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Old November 3 2013, 11:50 AM   #16
Timewalker
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
For me, the Federation should last indefinitely. It is a symbol of what Trek is about and should always be a part of the show.

As much as you say 'everything falls apart' we have never seen an entity like the Federation before. Sure it isn't perfect, but it is vastly better than anything else around it: I find it perfectly believable that it would absorb most of the galaxy given enough time.

I simply dont see it falling apart and I really dont think it should: it is a part of the Star Trek ethos and I really do not like those ideas of a Federation in turmoil or some post-Federation Trek series....Trek is supposed to be positive and the Federation is the absolute representation of that.
So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?

Sci wrote: View Post
It is true that every complex human society in history has eventually collapsed... but then, it is also true that every complex human society in history was, in some manner or other, built upon the principles of inequality and oppression.

...

Personally, I think the Federation -- a society that has truly eliminated oppression and inequality on a scale no human society in real life ever has -- could plausibly last as long as humanoid life in the Milky Way Galaxy lasts.

And, of course, it's just as possible that the Federation may eventually peacefully persuade every other society in the galaxy to join it.... or that it may evolve into something else, something new. Maybe the Federation will encounter another interstellar liberal democracy and join with it to create a newer, larger interstellar democratic union, of which the Federation merely becomes a constituent part. Who knows?
Unless human nature changes at its most fundamental level, I think this is extremely optimistic. The lessons of history tell us that so far, every political entity falls or fundamentally changes at some point.

For example, I'm sure some of the Romans thought their Empire would last forever, but it didn't. Granted, it did last a long time - well over 2000 years (pre-Republic, Republic, Empire, and the Eastern Empire that morphed into the Byzantine Empire). But it still fell.
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Old November 3 2013, 12:06 PM   #17
TheGoodStuff
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
For me, the Federation should last indefinitely. It is a symbol of what Trek is about and should always be a part of the show.

As much as you say 'everything falls apart' we have never seen an entity like the Federation before. Sure it isn't perfect, but it is vastly better than anything else around it: I find it perfectly believable that it would absorb most of the galaxy given enough time.

I simply dont see it falling apart and I really dont think it should: it is a part of the Star Trek ethos and I really do not like those ideas of a Federation in turmoil or some post-Federation Trek series....Trek is supposed to be positive and the Federation is the absolute representation of that.
So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?
I think you have totally misinterpreted the point made in TOS. NONE of those societies were true Utopias. They were fictional, often computer controlled [and imposed] prisons under the guise of Utopia. The Federation is nothing like that and I think you should perhaps rewatch a few of those episodes.

A true Utopia would not lead to stagnation. Hypothetically, with everyone able to pursue their own interests and better themselves unmolested, the potential for improvement and advancement is limitless.

I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.
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Old November 3 2013, 12:27 PM   #18
Timewalker
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
For me, the Federation should last indefinitely. It is a symbol of what Trek is about and should always be a part of the show.

As much as you say 'everything falls apart' we have never seen an entity like the Federation before. Sure it isn't perfect, but it is vastly better than anything else around it: I find it perfectly believable that it would absorb most of the galaxy given enough time.

I simply dont see it falling apart and I really dont think it should: it is a part of the Star Trek ethos and I really do not like those ideas of a Federation in turmoil or some post-Federation Trek series....Trek is supposed to be positive and the Federation is the absolute representation of that.
So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?
I think you have totally misinterpreted the point made in TOS. NONE of those societies were true Utopias. They were fictional, often computer controlled [and imposed] prisons under the guise of Utopia. The Federation is nothing like that and I think you should perhaps rewatch a few of those episodes.

A true Utopia would not lead to stagnation. Hypothetically, with everyone able to pursue their own interests and better themselves unmolested, the potential for improvement and advancement is limitless.
Thank you; I don't need to rewatch them. I've seen them many times over the decades, I've read the Blish adaptations, and other articles and stories that explore those situations and themes.

