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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 January 26 2014, 08:29 AM   #61
M.A.C.O.
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
Serious question: Did you think Section 31 was right in using biological warfare against the Founders? Do you think the Federation Council was right in denying the cure to the Founders while the Dominion War was still underway?
Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
The way one answers each question clarifies one's underlying ethical framework and need not be the "same" in each issue--when I was a young trekkie, I defended Kirk's killing of Kruge in the pages of the old letterzine Interstat against fans who found that to be a violation of Kirk's character. I used the same distinction I made above. Personally, I think the Federation was wrong to withold the cure--I agreed with Odo, but I also think Helo was wrong to sabotage the Apollo and Adama's plan to wipe out the Cylons with the virus discovered in the ancient probe from the Thirteenth Colony. Other fans on the BBS argued against me. I'm not to trying to score points; I honestly want to know where she draws the line.

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
Oh, and I think Picard was wrong in "I, Borg," too.
You may want to add Sisko and what he did in "The Pale Moonlight" and Janeway and what she did in "Scorpion".


It's hard to maintain the highest quality of morals when you are on the losing side of a conflict. Laws and standards people/characters swore to uphold become blurred and or bent; when self-preservation is taken in to account. The conflict and or war becomes about who can tear their opponent down fastest.


Section 31 played the long game with the morphogenic virus. In the event of the Dominion conquering the Fed. The government could use the cure as a bargaining chip if they were to discuss terms of surrender.

The Federation Council and Starfleet's first directive was to protect themselves and their citizens. It's ugly but from the Fed pov, they were in the right.


Helo sabotaging the air system to kill the infected Cylons is different. Like Picard, Helo was uncomfortable using people as a biological weapon against an entire population. Laura Rosalin was interested in the self preservation of the human race. She was callous and dismissive of Cylons as people. Even Bill Adama tried to pass the buck on this decision. He didn't like it but he would still carry it out if ordered. If Picard in "I Borg" knew everything we would discover in VOY season 3-7 and the film FC. I think his decision would have been to use the Hugh as a weapon.

Janeway formed an alliance with the Borg to created the nano-probe torpedoes. She used them to destroy dozens of Species 8472 ships. We saw the the effects her decision in the episode "Hope and Fear". Janeway defended her decision by arguing ignorance of the true circumstances of the conflict. That and her own self-preservation directive to get her crew home.

Sisko assisted in an assassination the the creation of a ruse in order to bring the Romulans in to the war. This caused the Romulans to break their non-agression pact with the Dominion and join the Fed and the Klingons. However it also cost the lives of tens of thousands of Romulans. Romulans who died in a conflict based on a lie. All of this was done to preserve the Federation.

It would seem self-preservation trumps morals in extreme circumstances.
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Old January 26 2014, 08:55 AM   #62
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Excellent analysis.

So the real question is: Were the situations with Nero and Khan extreme enough to override the directives of civilization? How one answers that determines what is true north on one's personal moral compass. I think the writers failed to make the case in both instances.
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Old January 26 2014, 09:11 AM   #63
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
The way one answers each question clarifies one's underlying ethical framework and need not be the "same" in each issue--when I was a young trekkie, I defended Kirk's killing of Kruge in the pages of the old letterzine Interstat against fans who found that to be a violation of Kirk's character. I used the same distinction I made above. Personally, I think the Federation was wrong to withold the cure--I agreed with Odo, but I also think Helo was wrong to sabotage the Apollo and Adama's plan to wipe out the Cylons with the virus discovered in the ancient probe from the Thirteenth Colony. Other fans on the BBS argued against me. I'm not to trying to score points; I honestly want to know where she draws the line.

Oh, and I think Picard should have gone through with deploying the logic bomb virus in "I, Borg," too.
1. I think Kirk didn't have much choice about Kruge. Kruge wasn't going to let Kirk save him.
2. IMO probably the Federation did the wrong thing with the Founders. They weren't in a genocidal situation at that stage to justify that sort of behavior.
3. At the time I agree that Adama should have done anything necessary to wipe out the Cylons. They were in a genocidal situation at the time.
4. I also think Archer was right to disable the Illyrians when he was pursuing the Xindi. I thought he had no choice.
5. I think Archer did the wrong thing in Similtude. I think he crossed the line.
6. I think Janeway was write to stop Icheb's parents from sacrificing him to the Borg though. Its funny because its almost the same situation as Picard with Hugh and I disagree with Picard's actions and agree with Janeway's and Janeway violated the PD.

