Had we ever seen imperial democracies in Trek?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Lt. Cheka Wey, May 6, 2013.

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    You can only do a mea culpa if it's you-a that's culpa.

    If you stop identifying yourself with every ridiculous thing previous generations did, you might find that there's a lot less reason to feel guilty -- and a lot more reason to recognize and proclaim when previous generations did terrible things.

    Burglar: "I didn't engage in a systematic project to break into someone else's home and rob them of their diamonds. My primary goal was just to have the diamonds; the fact that those things had prior owners was irrelevant! Were there to have been no prior owners, I would still have come and taken the diamonds!"

    Europeans, and, later, European descendants, knew that the North and South America had native inhabitants, and they engaged in a systematic project to seize that land from its owners. Period. There is no way to spin this.
     
  2. Albert Arthur

    Albert Arthur Cadet Newbie

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    Very good point, but not one that liberals will accept.
     
  3. Albert Arthur

    Albert Arthur Cadet Newbie

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    Poppycock. Europeans didn't "steal" the land any more than half the Indians who were living here in 1600 had stolen the land from the other Indians who lived here previously. There have been mass immigrations throughout history. Invariably, there is armed conflict as a result. One side wins, the other loses. The Indians were innocent bystanders. They fought a 200 year war and lost. It's not like they were doomed to lose, either. The German tribes sacked Rome, after all. Get a grip on your anti-Americanism, Sci. Grow up!
     
  4. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    You do arrogant, self-righteous humility just like a good Catholic.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    None of us are responsible for the actions and deeds of our ancestors. We were not there.

    Not there to counsel them, condemn them, encourage them, assist them or restrain them.

    But this in itself is spin.

    Europeans came to the Americas basically to make new lives for themselves, to escape the societies behind them and to find opportunities to succeed and grow. Again, there was never this "grand plan" you speak of.

    What happens now Sci? Are you going to tell us of the deliberate "systematic project" on the part of the people in the near east to spread the bubonic plague through-out Europe?


    :mallory:
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
  6. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    That was sci, not me.
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For whatever reason there's a growing trend these days to cast scorn and blame down on our ancestors as if somehow it will make them look more enlightened. From my experience the more someone points their finger and casts blame, they're just trying to avoid people from looking at and scrutinizing them. Not to mention it's just petty and childish.
     
  8. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Not recent, self-righteous Christians have been using the 'We have sinned, Lord' for ages in order to pontificate and hector people into behaving in a manner they consider desirable. Sci is using a very old, dogeared playbook.
     
  9. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    Is the Romulan Empire a democracy though or a dictatorship?
     
  10. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    From Balance of Terror, a bunch of people with a tendency to wear spittoons on their heads. Maybe they're an offshoot of a lost Shriner's convention?
     
  11. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Debatable. Neral described himself from humble orgins and he rose from a "lowly guard" as he described himself to both Proconsul and Praetor. Which would be Head of Government/State respectively I believe.

    A Senate by it's definition implies elections. How democratic they were, especially given the fact the "Romulan traditionalists" seemed to always be in power, is questionable. They definitely have no problems conquering people and subjugating lower castes however.
     
  12. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

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    But that can mean anything, Hitler was just a private in WWI and was an unemployed artist for a while, that did not stop him from becoming dictator of Germany. Not all dictatorship are carved from the elite of a society, sometimes someone with enough guile and political skill can rise through the ranks and achieve a position of power. Stalin used his position as head the bureaucracy to out maneuver Trotsky and take the leadership position from him and before the revolution Stalin was nobody and right after he certainly did not have the same prominence as Lenin and Trotsky. One can rise through the ranks of a dictatorship, even through humble beginnings.
     