WE don't see the Landru society as a utopia, but the people who live there do. Same as the people of Vaal; to them, everything is perfect. To us, it's stagnation.

Utopia implies a state of perfection. Kirk makes several speeches throughout the series where he points out that humans are not meant for this state of being; we need challenges.

As for the Federation being this wonderful, perfect society where everyone is happy and able to fulfill their highest potential... BS. Really. How many times did we see or hear of Federation planets (or portions of the society on some of these worlds) where things are not this happy, fulfilled existence?

Earth in the 24th century seems idyllic, but how long can such a society be sustained? Sooner or later, everything changes. The Federation may last for many centuries or even millennia, but it won't last forever. Nothing will.
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Old November 3 2013, 12:54 PM   #19
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

Now that would be a Trek future worth exploring...one where the utopia of the Federation has become something oppressive, and the Federation effectively assimilates other cultures and make them conform. Totally against Roddenberry's vision, but it would sort of bring things full circle with TOS, in which our heroes sought to liberate people in such societies.
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Old November 3 2013, 01:52 PM   #20
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

[QUOTE=TheGoodStuff;8844322]
Timewalker wrote: View Post
I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.

But I also think that there may come a point where absorbing so many others becomes problematic. There could conceivably come a point where the Federation is effectively too large to govern. How many worlds can the Federation absorb and retain its character as a liberal representative democracy? How large can it grow before Starfleet is effectively unable to defend its borders. This is one of the things that eventually brought down Rome. Indeed its vast nature was also one of the the elements that eventually leads to the fraying of the Galactic Republic in Star Wars and the Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda.
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Old November 3 2013, 07:13 PM   #21
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
For me, the Federation should last indefinitely. It is a symbol of what Trek is about and should always be a part of the show.

As much as you say 'everything falls apart' we have never seen an entity like the Federation before. Sure it isn't perfect, but it is vastly better than anything else around it: I find it perfectly believable that it would absorb most of the galaxy given enough time.

I simply dont see it falling apart and I really dont think it should: it is a part of the Star Trek ethos and I really do not like those ideas of a Federation in turmoil or some post-Federation Trek series....Trek is supposed to be positive and the Federation is the absolute representation of that.
So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?

Sci wrote: View Post
It is true that every complex human society in history has eventually collapsed... but then, it is also true that every complex human society in history was, in some manner or other, built upon the principles of inequality and oppression.

...

Personally, I think the Federation -- a society that has truly eliminated oppression and inequality on a scale no human society in real life ever has -- could plausibly last as long as humanoid life in the Milky Way Galaxy lasts.

And, of course, it's just as possible that the Federation may eventually peacefully persuade every other society in the galaxy to join it.... or that it may evolve into something else, something new. Maybe the Federation will encounter another interstellar liberal democracy and join with it to create a newer, larger interstellar democratic union, of which the Federation merely becomes a constituent part. Who knows?
Unless human nature changes at its most fundamental level, I think this is extremely optimistic.
This is a meaningless argument. "Human nature" encompasses everything from Gandhi to Hitler. Nothing about human nature is universal or inevitable.

Besides, Humans aren't the only species in the Federation.

The lessons of history tell us that so far, every political entity falls or fundamentally changes at some point.
And as I pointed out, there has never been a true liberal democracy in history until the last 50-100 years. Liberal democracy is an experiment that we're undergoing now; history has no precedent for a truly egalitarian democracy.

Which is not to say that it WILL last in real life, of course. Perhaps the human impulse for oppression and hierarchy will overcome the human impulse for liberty. I don't know. But in the world of Star Trek, which is after all based on the presumption that Humanity's political culture has fundamentally changed as a result of World War III and First Contact, and wherein Humans are only one of many species united in equal partnership under the Federation banner? I think the Federation may last indefinitely, in some form or another.
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Old November 4 2013, 02:02 AM   #22
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

Sci wrote: View Post
It is true that every complex human society in history has eventually collapsed
Actually, that's tautological.
If we only examine societies that have collapsed, we can indeed only conclude that all societies have collapsed. Completely tautological.

