protections for the rights of the accused to be a system of internal accountability. If your "system of internal accountability" amounts to, "We'll kill you if you piss us off," that's not a system, that's just more criminal thuggery.

The point is that the existence of a prison, like the existence of a society's dark side, is a consequence of the fact that human beings are morally flawed creatures who lust for power, and that some put that lust for power above decency.
Again, it is apples and oranges, because prisions are meant to combat a "dark side".
That is irrelevant, because the point is that both are consequences of the morally flawed state of human beings.

There is a difference, Sci, between giving "freedom", and not taking it away.
And a dictator -- Machiavelli's Prince -- has inherently taken all freedom away. Machiavelli just advises him to give some of it back for a bit, conditional upon obedience to the Prince.

In the same way, a particularly sadistic man might totally block a victim's airway at first, but then ease his grasp just enough that the victim can gain a little bit of air if the victim agrees to do what the sadist tells him. Yet the sadist's hands still remain around the victim's neck, and we should not think the sadist therefore a generous man for not completely choking his victim, nor imagine he is acting out of respect for the victim's right to breathe.

Perhaps. However, on the other hand: as Dirty Harry, and Batman--and James T. Kirk--would tell you, sometimes bureaucracies and regulations tie a person's hands, and result in people getting killed.
And yet all three actually subordinate themselves to the state in some manner: "Dirty" Harry by virtue of his status as a police officer; Batman by virtue of his alliance with Commissioner Gordon; and James T. Kirk by virtue of his status as a Starfleet officer. None of them truly place themselves above the law the way Section 31 does. And Batman, in particular, subordinates himself to an absolute moral standard that Section 31 disregards -- he never, ever kills anyone, for any reason whatsoever, and will always rescue someone in danger of death, even if they are murderers themselves.

(Batman, in particular, it might be noted, only works as an extralegal vigilante because systemic corruption in the City of Gotham is so pervasive on every level that the social contract in Gotham City simply does not work, and thus the government has no democratic legitimacy. He is, in other words, a citizen exercising his inherent right to protect the rights of himself and of others, which under normal circumstances is delegated to the democratically-elected government.

Were Bruce Wayne born and raised in Metropolis, he would almost certainly have responded to the murder of his parents by becoming a police officer rather than a vigilante.)

I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps she's serving as a martyr while allowing her followers to regroup, or something. Basically, I'm allowing for the possibility that she wanted to be captured.
Asking why Donatra went to Romulus is a bit like asking why a chess player who know he might escape a checkmate if he makes one particular move and the other player makes a mistake, but that if he does not make that move, he will be checkmated in five turns. The player continues to play because there is no other choice; you either attempt, against the odds, to survive now, or you guarantee your loss later.

It's also possible that she had had something planned involving her being in prison, and then someone helping her escape and then, say, assasinate Tal'Aura--but her death (instigated by the Tzenkethi) prevented that.
... did you even read the damn novel? Donatra's reasons for going to Romulus were explained, in detail. It had nothing to do with any daring plan to escape prison.

My point was simply this: considering the prominence of Putin and others, the possibility exists that they would desire to restore Russia to its "glory days". Putin's diplomatic positioning should be viewed as suspicious, in that context.

In the same way, underground plans of restoration are not to be dismissed.
I agree that Putin's goal is to re-assert Russia's status as a major world power on the national stage, and to re-assert Russian control of the territories that both the Tzarist and Soviet regimes regarded as their "sphere of influence," and I agree that Russian diplomacy should be viewed through that lens.

But Putin is nothing if not a Russian nationalist. He was attached to the Soviet Union because it was a tool of Russian domination of the other Soviet republics, not because he had any real ideological attachment to Communism or to the idea of Russian equality with other Soviet nationalities. He's perfectly content to be the new Tzar of Russia (whether he calls himself "President" or "Prime Minister" at any given moment) under a Capitalist rather than Communist system.

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Why would they do that? Seriously. Do you have any evidence suggesting that there's going to be a restoration of the Soviet Union? This is approaching the territory of the Free Republic conspiracists who told a friend of mine that the collapse of the Soviet Union was just a fake, that the Cold War was still to be won (or lost).
No one's trying to restore the Soviet Union. Putin's goal is to unofficially restore the Russian Empire. That's why the Kremlin now appoints mayors and regional governors. That's why Moscow has created a new position to control the Caucasus-region territories of the Russian Federation -- essentially re-creating the old viceroy position the Tzars had. Putin's goal is Russian imperium, not Soviet union.
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Old March 18 2011, 08:27 AM   #440
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

finished this last night.

was disappointed Donatra died. disappointed the IRS ended (but already knew that thanks to SPOILERS...) and was disappointed we didn't get more Tzenkethi.

on the other hand, it wasn't a bad book.
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Old March 19 2011, 12:21 AM   #441
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I'm not entirely certain. Perhaps she's serving as a martyr while allowing her followers to regroup, or something. Basically, I'm allowing for the possibility that she wanted to be captured.

