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Old July 24 2013, 04:28 PM   #1
Roboturner913
Lieutenant Commander
 
Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

I was watching the DS9 episode "Way of the Warrior". Garak and Quark have the following conversation:


Quark: I want you to try something for me. Take a sip of this.
Elim Garak: What is it?
Quark: A human drink. It's called root beer.
Elim Garak: [unwilling] Uh, I don't know...
Quark: Come on, aren't you just a little bit curious?
[Garak sighs, takes a sip and gags]
Quark: What do you think?
Elim Garak: It's *vile*!
Quark: I know. It's so bubbly, and cloying, and *happy*.
Elim Garak: Just like the Federation.
Quark: But you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to *like* it.
Elim Garak: It's insidious!
Quark: *Just* like the Federation.


Got me to thinking. We always hear about how the Federation's #1 rule is do not interfere in the development of other cultures. Now that only applies to those races without advanced spaceflight, but why? Who is to say that is the point where the Federation is now suddenly allowed to annex them?

Is it not possible this culture could still undergo significant and valuable development that now maybe does not happen?

We see that at least with the two above characters they are frightened of their own lifestyles/cultures becoming part of this homogenized Federation standard. If you look at the Ferengi from the beginning of DS9 to the end you see their culture make pretty significant steps toward the Federation ideal.

Granted, it's not nearly as objectionable as blatant imperialism. But Garak and Quark are right. It is insidious.

The thing that bothers me the most, as I said before, is that the UFP seems to be aware of the pitfalls and potential harm to other cultures, but they only stand by their own principles to a point. I would imagine this is something that would be a major topic of debate by academics in that world in the same way the expansion of Western culture here on earth has caused some resentment on an international scale.

Anyway, discuss.
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Old July 24 2013, 04:36 PM   #2
Melakon
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
Anyway, discuss.
Why do people feel the need to end an opening post and make it sound like your answer is going to be graded and entered into your Permanent Record?

The Federation has always been something of a metaphor for America.
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Old July 24 2013, 04:56 PM   #3
Roboturner913
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

^ Except the United States has never had any policies forbidding contact with lesser-developed peoples.
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Old July 24 2013, 05:03 PM   #4
Melakon
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

America hasn't developed warp drive yet either, that seems to be the distinction the Federation looks for. And we can blame it all on Vulcan influence in shaping Federation/Starfleet regulations. So if you want to point the finger at anyone, it's those pointy-eared bastards over there.
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Old July 24 2013, 05:17 PM   #5
Roboturner913
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

OK, Jokey McJokerson, but making an America/UFP analogy is not the point of the topic.
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Old July 24 2013, 05:26 PM   #6
Romulan_spy
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

To me the big difference is that planets join the Federation of their own free will. The Federation offers a prospective planet the benefits of belonging to the Federation but leaves it up to them to make the final decision. I am sure if a planet said "no thank you", the Federation would leave them alone. That is very different from an imperialist regime that coerces planets into joining them.
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Old July 24 2013, 05:45 PM   #7
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
Who is to say that is the point where the Federation is now suddenly allowed to annex them?
Annex? Isn't that an extreme statement? There are several episodes, in which a planet must petition for membership, but only when it meets several developmental criteria. It seems that they have no obligation to join.

On the other hand, the conversation you cite suggests something more problematic: being part of a large interplanetary organization is a necessity of the 24th century, and the UFP is the least evil among them.
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Old July 24 2013, 05:51 PM   #8
Roboturner913
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

"Annex" was probably a bad choice of word, yes. And nobody is accusing the UFP of forcing itself on others, at least not overtly.

Regardless of how they spread their influence, the point is that the UFP has an impact of cultural change to other worlds, whether they are members or non-members. (The Ferengi went from a society of cutthroat capitalists to a virtual welfare state in large part because of Federation influence).

Some detrimental effect seems inevitable. If nothing else, the loss of "uniqueness" as Federation ideals smother existing cultures to one extent or another.

Last edited by Roboturner913; July 24 2013 at 06:07 PM.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:07 PM   #9
Melakon
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

You also have to consider the options that were available to independent cultures wanting the security of an alliance. The Klingons weren't always a desirable choice, nor the Romulans, nor the Cardassians. The Federation was the best chance that their planet would maintain some sense of control over its own affairs.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:30 PM   #10
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
Some detrimental effect seems inevitable. If nothing else, the loss of "uniqueness" as Federation ideals smother existing cultures to one extent or another.
Right now, I am at a loss to find an example of cultural change that occurs specifically because of (for the lack of a better word) incorporating a new world. Obviously, something must happen, but in all series, the UFP seems to contain many worlds that are unique to one another. Starfleet has its own culture, and it seems that anyone who joins will become more like the people who live in San Francisco.

