Before Dishonour....seriously?!

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by sosolidshoe, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, asking if the Borg have evil intent is a bit like asking if a rabid dog or a hungry lion has evil intent. Of course they don't; they lack moral agency.
     
  2. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In english law - perhaps not.
    In most law systems known to man (not only US law, but US, most european, etc) - state of necessity most definitely IS an exculpation for your act, if certain conditions are met:
    -the harm you'll cause by acting is smaller than the harm that will come to pass if you won't act;
    -you had no reasonable alternative to your action - 'reasonable' alternative as in, you, a normal person, can discover it + the chance of this alternative 'working' are not minimal.

    If these conditions are met, in most law systems you have the right to defend your life (or the life of another) against a person who cannot control his actions and is about to kill you - even by killing said person, if no other options are available.
    You are saying that, in english law, you are legally obligated to essentially commit suicide in such a case? Creepy.


    In the case from 'I, borg':
    - the borg are currently engaged in a campaign to assimilate the entire galaxy - MILLIONS of civilisations - killing TRILLIONS of conscious beings. Yes, TRILLIONS - an atrocity on such a scale that human minds can only understand it as a mathematical abstraction.
    The harm done by Picard&co when unleashing the paradox virus is far smaller than what the borg were doing and had in mind for the galaxy (and that is assuming the paradox virus would actually KILL the drones - which was not established in the episode).
    -Picard&co had no other alternatives with a reasonable chance of stopping the borg.
    'We'll win the lottery tomorrow and the borg will be destroyed by a godlike species' does NOT count as an reasonable alternative - with a reasonable chance of success.

    AKA - with respect to the borg drones - Picard would be in a state of necessity when unleashing the paradox virus, even if the drones would be killed by it - and this is a BIG IF.*

    *You see, 'I, borg' never established whether the drones would die.
    During the episode, Picard choose not to dismantle the collective consciousness (destroying a 'culture') because he would have to use Hugh to do it, and using a person is 'bad'.
    All the future victims of the borg and the fate of the borg drones were never even mentioned.
    Why?
    Because, as in 'endgame', the scenarists simply didn't think things through.

    You are in self-defense if you act to protect your life OR THE LIFE OF ANOTHER.
    In 'I, borg', it was crystal clear - to everyone, but especially to Picard - that the borg were engaged in a genocidal campaign against, virtually, all other conscious beings in the galaxy - killing BILLIONS upon BILLIONS on an ongoing basis (let me guess, JB2005 - that's not 'immediate threat' enough for you:guffaw:).

    With regard to the borg - acting to stop this continuing megacrime is self-defence, regardless of whether the borg target you during this specific second or not.

    In 'I, borg', genocide was upon Picard, regardless of his choice:
    He chose to allow the borg to continue killing and assimilating across the galaxy - becoming partly responsible for the death of BILLIONS, entire civilisations, because he could stop all this horror and didn't.
    A lot of blood stains Picard's hands - inheritance from 'I, borg'.

    And there's no malice on the part of a person that acts in self-defence or state of necessity. If you actually beleive there is, you don't really understand the concepts of self-defence or state of nesessity.

    On the other hand, on the part of the borg, a conscious intelligence (as was repeatedly established), there most definitely is malice.
    Consciousness = amenable to moral judgment.
    The borg is no mere automata, no mere unconscious killer asteroid or PC.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  3. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    No one's saying it's wrong to destroy a Borg cube that is actively attacking the Federation, especially if Starfleet has no alternative.

    But there's a HUGE difference between killing in self defense and hunting down and exterminating everyone who wants harm to befall you.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Historically, lots of military forces have been made up of people who were enslaved, impressed, or otherwise coerced into service. If such an army attacked your village, you'd be justified in killing its members in self-defense. But that wouldn't mean that the correct way to solve the problem for good would be to murder every last slave in the enemy empire. The way to solve the problem would be to free the slaves by defeating the regime that forced them to fight.
     
  5. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What about a cube that is preparing to destroy/destroying another civilisation - let's say, in the delta quadrant (a fact of which you are certain)?

    Is it off-limits simply because it's not you the one doing the dying, Elias Vaughn?