It's also possible that she had had something planned involving her being in prison, and then someone helping her escape and then, say, assasinate Tal'Aura--but her death (instigated by the Tzenkethi) prevented that.

I don't know. I'm just theorizing....
Donatra's death seems to have had nothing to do with the Tzenkethi: Alizome reported as much to the Autarch, saying that as they expected Donatra met her end without any need for Tzenkethi involvement.
As I said...it was just a theory I was throwing out.

Assuming they do--it would damage 31 severely, as unlike the Shiar and the Order, a great part of their strength lies in their secrecy.

Apparently, that's what Milke and Andy were getting at in The Good That Men Do.

However, again, if the remnents of 31 play their cards right, and return underground, making sure that no one gains knowledge of their continued existence...public fervor will wane, and the cycle starts over again.
How?
Time breeds indifference, dulling of passions, and so on.

Why would they do that? Seriously. Do you have any evidence suggesting that there's going to be a restoration of the Soviet Union? This is approaching the territory of the Free Republic conspiracists who told a friend of mine that the collapse of the Soviet Union was just a fake, that the Cold War was still to be won (or lost).
Oh, I'm not that nuts. I'm just saying Putin misses the days when Russia was a force to be reckoned with--that he wishes to make The Motherland "glorious" again, a major power once again.

... in Russia? Or of Section 31?
Both.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post

Of how it's the same, sorry.
Oh, okay. Remember, Sloan pointed out that Bashir had 1), covered up that he was an Augment; 2), lied, and therefore betrayed what Picard deemed "The First Duty" of a Starfleet Officer; and 3), quite probably would not have confessed to his actions had they not been exposed anyway.

Sloan's point was that Bashir was right to have done so, because of all the lives he had saved with his enhanced genius--lives which would not had been saved had he followed Values and Principles, and stayed out of Starfleet.
"Values and Principles"? Why the capitalization?
Basically, I'm satirizing the mantras invoked when such questions are brought up.

The obvious distinction is that while it's far from obvious that discriminating against the genetically engineered--particularly against people who were genetically engineered by their parents, without their consent or contorl--is just, laws against murder remain just.
Actions are not considered just or unjust intrinically, so much as it is a matter of considering the scenario concerned. Killing in self-defense is not murder. Killing the last of a race (a la "The Man Trap") to protect lives is not genocide.

And is Sloan really an objective speaker?
Yes and no. Sloan notes that the actions he and 31 conducted were responsable for saving countless lives--numbers which, as far as he was concerned, did "justify the means".
Granted, he did have a vested interest in making that claim, but he was also very confident that in time, Bashir would come to agree with him.

Apparently, if "Zero Sum Game" is any indication, that could well happen sooner than we think....

Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
The problem with that logic is that there are no guarantees. You're always taking chances, no matter what choices you make. The relevant issue is not "certainty," the relevant issue is which policy choice is least likely to cause a war.
Unless, of course, as Sisko said, a war is one's best chance for survival.
Yeah, but the way you talk, it comes across like you perceive every damn thing as an existential threat and the "last resort" as being, at best, a third or fourth resort.
Well I can assure you, Sci, that is not my intent.

Murdering someone for corruption is just as corrupt as whatever the crime you're murdering for was.
Is it?
Yes.
Well, let's see. On Bartlett--

No, he was engaging in national self-defense.
By murdering to remove corruption from world affairs.

On the Vakerie conspiracy--

No, they were attempting to engage in an act of revolution in order to, again, engage in national self-defense.
By murdering, to remove the immense corruption Hitler instigated through the securing of his own power.

The key difference, of course, being that in Nazi Germany, there was no functioning court system, no real justice system; there was only the will of the Führer. The Federation, by contrast, had a functioning justice system. Even if one accepts the idea that Zife could not be openly tried for his crimes, the fact remains that the Federation system is built on the idea that if you can't convict someone, you let them go, and that Zife did not pose a threat to the Federation upon his resignation. Hitler's rule, by contrast, was tyrannical and posed an existential threat to Germany, both in terms of state violence against its citizenry and in terms of the war being waged against Germany as a result of Hitler's provocations.

You can't compare a state where there is no social contract to one where there is. You simply can't compare the two situations.
By that argument, Sci, neither can you compare the existence of prisions to the existence of the Mafia or Section 31. And yet you yourself claimed that all of those were equally accaptable as examples involving a society's dark side.

In a simmilar manner, Hitler and Zife are both examples of corruption. One is simply a more "extreme" example than another.

Again, you are clinging to the illusion of internal consistency within a person's character. That illusion is false. People are blatantly contradictory; that's just a fact of life. People's motivations are not consistent.
Well, I suppose it depends on the motivations, doesn't it?

In this case, I will remain cynical in regards to Madoff's motives until proven wrong.