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As a useful term, "democracy" has to refer to any political system in which the citizens formally possess equal rights and exercise an equal voice in the selection of the government officials. The distinction between and oligarchy and a democracy is purely a quantitative one, hence open to fluctuations in standards. Thus, Athenian democracy or US democracy prior to the Sixties can be argued not to be democratic. In practice, a universalizing moralistic discourse is not as useful for clarity as historical context. So, yes, slaver America was a democracy. It's just that "democracy" is just not what it's cracked up to be. The attempt to redefine the term as an effort to annex a particular vision may have good motives, but it's still confusionism.

    A democratic political system can be devised to favor forms of property. If you try to redefine "democracy" as one which favors abstract individuals defined by their equal rights, such systems are not democratic. The difficulty with this definition is that such a classless government has never yet been devised. It even has only been aspired to as a goal by anarchists and communists.

    Indeed, historically, "democracy" has largely meant such a property characterized government. And a government that uses democractic majorities to tamper with property are ipso facto condemned as tryannical. This is official US government interpretation, the grounds on which the late Hugo Chavez was labeled a dictator, despite having repeatedly won majorities in perfectly acceptable democratic elections. It was similar figures in ancient Greek and recent Italian city states that inspired much conservative condemnation of "democracy" as inevitably leading to the lower orders misusing the government to revise property.

    Thus, it is entirely possible to devise a democratic government with formal equality between citizens and equal suffrage amongst them combined with a commtiment to defense of certain kinds of property. The statement that the US is a republic refers to this kind of arrangement. Only by the anarchist notion of equal individual rights is this undemocratic per se. Formally, the US constitution allows that the arrangements to defend property of a certain kind can be changed, as in the Thirteenth Amendment. Thus the observation that the US is a republic does not forbid drastic social and political reforms.

    However, in practice, every single person who intones that the US is a republic, not a democracy, does so in a context that makes it perfectly clear that they do not believe that property relations are ever to be the subject of democratic politics. All these people adhere to the slaver interpretations of the constitution. Whether they are so desperate to argue for an property system that remains inviolate regardless of how many people suffer from it is rooted in racist love of slavery, or whether they fear and hate socialist policies, again is irrelevant. The logic, and its immorality, are the same.

    Quotations from the "Founding Fathers" are the province of political conservatives who want to pretend the US constitution is at least quasi-divine. (Lots argue amongst themselves it really is divine.) But if you read contemporary writings you'll find the people of the time very much thought of themselves as setting up an empire.

    It seems many thought of America as the British Empire new and improved, continental instead of insular. They may have seen their projected Empire as better than the Spanish and Portuguese despotism in the rest of the western hemisphere. The simple truth is that "empire" was not negatively viewed as a necessary violation of another people's equal rights by any but the most radical Enilightenment thinkers.

    Lastly, the very popularity of "republic" stemmed very much from the example of the Roman Empire, which existed long before the alleged "democratic" tyranny of Julius Caesar, the popularis who rode roughshod over the property of the Roman boni, the "good people" who owned property. The fact the the empire really began under Augustus, who was equally a Claudian, i.e., one of the greatest of the patrician families, was too obvious to see, I suppose.
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The appropriate changes to my previous posting have been made to correct my error.

    Should the Romulan Empire in fact be some form of democracy, the question rises as to what part the "non-Vulcanoid" members play, if any. In the old Roman Republic/Empire conquered peoples became Roman citizens, but not at the same levels as the citizens of Rome.

    Conquered people of the Star Empire might be more than simply subjugated subjects or slaves. Second class citizens might not be able to run for the senate (we certainly never saw any "Aliens" there), but they could have some say in which of the first class Romulans are elected to high office. And at the lower levels of government, the second (third, fourth) class citizens could have some place.

    In the movie Nemesis, Data spoke of the Empire possessing castes and a hierarchy.


