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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old August 12 2012, 08:04 PM   #76
Pavonis
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

The point of Star Trek is to subvert expectations. Things are never what they first appear to be in Star Trek. Balok was not a fearsome alien intent on destroying the Enterprise. The Gorn was just a fellow starship captain defending his species' territory. So why should the seemingly democratic Federation be simply what it appears to be? Why couldn't it be a devious military dictatorship that manages to function well for centuries? Seems much more plausible, given Starfleet's dominance in the show.

Oh, maybe the 23rd century UFP had some civilian leadership, but by the 24th century there are few civilian leaders depicted, while Starfleet does everything from policing to colonization. I see no evidence of anything but a military dictatorship in the 24th century UFP, with a "civilian" Federation puppet president. Definitely not what we'd expect, and so it's more interesting for the unexpectedness of the revelation!
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Old August 12 2012, 08:05 PM   #77
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

R. Star wrote: View Post
I love how Occam's Razor so often gets touted out as "proof" of a concept.
I didn't present it as "proof" of anything. Occam's Razor is perfectly valid here; it is the principle that urges us to choose from among competing hypotheses that which requires the least number of additional assumptions. It's a lot simpler to presume that the Federation President is a president than that the Federation President is actually a prime minister who is called a president.
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Old August 12 2012, 08:07 PM   #78
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

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^Sure the President has to win some sort of election but is it by popular vote of the electorate or does the council elect the President from their members?
If the Federation is supposed to be a utopia, either the President would be directly elected or this council would be elected. If the council is not elected and they pick the President, then Kirk and Sisko's line about the Federation would be false, so I think the Federation would be run by a elected body. Either the President runs directly or members of a parliamentary body run for office and the President is choose amongst the elected parliamentarians.

If the Federation was run by an oligarchy, how would it be a utopia?
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Old August 12 2012, 08:54 PM   #79
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

The Overlord wrote: View Post
If the Federation was run by an oligarchy, how would it be a utopia?
Between a well run oligarchy, and a badly run representative government, which would be the utopia?

Sci wrote: View Post
I'll never understand why this is such a popular hypothesis when it stands in defiance of basic nomenclature.
The "President" could simply be the president of the council, appointed (elected) by the council itself, without the input of the populace. Similar to Herman Van Rompuy, who is the President of the European Council.

Jaresh-Inyo's full formal title could be President of the Federation Council.

It's a lot simpler to presume that the Federation President is a president than that the Federation President is actually a prime minister who is called a president.
But isn't it presumptuous to assume that a governing body composed of a conglomeration of several dozen members governing systems would pull it's nomenclature rules solely from a single member? When it come right down to it, Jaresh-Inyo was the "leader of the governing body," that's all. As you went from planet to planet, his job title could have changed wildly.

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Old August 12 2012, 08:58 PM   #80
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
I love how Occam's Razor so often gets touted out as "proof" of a concept.
I didn't present it as "proof" of anything. Occam's Razor is perfectly valid here; it is the principle that urges us to choose from among competing hypotheses that which requires the least number of additional assumptions. It's a lot simpler to presume that the Federation President is a president than that the Federation President is actually a prime minister who is called a president.
You are making one assumption that the President is directly elected.

The other competiting hypothesis that the Federation President is elcted from the Federation council also requires one assumption. That they are elected from the council.
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Old August 12 2012, 10:06 PM   #81
Sci
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
If the Federation was run by an oligarchy, how would it be a utopia?
Between a well run oligarchy, and a badly run representative government, which would be the utopia?

Sci wrote: View Post
I'll never understand why this is such a popular hypothesis when it stands in defiance of basic nomenclature.
The "President" could simply be the president of the council, appointed (elected) by the council itself, without the input of the populace. Similar to Herman Van Rompuy, who is the President of the European Council.

Jaresh-Inyo's full formal title could be President of the Federation Council.
No, it couldn't. The President's full formal title was clearly established in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: "President of the United Federation of Planets." He is President of the state, not president of the legislature.

It's a lot simpler to presume that the Federation President is a president than that the Federation President is actually a prime minister who is called a president.
But isn't it presumptuous to assume that a governing body composed of a conglomeration of several dozen members governing systems would pull it's nomenclature rules solely from a single member?
No, because rationally, they'd use a different term in English for that leader, and a different term in Vulcan, etc., and each term would actually mean what it says on the tin. It makes no sense that they'd call him the Federation President if the actual English term for his kind of office is "Prime Minister." And it is, again, much more rational to subscribe to the hypothesis that doesn't require many other assumptions to function.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
I love how Occam's Razor so often gets touted out as "proof" of a concept.
I didn't present it as "proof" of anything. Occam's Razor is perfectly valid here; it is the principle that urges us to choose from among competing hypotheses that which requires the least number of additional assumptions. It's a lot simpler to presume that the Federation President is a president than that the Federation President is actually a prime minister who is called a president.
You are making one assumption that the President is directly elected.
No, I am making the assumption that a President is a President and a Prime Minister is a Prime Minister.

