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The Next Generation All Good Things come to an end...but not here.

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Old June 4 2011, 04:55 AM   #1
Warped9
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The Prime Directive in TNG...

Okay I need a little help here from you folks better versed in TNG. Even though I've just rewatched the entire series I still might miss something.

Succinctly I've put together a list of episodes which may or may not have Prime Directive implications either positive or negative or perhaps not really at all.

Questions:
- Have I overlooked any?
- Are there any on the list you think don't belong?
- Are there any specific points you think should be made about any of these episodes and potential Prime Directive implications or relevance?

"Code Of Honor" - Granted Lutan started everything, but did Picard cross the line by faking Yareena's death?
"Justice" - Should Wesley have been sacrificed?
"Too Short A Season" - Okay, Jameson really did cross the line.
"Angel One" - Would it have been a violation if Riker had beamed up the Freighter crew to prevent their deaths?
"When The Bough Breaks" - The Haven inhabitants committed a violation first by stealing children from the Enterprise.
"Symbiosis" - Picard sidesteps this one.
“Pen Pals” - Was saving Sarjenka's planet a PD violation?
“Up The Long Ladder” - Was killing the Riker a Pulaski clones a PD violation?
“The Ensigns Of Command” - Did Data interfere with this established colony by blowing up their irrigation pump?
“Who Watches The Watchers” - Did Picard cross the line by revealing who they were to the Mintakans?
“The Vengeance Factor” - Did Riker interfere in an internal affair (feud) by killing Uta?
“The Hunted” - Was aiding in the capture of the fugitive from a world not yet a Federation member interference?
“Devil’s Due” - Was exposing Ardra uncalled for interference?
“First Contact” - Is onsite cultural surveillance a type of interference?
“Half A Life” - Was granting Timmison asylum uncalled for interference?
“Unification” - Was Spock meddling in Romulan affairs?
“The Masterpiece Society” - Should the Enterprise have refrained from helping the isolated colony?
“The Outcast” - Did Riker interfere (or try to) in Genii society?
“The Perfect Mate” - Did Picard cross the line by getting involved with the metamorph?
“I, Borg” - Justified or not if Picard had infecting Hugh with the virus would it have been a violation?
“Homeward” - Is Picard as complicit as Worf's brother?

Thoughts anyone?
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Old June 4 2011, 12:32 PM   #2
Captain Verata
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

Sometimes the Prime Directive is a tricky thing to define from how it is applied. For certain, it doesn't allow Starfleet to take active participation in non-Federation worlds(species) without their knowledge and consent; and forbids contact with pre-warp civilzations. There are times the PD has been implied to keep an extreme 'isolationist' type attitude regardless of lives at stake. Then there are other times(more times then not) to show its ok to intermingle with other cultures, even 'contaminating" them ideas/tech and if other people start a conflict, its all right to fight back.

With that in mind....
"Code of Honor"- Like you said, Lutan started things and Picard followed customs and local law to get his crewman back. Then he undid any damage they caused like unkilling the wife of a world leader.

"Justice"- I think this episode's view on the PD doesn't meld well with much of other PD stories. Many times the crew's of the many series have been willing to save their crew members from hostile forces without any concern to the PD. It is true Starfleet attempts to follow the local law to best of their abilities but the Edo are just crazy in their death penalty for any infraction. Just because the Edo aren't running around with high tech weapons threatening anyone doesn't mean they are more justified to kill someone.

"Too Short A Season"- Jameson used Captain Kirk's rationale from "A Private Little War". It violates the PD we know from TNG to the extreme.

"Angel One"- This episode is the one that tells us PD applies to Starfleet only. That would suggest its possible civilians could go to pre-warp societies and affect them as they wish. Then again there could be a general prime directive to applies to all when it comes to pre-warp societies but could allow people to move to sufficiently high tech societies, like Angel One. As far as Riker was concerned, the freighter crew was part of that society and removing them would be probably against their rights as individuals.

"When the Bough Breaks"- This is one where the "bad guys" start things. Usually that seems to be an indicator to get involved. The Enterprise does a lot for the Aldeans including shutting down their computer that they are extremely dependant on and giving extremely important information that would affect their entire society: reason for infertility and fix for it.

"Symbiosis"- PD is odd in this one because apparently Picard can't tell the Omarians about their drug addiction but any other times Starfleet is willing to give out helping info including the previous episode. Brekkians will be affected too but affecting two cultures doesn't stop Picard in "Redemption" from exposing the Romulans to the Klingons, effectively making Gowron the leader of the Empire. Again more sharing of info.

