How long should the Federation last?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Gotham Central, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nothing lasts forever. Everything breaks down eventually. It's just the nature of existence. In Star Trek, the Federation has been on a steady upswing of power and expansion. It is unquestionably the most powerful of the major Alpha Quadrant empires. However, compared to say the Romulans or the Klingons, it's still fairly young even by the 24th century.

    I'm wondering though, how big can or should it get and how long would you expect something like it to last?

    Within the on screen canon it's still around in the 31st century (or atleast there is a monument to it on Earth).

    I think most of us just assume that eventually it will expand and simply assimilate the entire galaxy and effectively become the Galactic Republic from Star Wars....but should it? Maybe it should become as absurdly large as the Systems Commonwealth from Andromeda and encompass several galaxies.

    Star Trek has always been about presenting a positive vision of the future...thus does not consider that things, no matter how just or well crafted, fall apart.

    Is that a story you would ever want to see told?

    Related to this...if anyone has ever read Christopher's wonderful Trek novel, The Buried Age, there is some indication that there is a distant future where humans and the Federation were not clearly recognizable or even remembered.
     
  2. bbjeg

    bbjeg Admiral Admiral

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    The system they use works. I'd imagine the Federation would last indefinitely. Other than the Jedi/Sith route, Star Trek's future would inevitably end up a Star Wars like Galaxy. Their method of travel will advance to Hyperdrive levels and the Federation will form a Senate for diplomatic purposes.
     
  3. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It may not look like the same government in the 31st century as it does in the 24th century. The United States doesn't look like it did in 1776, either. In fact, the government between 1776-1865 is rather different than after the Civil War.

    Nothing lasts forever doesn't necessarily mean inevitable collapse and destruction. It can grow and morph and change slowly over time.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Klingons and the Federation would seem to be militarily and physically (size) complete equals in the galaxy, the Romulans if not equals then very very close.

    Instead of the Federation continuously growing to encompass the entire galaxy, I alway imagined that they would eventually expand until they encountered enough peoples, republics, alliances, and empires who didn't want to be incorporated into the Federation that they would then be completely enclosed. The Federation might be able to go "up and over" and establish satellites of itself beyond the blockage, but it would no longer be continuous.

    :)
     
  5. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    On the Klingons vs the Federation, I've always viewed them as being synonymous to the US vs the USSR. On the surface they appear evenly matched but when you dig deeper, the US (and its extended alliance) was always richer and more powerful than the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact. the Klingons seem to be good a fighting and waging war but not much else.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    There's an article in The Best of Trek #2, which takes a Foundation-style retrospective look at the eventual splintering and downfall of the UFP. Some of those events are chronicled at the tail end of THIS fan-made chronology.

    There's also the fantastic novel Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock part of which has DTI agents visit the far distant future, and find people who claim to have never heard of humans or the Federation.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    The Federation should last as long as the Human race does.
     
  8. bbjeg

    bbjeg Admiral Admiral

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    Yaaaay humans!
     
  9. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You know…in my post I said it was The Buried Age, bit it was in fact the first DTI book.
     
  10. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's more likely that the Federation would reproduce rather than expand to fill up the universe. Either it will grow to the size that the Federation would be divided into several self-governing entities that will remain allied to one another, or the example of the Federation will become the example upon which similarly constructed interplanetary entities are founded. In either way, the survival of the Federation would probably be more about the continuation of the institutions it creates rather than an ever-enlargening political state.
     
  11. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The idea of a galaxy spanning Federation seems fundamentally at odds with the idea of a Federation that expands it's borders only through diplomacy or development of unclaimed territory, not through military force.
     
  12. TheGoodStuff

    TheGoodStuff Commander Red Shirt

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    For me, the Federation should last indefinitely. It is a symbol of what Trek is about and should always be a part of the show.

    As much as you say 'everything falls apart' we have never seen an entity like the Federation before. Sure it isn't perfect, but it is vastly better than anything else around it: I find it perfectly believable that it would absorb most of the galaxy given enough time.