On the other hand, Garrak and Quark complaining about root beer isn't quite the same thing as Vedek Anonymous in Erehwon Province worrying about secularization. Garrack and Quark represent organizations that are competing with the Federation which advance their own views about the nature of high politics and diplomatic affairs. They have their own views on how worlds and cultures are assimilated.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:32 PM   #11
T'Girl
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
^ Except the United States has never had any policies forbidding contact with lesser-developed peoples.
How the federation defines "less-developed" has always seemed strange to me. Try this two brother are traveling across a lake in near identical boats, one is rowing across, while the other has a outboard motor.

Now according to the federation, the brother with the motor (allegory for warp drive) is the more advanced, simply because he possesses a particular method of propulsion. A socialogically advance society without warp drive woud apparently not be concidered for contact or membership in the federation. Even if in all other aspect they were equal in every other way to 24th century Earth.

Melakon wrote: View Post
You also have to consider the options that were available to independent cultures wanting the security of an alliance.
There is the question of what a species gets by joining, verse what (if anything) they lose in the process. Through the years fans on this board have suggested that new members lose internal political control, there are impossed a list of laws, social changes, lose of their military, economic restructuring.

In exchange for security, technological improvements, joint diplomatic relations.

Are the requirements a one way street? Or can the new member also present the federation their own requirement that the federation has to agree to? It would be easy to see all the federation's 150 plus members entering under a slighty (or more so) different treaty or "contract."

The federation itself could change internally with each new addition.

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Old July 24 2013, 06:44 PM   #12
SpHeRe31459
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Now according to the federation, the brother with the motor (allegory for warp drive) is the more advanced, simply because he possesses a particular method of propulsion. A socialogically advance society without warp drive woud apparently not be concidered for contact or membership in the federation. Even if in all other aspect they were equal in every other way to 24th century Earth.
Ahh but you're missing the biggest piece to that. The warp drive gives the person (society) interstellar contact, this creates a social change that the other literally cannot because he hasn't been able to explored far enough to meet other people. That's seems to be the presumption that the warp critera is based on.

One could say that warp drive is an easily observed "hard science" criteria that apparently the Federation has found follows with enough social changes to ready them from possible Federation contact, if not on going involvement.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:50 PM   #13
Shawnster
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
"Annex" was probably a bad choice of word, yes. And nobody is accusing the UFP of forcing itself on others, at least not overtly.
At first I thought the word was too harsh, but then I looked it up.

Th Free Dictionary: anĚnex (-nks, nks)1. To append or attach, especially to a larger or more significant thing.2. To incorporate (territory) into an existing political unit such as a country, state, county, or city.
3. To add or attach, as an attribute, condition, or consequence.


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annex1: to attach as a quality, consequence, or condition

2 archaic : to join together materially : unite

3: to add to something earlier, larger, or more important

4: to incorporate (a country or other territory) within the domain of a state

5: to obtain or take for oneself

I can see from Merriam-Webster's definition 5 that one could understand annex implies force. However, the definition allows for mutual agreement.
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Old July 24 2013, 06:57 PM   #14
Bad Thoughts
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Roboturner913 wrote: View Post
"Annex" was probably a bad choice of word, yes. And nobody is accusing the UFP of forcing itself on others, at least not overtly.
At first I thought the word was too harsh, but then I looked it up.

Th Free Dictionary: anĚnex (-nks, nks)1. To append or attach, especially to a larger or more significant thing.2. To incorporate (territory) into an existing political unit such as a country, state, county, or city.
3. To add or attach, as an attribute, condition, or consequence.


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/annex1: to attach as a quality, consequence, or condition

2 archaic : to join together materially : unite

3: to add to something earlier, larger, or more important

4: to incorporate (a country or other territory) within the domain of a state

5: to obtain or take for oneself

I can see from Merriam-Webster's definition 5 that one could understand annex implies force. However, the definition allows for mutual agreement.
That's fair. I find that the word describes only one side of such a process, thus looks like what a greater power does to a lesser power. It doesn't reference what the lesser power is getting or how they fit in. On the other hand, the process is not one of UFP taking in territory, but of bringing in a new member. A new nation to the UN or the EU would not be described as being annexed.
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Old July 24 2013, 08:53 PM   #15
Silvercrest
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Re: Is the UFP's expansion at odds with its own ideals?

My opinion is that the Federation leverages the "no money" thing to their own advantage. Once they make first contact with a world, they give that world replicator technology, then sit back and watch. Eventually that world's economy collapses due to an overwhelming glut of free stuff. Finally the Federation steps in and says, "Don't worry, we'll take care of you if you join us!"

That's why no one ever leaves the Federation. They can't afford to.
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