    [​IMG]
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Anglo-Powhatan_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_massacre_of_1622 - "'Your coming is not for trade, but to invade my people and possess my country...' In 1610 the London Company instructed Gates, the newly appointed colonial governor, to Christianize the natives and absorb them into the colony."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pequot_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Philip's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_William's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Anne's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuscarora_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Rale's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Le_Loutre's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontiac's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickamauga_Wars_(1776-1794)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chickamauga_Wars_(1776-1794)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Dunmore's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Seminole_War#First_Seminole_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecumseh's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creek_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hawk_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creek_War_of_1836

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Seminole_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Hills_Expedition

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_removal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Removal_Act

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_of_Tears

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cayuse_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakima_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puget_Sound_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_River_Wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spokane_–_Coeur_d'Alene_–_Paloos_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheepeater_Indian_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navajo_Wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuma_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohave_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache_wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas–Indian_Wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cloud's_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sioux_War_of_1876–77

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hawk_War_(1865–1872)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache-Mexico_Wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_assimilation_of_Native_Americans

    And so many more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Wars

    That's damn near 200 years of constant warfare between Europeans and Native American nations. Neither side were angels; what we would today consider war crimes and atrocities were committed by both sides. The Indian nations were not pure and virtuous, and did fight one-another too -- and often allied with Europeans to do so. But the fact remains that the constant pattern from the 1600s to the 1800s was European encroachment onto Native American lands, leading to conflict, violence, and then the European control of those lands.

    This was a systematic campaign over the course of almost two hundred years to expand and take control of Central North America. The words "manifest destiny" come to mind.

    This does not mean America is evil. Acknowledging this does not mean one must hate one's country.

    It does not mean that the Europeans who came to North America always came with an intent to "subjugate" the Indians -- though many of them did, what with their goal of "Christianizing" and "civilizing" them. (The people of New France -- what later became French Canada -- had particularly enlightened ideas about peaceful relations and comingling with their Native neighbors.)

    But by the same token, when subjugation became necessary for European or Euro-American control of land and resources, it was pursued. And the expansionistic desires of both the Puritans of New England and the slave lords of the Deep South are well-established historical facts.

    This does not make America particularly worse than other nations -- many of the Indian nations themselves had histories of launching wars of aggression and conquest against other Indian nations. But none of that makes it moral, either.

    The simple fact is that the United States is the product of a long campaign to expand into Indian land and take control. It's not like they took control of Central North America by accident.

    1. Do we owe our ancestors unquestioning reverence? Why are we not supposed to be critical of their policies? Why, exactly, is it not politically correct to say, "My ancestors did this, and this was wrong?"

    2. I have often defended, and will continue to defend, the revolutionary generation of Americans from what I perceive as unfair criticism. I've been on the TrekBB over ten years, and any number of times, I've gotten into arguments with people who, for instance, think the Thirteen Colonies did not have a legitimate right to rebel against Great Britain. I've pointed out that the British once had a policy of salutary neglect, and that following the French and Indian War, a new British administration decided to interfere in internal colonial affairs in manners unheard of before -- that the British betrayed the Americans long before the Americans betrayed the British by declaring independence.

    Which is a very long way of saying: Criticizing bad things one's ancestors did does not mean being mindlessly hateful of them, either. It is entirely possible to celebrate the good things one's ancestors did, while also condemning the bad.

    It may not be politically correct, but I have no interest in pretending I don't see the bad things our ancestors did and in just handing them mindless praise.

    You know, I haven't insulted a single person in this thread -- and ad hominem attacks are in general a logical fallacy.

    But I gotta say, I don't understand what your beef is with Catholics. There are plenty of Protestants and Jews out there who have just as big of guilt complexes as any Catholic, and plenty of Catholics out there who are as shameless. Possessing a guilt complex has way more to do with individual personalities than with religious affiliation.