No wars commenced as a result of the Church Committee Reports. No wars commenced as a result of the exposures of Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay.
Of course not. The War was already going on.

And if anything, if the abuses had been ended and the perpetrators and enablers and others allegedly responsible for the abuses in those cases -- which, mind you, included John Yoo, David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. President George W. Bush -- had been impeached, removed from office, indicted for their crimes, given a fair trial, found guilty, and sentenced to terms in federal prison, we would probably have seen a significant reduction in recruiting by al Qaeda, since it would have taken away from them one of their key pieces of propaganda to recruit people.
As I recall, one of their major pieces of propoganda was a blatantly false story involving the "flushing" of Qu'rans down toilets in Guantanamo.

If the other side doesn't have anything, it can just take false information and play it up, or otherwise just make something up.

The former didn't happen -- the low-level abusers were punished, the mid-level abusers got slaps on the wrist, and the high-level abusers got away scott-free.

Of course you shouldn't do the latter. If you don't publicize both the events and your reforms, then people will think, "Abuses happened and they're covering it up." You need openness and transparency, both to prove that things have changed and to send a message to other would-be abusers that they would be in danger if they acted up. It's the same reason you walk the perp in front of the press on the way to the trial: It scares potential criminals.
Except the "high-level abusers got away scott-free" despite the exposure of the incidents.

You and I are operating on different definitions of "a system of internal accountability." I don't consider an uncodified system without a regulated form of adversarial argumentation before a neutral arbiter and key protections for the rights of the accused to be a system of internal accountability. If your "system of internal accountability" amounts to, "We'll kill you if you piss us off," that's not a system, that's just more criminal thuggery.
It's not a matter of killing or not killing. There would clearly be more efficient penalties than simply, "kill, kill, kill" for insubordination.

The system may be uncodified (but frankly, I'd wager 31 has its own code, just not one "revealed" to non-members), but as far as I am concerned, an uncodified system of internal accountability is a system of internal accountability nonetheless.

That is irrelevant, because the point is that both are consequences of the morally flawed state of human beings.
Except prisons are not examples of the "dark side". They are examples of the "light side" combating the "dark side".

And a dictator -- Machiavelli's Prince -- has inherently taken all freedom away. Machiavelli just advises him to give some of it back for a bit, conditional upon obedience to the Prince.

In the same way, a particularly sadistic man might totally block a victim's airway at first, but then ease his grasp just enough that the victim can gain a little bit of air if the victim agrees to do what the sadist tells him. Yet the sadist's hands still remain around the victim's neck, and we should not think the sadist therefore a generous man for not completely choking his victim, nor imagine he is acting out of respect for the victim's right to breathe.
Again, Rousseau would disagree with you. Machiavelli's other great work, The Discourses, shows a great love of freedom. He proposes a checks-and-balances system to preserve freedom.

The Price, at first glance, APPEARS to be simply advice for rulers on how to retain power. But as Rousseau pointed out, a careful reading strongly implies that Machiavelli's two works are not as conflicted as would meet the eye.

Again--the American Founders held that the right to one's own private property, and the right to keep and bear arms, are central to liberty. Again, they held that an armed populace is the great detriment to tyranny.

Therefore, if Machiavelli demands an armed populace--who are free to own private property as they see fit--that hardly sounds like advice allowing for a tyrant, let alone a sadistic one.

And yet all three actually subordinate themselves to the state in some manner: "Dirty" Harry by virtue of his status as a police officer; Batman by virtue of his alliance with Commissioner Gordon; and James T. Kirk by virtue of his status as a Starfleet officer. None of them truly place themselves above the law the way Section 31 does. And Batman, in particular, subordinates himself to an absolute moral standard that Section 31 disregards -- he never, ever kills anyone, for any reason whatsoever, and will always rescue someone in danger of death, even if they are murderers themselves.
Batman finds an interesting loophole, though. As he said to Ras-al-Ghul in the final battle of Batman Begins, "I'm not going to kill you...but I don't have to save you."

Furthermore, at the end of The Dark Knight, he tells Gordon that he has to go futher underground, and that Gordon has to chase him as a criminal, because the things Batman will have to do for a time can not be connected to Gordon.

(Batman, in particular, it might be noted, only works as an extralegal vigilante because systemic corruption in the City of Gotham is so pervasive on every level that the social contract in Gotham City simply does not work, and thus the government has no democratic legitimacy. He is, in other words, a citizen exercising his inherent right to protect the rights of himself and of others, which under normal circumstances is delegated to the democratically-elected government.

Were Bruce Wayne born and raised in Metropolis, he would almost certainly have responded to the murder of his parents by becoming a police officer rather than a vigilante.)
Of course. However, going to Dirty Harry for a moment, his beef isn't so much with corruption of the police as it is with their hands being tied by bureaucratic red tape and rules-and-regulations.