All this is just my opinion.

But Archer, Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko all had to weigh morality against their responsibility as law-givers to the Federation. If they're not prepared to kill to protect Federation lives then they should give up their jobs as Captains and Commanders of SpaceStations.
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Old January 26 2014, 01:38 PM   #64
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

As a lawyer I can testify that judges make inconsistent decisions all the time, sometimes the same judges looking at similar circumstances on a different day. It doesn't surprise me that the writers and by extension the characters do the same. I do think that some situations are more clear cut than others.

Kirk's decision to summarily execute Nero left a very nasty taste in my mouth because of the way the decision-making process was portrayed on screen, with no attempt to take him into custody. It was blatantly portrayed as an eye for an eye decision.
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Old January 26 2014, 02:24 PM   #65
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

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with no attempt to take him into custody
Except that's not what happened. Kirk offered assistance, and Nero flatly turned it down.

If offering assistance doesn't cut it, just how much danger was Kirk supposed to put the Enterprise in, in order to demonstrate that he was trying to take Nero into custody?

Would it have been satisfactory, if Kirk had said to Nero: "Either we both survive, or neither us do!"?
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Old January 26 2014, 03:00 PM   #66
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
with no attempt to take him into custody
Except that's not what happened. Kirk offered assistance, and Nero flatly turned it down.

If offering assistance doesn't cut it, just how much danger was Kirk supposed to put the Enterprise in, in order to demonstrate that he was trying to take Nero into custody?

Would it have been satisfactory, if Kirk had said to Nero: "Either we both survive, or neither us do!"?
I'm not an expert on Federation law but I'm fairly certain that if someone resists arrest, the next step in the manual is not to blow them to F**k.

But understand, my issue is less with Nero's ultimate fate and more with the thought processes that led them to that conclusion that we actually see on screen.

E.g. Despite the ship being beyond he event horizon of a black hole, subspace communications were still working. It's feasible that transporters might work - certainly worth a try (I should point out at this stage that I don't think transporters should work at all unless the transportee has a communicator to function as a localised quantum scanner but since that happens all the time,that is entirely a different debate). When that failed, an acknowledgment that there is a risk that the ship could go through another time warp and pose a threat further in the past. Pew pew. The end. It's not revenge, it's a calculated risk assessment.

Also note that Kirk's remained stationary next to the developing black hole to spend time destroying Nero's ship. This is not entirely logical in itself, since time distortion should have prevented any weapons reaching the ship in any event, and photon torpedoes should have been ripped apart long before they reached their target but in any event your comment about Kirk placing his ship in danger doesn't really track; he did that anyway.

A fair bit of stuff was overlooked to make it a clear cut eye for an eye scenario. Arena implied that this knee jerk revenge approach is wrong, whereas this movie made it both right and very satisfying. I think that's where the moral compass issue comes up for debate.
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Last edited by Pauln6; January 26 2014 at 03:28 PM.
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Old January 26 2014, 03:25 PM   #67
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Pauln6 wrote:
When that failed, an acknowledgment that there is a risk that the ship could go through another time warp and pose a threat further in the past.
But does that need to be explained in explicit film dialogue to be something we can take into consideration here? We thought of it; can't general audiences be expected to do the same?

Pauln6 wrote:
Arena implied that this knee jerk revenge approach is wrong, whereas this movie made it both right and very satisfying.
But what do we think the movie has to say about Nero's knee jerk revenge approach? Do we imagine that the film promotes "knee jerk revenge" in general?
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Old January 26 2014, 03:32 PM   #68
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

This defense of someone who committed genocide makes me kind of ill, to be honest. It would be like someone criticizing a soldier for putting a bullet in Hitler's brain if he had refused to surrender (if it had played out that way).

