How long should the Federation last?

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

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    This is a meaningless argument. "Human nature" encompasses everything from Gandhi to Hitler. Nothing about human nature is universal or inevitable.

    Besides, Humans aren't the only species in the Federation.

    And as I pointed out, there has never been a true liberal democracy in history until the last 50-100 years. Liberal democracy is an experiment that we're undergoing now; history has no precedent for a truly egalitarian democracy.

    Which is not to say that it WILL last in real life, of course. Perhaps the human impulse for oppression and hierarchy will overcome the human impulse for liberty. I don't know. But in the world of Star Trek, which is after all based on the presumption that Humanity's political culture has fundamentally changed as a result of World War III and First Contact, and wherein Humans are only one of many species united in equal partnership under the Federation banner? I think the Federation may last indefinitely, in some form or another.
     
  2. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2012
    Actually, that's tautological.
    If we only examine societies that have collapsed, we can indeed only conclude that all societies have collapsed. Completely tautological.

    If we instead include ALL societies, including those that are still around (existing nations, the EU, the UN,...), we have no idea if all will eventually collapse or not.
     
  3. Timewalker

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

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Location:
    In many different universes, simultaneously.
     
  4. -Brett-

    -Brett- Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2001
    The Klingon Empire is one of their oldest neighbors, and in two centuries they seem no closer to seeing any appeal to the Federation. The best that's been achieved in that time seems to be a strained tolerance, which crumbles under even the slightest outside pressure. With Romulans, they don't seem to have achieved even that much.
     
  5. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    Seconded. Those computer-controlled societies shown in TOS, in episodes like The Return of the Archons, A Taste of Armageddon, The Apple, and even For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky, were not utopias.

    The only episode I can think of, right off the bat, that could arguably even remotely qualify as depicting a utopia under computer control is The Paradise Syndrome. However, even if we acknowledge that as a valid example (though being under computer guardianship might be a somewhat better description), it still doesn't support the thesis that TOS depicted utopia as leading to stagnation. On the contrary, the actions of the Preservers were implicitly characterized as a Good Thing, and the Native American culture they preserved was depicted as healthy and harmonious, the malfunctioning obelisk and the fallout from the arrival of Kirok notwithstanding.

    If we expand the definition to include situations such as that depicted in This Side of Paradise, those happy colonists, living not under computer control but rather under the influence of the spores, were not living in a utopia, either. They only thought they were.

    As to whether a true utopia would lead to stagnation, one could argue that stagnation is not an attribute of a perfect society, thus rendering the statement in question a tautology.

    However, I don't agree with this. For example, although, in the post-TNG time frame, DS9 depicted the Romulans cooperating with the Federation for the limited objective of defeating the Dominion, there was never any indication anywhere within canon continuity that the Romulan Empire would be absorbed by the Federation. Ditto even for the Klingon Empire. On the contrary, the only indications were that they would remain separate, even if allied, entities.
     
  6. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    As per Sloan (Inter arma enim silent leges), referring to the romulans and the federation, not even allied. Back to being cold warriors after the dominion is defeated, instead.


    About the lifespan of the federation:
    Historically, empires/hegemones/super-powers fall either because they were conquered by an even stronger nation or because they overstretch.

    With the federation, by the 24th century we see signs of it becoming overstretched - and, consequently, challenged by quite a few other powers. For example, see the federation exploring the galaxy and gaining powerful enemies as a result.
    If the 24th century federation cannot change this trend, it will disappear as a major power within, at most, a century - assuming no authorial bias.

    We saw, of course, apparently federation ships and temporal agents from as far into the future as the 31st century.
    But - was their civilisation the moral successor of the 24th century federation? Or was it a warped image, created from the ashes of a fallen federation? A holy roman empire on the interstellar stage?
    Braxton was arrested by his second in command with VERY little persuasion and no evidence. Not many individual rights exist by Braxton's time, it appears.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2013
  7. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Remember what Daniels tells Archer in the season 3 episode Azati Prime. When Daniels tells Archer about the Federation he includes the Klingons. The conversation takes place in the 26th century on board the Enterprise-J, during a battle with the Sphere Builders. So we can assume that some time between the 24th century (after TNG-DS9-VOY) and the 26th century, the Klingons become official members of the Federation. The Federation of the 26th century would also include the Xindi.

