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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old April 7 2013, 05:26 PM   #421
Christopher
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Franklin wrote: View Post
With the Klingons involved as well in "Friday's Child", I think the Federation would be looking at a larger political landscape.

Frankly, it came down to getting a mining agreement with these people and having them be independent but friendly to the Federation, or having them fall into Klingon hands or at least be a Klingon minion. In Klingon hands no laws in that culture would be respected. Indeed, the entire culture may be stifled. What Kirk did to try to avoid the Klingons getting their way on the planet was minor compared to that. It may not have been his shining moment, but occasional moral and legal ambivalence was a hallmark of the Cold War.
I don't think that when Kirk saved Eleen, he was thinking "I need to ensure this baby is born so that there is a legitimate claimant to the throne and Maab's claim will be invalidated." I think he was thinking "I can't let them execute a pregnant woman because that's just wrong." He was imposing his personal and cultural morals onto a society with different morals -- and specifically he was forcing rescue on Eleen herself, who wanted no part of it. Of course personally I agree with his position, but the Prime Directive means respecting other cultures' right to their own laws and customs even when you find them abhorrent.


daveyNY wrote: View Post
I wonder how many Cultures were contaminated from the pre-Federation Era of Star Fleet... ? ...

During all those years that Archer and associates began flying to the stars.

By the time of TOS, my guess is that most of the planets within reach of Earth with it's warp 5 & 6 starships, had probably been contacted and were aware of things they probably shouldn't have been at that point.
Not to mention all the other starfaring civilizations out there that don't honor the Prime Directive and wouldn't hesitate to contact a pre-warp world.
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Old April 7 2013, 05:42 PM   #422
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Christopher wrote: View Post
Franklin wrote: View Post
With the Klingons involved as well in "Friday's Child", I think the Federation would be looking at a larger political landscape.

Frankly, it came down to getting a mining agreement with these people and having them be independent but friendly to the Federation, or having them fall into Klingon hands or at least be a Klingon minion. In Klingon hands no laws in that culture would be respected. Indeed, the entire culture may be stifled. What Kirk did to try to avoid the Klingons getting their way on the planet was minor compared to that. It may not have been his shining moment, but occasional moral and legal ambivalence was a hallmark of the Cold War.
I don't think that when Kirk saved Eleen, he was thinking "I need to ensure this baby is born so that there is a legitimate claimant to the throne and Maab's claim will be invalidated." I think he was thinking "I can't let them execute a pregnant woman because that's just wrong." He was imposing his personal and cultural morals onto a society with different morals -- and specifically he was forcing rescue on Eleen herself, who wanted no part of it. Of course personally I agree with his position, but the Prime Directive means respecting other cultures' right to their own laws and customs even when you find them abhorrent.
This is what I mean by the TOS version of the PD versus the TNG version as while the TNG version made it apparent that what Kirk did would be a violation of the Prime Directive, the TOS version only seems to cover not screwing with pre-spaceflight planets, they never said anything about it affecting dealings with species they already made contact with who the majority of which knows they're from outer space.
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Old April 7 2013, 05:50 PM   #423
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Christopher wrote: View Post
Franklin wrote: View Post
With the Klingons involved as well in "Friday's Child", I think the Federation would be looking at a larger political landscape.

Frankly, it came down to getting a mining agreement with these people and having them be independent but friendly to the Federation, or having them fall into Klingon hands or at least be a Klingon minion. In Klingon hands no laws in that culture would be respected. Indeed, the entire culture may be stifled. What Kirk did to try to avoid the Klingons getting their way on the planet was minor compared to that. It may not have been his shining moment, but occasional moral and legal ambivalence was a hallmark of the Cold War.
I don't think that when Kirk saved Eleen, he was thinking "I need to ensure this baby is born so that there is a legitimate claimant to the throne and Maab's claim will be invalidated." I think he was thinking "I can't let them execute a pregnant woman because that's just wrong." He was imposing his personal and cultural morals onto a society with different morals -- and specifically he was forcing rescue on Eleen herself, who wanted no part of it. Of course personally I agree with his position, but the Prime Directive means respecting other cultures' right to their own laws and customs even when you find them abhorrent.


daveyNY wrote: View Post
I wonder how many Cultures were contaminated from the pre-Federation Era of Star Fleet... ? ...

During all those years that Archer and associates began flying to the stars.

By the time of TOS, my guess is that most of the planets within reach of Earth with it's warp 5 & 6 starships, had probably been contacted and were aware of things they probably shouldn't have been at that point.
Not to mention all the other starfaring civilizations out there that don't honor the Prime Directive and wouldn't hesitate to contact a pre-warp world.
Given what we know about Kirk, I'd agree that his motive was probably guided more by his morals than by politics. We also don't know for sure if his attitude towards this law was atypical in that culture. Look at the death penalty debate in the U.S. Maybe Kirk was acting out a form of civil disobedience. The question is, if he had failed and been caught, would he have been willing to face the punishment on that planet for violating their laws?

I'd think that in the 23rd century among multiple worlds full of sentient people and civilizations, there would be highly intellectual political and philosophical writings and discussions about basic universal rights of sentient beings at any level of development, too. Much like human rights, today. And some practices in some cultures may be condemned and discouraged. I don't know.

The problem I have is that the Prime Directive is completely amoral. To me, it's ridiculous to be relativistic to the point where everything is relative and every cultural practice or interpreation of truth or law deserves the same level of respect.

Out of universe, I'm not sure why the Prime Directive was created for the show other than to be employed as a dramatic device within stories, and to also show that imperialsim didn't go out into space with mankind in a time period on Earth (the mid-1960s) when imperialism and self-determination were big geo-political buzz words.
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Old April 8 2013, 05:11 AM   #424
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

That's really all the Prime Directive is, a dramatic point of conflict. In any reasonable organization, it would never have been followed so dogmatically.

Hell, Into Darkness might just be about a rebellion against the Prime Directive if the comics (and the nine minute preview) are any indication.
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Old April 8 2013, 03:34 PM   #425
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
This is what I mean by the TOS version of the PD versus the TNG version as while the TNG version made it apparent that what Kirk did would be a violation of the Prime Directive, the TOS version only seems to cover not screwing with pre-spaceflight planets, they never said anything about it affecting dealings with species they already made contact with who the majority of which knows they're from outer space.
On the contrary, they said something about it in "Friday's Child" itself. "And the highest of all our laws states that your world is yours and will always remain yours." It was made quite explicit in that very episode that, regardless of whether a society had been contacted or not, the Federation respected its right to self-determination. It's not about spaceflight. It's about not being cultural imperialists, about being humble enough to recognize that other cultures are better qualified to know what works for them than you are, and have more of a right to make decisions for their own society than you do.



Franklin wrote: View Post
Given what we know about Kirk, I'd agree that his motive was probably guided more by his morals than by politics. We also don't know for sure if his attitude towards this law was atypical in that culture. Look at the death penalty debate in the U.S. Maybe Kirk was acting out a form of civil disobedience. The question is, if he had failed and been caught, would he have been willing to face the punishment on that planet for violating their laws?
Kirk was not in a position to engage in civil disobedience, because he was not a member of that culture. He was an outsider imposing his values without consulting anyone within the culture, without acknowledging any agency on their part or any right to choose for themselves. However well-intentioned it was, it was blatant cultural imperialism. It was the Capellans' place to defy the custom. It wasn't his place to force change upon them.

(Besides, civil disobedience entails unresistingly accepting the penalties for violating the law. Thoreau and Gandhi and King let themselves be arrested and tried when they defied immoral laws. Kirk and company ran for the hills and violently resisted capture.)


The problem I have is that the Prime Directive is completely amoral. To me, it's ridiculous to be relativistic to the point where everything is relative and every cultural practice or interpreation of truth or law deserves the same level of respect.
That's not what it's about. Look at British and American cultural imperialism. These societies went into other cultures with the best of intentions, with the belief that they were acting in the name of positive morals. But they ended up badly oppressing and damaging those cultures, because their own cultural biases blinded them to the fact that the solutions that worked for them wouldn't necessarily work for another culture, that some cultural differences are not morally wrong but just different, and that even if there are genuine wrongs that need to be corrected in another culture, the people who are part of that culture and understand how it works are the ones who need to solve those problems. Outsiders who don't understand the culture may end up imposing solutions that do more harm than good. And change imposed from without can't really work; it only works if it comes from within.

So it's not about amorality. It's about recognizing that other people need to sort out their own problems, that you can't always fix things for them, and if you try, you can do more harm than good.

When I was in college, I had a friend who broke off contact with me because her boyfriend didn't want her having male friends. I recognized this as a warning sign of a possible abusive relationship, so I went to the campus women's center to ask for advice about how to deal with it. And what I learned from them is that there were limits on what I could do, what I should do. Even if she was in an abusive relationship, I couldn't make her change. I couldn't impose a solution. Not only would it not work, but it would make me no better than the boyfriend, because I'd be trying to control her choices too. The only way her situation would get better was if she decided for herself to make it better. I could (and did) send her a letter expressing my concerns, send her brochures from the women's center, but otherwise the only viable, ethical solution was to respect her wishes and keep my distance, to give her the space to make her own decisions rather than trying to make decisions for her. It meant that things might never get better for her, but the reality of the situation was that it simply wasn't my problem to solve -- it was hers. (And I eventually heard from her again and learned that she'd left that boyfriend on her own, without my intervention.)

