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Old November 18 2011, 09:10 PM   #31
Arachnea
Cadet
 
Location: P3X-774
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

The Prime Directive is counter-intuitive. Our intution might suffice to deal with human ethical problems but obviously it is unable to handle inter-species issues.

Imagine the situation on Earth when the Vulcans met Cochrane. Radiation sickness, civilization nearly undone, probably a lot of anarchy and hunger. And yet they did not help us, did not deliver food, medicine and technology but stood idly by while we had to solve our problems on our own. They did not give us warp technology and pissed off a lot of folks at Starfleet, among them Archer and Tucker. And yet the Vulcans have been right. Archer realized this after he has been in deep space for some time.
Hey, here's my first challenge to argue in English: I hope I'll be able to translate what my thoughts are

First of all, the situation you describe is different because earth achieved warp tech when the vulcans came to offer guidance. Then, we don't exactly what help they did offer or not, though I'm sure they didn't meld in politics. About the warp technology, they didn't piss off humanity because they didn't share, but because they refrained the humans with their tests and applications. I'm not saying they were wrong: we're talking about technology.
Yet you guys suggest that Archer and Phlox should not merely have done what the Vulcans did not do on Earth but in addition to that given one group an advantage over another group (Forget evolution, that's precisely what the problems boils down to.)
How would we have reacted if the Vulcans helped e.g. the North Americans but not the East Asians?
And what about the Menk, doesn't Cutler feel that they are oppressed by the Valakians? Why not help them as well, equip them with all they need in their emancipatory struggle?
The story itseld contains 4 possible problems:
a. helping a non-warp civilization;
b. the warp technology;
c. wether or not the Menks are oppressed;
d. the plague: valakians are dying.

a. They already have been "contamined" with the encounter of 2 warp species and they came for help.
b. Would the PD exist at that time, well, Archer did the right choice with not sharing warp tech: "They're not ready".
c. Helping the Menk - though they don't seem to want any help - whatever the crewmen think, would clearly be melding in the politics and evolution of the two races, the PD would apply.
d. Here's the problem: in the first place, if you're not gonna help for the sake of "evolution", you don't try to find a cure, you don't even try to ease the pain, this is intervention, isnt' it ? Question: if the Menk hadn't existed, they wouldn't even had thought about not giving the cure. That's the core of the problem. So, what about evolution ? Maybe there's a microbe who is going to evolve and become a powerful sentient species and you're killing the microbe's chance by giving the cure to the Valakians.

Phlox and Archer are making an assumption: the Menk are supposed, one day, to be more than the Valakians are now. So they decide that the Valakians are not worth saving. It's not about human morale, it's about choosing a race over another. So if curing people is going against evolution (I don't care if it's genetic, virus or bacterial), why bother having medics at all ? Just to choose who to give a cure or not ?

You say that giving the cure to the Valakians is giving an advantage to the them over the Menks: well, that would be true if the Menks were sick. In this episode, it is assumed that the Menks cannot evolve if the Valakians are alive... Well, hum, sure, that's the only possible path I'm coming back to your first argument: if the vulcans hadn't come to earth, we would surely have evolved differently: vulcans has changed the course of human's evolution, just by being there. What I'm saying is, evolution is not static.

ARCHER: You knew you had no business interfering with those people. But you just couldn't let it alone. You thought you were doing the right thing. I might agree if this was Florida or Singapore. But it's not, is it? We're in deep space, and a person is dead, a person who'd still be alive if we hadn't made first contact.
This particular quote made me cringe when I heard it. Had it come from T'Pol, it would have been totally appropriate, because it's right. But coming from the righteous Archer... He takes the right to free sulibans (meddling with politics), he decides to help a colony fight Klingons, etc etc. But it's alright when it comes to HIS decisions (Sorry, not on topic, but I had to say it). And in this particular case, we're not talking about curing someone who is dying, Trip's interventionism meddles with culture where no help is asked. That's exactly what the PD is about.

Finished
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Old November 19 2011, 06:28 PM   #32
horatio83
Commodore
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

On the one hand you have an issue with Archer's lines from the end of Cogenitor but on the other hand you think that Trip messed up?

Anyway, back to the main issue, I like your point that the Vulcans involuntarily influenced humankind. What I don't like is the use of the word evolution only because Phlox used it in the episode. It's about the social relationship between two species, not about their biological fundamentals.

You claim that not helping when help is asked for is as wrong as helping when no help is asked. This assumes a pretty naive picture of the world. Take any group which has fought an emancipatory struggle in history, they first have to convince their brother and sisters. Workers had to fight bourgeois ideology, blacks had to convince the Uncle Toms and women had to convince the all-too-happy housewives.
In "Marauders" Archer first has to convince the workers that it is worthwhile to fight against these bullies who steal their property and you claim that this is essentially a violation of the Prime Directive.

But you consider it not merely totally acceptable but even mandatory to help one species on a planet which asks for help but not another one which is obviously kept back merely because the former one explicitly asks for help while the latter does not.
Suppose you knew a woman who is regularly beaten up by her husband. You offer your help but she refuses. Obviously you should help her against her will.

People can be influenced by ideology, fear repercussions of resisting or just be happy in a subservient position, be it housewives, Uncle Toms or Menk.

If you help the Valakans you gotta help the Menk, thus becoming something far worse than an imperial force. That's why you can help neither. Phlox, while sometimes appearing to have a bit of an ugly social Darwinistic mindset in this episode, clearly realized this. He neither shares humankind's urge to help the Valakans nor humankind's sympathy with the Menk but he realizes that the two human gut reactions are in conflict with each other and comes up with the right solution.
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Old November 20 2011, 12:34 AM   #33
The Overlord
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

horatio83 wrote: View Post
On the one hand you have an issue with Archer's lines from the end of Cogenitor but on the other hand you think that Trip messed up?

Anyway, back to the main issue, I like your point that the Vulcans involuntarily influenced humankind. What I don't like is the use of the word evolution only because Phlox used it in the episode. It's about the social relationship between two species, not about their biological fundamentals.

You claim that not helping when help is asked for is as wrong as helping when no help is asked. This assumes a pretty naive picture of the world. Take any group which has fought an emancipatory struggle in history, they first have to convince their brother and sisters. Workers had to fight bourgeois ideology, blacks had to convince the Uncle Toms and women had to convince the all-too-happy housewives.
In "Marauders" Archer first has to convince the workers that it is worthwhile to fight against these bullies who steal their property and you claim that this is essentially a violation of the Prime Directive.

But you consider it not merely totally acceptable but even mandatory to help one species on a planet which asks for help but not another one which is obviously kept back merely because the former one explicitly asks for help while the latter does not.
Suppose you knew a woman who is regularly beaten up by her husband. You offer your help but she refuses. Obviously you should help her against her will.

People can be influenced by ideology, fear repercussions of resisting or just be happy in a subservient position, be it housewives, Uncle Toms or Menk.

If you help the Valakans you gotta help the Menk, thus becoming something far worse than an imperial force. That's why you can help neither. Phlox, while sometimes appearing to have a bit of an ugly social Darwinistic mindset in this episode, clearly realized this. He neither shares humankind's urge to help the Valakans nor humankind's sympathy with the Menk but he realizes that the two human gut reactions are in conflict with each other and comes up with the right solution.
So cruel indifference is now a form of morality in the Star Trek Universe? I hope not.

So according to this logic, was it okay that West did nothing well there was a genocide in Rwanda in 1994? Many people think the West's inaction was immoral at worse, amoral at best, no one really thinks it was moral.

In Rwanda, the Hutu extremists used the fact that in the past the Tutsis discriminated against them as an argument to justify committing genocide against them. Two wrongs do not make a right, you cannot use evil acts of the past to justify present evil acts.

To say because Valakans were mistreating the Menk, somehow justifies letting them die in a plague, seems very immoral. The US had slavery in the past, would that justify allowing the entire US population to die in the 19th century? What about Germany, because of the crimes that nation state committed in the past, does that mean no one should help them if there was a plague there? Why should we assume that the Valakans would always mistreat the Menk, how would we know the Valakans would make reforms in the future? Also frankly the Valakans seemed far less brutal then either the US or Germany did in the past, so why are they less deserving of help? Also why should Valakan children be punished for the sins of their fathers, how do know the next generation wouldn't have changed things? I don't see anything the Valakans did as a justification letting them die.

In this episode Archer replaced compassion with cruel indifference. That doesn't seem moral, it seems psychopathic. I don't care how far in the future it is, being compassionate is part of being human, being cold and indifferent makes someone seem less human, more like a robot. To say indifference and callousness is superior to compassion, sounds really screwed up.

Last edited by The Overlord; November 20 2011 at 01:10 AM.
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Old November 20 2011, 12:41 AM   #34
Mach5
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

The Overlord wrote: View Post
To say indifference and callousness is superior to compassion, sounds really screwed up.
In essence, it is exactly like saying sociopaths are superior to regular people.
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Old November 20 2011, 03:38 AM   #35
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

If there are actually aliens watching this planet (a hypothetical, because it's vanishingly unlikely) I hope they have a "Prime Directive."

Otherwise, unless their values are exactly like ours (which "ours"?) we're well and truly fucked. Ask the folks who lived in the western hemisphere before the 15th century.
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Old November 20 2011, 03:48 AM   #36
sonak
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Location: in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
If there are actually aliens watching this planet (a hypothetical, because it's vanishingly unlikely) I hope they have a "Prime Directive."

Otherwise, unless their values are exactly like ours (which "ours"?) we're well and truly fucked. Ask the folks who lived in the western hemisphere before the 15th century.

Ah, here it comes again, the "all forms of intervention are really forms of imperialism in disguise" argument. I wasn't sure we'd get through a thread on the PD without someone bringing that up.
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Old November 20 2011, 03:52 AM   #37
horatio83
Commodore
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

The Overlord wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
On the one hand you have an issue with Archer's lines from the end of Cogenitor but on the other hand you think that Trip messed up?

Anyway, back to the main issue, I like your point that the Vulcans involuntarily influenced humankind. What I don't like is the use of the word evolution only because Phlox used it in the episode. It's about the social relationship between two species, not about their biological fundamentals.

You claim that not helping when help is asked for is as wrong as helping when no help is asked. This assumes a pretty naive picture of the world. Take any group which has fought an emancipatory struggle in history, they first have to convince their brother and sisters. Workers had to fight bourgeois ideology, blacks had to convince the Uncle Toms and women had to convince the all-too-happy housewives.
In "Marauders" Archer first has to convince the workers that it is worthwhile to fight against these bullies who steal their property and you claim that this is essentially a violation of the Prime Directive.

But you consider it not merely totally acceptable but even mandatory to help one species on a planet which asks for help but not another one which is obviously kept back merely because the former one explicitly asks for help while the latter does not.
Suppose you knew a woman who is regularly beaten up by her husband. You offer your help but she refuses. Obviously you should help her against her will.

People can be influenced by ideology, fear repercussions of resisting or just be happy in a subservient position, be it housewives, Uncle Toms or Menk.

If you help the Valakans you gotta help the Menk, thus becoming something far worse than an imperial force. That's why you can help neither. Phlox, while sometimes appearing to have a bit of an ugly social Darwinistic mindset in this episode, clearly realized this. He neither shares humankind's urge to help the Valakans nor humankind's sympathy with the Menk but he realizes that the two human gut reactions are in conflict with each other and comes up with the right solution.
So cruel indifference is now a form of morality in the Star Trek Universe? I hope not.

So according to this logic, was it okay that West did nothing well there was a genocide in Rwanda in 1994? Many people think the West's inaction was immoral at worse, amoral at best, no one really thinks it was moral.

In Rwanda, the Hutu extremists used the fact that in the past the Tutsis discriminated against them as an argument to justify committing genocide against them. Two wrongs do not make a right, you cannot use evil acts of the past to justify present evil acts.

To say because Valakans were mistreating the Menk, somehow justifies letting them die in a plague, seems very immoral. The US had slavery in the past, would that justify allowing the entire US population to die in the 19th century? What about Germany, because of the crimes that nation state committed in the past, does that mean no one should help them if there was a plague there? Why should we assume that the Valakans would always mistreat the Menk, how would we know the Valakans would make reforms in the future? Also frankly the Valakans seemed far less brutal then either the US or Germany did in the past, so why are they less deserving of help? Also why should Valakan children be punished for the sins of their fathers, how do know the next generation wouldn't have changed things? I don't see anything the Valakans did as a justification letting them die.