Asking why Donatra went to Romulus is a bit like asking why a chess player who know he might escape a checkmate if he makes one particular move and the other player makes a mistake, but that if he does not make that move, he will be checkmated in five turns. The player continues to play because there is no other choice; you either attempt, against the odds, to survive now, or you guarantee your loss later.
Using that analogy, Donatra's actions seem more like moving your king right into you're opponent's territory--surrounded by rooks, bishops, and queens--and expecting said opponent not to notice. I wonder how on earth she felt she had any chance.

... did you even read the damn novel? Donatra's reasons for going to Romulus were explained, in detail. It had nothing to do with any daring plan to escape prison.
Consult my previous answer to that question.

I agree that Putin's goal is to re-assert Russia's status as a major world power on the national stage, and to re-assert Russian control of the territories that both the Tzarist and Soviet regimes regarded as their "sphere of influence," and I agree that Russian diplomacy should be viewed through that lens.

But Putin is nothing if not a Russian nationalist. He was attached to the Soviet Union because it was a tool of Russian domination of the other Soviet republics, not because he had any real ideological attachment to Communism or to the idea of Russian equality with other Soviet nationalities. He's perfectly content to be the new Tzar of Russia (whether he calls himself "President" or "Prime Minister" at any given moment) under a Capitalist rather than Communist system.
Agreed. As you say--

Putin's goal is to unofficially restore the Russian Empire. That's why the Kremlin now appoints mayors and regional governors. That's why Moscow has created a new position to control the Caucasus-region territories of the Russian Federation -- essentially re-creating the old viceroy position the Tzars had. Putin's goal is Russian imperium.
Again, I actually see forthcoming a real-life kind of "Typhon Pact", among Russia, the other Former-Sovet-Union countries, and Iran, among other possible powers. This should prove especially interesting if Iran fixes up its nuclear program...and then tries to make good on its threat to wipe Israel off the map....
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Old March 19 2011, 01:09 AM   #442
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Basically, I'm satirizing the mantras invoked when such questions are brought up.
Indeed, Rush Limborg has shown consistent disrespect for the principle of the rule of law in almost every Section 31-related debate in which he has been involved.

Actions are not considered just or unjust intrinically,
Odd hearing such a claim from a professed Christian. One most typically hears contrary claims from the faithful.

Yes and no. Sloan notes that the actions he and 31 conducted were responsable for saving countless lives
Or so he claims. Interestingly, we never actually see Section 31 engaging in any operations have have the effect of actually saving lives throughout any of their canonical or non-canonical appearances set during the post-ENT era.

Granted, he did have a vested interest in making that claim, but he was also very confident that in time, Bashir would come to agree with him.
Con men are very confident that in time, you'll come to agree with them. That doesn't mean they're telling the truth.

Sci wrote:
Yeah, but the way you talk, it comes across like you perceive every damn thing as an existential threat and the "last resort" as being, at best, a third or fourth resort.
Well I can assure you, Sci, that is not my intent.
You say that here, and yet at the very end of your post, you start whittering on about Russia and Iran forming a "Typhon Pact"-like alliance and Iran attempting to destroy the State of Israel.

I'm sorry, but your behavior indicates a consistent tendency to exaggerate potential threats and to jump to war as a primary, rather than secondary or tertiary, tool of statecraft.

No, he was engaging in national self-defense. By murdering to remove corruption from world affairs.
By murdering to remove corruption from world affairs.
He wasn't "murdering to remove corruption." The U.S. government in The West Wing regarded the Qumari government has being corrupt years before the events of "We Killed Yamamoto." Bartlet ordered Sharieff's assassination because he represented a threat to the United States which he did not believe the U.S. would be able to counter through other means.

On the Vakerie conspiracy--

<SNIP>

The key difference, of course, being that in Nazi Germany, there was no functioning court system, no real justice system; there was only the will of the Führer. The Federation, by contrast, had a functioning justice system. Even if one accepts the idea that Zife could not be openly tried for his crimes, the fact remains that the Federation system is built on the idea that if you can't convict someone, you let them go, and that Zife did not pose a threat to the Federation upon his resignation. Hitler's rule, by contrast, was tyrannical and posed an existential threat to Germany, both in terms of state violence against its citizenry and in terms of the war being waged against Germany as a result of Hitler's provocations.

You can't compare a state where there is no social contract to one where there is. You simply can't compare the two situations.
By that argument, Sci, neither can you compare the existence of prisions to the existence of the Mafia or Section 31.
Of course you can. Both Section 31 and the Mafia exist in a society that has a functional judicial system and which is a liberal democracy. You can perfectly compare the existence of Section 31 to the existence of the Mafia. You can't compare the assassination of a Federation President to the assassination of a Nazi Dictator.

And yet you yourself claimed that all of those were equally accaptable as examples involving a society's dark side.
Now you're just confusing my argument.

I did not cite "all of these" as "examples involving a society's dark side."

I said that both the existence of prisons and, separately, the existence of a society's dark side (impulses towards imperialism, as an example) are consequences of humanity's flawed moral character.

That is it. That is all. I did not compare prisons to anything. Nor did I say that prisons are not an attempt to cope with humanity's flawed moral character. All I said was that societies have dark sides for the same reason they have prisons: Because people aren't perfect. That's it. That's all. Full stop.

Kindly stop trying to extend that statement further.

In a simmilar manner, Hitler and Zife are both examples of corruption. One is simply a more "extreme" example than another.
Once again, you cannot reasonably compare the two situations or the assassination scenarios, because the political cultures are fundamentally different. One is a dictator in a totalitarian system that lacks a social contract; one is a president who has engaged in criminal behavior in a liberal democracy with a functional justice system and social contract. Comparing the assassinations of the two is like comparing an act of murder committed in the middle of a police station to an act of self-defense committed in the Wild West.

Well, I suppose it depends on the motivations, doesn't it?

In this case, I will remain cynical in regards to Madoff's motives until proven wrong.
Fair enough, but you would do well to disabuse yourself of the fallacious notion that people's motivations are in general rationally consistent. People are complex and self-contradictory creatures.

Except the "high-level abusers got away scott-free" despite the exposure of the incidents.
Which is why I said that exposure of the initial crime is not enough.

Batman finds an interesting loophole, though. As he said to Ras-al-Ghul in the final battle of Batman Begins, "I'm not going to kill you...but I don't have to save you."
And that was a horrible perversion of the real Batman, who can only be found in the comics upon which Batman Begins is based. And in those comics, Batman would never let Ra's al Ghul die by refusing to save him.

Using that analogy, Donatra's actions seem more like moving your king right into you're opponent's territory--surrounded by rooks, bishops, and queens--and expecting said opponent not to notice. I wonder how on earth she felt she had any chance.
She didn't, really. But sometimes in chess, you simply have no other options. You take the move that gives you the highest probability of survival, but sometimes even that probability is ridiculously low. Sometimes, in chess, you have no other choice but to move into checkmate.

I agree that Putin's goal is to re-assert Russia's status as a major world power on the national stage, and to re-assert Russian control of the territories that both the Tzarist and Soviet regimes regarded as their "sphere of influence," and I agree that Russian diplomacy should be viewed through that lens.

But Putin is nothing if not a Russian nationalist. He was attached to the Soviet Union because it was a tool of Russian domination of the other Soviet republics, not because he had any real ideological attachment to Communism or to the idea of Russian equality with other Soviet nationalities. He's perfectly content to be the new Tzar of Russia (whether he calls himself "President" or "Prime Minister" at any given moment) under a Capitalist rather than Communist system.
Agreed. As you say--

Putin's goal is to unofficially restore the Russian Empire. That's why the Kremlin now appoints mayors and regional governors. That's why Moscow has created a new position to control the Caucasus-region territories of the Russian Federation -- essentially re-creating the old viceroy position the Tzars had. Putin's goal is Russian imperium.
Again, I actually see forthcoming a real-life kind of "Typhon Pact", among Russia, the other Former-Sovet-Union countries, and Iran, among other possible powers. This should prove especially interesting if Iran fixes up its nuclear program...and then tries to make good on its threat to wipe Israel off the map....


In the words of Ronald Reagan:

"There you go again."
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Old March 19 2011, 02:47 AM   #443
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Basically, I'm satirizing the mantras invoked when such questions are brought up.
Indeed, Rush Limborg has shown consistent disrespect for the principle of the rule of law in almost every Section 31-related debate in which he has been involved.


In the words of Ronald Reagan:

"There you go again."

To be honest--as far as the rule of law is concerned--I'd consider Section 31 to be the exception, not the rule.

Still, you may recall I once suggested that the ideal solution would be to, instead of having 31 entirely autonomous, have the Bureau report either directly to the President, or to the director of SI--the difference being that the normal restrictions would not apply.

It would be far superior to merely not having such an organization at all.

Actions are not considered just or unjust intrinically,
Odd hearing such a claim from a professed Christian. One most typically hears contrary claims from the faithful.
Well, consider the instance of Rahab lying to cover for the Hebrew spies in the Biblical book of Josua--or the Hebrew midwives covering for the babies near the beginning of the book of Exodus.

In a world corrupted by sin, one often has to choose the lesser of two evils.

Or so he claims. Interestingly, we never actually see Section 31 engaging in any operations have have the effect of actually saving lives throughout any of their canonical or non-canonical appearances set during the post-ENT era.
I would imagine either because 1) the majority of writers of those eps tend to be of the same opinon as yourself, or 2) as I have previously said, succesful actions of clandestine organizations tend to be unnoticed, which is as it should be.

In order to see a good amount of examples of "successful missions", and saving of lives thereof, we'd probably have to have an honest-to-goodness Section 31 series, a la "Mission: Impossible" meets "24".

