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Old May 5 2012, 07:07 PM   #16
robau
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

Sci wrote: View Post
You have a strange idea of "utopia," if you can't even vote for your own leaders. Sounds very dystopian to me.
Life without money would also sound dystopian to some people.

Of course, we should let go of the idea of the Federation as utopia. The Federation is not a utopia, it's just more progressive than what exists today.
Whether or not it actually is, it is presented as utopia. That is undeniable.

You don't think that a culture that can travel faster than the speed of light has figured out how to count?
We are talking about popularly electing a Federation President amongst however many worlds and cultures. That sounds like a big mess no matter the technology. Hell, liberals in the United States go bonkers over the idea of using technology for voting. "WE WANT A PAPER TRAIL!" they scream. That's just one country on one planet.

Oh, yes, all those petty, petty people, like Alice Paul and Martin Luther King. So petty, this desire to have a voice in the government that has power over you.

I'm sorry, but that idea is just naked autocracy.
That's how the Star Trek utopia works. You concern yourself only with your own personal growth and achievement instead of wallowing in petty politics like "who will lead me??".
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Old May 5 2012, 07:31 PM   #17
T'Girl
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

Timo wrote: View Post
Yet Kirk considers "us" a democracy...

Kor, Commandant of Organia: "You of the Federation, you are much like us."
Kirk: "We're nothing like you. We're a democratic body- "
If the only democrazy in the federation is practiced at the federation council level, the Kor could have truthfully stated "We're just as democratic as you." The Klingons would seem to have a democratic forum and democratic decision making in their high council.

BillJ wrote: View Post
Democracy may have a far different meaning in the 23rd century.
I wonder if those who have the prime directive imposed upon them are give any say in the matter, in a democratic way.

Or are the silly little primitive "mud people" excludes from the deliberations of their betters?

If I'm not misremembering, a world has to be unified to join the Federation.
But that is something we heard of being in effect in the 24th century, earlier entries might not have had this condition placed upon them.

Nothing about how it is unified.
By the sword? Would it make a difference after the fact?

robau wrote: View Post
Whether or not it actually is, it is presented as utopia. That is undeniable.
The Federation? Think about it, where was this said? Sisko specifically refers to Earth as a paradise, when he could just as easily referred to the federation in general by that term.

But he didn't.

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Old May 5 2012, 09:01 PM   #18
MacLeod
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

Perhaps those novels have Sci, but as we all know novels are non-canon. From a strict canon point of view we know virtually nothing about how the Federation works as a political body.

A presidential veto could be considered undemocratic as one person can override a majority vote. Even if it goes back at what level do you set a council override of a presidential veto?

50%+1, 66% ?

Clearly the threshold to override the veto has to be +1

I.e If the Federation Council is made up of 150 councillors and a vote to override a veto goes along the lines of 75 yes, 74 no, with one abstention. Then in a democracy as more people have voted in favour then the motion should carry. Which kind of defeats the purpose of vetoing a bill which has passed.
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Old May 5 2012, 09:15 PM   #19
Sci
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Perhaps those novels have Sci, but as we all know novels are non-canon.
Yes, but so what?

From a strict canon point of view we know virtually nothing about how the Federation works as a political body.
I for one see no reason to restrict ourselves to the canon.
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Old May 5 2012, 09:22 PM   #20
horatio83
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

robau wrote: View Post
Of course, we should let go of the idea of the Federation as utopia. The Federation is not a utopia, it's just more progressive than what exists today.
Whether or not it actually is, it is presented as utopia. That is undeniable.
"Journey to Babel" is the first time you see the Federation in a concrete form and those bitching ambassadors certainly do not create the impression of an utopia. As Sci said, Trek portrays a more progressive world than our own but certainly not a perfect one.
Which is by the way a key difference between reactionary and progressive folks, the former believe that the best world has already been achieved whereas the latter view the path as never-ending.
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Old May 6 2012, 12:11 AM   #21
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

The UFP is a democracy. Every planet would vote for its own leadership and for its representatives in the Federation Council. Then after all that was done, everyone of voting age would also need to vote of the President. To me, that's the most straight forward system.

Every planet would have their own rules for elections, including the legal age to vote. This would depend on what age each species felt that its citizens were responsible and mature enough to make the decision on who to vote for. As I said in the previous thread, that would be completely different for long-lived species (such as the Rhaandarite) that it is for Humans.

On Earth, I think that the voting age would be 16 by the time of TNG. But again, that's just my thoughts.
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Old May 6 2012, 06:15 AM   #22
Sci
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Every planet would have their own rules for elections, including the legal age to vote. This would depend on what age each species felt that its citizens were responsible and mature enough to make the decision on who to vote for. As I said in the previous thread, that would be completely different for long-lived species (such as the Rhaandarite) that it is for Humans.
Agreed -- though, as we both noted in the previous thread, the hard part isn't letting, say, Rhaandar and Earth set their own laws or when a Rhaandarite and a Human reach the age of majority. The hard part is, what do you do with Rhaandarites who live on Earth and Humans who live on Rhaandar?
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Old May 6 2012, 06:50 AM   #23
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

Hmm. An answer for that might be that whilst many planets might have many different species, the voting age would be based on one's species rather than on where one lived.

So even if a human decided to move to Rhaandar and become a citizen of that planet, under their laws and rules, seeing as it's unlikely they would ever reach 150 (what is the Rhaandarite age of adulthood), then they would be permitted to vote by whatever age humans were.