In this episode Archer replaced compassion with cruel indifference. That doesn't seem moral, it seems psychopathic. I don't care how far in the future it is, being compassionate is part of being human, being cold and indifferent makes someone seem less human, more like a robot. To say indifference and callousness is superior to compassion, sounds really screwed up.
Apples and oranges. Human ethics aren't interspecies ethics. That's the essence of the Prime Directive which I pointed out before.

Punish, let them die, your choice of words implies that you consider the Enterprise crew to be the supreme agent in this game. They are not. If they were they wouldn't be a Starfleet crew anymore but an imperial force which arbitrarily assists one species at the cost of another.

Many species roam the Alpha and Beta Quadrant. Starfleet is not responsible for the fate of them. Just imagine all the species the Klingon have subjugated. If you helped them you would unleash a catastrophic war with the Klingon Empire. Sure, it would be a war fought for noble causes but it'd be nonetheless catastrophic.
If the Klingons were human I'd be the first one to argue for military action against them. But they are not which brings us back to the beginning, the zero level of the Prime Directive.


By the way, you folks who call Archer a psychopathic would have to call the whole Vulcan species psychopathic as well because they refused to help humankind while they have been in dire need of help during the second half of the 21st century.
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Old November 20 2011, 08:50 AM   #38
The Overlord
Captain
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Apples and oranges. Human ethics aren't interspecies ethics. That's the essence of the Prime Directive which I pointed out before.
Well you were making comparisons to past societies on Earth in your arguments, why would I not do the same?

So being cruelly indifferent towards the plight of other humans is wrong, but being cruelly indifferent to the plight of other sentient aliens is okay. How does that work?

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Punish, let them die, your choice of words implies that you consider the Enterprise crew to be the supreme agent in this game. They are not. If they were they wouldn't be a Starfleet crew anymore but an imperial force which arbitrarily assists one species at the cost of another.
I think at the point when they developed the cure, they did become the supreme agent in this game. They had the power to prevent a mass slaughter and they did nothing. They had the cure, giving to the Valakans would take no effort and I don't see how the Valakans mistreatment of the Menk justifies letting them die in plague. Valakan society could have changed in the future, they could have had reforms and changed in the future. But the Valakans dying off due to this plague can never be undone. The mistreatment of the Menk was bad, but its easier to mitigate that then the destruction of the Valakan race.

I don't see much different between Archer and Phlox in this episode and the leaders in the West who did nothing to prevent the Rwanda genocide.

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Many species roam the Alpha and Beta Quadrant. Starfleet is not responsible for the fate of them. Just imagine all the species the Klingon have subjugated. If you helped them you would unleash a catastrophic war with the Klingon Empire. Sure, it would be a war fought for noble causes but it'd be nonetheless catastrophic.
If the Klingons were human I'd be the first one to argue for military action against them. But they are not which brings us back to the beginning, the zero level of the Prime Directive.
There is a huge middle ground between controlling other societies and micro managing everything they do and being indifferent to the destruction of an entire species. As usual, the best solution is found in between these two extremes.


horatio83 wrote: View Post
By the way, you folks who call Archer a psychopathic would have to call the whole Vulcan species psychopathic as well because they refused to help humankind while they have been in dire need of help during the second half of the 21st century.
Was humanity as certain to die as the Valakans were in this episode? Because this episode presents it as an almost certainty they will. If the Vulcans knew humanity would almost certainly die and did nothing to help, they would be psychopathic.

Last edited by The Overlord; November 20 2011 at 09:25 AM.
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Old November 20 2011, 05:34 PM   #39
sonak
Vice Admiral
 
Location: in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

your point about the "middle ground" between control and indifference is the point at which the defenders of the PD in its most extreme form lose the argument.

Because basically they're defense of it DEMANDS that they see no difference between intervention to help and domination or conquest. In the real world we'd recognize this as nonsense, but really to "defend" actions like in "Dear Doctor" leads one to poorly thought out arguments like either:


"giving them the cure is interference, and interference leads to conquest and subjugation!"


or

"giving them the cure would mean going around having to "help" civilizations everywhere in the galaxy, which would require such a drain on resources and time it would be unworkable!"


both are basically sloppy versions of the "slippery slope" and shouldn't really be taken seriously.


Help is not synonymous with imperialism, nor does it require crusading around the galaxy in an endless quest to right all the wrongs out there.
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Old November 20 2011, 05:41 PM   #40
horatio83
Commodore
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Was humanity as certain to die as the Valakans were in this episode? Because this episode presents it as an almost certainty they will. If the Vulcans knew humanity would almost certainly die and did nothing to help, they would be psychopathic.
If you have seen Carbon Creek you know that this is precisely what the Vulcans would have done hypothetically during the Cold War and have actually done during WWIII. They stood idly by while Earth was about to destroy itself in a nuclear armageddon.
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Old November 20 2011, 05:47 PM   #41
horatio83
Commodore
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

sonak wrote: View Post
your point about the "middle ground" between control and indifference is the point at which the defenders of the PD in its most extreme form lose the argument.

Because basically they're defense of it DEMANDS that they see no difference between intervention to help and domination or conquest. In the real world we'd recognize this as nonsense, but really to "defend" actions like in "Dear Doctor" leads one to poorly thought out arguments like either:


"giving them the cure is interference, and interference leads to conquest and subjugation!"


or

"giving them the cure would mean going around having to "help" civilizations everywhere in the galaxy, which would require such a drain on resources and time it would be unworkable!"


both are basically sloppy versions of the "slippery slope" and shouldn't really be taken seriously.


Help is not synonymous with imperialism, nor does it require crusading around the galaxy in an endless quest to right all the wrongs out there.
When you help the Valakans and not the Menk just because the Valakans have explicitly asked for help while the Menk are happy idiots (stupid housewives or Uncle Toms) you become something far worse than an imperial force. You don't merely conquer a world and subjugate its people, you randomly assist one group at the expense of another while being able to feel smug and righteous.
But go ahead, if you think that helping the Valakans is an ethical impetus helping every subjugated Klingon and Romulan species is a far stronger impetus. You'd have to go to war with each and every power in the two quadrants and you'd have to unleash a total war that costs billions or trillions of life.

Such nonsense, based upon intellectual laziness that refuses to acknowledge that you can't play in deep space like you play on Earth, should indeed not be taken seriously.
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Old November 20 2011, 06:02 PM   #42
sonak
Vice Admiral
 
Location: in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

[QUOTE=horatio83;5358941]
sonak wrote: View Post
your point about the "middle ground" between control and indifference is the point at which the defenders of the PD in its most extreme form lose the argument.

Because basically they're defense of it DEMANDS that they see no difference between intervention to help and domination or conquest. In the real world we'd recognize this as nonsense, but really to "defend" actions like in "Dear Doctor" leads one to poorly thought out arguments like either:


"giving them the cure is interference, and interference leads to conquest and subjugation!"


or

"giving them the cure would mean going around having to "help" civilizations everywhere in the galaxy, which would require such a drain on resources and time it would be unworkable!"


both are basically sloppy versions of the "slippery slope" and shouldn't really be taken seriously.


Help is not synonymous with imperialism, nor does it require crusading around the galaxy in an endless quest to right all the wrongs out there.
When you help the Valakans and not the Menk just because the Valakans have explicitly asked for help while the Menk are happy idiots (stupid housewives or Uncle Toms) you become something far worse than an imperial force. You don't merely conquer a world and subjugate its people, you randomly assist one group at the expense of another while being able to feel smug and righteous.
But go ahead, if you think that helping the Valakans is an ethical impetus helping every subjugated Klingon and Romulan species is a far stronger impetus. You'd have to go to war with each and every power in the two quadrants and you'd have to unleash a total war that costs billions or trillions of life.

Such nonsense, based upon intellectual laziness that refuses to acknowledge that you can't play in deep space like you play on Earth, should indeed not be taken seriously.[/QUOTE



Wow, you responded to my post using LITERALLY the exact two arguments I just wrote about, which are both just sloppy slippery slope fallacies.


Well done, sir. That couldn't have worked out better if it was done intentionally.


I especially liked the "you'd HAVE to go to war with two to three powers!" part, that was funny.


because of course giving a cure for a people who ask for it is JUST LIKE fighting massive wars of liberation.


how can I attack logic like that?
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Old November 20 2011, 06:06 PM   #43
The Overlord
Captain
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

horatio83 wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
Was humanity as certain to die as the Valakans were in this episode? Because this episode presents it as an almost certainty they will. If the Vulcans knew humanity would almost certainly die and did nothing to help, they would be psychopathic.
If you have seen Carbon Creek you know that this is precisely what the Vulcans would have done hypothetically during the Cold War and have actually done during WWIII. They stood idly by while Earth was about to destroy itself in a nuclear armageddon.
The Cold War is not the same as a plague ravaging a population, the Cold War could have resulted in mass death, but didn't this plague did. As for WWIII. You are forgetting that the amount of effort Phlox and Archer had to put in to stop the plague was minimal compared the effort the Vulcans could have needed to stop WWIII.

Phlox and Archer got involved, they made the cure and then they decided not to give the cure, the broke the PD by getting involved in the first place. Heck the PD didn't even exist back then, so there was nothing really stopping them from getting involved in the first place. They fact they got involved, give the Valakans false hope and then decide not to give the cure to them. That comes off as extremely cruel and callous. As was mentioned before, this is like someone with a jug of water coming across a man dying of thirst and decides not give any of his water to the man and then says that was the moral thing to do.
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Old November 20 2011, 06:11 PM   #44
Admiral Buzzkill
Fleet Admiral
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

sonak wrote: View Post
Ah, here it comes again, the "all forms of intervention are really forms of imperialism in disguise" argument. I wasn't sure we'd get through a thread on the PD without someone bringing that up.
You've thoroughly failed to address it, of course. In fact, you couldn't if you tried.

That's because there's no real answer to it, in this context.

All of these wonderful arguments about the morality of the Prime Directive in the Star Trek context that assume it has any referent in the real world are failures from their initial premise.

The notion that "folks are the same all over" in cultural respects is underthough tripe. Star Trek pretends that human and non-human creatures would be so similar with respect to basic drives, instincts, and consciousness (if the last even obtained) that their values would be more confortably close to one another - that is, identical - than that of GOP and Democratic voters in the United States.

Fail.

"All forms of intervention" between a space-traveling, super-technological species and a less technologically advanced species (not "races," not "peoples," but at species and in fact essentially different kinds of life above the level of abstraction of the so-called "kingdoms") would not be "imperialism."

It would be genocide.

Fortunately, none of us will experience this - there's not one good reason to believe now that it will ever happen.

But, you know, we're free to keep having these hair-splitting, meaningless debates over vapor.
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Old November 20 2011, 06:17 PM   #45
horatio83
Commodore
 
Re: Phlox and Archer's actions in Dear Doctor

sonak wrote: View Post
Wow, you responded to my post using LITERALLY the exact two arguments I just wrote about, which are both just sloppy slippery slope fallacies.


Well done, sir. That couldn't have worked out better if it was done intentionally.


I especially liked the "you'd HAVE to go to war with two to three powers!" part, that was funny.


because of course giving a cure for a people who ask for it is JUST LIKE fighting massive wars of liberation.


how can I attack logic like that?
You obviously can't with your big lettered words and your lack of an argument.
But you can try to explain why one should help a sick species but not a subjugated species. You might wanna pick up Overlord's point about genocides like in Rwanada to get something going.



The Overlord wrote: View Post
The Cold War is not the same as a plague ravaging a population, the Cold War could have resulted in mass death, but didn't this plague did. As for WWIII. You are forgetting that the amount of effort Phlox and Archer had to put in to stop the plague was minimal compared the effort the Vulcans could have needed to stop WWIII.

Phlox and Archer got involved, they made the cure and then they decided not to give the cure, the broke the PD by getting involved in the first place. Heck the PD didn't even exist back then, so there was nothing really stopping them from getting involved in the first place. They fact they got involved, give the Valakans false hope and then decide not to give the cure to them. That comes off as extremely cruel and callous. As was mentioned before, this is like someone with a jug of water coming across a man dying of thirst and decides not give any of his water to the man and then says that was the moral thing to do.
I think the difference between us is that you talk about cruelty, psychopaths and morals whereas I talk about ethics.

Let me phrase it like this, I agree with you that what the Vulcans or Archer did was cruel or even sociopathic (only so if the society we talk about stands alone, not embedded into a world with many alien species) but it was also the ethically right thing to do. This sounds like a contradiction but I don't think it is. To kill someone is normally morally and ethically wrong whereas to kill Hitler might have been morally wrong but if there was any ethical injunction for my grand-grand-parents it was to kill this man.
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