    I simply dont see it falling apart and I really dont think it should: it is a part of the Star Trek ethos and I really do not like those ideas of a Federation in turmoil or some post-Federation Trek series....Trek is supposed to be positive and the Federation is the absolute representation of that.
     
  13. cyclonus11

    cyclonus11 Ensign Red Shirt

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    Pretty much this. There are many civilizations that just do not agree with the Federation's mission and would never voluntarily join (the Tholians, for example); and since the Federation doesn't conquer, they will never be forced to join, either.
     
  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    But, eventually they will see the error of their ways and join.;)
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    It is true that every complex human society in history has eventually collapsed... but then, it is also true that every complex human society in history was, in some manner or other, built upon the principles of inequality and oppression.

    Only in the very recent past have societies begun to build themselves on the principles of liberal democracy: equality, freedom, civil rights and liberties, democratic governance, and social justice. (Hell, I'd argue the United States itself was not a true democracy until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.) So it remains to be seen if "things fall apart" is also true of societies built on mutual consent and liberal democracy.

    Personally, I think the Federation -- a society that has truly eliminated oppression and inequality on a scale no human society in real life ever has -- could plausibly last as long as humanoid life in the Milky Way Galaxy lasts.

    And, of course, it's just as possible that the Federation may eventually peacefully persuade every other society in the galaxy to join it.... or that it may evolve into something else, something new. Maybe the Federation will encounter another interstellar liberal democracy and join with it to create a newer, larger interstellar democratic union, of which the Federation merely becomes a constituent part. Who knows?

    But, again, I think the key is understanding that the concepts behind liberal democracy are really quite new to human history. There's no telling how long societies built upon them will last.
     
  16. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    So after the Federation becomes this happy-perfect place, what then? Utopia is boring. Utopia leads to stagnation. How many times was that point made in TOS?

    Unless human nature changes at its most fundamental level, I think this is extremely optimistic. The lessons of history tell us that so far, every political entity falls or fundamentally changes at some point.

    For example, I'm sure some of the Romans thought their Empire would last forever, but it didn't. Granted, it did last a long time - well over 2000 years (pre-Republic, Republic, Empire, and the Eastern Empire that morphed into the Byzantine Empire). But it still fell.
     
  17. TheGoodStuff

    TheGoodStuff Commander Red Shirt

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    I think you have totally misinterpreted the point made in TOS. NONE of those societies were true Utopias. They were fictional, often computer controlled [and imposed] prisons under the guise of Utopia. The Federation is nothing like that and I think you should perhaps rewatch a few of those episodes.

    A true Utopia would not lead to stagnation. Hypothetically, with everyone able to pursue their own interests and better themselves unmolested, the potential for improvement and advancement is limitless.

    I actually only see the Federation continuing to absorb everything else around it. To be frank, I think this is one of the underlying themes of the whole franchise [that many people miss]: that all the 'bad guys' with their Authoritarian, militaristic states see the universal appeal of the Federation. At its core, its ideals appeal to all, it is simply a matter of time before the peoples of neighbouring states realize that.
     
  18. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Thank you; I don't need to rewatch them. I've seen them many times over the decades, I've read the Blish adaptations, and other articles and stories that explore those situations and themes.

    WE don't see the Landru society as a utopia, but the people who live there do. Same as the people of Vaal; to them, everything is perfect. To us, it's stagnation.

    Utopia implies a state of perfection. Kirk makes several speeches throughout the series where he points out that humans are not meant for this state of being; we need challenges.

    As for the Federation being this wonderful, perfect society where everyone is happy and able to fulfill their highest potential... BS. Really. How many times did we see or hear of Federation planets (or portions of the society on some of these worlds) where things are not this happy, fulfilled existence?

    Earth in the 24th century seems idyllic, but how long can such a society be sustained? Sooner or later, everything changes. The Federation may last for many centuries or even millennia, but it won't last forever. Nothing will.
     
  19. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Clean Old Mod Moderator

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    Now that would be a Trek future worth exploring...one where the utopia of the Federation has become something oppressive, and the Federation effectively assimilates other cultures and make them conform. Totally against Roddenberry's vision, but it would sort of bring things full circle with TOS, in which our heroes sought to liberate people in such societies.
     
  20. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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