"Pen Pals"- Many people disagree with not helping dying races because they didn't make the warp tech cutline. Seems to be operating procedure for Starfleet though as its said again in "Homeward". PD is implied to protect the "natural" way of things as if the world was destined to die off according to some master plan. I think its interesting that an actual call for help should be ignored even if the culture involved is low tech. The warp tech shouldn't be strictly followed considering that. Apparently Picard agrees.

"Up the Long Ladder"- Nothing in this was PD issue as all involved were humans. Federation species according to "The Masterpiece Society" aren't subject to the PD.

"Who Watches the Watchers"- One of my personal favorite Star Treks of all time. Picard did the right thing to make sure the culturely and intellectually advanced Mintakains go backwards to superstitions and dark ages. Correcting a violation to minimize the affect seems to be ok practice.

"The Vengeance Factor"-I guess Riker did interfere. It could be argued that she used the Enterprise to get to the last member of the Lornak clan.

"The Hunted"- Starfleet seem to help stop criminals for legitimate governments that Federation is on good terms with. Starfleet seemed to being willing and probably do stop criminals of the Klingon Empire if they run into them. Its only after they get the so called criminal the Enterprise learns there is more to the story.

"Devil's Due"- Calling out Ardra I don't think is interference considering Ventax apparently like the Federatoin enough to have a Federation science station on their planet. Also, she claimed the Enterprise.

"First Contact"- Secret investagations in this episode makes sense if the Federation wants to make a peaceful and smooth first contact. PD isn't suppose to keep Starfleet from having any contact with other societies.

"Half A Life"- Timicin is just an individual that is making his own choices. Starfleet seems to be ok if other ask for help(at least at this point).

"Unification"- Spock is no longer in Starfleet and doesn't work for the Federation in an official capacity. As a citizen that can live on sufficiently advance worlds(as stated above) and do as he pleases.

"The Masterpiece Society"-They are humans and stated in the episode itself, PD doesn't apply to them.

"The Outcast"- Riker did try to interfere. That why he went down in a black outfit to stay hidden.

"The Perfect Mate"- Picard didn't break the PD for getting involved with an individual by her own choosing. Of course, she had big plans, but I think human(noid) trafficking has its own laws concerning that.

"I, Borg"- Tough one. Borg on the one hand is a large society with its own culture. On the other hand the Borg are a single consciousness who have declared the eventual destruction of all other cultures. Hugh is an individual and has rights. Later on, in "Descent", Starfleet(specificly Admiral Nachayev) believe it didn't break the Prime Directive(or it didn't matter).

"Homeward"- Same as "Penpals".

I am sure there is a lot more to say on the subject but that what I got for your list for now. Damn, I wrote a lot.
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Old June 4 2011, 01:06 PM   #3
Warped9
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

^^ Thanks. And I'm looking for feedback. I composed a similar list for TOS yet with further comment because I'm more familiar with the series. And it's all for a thread I'm currently running in the TOS form. I want to add TNG references and examples, but I want to be on surer ground before I add them.

And so I welcome any and all other insights.

That thread is Cultural Study and Development of the Prime Directive.
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Old June 4 2011, 01:23 PM   #4
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

They should have left Wesley to take the death penalty in Justice.

Oh, but that has nothing to do with the Prime Directive.
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Old June 4 2011, 02:53 PM   #5
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

This and Homeward are the ones that bother me the most:

Captain Verata wrote: View Post

"Pen Pals"- Many people disagree with not helping dying races because they didn't make the warp tech cutline. Seems to be operating procedure for Starfleet though as its said again in "Homeward". PD is implied to protect the "natural" way of things as if the world was destined to die off according to some master plan. I think its interesting that an actual call for help should be ignored even if the culture involved is low tech. The warp tech shouldn't be strictly followed considering that. Apparently Picard agrees.
This implies that humanity is in tune with some kind of "universal master plan" which is just plain bullshit. If they're there and have the means to save a certain race it could be easily argued that the race was meant to be saved in the "universal master plan".
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Old June 4 2011, 05:09 PM   #6
Anwar
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

The dividing line of what is help and what is interference should be of the request. If these folks in trouble know about you and actually ask you for help, it isn't interference since it's what they all want.

Making the choice on your own without asking them is where you should put more thought into it.
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Old June 4 2011, 07:20 PM   #7
RAMA
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

BillJ wrote: View Post
This and Homeward are the ones that bother me the most:

Captain Verata wrote: View Post

"Pen Pals"- Many people disagree with not helping dying races because they didn't make the warp tech cutline. Seems to be operating procedure for Starfleet though as its said again in "Homeward". PD is implied to protect the "natural" way of things as if the world was destined to die off according to some master plan. I think its interesting that an actual call for help should be ignored even if the culture involved is low tech. The warp tech shouldn't be strictly followed considering that. Apparently Picard agrees.
This implies that humanity is in tune with some kind of "universal master plan" which is just plain bullshit. If they're there and have the means to save a certain race it could be easily argued that the race was meant to be saved in the "universal master plan".
This is a very poor "definition"...there is no master plan, and having one would pre-suppose a planner, something the UFP has gotten a way from (and Roddenberry with his humanist views). More likely it has to do with individual adaptability, and the rights of others to interfere with it pro or con.

Alas Picard lets personal issues cloud his judgement in Pen Pals. Its hard to fault him, but technically its a bad violation of the PD (not as bad as most of Kirk's though..who directly and systematically damages several cutlures). Although of course if she remembers nothing, no harm no foul right?
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Old June 4 2011, 07:21 PM   #8
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

Anwar wrote: View Post
The dividing line of what is help and what is interference should be of the request. If these folks in trouble know about you and actually ask you for help, it isn't interference since it's what they all want.

Making the choice on your own without asking them is where you should put more thought into it.
But how do you ask if they are below you on the technological scale without violating the Prime Directive to begin with?
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Last edited by BillJ; June 4 2011 at 07:43 PM.
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Old June 4 2011, 08:16 PM   #9
Captain Verata
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

I also believe the master plan idea was not really well thought out and complete bullshit. The writers probably weren't trying to say that but in the end that how it is. Not sure if we should have the Federation running around saving dozens of worlds at a time. Maybe save as much as they can or use their technology to save their world like they did in "Pen Pals".
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Old June 4 2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

Captain Verata wrote: View Post
I also believe the master plan idea was not really well thought out and complete bullshit. The writers probably weren't trying to say that but in the end that how it is. Not sure if we should have the Federation running around saving dozens of worlds at a time. Maybe save as much as they can or use their technology to save their world like they did in "Pen Pals".
I think people look at offering help in a vacuum. That only Starfleet can help and that helping offers no value to the Federation which simply isn't true.

I'm sure you could charge civilian companies with actually helping them and the scientific data gathered can have long-term benefits for Federation worlds.

But we shouldn't let any of that get in the way of denying help to those in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old June 4 2011, 10:12 PM   #11
Anwar
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

BillJ wrote: View Post
Anwar wrote: View Post
The dividing line of what is help and what is interference should be of the request. If these folks in trouble know about you and actually ask you for help, it isn't interference since it's what they all want.

Making the choice on your own without asking them is where you should put more thought into it.
But how do you ask if they are below you on the technological scale without violating the Prime Directive to begin with?
Depends on the situation and if you even can help at all. If you help them in a way that means you have to stick around and monitor them for an indefinite period, you've basically you turned them into your vassals instead of their own society.
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Old June 4 2011, 11:25 PM   #12
cal888
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

Re: Justice

Unless the Edo were somehow warp capable, the Prime Directive was violated by simply undertaking First Contact with Rubicon III. If anything, this episode provides a strong case for the Prime Directive.
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Old June 4 2011, 11:45 PM   #13
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

cal888 wrote: View Post
Re: Justice

Unless the Edo were somehow warp capable, the Prime Directive was violated by simply undertaking First Contact with Rubicon III. If anything, this episode provides a strong case for the Prime Directive.
Why? You're using an artificial technological divide to determine the maturity of a given species. The Edo seemed to have no issues with the fact that people from other worlds exist, they didn't start committing suicide 'en masse' when they found out. Their world didn't fall apart.

The fact of the matter is: some worlds technology is going to outpace their maturity and some worlds maturity is going to outpace their technological development. The Capellans, from Friday's Child, are technologically simple by Federation standards yet have seemingly no issue with the fact they are not the center of the universe. Yet, the Malcorians from First Contact have warp ability and are clearly not ready to learn of what awaits them in the cosmos.

So either everybody needs to be off-limits til they reach deep space or the Prime Directive needs to be adjusted to the facts of life above.
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Old June 5 2011, 01:04 AM   #14
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

It's a combo of things, Picard said that they do secret observations for years even if they don't have Warp. Warp is ONE of the points of contact, but that may just be in the cases where the Feds think other forms of contact would end in hostility (like with Malcor).

If the Feds think that contact will be okay before warp drive, they may do it.
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Old June 5 2011, 04:39 AM   #15
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Re: The Prime Directive in TNG...

Anwar wrote: View Post
It's a combo of things, Picard said that they do secret observations for years even if they don't have Warp. Warp is ONE of the points of contact, but that may just be in the cases where the Feds think other forms of contact would end in hostility (like with Malcor).

If the Feds think that contact will be okay before warp drive, they may do it.
But they had studied the Malcorians and they thought that first contact would go well. But it was obvious that general Malcorian public wasn't ready to learn of little green men.
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