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Old March 5 2013, 12:47 AM   #31
Nightdiamond
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Its also amazing how they accept their creepy justice system-- where the defendant is already judged guilty before the trial, and the sentence is already determined.

But then again Cardassians probably think that the human justice system lets obvious criminals get off easy or even go free.

They also seem to think their culture is better than most.

In their minds, a military dictatorship is normal, compared to democracy which (they believe) didn't work for them .

The military feeds, protects and brings glory to the people as far as they're concerned.
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Old March 5 2013, 03:54 AM   #32
Nagisa Furukawa
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

While I certainly don't support a dictatorship...

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I've always viewed democracy as an absolute right, something that everyone wants - even if they don't yet know they want it.
I find statements like this genuinely terrifying. It's using the language of totalitarianism for a philosophy that's supposedly "free." I could see someone arguing that "freedom" is an absolute right everyone shares, but in its purest form, that's anarchy.

Democracy is a very specific system based on the premise of majority rules. It has its benefits and drawbacks, just like any other system of government. To say it's something that everyone subconsciously wants isn't just human-centric, as someone else in the thread claimed it was, but extremely Western civilization-centric. Many ancient Romans and Greeks, like Polyibus, genuinely disliked Athens-style democracy and viewed it as an inefficient system that quickly broke down into brutal mob rule, acknowledging it has its flaws just like oligarchies and dictatorships do.

And just in general, I get REALLY creeped out when people say anything about what people want "even if they don't yet know they want it." That's usually the language of someone who wants to give others what they don't want.
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Old March 5 2013, 05:35 PM   #33
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
I always tended to think of it as being "their" kind of society, that's to say that, unlike in totalitarian societies on earth, the majority of the population isn't behind it because of state propaganda or brainwashing, but because they like it that way.
In the history of humanity, liberal democracy did not exist until the 20th Century. What makes you think democracy is the default setting for the human race?

That's not to say the dissident movement isn't genuine, only to suggest that they're perhaps atypical for their race - like a Ferengi who isn't interested in profit. I prefer to think of Cardassians as a people who, unfathomably to humans, live in a dictatorial system out of choice,
How is that not a contradiction in terms? If you live in a dictatorship, you by definition have no choice.

that they're comfortable with it; and they truly do prefer general order, however it's ensured, over personal freedoms. It makes things more intriguing.
Maybe -- but I don't really see how Cardassian psychology truly differs from Human psychology in the Trekverse. Nothing about Cardassian culture is without its antecedents in real life. And what about Cardassians who dissent?

For much the same reason I never liked Rom becoming Nagus either. I loved the whole Ferengi female liberation theme and Moogie was a hoot!, but she was in actual fact being thoroughly Ferengi - she wanted a slice of the cake.
I liked the idea of there being some planet where the pursuit of profit really is the highest moral good. There should be incompatible value systems!
Of course, part of Trek's message is that while we value diversity, we also believe that some things are well and truly immoral and try to spread that belief peaceably, as equals rather than as cultural imperialists. And when you have a value system as oppressive as Ferengi Capitalism, it's quite natural that a more benign value system like the Federation's would eventually find purchase in Ferengi society.

Of course all the different races are there to reflect on aspects of us, but on the level of the story in and of itself, a mere mirror isn't all they should be. You can make a point about the repression of totalitarian governments, or the evils of exaggerated greed, by contrasting these with Federation/human culture, without having all the "good and true" Cardassians/Ferengi secretly aspiring to be just like us.
I don't think Rom was aspiring to be just like the Federation; he wants environmental protection, and a social safety net, and female liberation -- but he wants them because he (and Zek and Ishka) honestly believe that those things are more profitable for all of society in the long run. Their value system is, in essence, Capitalism with Socialist curbs on excess.
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Old March 5 2013, 10:22 PM   #34
Nerys Ghemor
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

What MLB said is correct even though I would have explained it quite differently. I believe that people inherently desire to have their individual dignity respected and to be free of fear and oppression. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, basically (noting the distinction inherent in pursuit of happiness, which is defined by the individual and the government is relegated to a role of the minimal interference necessary for the individual to do so--meaning that crimes are punished but individual rights are maintained).

Democracy, though itself flawed and in danger of either paralysis or tyranny of the majority, is the best system we know of to ensure those inherent needs are met and inalienable rights respected. So people can need and desire those needs to be met without knowing what is currently the best means of their fulfillment. Should an even better means arise--and perhaps the Cardassians could come up with one for themselves that is not a copy of our system but that does not oppress or slaughter its own merely over differences in belief--then so be it. But I definitely will not stop believing that people inherently desire to have their dignity respected.
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Old March 6 2013, 02:22 AM   #35
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
What MLB said is correct even though I would have explained it quite differently. I believe that people inherently desire to have their individual dignity respected and to be free of fear and oppression. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, basically (noting the distinction inherent in pursuit of happiness, which is defined by the individual and the government is relegated to a role of the minimal interference necessary for the individual to do so--meaning that crimes are punished but individual rights are maintained).

Democracy, though itself flawed and in danger of either paralysis or tyranny of the majority, is the best system we know of to ensure those inherent needs are met and inalienable rights respected. So people can need and desire those needs to be met without knowing what is currently the best means of their fulfillment. Should an even better means arise--and perhaps the Cardassians could come up with one for themselves that is not a copy of our system but that does not oppress or slaughter its own merely over differences in belief--then so be it. But I definitely will not stop believing that people inherently desire to have their dignity respected.
I would go one step further, though: No government has the right to hold power without the consent of its people. The only way for a government to earn the consent of its people is to obtain a democratic mandate. Ergo, democracy is the only legitimate form of government.
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Old March 6 2013, 02:35 AM   #36
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

^ And not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
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Old March 6 2013, 03:29 AM   #37
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

How do we know the power wasn't given to Central Command and the Detapa Council by the people in some way and later it turned into a twisted oppression (possibly due to the Obsidian Order growing into more power and terrorising everyone)?

I agree people don't want to be oppressed, but I don't agree that everyone must like democracy.
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Old March 6 2013, 03:33 AM   #38
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

^ I find it likely that the Detapa Council once was the legitimate governing body of Cardassia, but the military and the Obsidian Order just flat out took all the power away from them. The people had no say in that.

Isn't it almost self-evident that a dictatorship can never be democratic? The very meaning of the term 'dictatorship' automatically precludes the people having any rights in the working of the government (or indeed any kind of rights whatsoever).
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Old March 6 2013, 06:10 AM   #39
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
I agree people don't want to be oppressed, but I don't agree that everyone must like democracy.
If you mean a government that operates according to the Westminster Rules of parliament, or according to the US Constitution, I agree that not everyone must like that. There are other setups. But I question how well setups without at least some credible element of popular representation are actually capable--even with the best intentions--of avoiding oppression.
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Old March 6 2013, 10:16 AM   #40
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
How do we know the power wasn't given to Central Command and the Detapa Council by the people in some way and later it turned into a twisted oppression (possibly due to the Obsidian Order growing into more power and terrorising everyone)?
What about it? It's still a government that doesn't have the consent of the governed.

Obtaining the consent of the governed requires renewing that consent. That means, getting a new democratic mandate periodically.

I agree people don't want to be oppressed, but I don't agree that everyone must like democracy.
Oh, I'm not saying anyone ought to like democracy. Democracy can be frustrating and infuriating. But some form of democracy is still necessary, because no other form of government actually obtains the consent of the people over whom it rules.
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Old March 7 2013, 03:43 PM   #41
Dal Rassak
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Hmm, something strange happened with the principality of Lichtenstein a few years ago. The prince decided he was tired of just being a nominal ruler and he'd much rather govern. He put this in front of parliament. The parliament took a democratic vote deciding to abrogate their democratic powers!!
Basically, parliament abolished itself - voluntarily. Thankfully a tiny tax-haven of a princedom doesn't have any influence and it matters nothing much either inside or outside of it whether it's ruled by a prince or by a parliament. But I was still stunned when I heard that particular item on the news - it seemed such a retrograde step.

Now I can see perfectly well where at some point in their history, the Cardassian people voluntarily decided to give over all ruling powers to the military - who then refused to ever relinquish it. (Nothing knew in terms of Earth history, at any rate!)
By that point you're no longer volunteering for the system, that doesn't alter the fact you freely chose it at one point.
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Old March 7 2013, 04:16 PM   #42
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
While I can see that argument to some extent, I would also remind everyone that there is known to be shared genetic material between some of the Alpha Quadrant races. Humans, Klingons, Cardassians, and Romulans/Vulcans are specifically known to share genetics. This means (IMHO) that their motivations, while varying somewhat, are not going to diverge anywhere near as (for instance) a Founder's or a Tholian's. Some commonality should be expected.
Humans share 98%+ of their DNA with a chimp, 90% with a baboon, 80% with a cow and 50% with a banana.

How's yer banana/human comparative ethics essay going?
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Old March 7 2013, 05:12 PM   #43
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Dal Rassak wrote: View Post
Hmm, something strange happened with the principality of Lichtenstein a few years ago. The prince decided he was tired of just being a nominal ruler and he'd much rather govern. He put this in front of parliament. The parliament took a democratic vote deciding to abrogate their democratic powers!! Basically, parliament abolished itself - voluntarily.
I for one do not recognize a legislature's right to do so. The legislative authority by right belongs to the people at large; the people then delegate this authority to the legislatures they convene. If a body of legislators decides they no longer wish to exercise the legislative powers which have been delegated to them, then those powers by right return to the people at large (who would then likely wish to convene a new legislature in some form), not to any executive officer such as a prince. Thus in my view such a vote by definition is a violation of the natural rights of the people of the Principality of Lichtenstein.

By that point you're no longer volunteering for the system, that doesn't alter the fact you freely chose it at one point.
If a parliament choose to dissolve itself and hand over the legislative powers to an executive officer, does it stand to reason that the people have actually chosen this? I think not.
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Old March 7 2013, 06:44 PM   #44
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Sci, I think the point Dal Rassak is trying to make is that someone could reject democracy and prefer other ways of ruling, not your personal view on political procedures of Lichtenstein, or anywhere else.

In times of great famine and other kind of great crisis, the Cardassians could have chosen a rule of one or few war heroes/strong leaders/good demagogues/whatever over warring and ineffective political parties. It could be a universal referendum for all we know. Whether it was a right move or a mistake, that's another story.
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Old March 7 2013, 07:21 PM   #45
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Re: Cardassian society - enforcement or preference?

Gul Re'jal wrote: View Post
Sci, I think the point Dal Rassak is trying to make is that someone could reject democracy and prefer other ways of ruling,
Yes, I understand that. And I am arguing that doing so, even if it seemingly has the consent of the populace, is still an act that violates the natural rights of the people -- and that it lacks the consent of those generations who come later, since the establishment of such an autocracy does not require later generations' consent.
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