Con men are very confident that in time, you'll come to agree with them. That doesn't mean they're telling the truth.
(shrugs)

You say that here, and yet at the very end of your post, you start whittering on about Russia and Iran forming a "Typhon Pact"-like alliance and Iran attempting to destroy the State of Israel.
Did Iran's president say that his intentions were such, or not?

Did Putin form a diplomatic relationship with Iran, or didn't he?


He wasn't "murdering to remove corruption." The U.S. government in The West Wing regarded the Qumari government has being corrupt years before the events of "We Killed Yamamoto." Bartlet ordered Sharieff's assassination because he represented a threat to the United States which he did not believe the U.S. would be able to counter through other means.
Fair enough.

Of course you can. Both Section 31 and the Mafia exist in a society that has a functional judicial system and which is a liberal democracy. You can perfectly compare the existence of Section 31 to the existence of the Mafia. You can't compare the assassination of a Federation President to the assassination of a Nazi Dictator.
Corruption is corruption--those are simply different degrees of it.

Now you're just confusing my argument.

I did not cite "all of these" as "examples involving a society's dark side."

I said that both the existence of prisons and, separately, the existence of a society's dark side (impulses towards imperialism, as an example) are consequences of humanity's flawed moral character.

That is it. That is all. I did not compare prisons to anything. Nor did I say that prisons are not an attempt to cope with humanity's flawed moral character. All I said was that societies have dark sides for the same reason they have prisons: Because people aren't perfect. That's it. That's all. Full stop.
All right...I'll take your word for it. Thank you for clearing up my confusion.

Kindly stop trying to extend that statement further.
Gladly--provided you too take care to refrain from assumptions like so:

I'm sorry, but your behavior indicates a consistent tendency to exaggerate potential threats and to jump to war as a primary, rather than secondary or tertiary, tool of statecraft.
I did no such thing. I am simply bringing up scenarios in which war arguable would be the best option. Nothing more, nothing less.

Once again, you cannot reasonably compare the two situations or the assassination scenarios, because the political cultures are fundamentally different. One is a dictator in a totalitarian system that lacks a social contract;
A system that he created.

one is a president who has engaged in criminal behavior in a liberal democracy with a functional justice system and social contract. Comparing the assassinations of the two is like comparing an act of murder committed in the middle of a police station to an act of self-defense committed in the Wild West.
By attempting to assasinate Hitler, the Valkerie conspirators had indended to cure the corruption he had instigated--true or false?

Which is why I said that exposure of the initial crime is not enough.
What is worse: exposure without justice, or no exposure? Please answer in regards to foreign relations, not matters of morality. Which would be worse for that?

And that was a horrible perversion of the real Batman, who can only be found in the comics upon which Batman Begins is based. And in those comics, Batman would never let Ra's al Ghul die by refusing to save him.
Regardless, Sci, it did occur. Batman understood Ra's al Ghul had to perish--he was too dangerous to be left alive.

I would imagine that, for whatever reason, 31 made the same assumption about Zife and Azernoll.


She didn't, really. But sometimes in chess, you simply have no other options. You take the move that gives you the highest probability of survival, but sometimes even that probability is ridiculously low. Sometimes, in chess, you have no other choice but to move into checkmate.
Not necessarily. You mentioned the alternative of "putting off" a defeat--which you proposed would make it more inevitable.

I propose that the buying of time in that regard in fact opens the door for more opportunites. The longer the games wears on, the greater the likelyhood that the opponent will get worn out, and make a mistake.
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Old March 19 2011, 05:54 AM   #444
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Time breeds indifference, dulling of passions, and so on.
... and a lack of interest in making sure that the Federation didn't have powerful death squads running about the galaxy?

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Oh, I'm not that nuts. I'm just saying Putin misses the days when Russia was a force to be reckoned with--that he wishes to make The Motherland "glorious" again, a major power once again.
That's a rather different thing from the KGB restoration of the Soviet Union you were talking about above. Or seemed to be talking about. And why the Federation is supposed to behave like post-Communist Russia in accepting totalitarian secret police forces, all evidence to the contrary, is still beyond me.

Yes and no. Sloan notes that the actions he and 31 conducted were responsable for saving countless lives--numbers which, as far as he was concerned, did "justify the means".
Granted, he did have a vested interest in making that claim, but he was also very confident that in time, Bashir would come to agree with him.
For what reason?

We've good reason to be skeptical of the veracity of Section 31 in its identification, evaluation, and treatment of threats against the Federation. Trying to commit genocide against the Founders transgresses basic Federation values. Preparing to destroy Tezwa and the Tezwans with it--killing a civilian population of billions of non-Federation citizens--in order to cover up a Federation president's misdeeds is unspeakable.

Federation citizens aren't going to be upset?
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Old March 20 2011, 01:24 PM   #445
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Time breeds indifference, dulling of passions, and so on.
... and a lack of interest in making sure that the Federation didn't have powerful death squads running about the galaxy?
Yes. Given enough time, people would shrug off the stories of Section 31 as "old news", long past, irrelevent to "our present time".