It would be a tricky thing to sort out, as species ventured out into space, joined the Federation and had new people deciding to settle on their world, as their legal system would need an overhaul and several new amendments. Though I think that if the voting age would be based on species, rather than planet.
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Old May 7 2012, 08:51 PM   #24
Alocin
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

There are several issues here so I shall address each in-turn.

1. Maturity - almost certainly varies dramatically depending on the species. There is a 3-part fanfic series about Seven of Nine that posited that she, although she was very obviously chronologically older than the standard 18 years old that most countries on Earth treated as being an adult, but that the Mulari goddess decided that because of her life experiences she was still a teenager and therefore not considered an adult. I suspect it wouldn't just matter about age or species but with individuals. In this case, it's perfectly possible that this might be the same with the age of consent as an example. Certainly what is clear is that the criterion a person must meet to qualify will certainly have been the same or very similar indeed.

2. The Nature of the Federation’s Democracy itself



a. The Make-up of the Federation - how are we to know that the Federation isn't something like the UN? We elect Member Parliaments and the Head of Government for the Member State may well nominate an individual and the Parliament confirms that candidate and sends them to San Francisco. Out of that group you have the Federation's Legislature and then the Federation Council might well be the Security Council, with the big members, Earth, Vulcan, Andoria serving on a permanent basis and a few others with rotating members joining on a non-permanent basis. The Legislature might well do the electing for the President or there might well be an electoral college system. It certainly seems a very a-partisan environment.

b. Partisanship - The issue of partisanship has been mentioned in above posts, as well as, arguably demonstrated in 'A Journey to Babel'. Had their been a lot of political parties getting together into voting blocs, wouldn't one have been willing to hand Kirk over to the Klingons in the aftermath of the Genesis incident in-order to preserve the peace? To sacrifice one rogue commander for galactic peace might not seem too bad to some politicians. Perhaps Roddenberry might have been looking to the initial phase of the American Republic, before the existence of Jefferson and Madison's Democratic-Republican party, the period between the end of the Revolutionary War and the First Party System. George Washington's second Presidential term was very rancorous, not through his fault, but the Federalist and Democratic-Republican movements were really trying to take shape. Perhaps there might be more of an Expansionist, pro-Starfleet as the Military grouping with the Andorians in the lead and a Domestic, Peace-party grouping, with say the Vulcan presence at the core. Quite possibly there is a strong, central-government versus limited Member-focused government debate, which is basically what the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans where so passionately debating about in-reality. Does the Council just focus on Foreign Policy, Foreign Trade, Defence, the ways to fund these and Constitutional matters?

c. The Role of the President - I would expect, based on the way that we have seen the President thus far, as an office under-siege. Is the President a strong figure? A President in the American sense of the term? Is not the Federation too big for that? Perhaps what we should look at it as a combination of the role of Commander-in-Chief, Chief Diplomat, Managing Director of the Federation Government, protector of the Constitution and perhaps President of the Council as well. In this case is the President of the Twelve Colonies on Battlestar Galactica not a more considered definition? It is clear that much of BSG comes out of Ron Moore’s thoughts about and criticisms of Star Trek, quite possibly rooted just as deeply in the final months of his personal Trek, his personally difficult time aboard Voyager. Laura Roslin is the only President we see in any detail and her acts and circumstances are in no way typical, she is terrifically expansionist about her powers, she’s making things up as she goes along and probably, although never expressly said to be, her own Minister of Defence. She’s a Churchill or a Roosevelt, not a Woodrow Wilson. But we can assume that the office itself, which is confirmed in her balancing act with the Quorum, a body she uses when convenient.

d. Participation - the other issue of course actual participation. A contented culture tends not to vote, this is borne out in voter turnout analysis. It doesn’t matter the manner you vote in, although it’s guaranteed to be completely technological in the Federation. I suspect that the concerns that normally lead cultures to vote in droves, the financial instabilities, austerity measures, tax hikes etc, don’t appear to apply. It would also be difficult to vote if you were in Starfleet. I suspect that you would probably vote at a local or provincial level or possibly at a Member planet-level, but I’m not convinced that you necessarily would feel a great deal of need to vote in an election for a President? How do you mount a campaign on that scale? How do you make people feel connected to the leadership on Earth? If Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, the great recent communicators in the White House have to/had to really work hard to communicate and reach out and seem relevant. I don’t think you can on this kind of scale. I might be wrong, but the Federation seems to be a culture that is comfortable with the culture of professional public servants, you can make it into that if you want to, but there isn’t necessarily the traditional American commitment to local public office and perhaps too comfortable with Starfleet, who should be the experts, having a considerable influence about the state’s priorities. It takes something extreme for people to shake themselves out of this trend i.e. how Human colonists naively allowed themselves to be handed to the Cardassians and then started fighting back when their stupidity became obvious, or probably after the Dominion War when foreign policy and Starfleet’s struggles to defend the Federation despite what is probably an enormous portion of the central budget. But you have to shake the tree to get people interested rather than merely observant.



I could of course be completely wrong....
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Old May 8 2012, 01:00 PM   #25
Timo
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Re: Age of Majority / Voting Age in the Federation

how Human colonists naively allowed themselves to be handed to the Cardassians and then started fighting back when their stupidity became obvious
Just a minor nitpick: these two events appear to have been completely separate, and concerned different groups of people.

Only a single colony volunteered to become Cardassian in TNG "Journey's End", at a time when the concept of the Demilitarized Zone had not yet been proposed - and this colony, Dorvan V, was never heard to participate in the anti-Cardassian activities later on. All the Maquis worlds appeared to be under formal UFP jurisdiction, although within the DMZ where all sorts of weapons were forbidden.

FWIW, there was no mention of the citizens of Dorvan V having a vote on anything in "Journey's End".

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