If we instead include ALL societies, including those that are still around (existing nations, the EU, the UN,...), we have no idea if all will eventually collapse or not.
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Old November 4 2013, 02:41 AM   #23
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

[QUOTE=Gotham Central;8844499]
TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.
But I also think that there may come a point where absorbing so many others becomes problematic. There could conceivably come a point where the Federation is effectively too large to govern. How many worlds can the Federation absorb and retain its character as a liberal representative democracy? How large can it grow before Starfleet is effectively unable to defend its borders. This is one of the things that eventually brought down Rome. Indeed its vast nature was also one of the the elements that eventually leads to the fraying of the Galactic Republic in Star Wars and the Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda.
Sorry, but you've got a misquote there. I didn't write that.
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Old November 4 2013, 03:12 AM   #24
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.
The Klingon Empire is one of their oldest neighbors, and in two centuries they seem no closer to seeing any appeal to the Federation. The best that's been achieved in that time seems to be a strained tolerance, which crumbles under even the slightest outside pressure. With Romulans, they don't seem to have achieved even that much.
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Old November 4 2013, 04:02 AM   #25
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?
I think you have totally misinterpreted the point made in TOS. NONE of those societies were true Utopias. They were fictional, often computer controlled [and imposed] prisons under the guise of Utopia. The Federation is nothing like that and I think you should perhaps rewatch a few of those episodes.
Seconded. Those computer-controlled societies shown in TOS, in episodes like The Return of the Archons, A Taste of Armageddon, The Apple, and even For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky, were not utopias.

The only episode I can think of, right off the bat, that could arguably even remotely qualify as depicting a utopia under computer control is The Paradise Syndrome. However, even if we acknowledge that as a valid example (though being under computer guardianship might be a somewhat better description), it still doesn't support the thesis that TOS depicted utopia as leading to stagnation. On the contrary, the actions of the Preservers were implicitly characterized as a Good Thing, and the Native American culture they preserved was depicted as healthy and harmonious, the malfunctioning obelisk and the fallout from the arrival of Kirok notwithstanding.

If we expand the definition to include situations such as that depicted in This Side of Paradise, those happy colonists, living not under computer control but rather under the influence of the spores, were not living in a utopia, either. They only thought they were.

A true Utopia would not lead to stagnation. Hypothetically, with everyone able to pursue their own interests and better themselves unmolested, the potential for improvement and advancement is limitless.
As to whether a true utopia would lead to stagnation, one could argue that stagnation is not an attribute of a perfect society, thus rendering the statement in question a tautology.

I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.
However, I don't agree with this. For example, although, in the post-TNG time frame, DS9 depicted the Romulans cooperating with the Federation for the limited objective of defeating the Dominion, there was never any indication anywhere within canon continuity that the Romulan Empire would be absorbed by the Federation. Ditto even for the Klingon Empire. On the contrary, the only indications were that they would remain separate, even if allied, entities.
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Old November 4 2013, 03:08 PM   #26
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.
However, I don't agree with this. For example, although, in the post-TNG time frame, DS9 depicted the Romulans cooperating with the Federation for the limited objective of defeating the Dominion, there was never any indication anywhere within canon continuity that the Romulan Empire would be absorbed by the Federation. Ditto even for the Klingon Empire. On the contrary, the only indications were that they would remain separate, even if allied, entities.
As per Sloan (Inter arma enim silent leges), referring to the romulans and the federation, not even allied. Back to being cold warriors after the dominion is defeated, instead.


About the lifespan of the federation:
Historically, empires/hegemones/super-powers fall either because they were conquered by an even stronger nation or because they overstretch.