    On another note. If Prime Trek were to return, who would want to see the 26th century war between the Fed and the Sphere Builders? It would be epic.
     
  8. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    The scenes aboard the Enterprise-J took place in a possible future that's not a part of the continuity of the Prime Universe. Given all the convoluted timeline alterations and the change in status of the Temporal Cold War that occurred after Archer was aboard the J, I'm unconvinced that that version of the Federation will necessarily come to pass.

    That was Sloan's prediction, yes:

     
  9. TheGoodStuff

    TheGoodStuff Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland
    Even if you have watched them a million times: I think you are completely misinterpreting Kirk's point, as CorporalCaptain also seems to realize.

    Those societies were not Utopia's. They were artificial prisons designed to keep the population 'fixed': the people merely carrying out their own little roles with no independent thought. That's not a Utopia, it is an artificial prison and Kirk highlighted that and the stagnation it brings.

    The Federation is nothing like that. To imply the Federation does not allow people to fulfill their potential is simply ludicrous. Of course some Federation worlds are not exponentially happy: the reality is some outer worlds will require work to bring them up to the standards of Andor, Earth, Vulcan, Betazed etc.

    This however, is not forced. You want to colonize a newly terraformed 'blank-slate'? Fine. The Federation lets you. It would also let you leave it and go live on Earth and enjoy lazy days on Hawaii. It is obscenely cinical to criticize the Federation for not being 'perfect'. It gives you AMPLE opportunity to do as you wish.

    H
    I'm thinking on a much broader scale though. Indoctrination, propaganda and war has helped the Klingons & Romulans 'hate' the Federation however we HAVE seen Federation-sympathizers from both sides. Do you really think century after century will pass, where the Federation gets stronger, its influence spreads and all throughout the quadrants it is referred to as a super-liberal, free, non-oppressive state, and heads wont begin to turn towards it?

    Eventually revolution can happen. Empires can crumble. I cant see any other eventuality than every other race eventually turning to the Federation. The ideals of the Federation are universal. Even aliens dont want to be oppressed, told what to do, killed by their governments etc.

    I really cant see anything else than Romulan colony worlds, Cardassian & Klingon conquered species....all looking at the far greener grass of the Federation and simply biding their time to jump ship. How many Shinzon incidents [to name but one of dozens] can the Romulan populace tolerate [we never really see the average Romulan civilian, however we have seen multiple officers tired of the Empires warlike tendancies] before the start to demand greater freedoms? Greater Liberties? Greater rights?

    It may not happen in the 24th or 25th centuries....but it is inevitable. And, again I will state, I think it is an underlying theme of the franchise, that the Obsidian Order's and Tal Shiar's all know of this.

    Quark once made a point about the Federation and root beer which I think perfectly sums up my point....;)
     
  10. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    The Root Beer Argument is strong.

    However, its effect on all the races isn't shown on the shows, and as Edit_XYZ pointed out, we do have very good reason to suppose that the future relationship between the Federation and the Romulans got worse.

    If you turn to the TrekLit novels, in the late 24th century, the Romulans are members of the Typhon Pact. The bad guys are forming their own sort of federation and have no interest in joining the good guy Federation.
     
  11. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 15, 2001
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Of course Sloan was not aware that only a few short years later the entier Romulan Senate would be assasinated, the Romulan Empire torn in two...and eventually Romulus and Remus would be destroyed.
     
  12. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Yes - the romulan senate was assassinated because the romulan military - the true power behind the throne - found it too tame due to the senate not endorsing the plan to exterminate every living thing on Earth as the opening salvo in a war against the federation. An event the military wanted so badly, they were willing to give the leadership of the empire to despised remans for it to happen.

    The romulans are nasty pieces of work whose leadership hated the federation for centuries - meaning, the leadership has wide-spread support on this issue. With regards to them, the root beer argument is utterly unsupported in canon.


    The klingons are similarly immune to the federation root beer. After 70 years of alliance with the federation, a single changeling was sufficient to convince the klingons to start a war with the cardassians, break their alliance with the federation and start a war with the federation. A changeling that didn't use any brain-washing technology, that is.
     
  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Considering the very premise of the Star Trek series is that human nature has fundamentally changed, I don't think the realism argument can be made in this particular universe. Any other universe but not this one.

    Also considering that in this universe, scarcity is solved, I don't see the same fate happening to them as happened to the Romans.

    As for the Romulans, I think if the government completely collapsed and lost it's oppressive power over the people, then the economy collapsed, the fact that it would be the Federation to offer them material aid would go a long way toward winning them over.

    The most problematic thing to me about the continuing survival of the Federation is the abundance of time travel in the 31st century. Hell, according to Enterprise, any six year old can change the timeline from his school desk. That's a pretty good recipe for disaster.

    Given the in-universe logic of Star Trek, I tend to think the end of the Federation takes the form of becoming so extended that it fragments into different entities which gradually become their own distinct governments which ideologically drift apart. As in Dr Who, the end of the human race comes in the form of breeding.
     
  14. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Mr. Laser Beam is in the visitor's bullpen
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Until the LDS wears off.
     
  16. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    With as many corrupt admirals and captains Starfleet seems to have, i am surprised the Federation hasn't collapsed already!
     
  17. QCzar

    QCzar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC - Taxation Without Representation
    This point can't be emphasized enough. It is demonstrable evidence that at the highest levels, the Federation is still vulnerable to the same profligacy that plagues the other empires, just to a lesser degree.

    It's the heroes of the series, and not the vaunted ideals of the Federation, that ultimately save the day time after time. And these heroes are never shown to be in abundance (evidenced by the lack of second-hand accounts of similar events).

    In extreme irony, I use Ezri Dax's own criticism of the Klingons and turn it back at the Federation. If the UFP, which values these ideals so much, can continue to put men like Cartwright, Leyton and Dougherty (and all the others) into positions of such power, what hope is there in the long run? What happens to it when there is no Picard or Sisko?

    Not to mention the fact that the whole idea of the Federation council precludes any exclusion of decadence from the decisions it makes as a body. It is this that ultimately sank bodies like the Galactic Republic and the Systems Commonwealth. In other words, members may not always act in their own best interests, even as a collective of many different points of view, and it is dogmatically naive to assume that they can't do something in the future they've already demonstrated they are capable of doing.

    Additionally, since the Federation is a democracy, why do we presume that the Human (or even Vulcan, Betazoid, Andorian, Bajoran etc.) perspective will be the dominant one into perpetuity?
     
  18. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Well when you stop and think about it for a moment, a hundred plus planets with millions if not billions of people each, all clamoring for their own agenda isn't going to be efficient at all. Even with their supposed unlimited resources, the Maquis would probably be just the tip of the iceberg with their problems of a government faraway not seeing to the needs of people they don't know but are supposed to represent. The more races and governments you bring into the fold, the bigger the problem will get. I imagine the Federation will eventually either collapse under it's own weight, or de-centralize extremely. Heck the big crisis that breaks things is likely to be the rest of the Federation getting tired of humans dominating the organization.
     
  19. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    On the other hand, for every one corrupt admiral or captain, there could be hundreds that aren't and are dedicated to maintaining the highest ideals and principles of the Federation. It's just the bad ones that get all the attention.
     
  20. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013

    Not to mention, do we know how many times has Starfleet been infiltrated? I can think of TNG's Conspiracy, and in DS9, you had Homefront-Paradise Lost (an example of not only Changling's infiltrating Starfleet, but corrupt Admirals!), and pretty much the entire Maquis uprising which had untold ex-starfleet officers (Eddington and Tom Riker come to mind) using their knowledge and access of Starfleet resources against it. In fact, the whole Maquis uprising really could be looked at being a federation Civil War, technically, since they pretty much seceded from the Federation.

    Also, the fact that Earth is but one of many planets, it is natural to assume that Earth's will (or Vulcan's, Andorian's, other founding members', etc.) isn't absolute. Couldn't factions be formed within the federation where some planets who identify more with a certain point of view that isn't aligned with the mainstream Federation "official" line, gravitate towards one another? And couldn't these factions lead to divisions within the Federation, leading to unrest and possibly all out civil war? I think it could.