    And if wishes were horses...

    The federation - and THOUSANDS OF CIVILISATIONS before it - could not even stop the borg in military combat, and the federation is supposed to achieve the FAR more difficult task of liberating the drones?
    This option simply did not lay within the federation's capabilities - 'destiny' more than established that.


    Also:
    If a hypothetical slave army of an enemy empire was engaged in a mission consisting of the ongoing genocide of millions, and you - hypothetically - had the means to kill every last slave soldier, thereby saving millions of future victims, but didn't have any other way to stop this enemy army from its genocidal campaign (such as killing only a part of the enemy army or incapacitating it),
    Then you act in self-defence/state of necessity when killing every last slave soldier of this enemy army.

    There's a BIG difference between imperial armies as they existed during history and how the borg was depicted in star trek.


    For Picard's decision from 'I, borg' to be even half-way reasonable, Picard must be considered as having assumed that the paradox virus could be used against the borg at an ulterior date. As such, Picard could have concluded that the decision to use the virus should be made by politicians or even the federation via a referendum, not by a mere starship captain.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  6. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    A foreign policy involving the projection of force against every threatening civilization known to exist in the galaxy isn't the most sustainable of foreign policies. Should the Federation have also declared war against Cardassia with the aim of liberating Bajor and the other planets conquered by the Union, against Romulus for the sake of the Kevratans, against the Klingons ... ?

    Things become even more complicated, since the virus was was expected to have a genocidal effect on the Borg. Doing that sort of thing could have all manner of potentially catastrophic consequences for the Federation. Would it count as a metaweapon?

    Working within the limits of what they knew about the Borg, the crew of the Enterprise-D was already familiar with the possibilities behind liberating drones. The liberation of captive drones later proved to be a useful tactic, as Voyager demonstrated on multiple occasions with Seven of Nine and Unimatrix Zero.

    Why?

    There's a case to be made for that. If the Federation deployed the virus, infecting the Borg computer networks with a program that would kill trillions of beings across the galaxy, that would come perilously close in effect to the deployment of a metaweapon. How would the Federation's enemies, even its friends, react to something on this scale?

    All this assumes that the virus would have worked as Laforge and Data had expected, that it would be capable of destroying the Borg. This may be a stretch: the virus was only deployed against the Borg supercube, which was destroyed, but the attached Frankenstein somehow escaped infection. Would the actual Borg Collective been more resistant? Might a failed attack with the virus have led to the events of Destiny two decades early?
     
  7. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    Are you asking me if I believe the Federation should be the Milky Way's police force?

    No, I don't. If asked to defend a planet/culture/civilization, sure, the Federation should help out. But no, they shouldn't go off and hunt/destroy the Borg.

    Anyway, this is an odd thing for you to be arguing that the Federation should be doing. Why is it Janeway's fault for destroying the transwarp hub and siccing the Borg on the Federation, but active genocide is the moral course of action? Wouldn't the Borg react even MORE aggressively to someone actively trying to wipe them off the face of the universe? Why is Janeway culpable for destroying the transwarp hub but escalating a war with the Borg is a wonderful idea?
     
  8. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    First - as I already REPEADEDLY SAID - it was nowhere established the virus would actually kill borg drones as opposed to only shutting down the hive mind.
    Feel free to watch the episode.

    Second - we're talking moral principles, not real world politik here.
    The federation would be in a clear state of self-defence by acting to save others. And yet, you think the federation doesn't have the moral right to do just that.

    I already gave the definition of self-defence/state of necessity, rfmcdpei.
    Since you're asking why, you obviously failed to reap up on the concepts. Do start now.


    The 'they didn't give the explicit consent' excuse is merely grasping at straws.
    Do you actually think that any of the many cultures about to be destroyed by the borg would say 'NO'? Well, I guess one or two suicidal civilisations might - but the rest would say an emphatical 'YES, do help'.

    And there's a HUGE difference between USA's 'policing' and stopping the borg from destroying entire civilisations.
    If USA would intervene only to stop genocidal armies who are currently killing millions - guess what? USA would more than have the moral right to do it.