    This is half-true. Different colonies were founded for different reasons. Spanish colonies in what is now the American Southwest were founded with the explicit goal of turning the Native American nations into good Catholic subjects of Madrid. New France was settled to expand French colonial holdings and to maintain peaceful, equal relations with the Natives but with the hopes of peacefully persuading them to become Catholic. New England was founded to be a model Puritan society in a new covenant with God, which would then expand and convert others to their Calvinist ways. Tidewater was founded to be a replica of English manor life for the younger sons of English aristocracy. The Deep South was founded as a replica of the Barbados apartheid slave society. The Spanish Empire in South America was founded with the explicit purpose of exploiting Native labor and extracting natural resources. And, of course, the interests of the common man from Europe were often different from the interests of the political elite founding these colonies.

    None of this changes the fact that a systematic campaign to seize Indian land was undertaken.

    The relevant term is "manifest destiny."

    Actually...

    Then why two hundred years' worth of wars with the Indians?

    Wars of conquest and ethnic cleansings are theft of the land (amongst other things). It doesn't matter if it's the Iroquois stealing from the Huron, or the Americans stealing from the Iroquois, or the French stealing from the Germans, or the Germans stealing from the French.

    I am at a loss as to how you can describe mass migration from one culture onto another culture's land, resulting in armed conflict and then the latter culture's loss and expulsion or subjugation, as anything other than "theft."

    You know, funny story. Every year on 4 July, I pull out a copy of the Declaration of Independence and read it out load. Just to myself. The founding principle of equality, and of the right of people to institute or abolish governments for the protection of their natural rights? It's probably the most inspirational document in history. As far as I'm concerned, by writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (inadvertently) planted the seeds of the civil rights movement; the women's rights movement; the gay rights movement; the social justice movement; the workers' rights movement; etc. There there, in that quintessentially American document, we have the origins of the political struggles that make the world a better place.

    So, no, I am not anti-American. What I am is someone willing to call a spade a spade. Willing to say that, no, the Europeans did not have a right to encroach on Native American land if the Native Americans didn't want them to. Willing to say that they should not have expanded without consent and a peaceful, egalitarian relationship with the Indians.

    It's not anti-American to say that. Just like it's not anti-English to say that England shouldn't have conquered Ireland. Just like it's not anti-German to say that Germany should not have invaded Poland. Just like it's not anti-French to say that France should not have conquered Algeria. Just like it's not anti-Japanese to say that Japan should not have conquered Korea.

    And there is nothing "grown up" about being unwilling to criticize one's ancestors. And nothing immature about doing so.

    If I am hectoring people into behaving a certain way, what way is that? What, exactly, am I trying to manipulate you into doing?

    As I have already said, I am not the one who has been insulting people in this thread.
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The concept of manifest destiny came about in the early 1840's and quietly died well before the civil war. While supported by the southern democrats of the day, it really never caught on outside that group in the government. Nor for that matter with the general population.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Manifest destiny as a political concept had more to do with electing a democrat to the Presidency in the 1844 U.S. Presidential election, than it did about purposely "stealing land" from the Indians.

    :)
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Not true.
     
  18. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Which part of past generation as in "not me but the guys who existed before me" do you not understand? Ignorance is not bliss, history is there to learn from it.
    Unlike you Sci argues totally rational, there is no guilt feeling complex or whatever. By the way, nobody cares about your anti-Catholic obsessions and they certainly do not belong into this debate.


    I think the crucial question is whether you are a "proper" democracy if you have a representative form of government and the rule of law at home ... but your conducts abroad are anything but democratic in the sense of being lawful and respecting the wish of the people you deal with.
    I would say no and I don't think that this is idealistic. As you pointed out, democracy has been misused so often for propaganda purposes than one has to reappropriate the term and give it back a meaning.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly.

    The notion that we should only ever identify with "our" ancestors and never criticize them is especially odd to me, because I have ancestors on both sides of the Indian/European conflicts. Why should I identify with my European ancestors over my Native American ancestors? I'd be equally non-existent without either of them.
     
  20. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Of course some of rights mentioned in the US Constitution are based on older Acts of the English Parliament. That isn't to diminish the US Constitution in anyway, the US Consitution merely served as a Document to codify many of those rights into a single document for the US.
     

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