With the federation, by the 24th century we see signs of it becoming overstretched - and, consequently, challenged by quite a few other powers. For example, see the federation exploring the galaxy and gaining powerful enemies as a result.
If the 24th century federation cannot change this trend, it will disappear as a major power within, at most, a century - assuming no authorial bias.

We saw, of course, apparently federation ships and temporal agents from as far into the future as the 31st century.
But - was their civilisation the moral successor of the 24th century federation? Or was it a warped image, created from the ashes of a fallen federation? A holy roman empire on the interstellar stage?
Braxton was arrested by his second in command with VERY little persuasion and no evidence. Not many individual rights exist by Braxton's time, it appears.
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Old November 4 2013, 03:47 PM   #27
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
However, I don't agree with this. For example, although, in the post-TNG time frame, DS9 depicted the Romulans cooperating with the Federation for the limited objective of defeating the Dominion, there was never any indication anywhere within canon continuity that the Romulan Empire would be absorbed by the Federation. Ditto even for the Klingon Empire. On the contrary, the only indications were that they would remain separate, even if allied, entities.
Remember what Daniels tells Archer in the season 3 episode Azati Prime. When Daniels tells Archer about the Federation he includes the Klingons. The conversation takes place in the 26th century on board the Enterprise-J, during a battle with the Sphere Builders. So we can assume that some time between the 24th century (after TNG-DS9-VOY) and the 26th century, the Klingons become official members of the Federation. The Federation of the 26th century would also include the Xindi.

On another note. If Prime Trek were to return, who would want to see the 26th century war between the Fed and the Sphere Builders? It would be epic.
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Old November 4 2013, 04:30 PM   #28
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

AllStarEntprise wrote: View Post
CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
However, I don't agree with this. For example, although, in the post-TNG time frame, DS9 depicted the Romulans cooperating with the Federation for the limited objective of defeating the Dominion, there was never any indication anywhere within canon continuity that the Romulan Empire would be absorbed by the Federation. Ditto even for the Klingon Empire. On the contrary, the only indications were that they would remain separate, even if allied, entities.
Remember what Daniels tells Archer in the season 3 episode Azati Prime. When Daniels tells Archer about the Federation he includes the Klingons. The conversation takes place in the 26th century on board the Enterprise-J, during a battle with the Sphere Builders. So we can assume that some time between the 24th century (after TNG-DS9-VOY) and the 26th century, the Klingons become official members of the Federation. The Federation of the 26th century would also include the Xindi.
The scenes aboard the Enterprise-J took place in a possible future that's not a part of the continuity of the Prime Universe. Given all the convoluted timeline alterations and the change in status of the Temporal Cold War that occurred after Archer was aboard the J, I'm unconvinced that that version of the Federation will necessarily come to pass.

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
As per Sloan (Inter arma enim silent leges), referring to the romulans and the federation, not even allied. Back to being cold warriors after the dominion is defeated, instead.
That was Sloan's prediction, yes:
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges wrote:
BASHIR: You want me to spy on an ally.
SLOAN: To evaluate an ally. And a temporary ally at that. I say that because when the war is over, the following will happen in short order. The Dominion will be forced back to the Gamma Quadrant, the Cardassian Empire will be occupied, the Klingon Empire will spend the next ten years recovering from the war and won't pose a serious threat to anyone. That leaves two powers to vie for control of the quadrant, the Federation and the Romulans.
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Old November 4 2013, 04:35 PM   #29
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

Timewalker wrote: View Post
TheGoodStuff wrote: View Post
Timewalker wrote: View Post
So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?
I think you have totally misinterpreted the point made in TOS. NONE of those societies were true Utopias. They were fictional, often computer controlled [and imposed] prisons under the guise of Utopia. The Federation is nothing like that and I think you should perhaps rewatch a few of those episodes.

A true Utopia would not lead to stagnation. Hypothetically, with everyone able to pursue their own interests and better themselves unmolested, the potential for improvement and advancement is limitless.
Thank you; I don't need to rewatch them. I've seen them many times over the decades, I've read the Blish adaptations, and other articles and stories that explore those situations and themes.