    Read my previous posts on this thread - it's already answered.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  9. Elias Vaughn

    Elias Vaughn Captain Captain

    I'm not saying they should ask permission first.

    I'm saying I don't want the Federation to become nothing but a culture devoted to Borg hunting. If someone ASKS for help, sure, that's great. The Federation should NOT have to contact every species in the galaxy and ask if they want help against the Borg. That's asinine.

    The USA can do things to stop a genocidal army without devoting its entire culture toward that one goal. The USA is already technologically superior to the majority of other factions on the planet. The Federation could barely last a month in a war of attrition with a fraction of the Borg Collective.

    Do you just want the Federation to die?

    I'm not reading every post you've made in a thirty page thread for the one point. Summarize it for me?
     
  10. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    I found a transcript of "I, Borg" here.

    When the Enterprise-D crew came up with the plan, they seemed to think that the insertion of the geometrical shape into the Borg computer networks would destroy Borg civilization, including all the Borg drones. Picard ultimately decided not to deploy the geometrical shape when he talked to Hugh and found out that he had become an individual, a person, in the short time that hed had been separated from the borg central consciousness. Picard didn't want to be responsible for the deaths of untold trillions of people.

    I think that if the Federation did decide, it would have needed to undertake a much more thorough internal debate than was the case, and that it would have to beware of the reaction from other powers when it deployed a metaweapon.

    If the Federation should risk its existence to destroy the Borg, does it also follow that the Federation should have declared war on the Cardassians to free the Bajorans? Should the Federation invade Romulus to free Meridian and the Kevratans from the Star Empire?

    What's your threshold for Federation non-intervention?

    If you can summarize?--I've just begun to participate in this discussion thread.

    The difference isn't obvious, especially since it has never been established that, if inserted into the Borg central consciousness, the geometrical shape actually would have destroyed the Borg. Did the Enterprise-D crew circa 2368 really know everything that there was to know about the design and defenses of the Borg computer net? If they had deployed Hugh as carrier of the software weapon, they could easily have produced the same outcome as Voyager a decade later, i.e. the substantial partial devastation of the Borg collective but the devotion of the rump collective to the destruction of the Federation and its neighbours.

    Arguably, Janeway's decision to destroy the transwarp hub made more sense than a hypothetical decision of Picard to deploy the geometrical shape. By destroying the transwarp hub, Janeway knew for a fact that Borg operations would be severely hindered. By deploying the geometrical shape via Hugh's re-assimilation into the collective, Picard would not know for certain what if any effect this would have.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But we do essentially know that in retrospect. Remember that part of the reason Picard didn't deploy the geometric paradox is because they now had a better "virus" to infect the Borg with -- individuality. We know from "Descent" that Hugh's individuality did infect his entire cube and turn its drones into individuals; in fact, when "Descent" aired, it was ambiguous whether it was just that one cube or the entire Collective that had been so transformed. But in retrospect it's become evident that it was just the one cube, and that the Collective presumably cut off contact to protect itself from the "infection." It follows that if the paradox had been deployed, its effects would've been similarly limited in scope.
     
  12. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Hmm. I think a case can be made that the paradox worked at a subtler level than Hugh's individuality--the one's pretty subtle next to the other which is a direct subversion of the core imperatives of the Collective--and so might have slipped by, but point.

    Leaving aside the ethics, one major problem with genocidal tactics that aren't guaranteed to destroy a society is that they leave a serious risk is leaving the devastated society ready to respond in kind.

    What would the Collective do if Picard in 2367 had inflicted very heavy damage on the Collective that fell short of destroying it? The events in Destiny--a Borg reprioritization of the Federation as an existential threat requiring the destruction of the Federation and all its neighbours--would probably take place a decade earlier.

    Janeway's destruction of the transwarp hub may have been problematic, but at least in doing so she closed down the more direct path between Borg and Federation space. Had the Caeliar's subspace corridors not existed, it's plausible that it would have taken a century for the Borg to mount a counterstrike. In a century, the Federation and its neighbours could plausibly have been in a position to better resist the Borg. Even in Destiny's time frame, had the Borg dispatched mere hundreds of cubes instead of thousands the local powers might have held their own, if at heavy cost. But in 2367?