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Oh, I'm not that nuts. I'm just saying Putin misses the days when Russia was a force to be reckoned with--that he wishes to make The Motherland "glorious" again, a major power once again.
That's a rather different thing from the KGB restoration of the Soviet Union you were talking about above. Or seemed to be talking about. And why the Federation is supposed to behave like post-Communist Russia in accepting totalitarian secret police forces, all evidence to the contrary, is still beyond me.
Well, just as most of Russia, I'd imagine, isn't of the same mindset as Putin, so most of the Federation would not be of the same mindset of Section 31.

Yes and no. Sloan notes that the actions he and 31 conducted were responsable for saving countless lives--numbers which, as far as he was concerned, did "justify the means".
Granted, he did have a vested interest in making that claim, but he was also very confident that in time, Bashir would come to agree with him.
For what reason?
I'd say Sloan saw in him the potential to take the path we see him taking in the novels right now--albeit through different means, of course.

We've good reason to be skeptical of the veracity of Section 31 in its identification, evaluation, and treatment of threats against the Federation. Trying to commit genocide against the Founders transgresses basic Federation values. Preparing to destroy Tezwa and the Tezwans with it--killing a civilian population of billions of non-Federation citizens--in order to cover up a Federation president's misdeeds is unspeakable.

Federation citizens aren't going to be upset?
As I've said, the majority of Federations citizens probably would be upset--again, that's why 31 is so secret.

But I'd imagine it would spark a debate much like we're having here--just much more widespread.
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Old March 20 2011, 07:35 PM   #446
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Time breeds indifference, dulling of passions, and so on.
... and a lack of interest in making sure that the Federation didn't have powerful death squads running about the galaxy?
Yes. Given enough time, people would shrug off the stories of Section 31 as "old news", long past, irrelevent to "our present time".
How much time?

Well, just as most of Russia, I'd imagine, isn't of the same mindset as Putin, so most of the Federation would not be of the same mindset of Section 31.
You're arguing that people in the Federation care as little for democracy and civil rights as people in 2011 Russia?

As I've said, the majority of Federations citizens probably would be upset--again, that's why 31 is so secret.

But I'd imagine it would spark a debate much like we're having here--just much more widespread.
You seem to think little of the Federation's citizenry. Why would there ever be a debate over the acceptability of Section 31 when the organization is clearly shown to inveterately violate norms of Federation behaviour?
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Old March 20 2011, 11:46 PM   #447
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

... and a lack of interest in making sure that the Federation didn't have powerful death squads running about the galaxy?
Yes. Given enough time, people would shrug off the stories of Section 31 as "old news", long past, irrelevent to "our present time".
How much time?
It depends on circumstances--particularly unrelated events, major or minor, affecting the quadrant, diverting the attention of the people. It's amazing what ten or twenty years can do.

Well, just as most of Russia, I'd imagine, isn't of the same mindset as Putin, so most of the Federation would not be of the same mindset of Section 31.
You're arguing that people in the Federation care as little for democracy and civil rights as people in 2011 Russia?
Not at all--quite the opposite. I would imagine the people of Russia care very much for freedom, civil rights, etc. It's the government which cares less for freedom than, say, the Federation.

As I've said, the majority of Federations citizens probably would be upset--again, that's why 31 is so secret.

But I'd imagine it would spark a debate much like we're having here--just much more widespread.
You seem to think little of the Federation's citizenry. Why would there ever be a debate over the acceptability of Section 31 when the organization is clearly shown to inveterately violate norms of Federation behaviour?
Because the question would inevitably arise as to whether the "norms" had, indeed, kept the Federation safe...or whether it was Section 31 which did the protecting.

What is "normal" is not necessarily "right". That is why "progress" is such a popular concept.
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Old March 21 2011, 05:51 AM   #448
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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I would imagine the people of Russia care very much for freedom, civil rights, etc.
Unfortunately, this idea is questionable. At the height of Russian democratization during the late 80s and 1990s, there really was no large-scale Russian democracy movement, no real Russian civil society. People didn't form major advocacy groups, civil rights protection groups, interest groups, etc. It was, unfortunately, a much more top-down phenomenon than bottom-up. And, indeed, Vladimir Putin is very much admired and has high approval ratings today, even though he's transformed Russian democracy into a joke, because he is credited with reviving the Russian economy.

Unfortunately, I would argue that Russian political culture is, at present, still fundamentally autocratic, and will remain so for some time. The Russian people as a whole have simply yet to internalize the ideas of the Enlightenment, of liberal democracy, and until they do, the Russian government will reflect the autocratic impulses of the majority.