WE don't see the Landru society as a utopia, but the people who live there do. Same as the people of Vaal; to them, everything is perfect. To us, it's stagnation.

Utopia implies a state of perfection. Kirk makes several speeches throughout the series where he points out that humans are not meant for this state of being; we need challenges.

As for the Federation being this wonderful, perfect society where everyone is happy and able to fulfill their highest potential... BS. Really. How many times did we see or hear of Federation planets (or portions of the society on some of these worlds) where things are not this happy, fulfilled existence?

Earth in the 24th century seems idyllic, but how long can such a society be sustained? Sooner or later, everything changes. The Federation may last for many centuries or even millennia, but it won't last forever. Nothing will.
Even if you have watched them a million times: I think you are completely misinterpreting Kirk's point, as CorporalCaptain also seems to realize.

Those societies were not Utopia's. They were artificial prisons designed to keep the population 'fixed': the people merely carrying out their own little roles with no independent thought. That's not a Utopia, it is an artificial prison and Kirk highlighted that and the stagnation it brings.

The Federation is nothing like that. To imply the Federation does not allow people to fulfill their potential is simply ludicrous. Of course some Federation worlds are not exponentially happy: the reality is some outer worlds will require work to bring them up to the standards of Andor, Earth, Vulcan, Betazed etc.

This however, is not forced. You want to colonize a newly terraformed 'blank-slate'? Fine. The Federation lets you. It would also let you leave it and go live on Earth and enjoy lazy days on Hawaii. It is obscenely cinical to criticize the Federation for not being 'perfect'. It gives you AMPLE opportunity to do as you wish.

H
CorporalCaptain wrote:
owever, I don't agree with this. For example, although, in the post-TNG time frame, DS9 depicted the Romulans cooperating with the Federation for the limited objective of defeating the Dominion, there was never any indication anywhere within canon continuity that the Romulan Empire would be absorbed by the Federation. Ditto even for the Klingon Empire. On the contrary, the only indications were that they would remain separate, even if allied, entities.
I'm thinking on a much broader scale though. Indoctrination, propaganda and war has helped the Klingons & Romulans 'hate' the Federation however we HAVE seen Federation-sympathizers from both sides. Do you really think century after century will pass, where the Federation gets stronger, its influence spreads and all throughout the quadrants it is referred to as a super-liberal, free, non-oppressive state, and heads wont begin to turn towards it?

Eventually revolution can happen. Empires can crumble. I cant see any other eventuality than every other race eventually turning to the Federation. The ideals of the Federation are universal. Even aliens dont want to be oppressed, told what to do, killed by their governments etc.

I really cant see anything else than Romulan colony worlds, Cardassian & Klingon conquered species....all looking at the far greener grass of the Federation and simply biding their time to jump ship. How many Shinzon incidents [to name but one of dozens] can the Romulan populace tolerate [we never really see the average Romulan civilian, however we have seen multiple officers tired of the Empires warlike tendancies] before the start to demand greater freedoms? Greater Liberties? Greater rights?

It may not happen in the 24th or 25th centuries....but it is inevitable. And, again I will state, I think it is an underlying theme of the franchise, that the Obsidian Order's and Tal Shiar's all know of this.

Quark once made a point about the Federation and root beer which I think perfectly sums up my point....
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Old November 4 2013, 06:03 PM   #30
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Re: How long should the Federation last?

The Root Beer Argument is strong.

However, its effect on all the races isn't shown on the shows, and as Edit_XYZ pointed out, we do have very good reason to suppose that the future relationship between the Federation and the Romulans got worse.

If you turn to the TrekLit novels, in the late 24th century, the Romulans are members of the Typhon Pact. The bad guys are forming their own sort of federation and have no interest in joining the good guy Federation.
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