Kirk offered Nero a chance to surrender, he offered it to someone who not only committed genocide but also to someone who had murdered his father. Once the offer is rejected, I see no issues at all about making sure beyond all doubt that Nero never caused anyone else trouble.
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Old January 26 2014, 03:35 PM   #69
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
I'm not an expert on Federation law but I'm fairly certain that if someone resists arrest, the next step in the manual is not to blow them to F**k.
I'm fairly certain that if the killer of billions or anyone resists arrest the next step in the manual is NOT TO LET HIM GO
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Old January 26 2014, 03:41 PM   #70
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

^ Please. I didn't say that!
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Old January 26 2014, 03:43 PM   #71
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Sorry sorry sorry.
I apologise
I realised that as soon as I posted it and re-edited it twice.
I'm just too slow
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Old January 26 2014, 04:50 PM   #72
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote: View Post
I'm not an expert on Federation law but I'm fairly certain that if someone resists arrest, the next step in the manual is not to blow them to F**k.
I'm fairly certain that if the killer of billions or anyone resists arrest the next step in the manual is NOT TO LET HIM GO
Correct, which is why I suggested an attempt should be made to arrest him and when that failed stress that there was still a possibility that he might escape. As it was, the only express dialogue was that Nero's ship was about to be destroyed.

Set Harth wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote:
When that failed, an acknowledgment that there is a risk that the ship could go through another time warp and pose a threat further in the past.
But does that need to be explained in explicit film dialogue to be something we can take into consideration here? We thought of it; can't general audiences be expected to do the same?

Pauln6 wrote:
Arena implied that this knee jerk revenge approach is wrong, whereas this movie made it both right and very satisfying.
But what do we think the movie has to say about Nero's knee jerk revenge approach? Do we imagine that the film promotes "knee jerk revenge" in general?
If it's not on screen, it's not canon! Plus I would not expect the casual moviegoer to have a strong sense of what the Federation was meant to stand for in a new reboot.

It's not the place of a Federation captain (or any military officer) to act as judge, jury, and executioner. You might end up there but it's really supposed to be a decision you reach without another reasonable choice. The fact that your enemy has committed greater war crimes does not justify you committing a war crime yourself.

A more satisfying conclusion for me personally would have been if Nero had rejected Kirk's offer of help, fired his own weapons, and the gravitational well sucked them back in to destroy him, the obvious metaphor being that hatred is self-destructive and a thirst for revenge will destroy you in the end. The moral compass is preserved.

Nero was a rather illogical and one-dimensional villain. He was basically insane, although I'm not sure why his crew were also so compliant. I would have preferred a multi-racial terrorist crew to a bunch of anguished Romulans who waited 25 years with no deviation from their plan for revenge.
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Old January 26 2014, 05:01 PM   #73
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Pauln6 wrote:
If it's not on screen, it's not canon!
Which only exposes the inherent fallaciousness of that mindset if it's taken to such extremes.

Clearly the basis for such an idea is a natural result of what was presented on screen. We thought of it; does something which makes sense have to be spelled out in dialogue in order to be considered valid?

Pauln6 wrote:
Plus I would not expect the casual moviegoer to have a strong sense of what the Federation was meant to stand for in a new reboot.
It's not about what the Federation was meant to stand for. It's about the danger posed by Nero, which can be intuited by the viewer regardless of what they think about the Federation.
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Old January 26 2014, 05:11 PM   #74
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Set Harth wrote: View Post
Pauln6 wrote:
Plus I would not expect the casual moviegoer to have a strong sense of what the Federation was meant to stand for in a new reboot.
It's not about what the Federation was meant to stand for. It's about the danger posed by Nero, which can be intuited by the viewer regardless of what they think about the Federation.
The express dialogue tells the viewer that Nero isn't a threat. You are asking the casual viewer to intuit something that is the opposite of what they are being told in a franchise with which they are unfamiliar.

My unease with the portrayal of the scene remains.
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Old January 26 2014, 05:16 PM   #75
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Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

The express dialogue tells the viewer that Nero isn't a threat.
That same viewer watched Nero's ship survive passage through a black hole before. Again, it's not all about dialogue, nor is something automatically true just because Kirk says it ( see: Nibiru ).
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