Because the question would inevitably arise as to whether the "norms" had, indeed, kept the Federation safe...or whether it was Section 31 which did the protecting.
I'm curious how Section 31 could be proven to have protected anyone when it's so opposed to transparency.
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Old March 21 2011, 07:20 AM   #449
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
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Yes. Given enough time, people would shrug off the stories of Section 31 as "old news", long past, irrelevent to "our present time".
How much time?
It depends on circumstances--particularly unrelated events, major or minor, affecting the quadrant, diverting the attention of the people. It's amazing what ten or twenty years can do.
This is the point when I ask you for real-world examples of how normal countries react to rogue state agencies responsible for terror within and without their borders.

Not at all--quite the opposite. I would imagine the people of Russia care very much for freedom, civil rights, etc. It's the government which cares less for freedom than, say, the Federation.
As Sci notes, the Russian electorate doesn't really care. A lot of this has to do with the coincidence of democracy's appearance--or non-totalitarianism's, anyway--at the same time that Russia fell apart. The likely undeservedly negative association of political pluralism with economic privation and social chaos did a lot to discredit democracy's adherents, who as Sci notes weren't numerous to begin with.

As I've said, the majority of Federations citizens probably would be upset--again, that's why 31 is so secret.

But I'd imagine it would spark a debate much like we're having here--just much more widespread.
You seem to think little of the Federation's citizenry. Why would there ever be a debate over the acceptability of Section 31 when the organization is clearly shown to inveterately violate norms of Federation behaviour?
Because the question would inevitably arise as to whether the "norms" had, indeed, kept the Federation safe...or whether it was Section 31 which did the protecting.[/QUOTE]

What evidence is there for this?

Let's take the single example of the genocide attempted against the Founders. The deployment of the viral weapons was very high-risk: if the Dominion determined the cause of the sickness besetting the Great Link and the virus' origins in the Federation, what would keep the Founders from escalating the conflict further? Metagenic weapons are easy enough to make and deploy, likewise planetcracker and sunkiller weapons, and the Dominion didn't show any compunction against genocide against non-existential threats. What mercy against the foreigners who murdered their gods?

And even without the Dominion finding out, it's not obvious that the disease's progression did anything to weaken the Founders, who recruited the Breen as allies and were ready to bleed the Alpha Quadrant white notwithstanding the species' impending demise. Section 31's disease may have worsened the war.
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Old March 22 2011, 05:04 AM   #450
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

How much time?
It depends on circumstances--particularly unrelated events, major or minor, affecting the quadrant, diverting the attention of the people. It's amazing what ten or twenty years can do.
This is the point when I ask you for real-world examples of how normal countries react to rogue state agencies responsible for terror within and without their borders.
And I would answer that that's something of a loaded question--31's actions could hardly be considered "terror". Remember, their actions are supposed to be in secret, in the netherworld of espionage.

As Sci notes, the Russian electorate doesn't really care. A lot of this has to do with the coincidence of democracy's appearance--or non-totalitarianism's, anyway--at the same time that Russia fell apart. The likely undeservedly negative association of political pluralism with economic privation and social chaos did a lot to discredit democracy's adherents, who as Sci notes weren't numerous to begin with.
Tragic, if true. But I would contend that, regardless, Putin could only go so far before he overreaches in such matters.

But as Sci has also pointed out (and I know--my using him as a reference might as well be a sign of a certain place freezing over, but still--), Putin isn't for bringing back communism (I seem to recall he brought a flat tax to Russia, as opposed the the heavy progressive income tax Karl Marx was fond of), so much as the influence of Russia in world affairs. Again, this helps to explain his increasing relations with Iran.

As I've said, the majority of Federations citizens probably would be upset--again, that's why 31 is so secret.

But I'd imagine it would spark a debate much like we're having here--just much more widespread.
You seem to think little of the Federation's citizenry. Why would there ever be a debate over the acceptability of Section 31 when the organization is clearly shown to inveterately violate norms of Federation behaviour?
Because the question would inevitably arise as to whether the "norms" had, indeed, kept the Federation safe...or whether it was Section 31 which did the protecting.
What evidence is there for this?

Let's take the single example of the genocide attempted against the Founders. The deployment of the viral weapons was very high-risk: if the Dominion determined the cause of the sickness besetting the Great Link and the virus' origins in the Federation, what would keep the Founders from escalating the conflict further? Metagenic weapons are easy enough to make and deploy, likewise planetcracker and sunkiller weapons, and the Dominion didn't show any compunction against genocide against non-existential threats. What mercy against the foreigners who murdered their gods?

And even without the Dominion finding out, it's not obvious that the disease's progression did anything to weaken the Founders, who recruited the Breen as allies and were ready to bleed the Alpha Quadrant white notwithstanding the species' impending demise. Section 31's disease may have worsened the war.
There are those of us on the BBS--myself included--who contest that, and defend the decision. (See for a recent example the "Alternative History" thread in the DS9 forum.)

In the same way, I would contend that there would be people like us in the Federation, and they would engage the rest in a similar debate, just as Trek frequently brings current debates on issues into a 24th-century context.
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