There are presidents aside from the South African President who are elected by legislatures -- Germany's comes to mind -- but those Presidents aren't necessarily elected from among the legislature, and they're almost always ceremonial presidents who have to obey the orders of the Prime Minister. Since there is no Federation Prime Minister, and since we have seen the Federation President making policy himself without taking anyone else's orders, we can safely rule out this model.

Thus, it continues to require fewer extra assumptions to hypothesize that the Federation President is a president rather than a prime minister who is called a president.
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Old August 13 2012, 07:58 AM   #82
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci.. why are you repeating yourself so often? As I said in my last post, there's really no way to know for sure given the available information. You have your opinion, I have mine, others have theirs. No reason to ram it down anyone's throats.

"President" is just a word in the end. Every country with a president doesn't have that individual serve effectively in the same role. Different governments, cultures and languages have differing meanings for the word. This becomes even more pertinent when you bring other alien races into the equation.

I honestly don't think a planetary alliance is going to elect it's head of state based on popular vote or even in an electoral college fashion. This would effectively lead to one species dominating the position, probably humans. The simplest solution -would- be for the council to elect the said leader, since you're touting that the simplest approach.

If he's called president instead of prime minister, chancellor or grand panjandrum, so what? It's a word and the meaning of it is only applicable to the place and time of the Federation and her member races in the 23rd/4th century in this case.

But in the end, yes we can argue each other in a circle on this one. There's not much evidence either way. Even the guy claiming the Federation is a military dictatorship could make a convincing case with the available information. I'd think he's wrong, but hey I can't -prove- it, since it's a fictional setting that hasn't revealed that said information.
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Old August 13 2012, 10:35 AM   #83
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

We have no idea how the Federation council is run. Until the show explores this in more detail we'll never now.
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Old August 13 2012, 11:45 AM   #84
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci wrote: View Post
MacLeod wrote: View Post
^Sure the President has to win some sort of election but is it by popular vote of the electorate or does the council elect the President from their members?
I'll never understand why this is such a popular hypothesis when it stands in defiance of basic nomenclature. If he were elected from among the Federation Council by the Council, then why wouldn't he be called the Federation Prime Minister? There's only one presidency in the world where the President is elected by the legislature from among the legislators -- the South African Presidency.... which evolved from the old apartheid-era South African Prime Ministry. The clear outlier.

Every other state that has the head of government elected by and from among the legislature calls that head of government "Prime Minister" or something that translates to such. Hypothesizing that the Federation President is elected by and from among the Council adds another layer of needless complication with no evidence to support it.

Occum's Razor: The Federation President is an actual president, not a prime minister, and is elected by the people.
Actually, the President of the United States is not elected by the people either. When the people vote for the president they are actually selecting the slate of electors who do the actual voting on December 20th of an election year. Federal or a State's Congress tomorrow could remove people from voting on the President and it wouldn't change anything. I can say this because voting for President by the electors is mandated in the Constitution of the United States, while the popular vote isn't. Each state determined its own preferred method of choosing the electors. There were some states where the legislature chose the electors and in others it was done by popular vote. It wasn't until the late 1890s til the early 1900s that all states used the popular vote to choose the electoral slate.
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Old August 14 2012, 05:35 AM   #85
Sci
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

R. Star wrote: View Post
"President" is just a word in the end.
Words have meanings. They have very specific meanings. Now, you have your interpretation and you're entitled to it, but the fact remains that your interpretation requires adding a lot of extra-textual evidence not present in the actual episodes to make it work: Your interpretation requires re-defining the word "president" to mean something it simply does not mean.

The simplest solution -would- be for the council to elect the said leader, since you're touting that the simplest approach.
I am not touting the "simplest" approach. I am touting the interpretation of the canonical evidence that requires the fewest extra add-on assumptions.

ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Actually, the President of the United States is not elected by the people either.
Yes, and the Electoral College is a horrible, undemocratic, and abusive institution that should have been abolished decades ago, along with Jim Crow, property requirements for voting, and state legislators picking Senators. It's absolutely not something a real democracy should copy.
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Old August 14 2012, 06:37 AM   #86
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci wrote: View Post
ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Actually, the President of the United States is not elected by the people either.
Yes, and the Electoral College is a horrible, undemocratic, and abusive institution that should have been abolished decades ago, along with Jim Crow, property requirements for voting, and state legislators picking Senators. It's absolutely not something a real democracy should copy.
We're not a democracy nor have we ever been. We are, however, a republic. In the Constitution of the United States there is no mention or the use of the word 'democracy'. There is the use of the word 'republic'.
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Old August 14 2012, 07:49 AM   #87
Sci
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Actually, the President of the United States is not elected by the people either.
Yes, and the Electoral College is a horrible, undemocratic, and abusive institution that should have been abolished decades ago, along with Jim Crow, property requirements for voting, and state legislators picking Senators. It's absolutely not something a real democracy should copy.
We're not a democracy nor have we ever been.
Whether or not the United States is today a democracy is debatable (especially given the extreme power wielded over our government, without accountability, by unelected plutocrats), but I would agree that it was not a democracy in a meaningful sense until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed. But it ought to be, as democracy is the only legitimate form of government, and a non-democracy is by definition tyrannical. Governments only have the right to exercise power if they have the consent of the populace as a whole over which they govern -- and only democracy can deliver that consent.

The oligarchs who designed our government gave us a deeply flawed constitution that has required 200 years of constant adjustment and democratization, and this process needs to continue.
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Old August 14 2012, 10:00 AM   #88
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Your interpretation requires re-defining the word "president" to mean something it simply does not mean.
That's a pretty strange thing to say, considering that "president" is a very commonly used and indeed abused job description in a variety of organizations, the field politics only representing a tiny corner of the general field of applications.

The ill-defined, wishy-washy structure of the Federation would be a natural habitat for a president or three, in the sense of "president of the society", "president of the board", "president of the council". No real need to assume that a president in this context would be a head of state or anything. The President in ST4:TVH did seem to do rather menial things for a head of state, after all - presiding over a court, concerning himself with the affairs of a single planet, etc.

We can of course decide that the two onscreen Presidents, from ST4 and DS9, were sitting on one and the same chair, with broad powers. Or we can say the UFP has half a dozen Presidents of various sorts, and the one declaring martial law isn't necessarily the one presiding over courts of law or diplomatic rows or whatnot. Or we can say the role of the UFP President changed in between. But there's no inherent merit in insisting that the role should fit a pattern established by the United Earth or the United States, since neither of those organizations holds the patent to the concept of president.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old August 14 2012, 01:16 PM   #89
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Actually, the President of the United States is not elected by the people either.
Yes, and the Electoral College is a horrible, undemocratic, and abusive institution that should have been abolished decades ago, along with Jim Crow, property requirements for voting, and state legislators picking Senators. It's absolutely not something a real democracy should copy.
We're not a democracy nor have we ever been. We are, however, a republic. In the Constitution of the United States there is no mention or the use of the word 'democracy'. There is the use of the word 'republic'.


We are a representative republic. We are not a democracy. Democracy is MOB RULE, and they never last long they usually slip into totalitarianism. I think the model of the Federation is along the lines of the United States, but with a set up like the United Nations. We have seen there is a President, and a Federation Council. They have a process to admit Planets into the Union, like the US has to add States. There seems to be a federal structure, where the Planets have self government like our states do. I think the UN structure and the Confederation of States, the system we had before the constitution is too loose a structure for the Federation to get anything done.


-Chris
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Old August 14 2012, 01:19 PM   #90
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Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

Sci wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
"President" is just a word in the end.
Words have meanings. They have very specific meanings. Now, you have your interpretation and you're entitled to it, but the fact remains that your interpretation requires adding a lot of extra-textual evidence not present in the actual episodes to make it work: Your interpretation requires re-defining the word "president" to mean something it simply does not mean.

The simplest solution -would- be for the council to elect the said leader, since you're touting that the simplest approach.
I am not touting the "simplest" approach. I am touting the interpretation of the canonical evidence that requires the fewest extra add-on assumptions.

ThePatriot1776 wrote: View Post
Actually, the President of the United States is not elected by the people either.
Yes, and the Electoral College is a horrible, undemocratic, and abusive institution that should have been abolished decades ago, along with Jim Crow, property requirements for voting, and state legislators picking Senators. It's absolutely not something a real democracy should copy.

No the Electoral College is A GREAT SYSTEM. It prevents MOB RULE. We should go back to the way Senators were originally picked, by the STATES. The Senate was supposed to be the check / balance on the house of representatives. Now both the house and senate are formed from the same pool. It was meant to give our LOCAL representatives power, which puts power closer to the people. Wilson had it changed, and we have been in this death spiral ever since with the Progressives eroding the way the system was meant to work. Now the checks and balances are broken, etc.

WE ARENT A DEMOCRACY, we are a representative republic.

Read the book Ameritopia it goes into all the philosophy. Also another good book is American Creation.




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