    If Picard had inserted the geometric paradox into the Borg collective consciousness, leaving aside questions of ethics he ran the risk of inflicting serious but not terminal damage on the Borg, in such a way that they would have had access to the transwarp corridors which led (in one case) within a light-year of Earth. Making the Federation stand out as an existential threat to the Borg at a time when the Federation was incapable of defending itself against a single cube would be a bad decision.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I can't disagree with that -- if we stipulate the hypothetical that the program would've penetrated more widely and crippled the Borg, then a Destiny-like retaliation would've been a likely response and would've spelled doom for the Federation, since at the time there was no Titan to stumble upon the Caeliar.
     
  14. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    Huh. So I've managed to convince myself that Picard made the right decision re: Hugh, in that ethical abnd astropolitical questions aside the plan would require the paradox's unlikely complete penetration of the entire Collective.

    I've also managed to convince myself that Janeway's decision re: the transwarp hub wasn't unreasonable and is arguably a defensible one, even in the context of Destiny: the Federation and its neighbours knew more about the Borg, they would have access to sophisticated technologies that would help them further resist the Collective, and the destruction of the transwarp hub would not only seriously damage the Collective but demonstrably prevent Borg ships from arriving in Federation space. If not for the Caeliar's subspace corridors--unknown to the Federation and its neighbours, and apparently unknown to the Borg until a late date--this might actually have worked out fine.
     
  15. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I liked it... It wasn't my favorite Treklit, nor even up to the New Frontier books (which I love), but as usual I am nonplussed by the sheer vitriol spewing forth here. Yes, Janeway died, but even though I like her a lot, it's not the end of the world.

    I think many of you need a good counselor, even a Vulcam one... :p
     
  16. Galekarens

    Galekarens Commander Red Shirt

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    Well anyway now it's that Janeway "died" (since her status in Treklit has been... updated, lol), so perhaps at least for that no counseling w/be needed, heh (well except for fictionally KJ a bit it seems due to her experiences).
     
  17. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    But... but... the interwebz run on vitriol! Without it, the entire series of tubes would collapse into a singularity so massive that it would make whatever planet-killer black hole that CERN is supposedly going to create look like that pothole you keep driving into on the way to work.

    So if you love your planet as much as you love New Frontier, then it's time to get non-nonplussed, er, plussed, um, whatever, and spread forth some vitriol of your own!

    But if you want global armageddon, then you just go on being all reasonable and level-headed. You monster.
     
  18. CaffeineAddict

    CaffeineAddict Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'd read a lot of hate for this book prior to reading it, so I wasn't expecting much going in. I found it to be an amusing read. I liked the killing of Janeway, as she was a character I truly detested on the show. As it turns out, her ridiculous overconfidence was her downfall.

    It was a bit silly in places, as a lot of Peter David's stuff can be - the only problem I had was that this works in NF, a series I like a lot, but it doesn't translate well to other Trek settings.

    I think the stuff that came after is much better (Greater than the sum, destiny, losing the peace, etc), but I though that (with the exception of Q&A which i really liked) this was far better than the post-nemesis TNG novels leading up to it. Resistance is truly, truly awful, and Death in Winter is just kinda boring, and I don't think the characterisation holds up well in either of them.

    I fail to understand, unless its purely for killing Janeway, why BD gets so much hate, when its still miles better than those prior novels.
     
  19. Trek Survivor

    Trek Survivor Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    My dislike of the book has nothing to do with killing Janeway, it's in how badly David wrote it. He seemed to almost be parodying his earlier penchant for humour. That line where Geordi wonders something like "hmmm. Doesn't the ship's computer sound a bit like Lwaxana Troi?" makes me literally cringe when I think about it. Peter David's nudge-winking of the audience reached an all-time low.

    Of course, I have a broader dislike of the relaunch by over-doing the Borg (did they learn nothing from Voyager!?!). As such, "Death in Winter" is my favourite TNG post-Nemesis novel. It didn't have to rely on Trek's boogeymen killing half the galaxy to be entertaining.
     
  20. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Challenge accepted!! :lol: