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Enterprise The final frontier has a new beginning in this forum!

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Old July 3 2013, 08:11 PM   #1
Charles Phipps
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Terra Nova morality question

So, do you think they made the right decision on Terra Nova?

For me, I say thee nay.

The Prime Directive (which doesn't exist) shouldn't be observed for people who are breakaways from existing humanity. Bluntly, I think they should have done everything they could to help these people than condemn them to 10,000 years of not knowing washing their hands is a good thing.

I may be letting my feelings on BSG's finale influence my opinion, however.
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Old July 4 2013, 12:29 AM   #2
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

Again, you're misremembering the episode. Here's the transcript. There was nothing about any kind of noninterference policy here. There was no effort to hide the Novans' origins from them; on the contrary, this was a story about reintroducing the descendants of a lost colony to their true identity and heritage as humans. They brought a sick Novan up to the ship to cure her of a terminal disease, reminding her of her real name and the names of her parents in the process. And they rescued the Novans from the radiation sickness that was killing them, transplanting them (presumably using several dozen shuttlepod trips) to a new land mass free of radioactive contamination. They absolutely did do everything they could to help those people. And it stands to reason that Earth would've sent more aid to the Novans after they got Enterprise's report.

I think you need to rewatch Enterprise before you start any more threads evaluating its moral issues.
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Old July 4 2013, 01:41 AM   #3
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

So noted.

Ironically, my issue was mainly with the implications of this line. I was under the impression that T'Pol was suggesting that their culture and existence needed to be protected even though it's (mostly) forgotten its Earth-based roots.

ARCHER: We have to convince them that returning to Earth is the right thing. We can't take them by force.
T'POL: Are you certain it is the right thing?
ARCHER: What are you talking about?
T'POL: When you get them back to Earth, what will you do? Send them to school, teach them to read and write, wear human clothing, eat human food, teach them to live on the surface, enjoy the sunshine?
ARCHER: You're damn straight. They're human beings. It's their birthright. It might take a little while, but they'll adapt. It's a hell of a lot better than dying down in those tunnels.
T'POL: They've lived in those tunnels for three generations. You can't just pluck them up and bring them to a strange world and hope they'll learn to conform. You'd be destroying their identity, destroying the Novan culture.
ARCHER: Archer to Tucker.
I was more under the issue the objection was not resettlement but exposure to outside influences.

Also, the episode implied (for me, that Starfleet wasn't coming back)

ARCHER: Your planet has three large islands to the south. We call them continents. The climate is nearly identical to your overside. We don't know how similar the underside is, but my people are working on that now. The important thing is, the poison rain never fell there. You'd be safe. Your children would be safe. You could even spend time on the overside if you wanted to.
JAMIN: If our tunnels are infected you wouldn't want them so badly.
TRAVIS: We don't. We only want to help you, make you healthy.
ARCHER: Was that photograph of Vera Fuller and her daughter shale? Do you really believe we created it to trick you? You're human. So am I. Humans help each other.
JAMIN: When we track back to the underside, we'll return your crewman only if you promise to leave.
The ending isn't too optimistic either.

JAMIN: They promised to leave. Let them go. We'll be fine here.
NADET: We're not fine. None of us is fine. We're rotting, all of us.
JAMIN: They've promised to leave.
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Old July 4 2013, 02:08 AM   #4
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

^But that's not the ending. You're distorting it by leaving out the final line of the scene. Nadet gets the last word by urging the Novans to listen -- and of course there were nuances in performance that aren't in the transcript. The implication is that Nadet's view -- that the Novans should trust the NX-01 crew, accept the truth about their origins, and allow themselves to be resettled -- is the one that ultimately wins out. Hell, the characters in the final scene certainly wouldn't be so happy if they'd just left the Novans there to die.

And I didn't interpret T'Pol's comments to be advocating absolute isolation. She just meant that Archer should respect that the new culture and identity they've developed is something they have a right to keep, that he's making a mistake by assuming they should just be taken back to Earth and reassimilated. The solution is to move them to a safer part of Terra Nova where they can prosper and continue to develop their culture, but that certainly doesn't require total isolation -- it just requires not uprooting them back to Earth.
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Old July 4 2013, 02:15 AM   #5
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

Sorry, Christopher, I suppose I should just let go of my natural cynicism when I'm reviewing Star Trek. My interpretation was the somewhat more ambiguous "The Enterprise has saved them from their present danger and lead them to a new home but the Terra Novans will continue on as a distinct culture on the new continent as opposed to having any further contact with Starfleet."

I suppose I'm lettin the shadow of the future Prime Directive color my opinions that these individuals are a Pre-Warp culture which just so happens to come from a warp-culture. I suppose you're correct this is making an awful lot of assumptions.
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Old July 4 2013, 02:35 AM   #6
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

I'm sure there will be further contact; nobody ever said there wouldn't be. And even once there is a Prime Directive, it's assumed that it does not apply to human colonies (see "Up the Long Ladder"). So there's no reason to expect a hands-off policy here, decades before the Prime Directive is even formulated. (It's unclear when the PD came into existence, but going by "A Piece of the Action" it was probably after the late 2160s. The recent book Federation: The First 150 Years puts it in 2179.)
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Old July 4 2013, 02:37 AM   #7
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

So noted and thank you for explaining. Sorry if I'm bothering you with my erroneous facts.
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Old July 4 2013, 02:58 AM   #8
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

Yeah sorry, the cynic that is me sees Earth not just giving up that whole lush habitable planet very close to Earth up to the natives. More colonists will come, and they'll probably get the Native American treatment. Either assimilated or kept away from the civilized people.
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Old July 4 2013, 03:00 AM   #9
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

And you know if that does happen the children of these Terra Nova folk are going to be asking "why are we living in these shit holes when we can go top side?"
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Old July 4 2013, 03:04 AM   #10
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

R. Star wrote: View Post
Yeah sorry, the cynic that is me sees Earth not just giving up that whole lush habitable planet very close to Earth up to the natives. More colonists will come, and they'll probably get the Native American treatment. Either assimilated or kept away from the civilized people.
There's always been new uninhabited planets to colonize, however. I wondered how that might be with the hundreds of species out there--then I remembered all the horrific space monsters/diseases and so on out there.

Then it becomes more understandable.
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Old July 4 2013, 03:14 AM   #11
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

Maybe for some planets humans are the horrific space monsters.
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Old July 4 2013, 03:24 AM   #12
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

Charles Phipps wrote: View Post
R. Star wrote: View Post
Yeah sorry, the cynic that is me sees Earth not just giving up that whole lush habitable planet very close to Earth up to the natives. More colonists will come, and they'll probably get the Native American treatment. Either assimilated or kept away from the civilized people.
There's always been new uninhabited planets to colonize, however. I wondered how that might be with the hundreds of species out there--then I remembered all the horrific space monsters/diseases and so on out there.

Then it becomes more understandable.
Carol Marcus specifically mentioned overcrowding as a reason for the Genesis device. So either there aren't enough planets or they hadn't found them by that time.
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Old July 4 2013, 03:37 AM   #13
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

teacake wrote: View Post
And you know if that does happen the children of these Terra Nova folk are going to be asking "why are we living in these shit holes when we can go top side?"
Again, check the transcript. The Enterprise crew relocated them to another continent where it was safe to live on the surface.

The thing to remember -- and that too many Prime Directive stories forget -- is that preserving a culture does not equal keeping it unchanged. All cultures change and adapt to new circumstances all the time. So they can still be Terra Novans without living permanently in caves. They can change their way of living but build on the customs of their forebears, evolve them into something that's still distinctly their own.
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Old July 5 2013, 06:14 PM   #14
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

Christopher wrote: View Post
The Enterprise crew relocated them to another continent where it was safe to live on the surface.
But did they live on the surface after being moved? Wouldn't they begin to dig tunnels (or find caves) to live a life style that they were used too?

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Old July 5 2013, 10:09 PM   #15
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Re: Terra Nova morality question

^Why couldn't they do both? The point is, it's their choice now. They're free to develop their culture as they wish. No culture is fixed and stagnant. Every culture evolves, grows, diversifies. They've got a whole planet to themselves, except for the irradiated part. Their options are not exactly constrained. As their population grows, it could branch out into a number of different cultures with different lifestyles, descended from the Novan culture that NX-01 met but not identical to it.
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