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Old October 12 2012, 03:54 AM   #1
RB_Kandy
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Trek morality

I have a question about the morality of our enlightened future.
Here's the scenario: You (a member of starfleet) make first contact with an alien species. You talk and exchange gifts and the like. All is going good. Except suddenly one of them approaches you and asks for asylum. When you ask what the asylum is for, he tells you that he is going to be beaten and starved until death, for an act which is not considered a crime in the federation.
The ambassadors who were kind to you, politely explain that this act, while it may be seen as harmless in the Federation, is one of the most horrible crimes in their world. It breaks one of the founding religious and cultural principals, and all who commit this action must be punished this way.

Do you grant this man asylum?
By doing so, you would have delivered the deepest possible insult to their culture, and spit on their religion, and interfere with their legal and political affairs.
What would your personal choice be? and what decision is expected of you as a Starfleet officer?
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Old October 12 2012, 04:02 AM   #2
Geoff Peterson
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Re: Trek morality

"Beaten and starved to death" would probably be the tipping point for a Starfleet Officer.
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Old October 12 2012, 04:46 AM   #3
Elvira
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Re: Trek morality

In order to give a reasonable answer concerning asylum, we really would have to know what the offense was/is.

A Occamp would consider impregnating a two year old female by her beau to be perfectly legal. Other civilizations might take a different view.

Is the person asking for asylum withholding the exact "criminal charge" from the member of Starfleet that they approached, explaining only the penalty?

Based solely on the information presented, I'd have to say no to asylum.

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Old October 12 2012, 06:01 AM   #4
-Brett-
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Re: Trek morality

Taking the scenario at face value, I would think that the Starfleet captain would place a higher priority on the persons life than vagaries like culture and religion or political expediency.
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Old October 12 2012, 06:33 AM   #5
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Re: Trek morality

What if an unrepentant human serial killer sought asylum from a species with no rules about murder in order to escape being imprisoned for life on a Federation penal colony?
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Old October 12 2012, 06:36 AM   #6
Tiberius
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Re: Trek morality

I think the Prime Directive, while well-intentioned, is still deeply flawed.

Let's say they come across a planet where they believe that if they do not sacrifice a hundred people the wet season won't come. Sure, it's their particular belief, but is a belief that is demonstrably wrong worth the lives of a hundred people each year?
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Old October 12 2012, 06:41 AM   #7
R. Star
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Re: Trek morality

By letter of the Prime Directive that Starfleet officer shouldn't interfere. Then again by letter of the Prime Directive you shouldn't stop someone from beating a pregnant woman to death because that kid might grow up to be Hitler.

Really doesn't matter anyways. Starfleet breaks it all the time with no consequences.
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Old October 12 2012, 06:55 AM   #8
-Brett-
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Re: Trek morality

teacock wrote: View Post
What if an unrepentant human serial killer sought asylum from a species with no rules about murder in order to escape being imprisoned for life on a Federation penal colony?
Seems like that would be the kind of problem that solves itself.
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Old October 12 2012, 10:24 AM   #9
MacLeod
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Re: Trek morality

Doesn't this fall under the PD non-interferrence clause?

Just because something is not a crime where you live, doesn't mean it's not a crime where that person lives.

It would be likely that a person from a particular culture would know what he did was against the law and what the punishment is for that crime.
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Old October 12 2012, 10:53 AM   #10
Tiberius
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Re: Trek morality

Zombie Redshirt wrote: View Post
By letter of the Prime Directive that Starfleet officer shouldn't interfere. Then again by letter of the Prime Directive you shouldn't stop someone from beating a pregnant woman to death because that kid might grow up to be Hitler.

Really doesn't matter anyways. Starfleet breaks it all the time with no consequences.
There's a good real-world example. How many times have children died from easily treatable illnesses because the parents decide to pray instead of going to the doctor? Should they be punished for letting their kids die?
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Old October 12 2012, 11:03 AM   #11
MacLeod
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Re: Trek morality

^Well I'm sure a legal case could be made for putting them on trial. As they would be subject to the laws of the land.
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Old October 12 2012, 11:05 AM   #12
BillJ
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Re: Trek morality

If its a straight up 'YES' or 'NO', then I'd go with rejecting asylum.

But it doesn't mean that I wouldn't try to work out a solution where I could grant asylum. Letting the planetary officials know that asylum would serve the same purpose as death in the case, as they'd never see the offender again, and that it would be a positive step in relations.
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Old October 12 2012, 03:15 PM   #13
sonak
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Re: Trek morality

BillJ wrote: View Post
If its a straight up 'YES' or 'NO', then I'd go with rejecting asylum.

But it doesn't mean that I wouldn't try to work out a solution where I could grant asylum. Letting the planetary officials know that asylum would serve the same purpose as death in the case, as they'd never see the offender again, and that it would be a positive step in relations.

this is a pretty good answer. I think the granting of asylum would wreck whatever relations with the culture were trying to be established.

I think the PD is mostly a pile of crap, but I also think interfering in other cultures' affairs every time we don't like something that goes on is a recipe for disaster and frequent wars.

So, short answer-no. Longer answer-try to negotiate for asylum rather than just unilaterally granting it. If the other government were vehemently against it, then I'd reluctantly accept that.

Last edited by sonak; October 12 2012 at 09:02 PM.
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Old October 12 2012, 03:50 PM   #14
DonIago
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Re: Trek morality

Any captain who would or wouldn't grant asylum without convening a formal hearing in the circumstances presented doesn't deserve their rank. As we're not being given pertinent information that likely would emerge during such a hearing, I don't feel it's appropriate to answer the question.
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Old October 12 2012, 05:58 PM   #15
-Brett-
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Re: Trek morality

Ti-BOO!-rius wrote: View Post
There's a good real-world example. How many times have children died from easily treatable illnesses because the parents decide to pray instead of going to the doctor? Should they be punished for letting their kids die?
Hell yes.
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