The Prime Directive is based on the same principle. Cultural imperialism is to nations what abusive relationships are to individuals. It's about thinking you're entitled to make decisions for someone else instead of respecting their right to make decisions for themselves. And it's never the right way to help them. If they have problems, they need to take responsibility for solving those problems themselves. If you try to fix things for them, to make them change the way you think they should, you'll probably just make things worse, and it's more about serving your own self-interest than respecting theirs. You can offer advice and support if they're willing to seek it out, but the choice to act has to be theirs, because the responsibility for their fate is theirs.


Out of universe, I'm not sure why the Prime Directive was created for the show other than to be employed as a dramatic device within stories, and to also show that imperialsim didn't go out into space with mankind in a time period on Earth (the mid-1960s) when imperialism and self-determination were big geo-political buzz words.
I think the latter was the primary reason. It was TNG that turned it into more of a dramatic device. Particularly in "Pen Pals," which introduced the awful, nonsensical "Better to let them die than risk damaging them" interpretation. There's no way that makes any kind of moral statement about our world; it was introduced purely to create a philosophical challenge for the characters to wrestle with.
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Old April 9 2013, 05:47 AM   #426
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Well tm has the review of #4 up. Can't say any questions are answered. Little annoyed the issue ended and didn't really provided anything that would encourage someone to buy it and get rewarded for loyalty. Instead we have to wait for the movie then we can be like oh I see what happened in the comics now.
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Old April 9 2013, 10:29 AM   #427
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

I haven't read the comics yet, but am I right that April's code is a massive plot hole? He installed it on the old Enterprise and it magically worked on the new one too? And THAT is the thing Harrison steals, that's important to the film?
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Old April 9 2013, 11:01 AM   #428
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

King Daniel wrote: View Post
I haven't read the comics yet, but am I right that April's code is a massive plot hole? He installed it on the old Enterprise and it magically worked on the new one too? And THAT is the thing Harrison steals, that's important to the film?
Or it's just the report on what happened that makes him mad. We do know he believes Kirks superiors committed some sort of unforgivable crime, it could be that they left the Phaedians to the Klingons. I'd guess Harrisson has some sort of connection to either April or the planet in question.

The access thing can't be that important to the film, since any sane person would make sure the security hole is fixed as soon as possible. Star Fleet is not stupid enough to let it sit there to be used later.
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Old April 9 2013, 11:23 AM   #429
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

King Daniel wrote: View Post
but am I right that April's code is a massive plot hole? He installed it on the old Enterprise and it magically worked on the new one too?
More or less, yeah.

King Daniel wrote: View Post
And THAT is the thing Harrison steals, that's important to the film?
Not really. I'm not sure how you reached that conclusion.
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Old April 9 2013, 01:35 PM   #430
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Trekmovie.com wrote:
Admiral Marcus orders Mudd into the custody of Starfleet Intelligence. Pike informs Kirk that April’s program code and actions have been classified. Kirk is furious, but follows his orders. In London, at a Starfleet Data Archive security console, access is granted to John Harrison.
Perhaps I misinterpreted + jumped to a conclusion. I assumed Harrison is going to get April's classified command code from the security console in London.
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Old April 9 2013, 01:46 PM   #431
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

^ Ah, ok. I had not read Trekmovie's article, I've only seen the preview pages.

I'll wait to see how this is handled when I read the last issue. But I don't think they'd have Harrison do the same thing April does in the comic.
At least I hope not. Unless they offer another explanation for it, that deviates from Countdown and makes sense.
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Old April 9 2013, 02:38 PM   #432
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

April offers the Klingons the Enterprise in exchange for being governor of Phadeus IV. Where's April's leverage? Like the Klingons wouldn't double-cross that agreement? April wouldn't know that? It's stupid.

How in the world would the codes April knows work on the new Enterprise twenty years later?

There's certainly nothing in the story that hints Harrison is Khan. Why would Khan have a dog in this particular fight? What vengeance would he be seeking based on what happened on Phadeus or to any of the other characters in the comic?
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Old April 9 2013, 02:52 PM   #433
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

It's coming out tomorrow, right?
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Old April 9 2013, 02:55 PM   #434
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Franklin wrote: View Post
April offers the Klingons the Enterprise in exchange for being governor of Phadeus IV. Where's April's leverage? Like the Klingons wouldn't double-cross that agreement?
There is no honor in double-crossing an agreement. It would bring shame on their Houses.

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It's coming out tomorrow, right?
Yeah.
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Old April 9 2013, 04:16 PM   #435
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Re: COUNTDOWN TO DARKNESS 5-page preview

Franklin wrote: View Post
How in the world would the codes April knows work on the new Enterprise twenty years later?
Presumably, the ideas are that (1) it wasn't just a backdoor to his Enterprise, it was actually in the core OS of all Federation starships and (2) it was never deleted, possibly because someone else who knew about it [Admiral Marcus? Section 31?] managed to prevent it being changed.

Hell, it may not have been April's *own* backdoor, but something he discovered that was already there.
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