How long should the Federation last?

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

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe. Or maybe it would just lead to the formation of political parties and to competitive elections.

    I think you're projecting modern political culture onto the Federation and its Members.

    One of the important things to remember about the Federation is that it and its Members have internalized the idea in their mainstream political cultures that violence is the absolute last resort, not an acceptable means for resolving domestic political disputes. They are committed to democratic governance.

    Further, it seems probable to me that if the Federation ever finds itself with a truly insurmountable cultural difference with one of its Members, that it is far more likely to simply allow that Member to peacefully secede if it holds a popular referendum that decides in secession's favor.
     
  2. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

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    I think anything made from living beings has a lifespan, like living beings. So the Federation will age and in time die.

    However, the actual lifespan depends upon how its institutions evolve to meet the challenge of time and events. At least in theory one might imagine the Federation setting up institutions that outlive all the founding species. Difficult to imagine it would resemble what we call the Federation, however.
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think it's conceivable--and maybe even likely, IMO--that the United Federation of Planets will evolve into something else in the far future, perhaps a Galactic Grand Federation (or something like that) that could be less Earth-centric and with a less Human-dominated Starfleet.
     
  4. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Republic- a huge conglomerate of peaceful planets with a democratically elected chancellor.

    The Jedi-an exclusive, (100% Jedi) non violent group devoted to democracy and trusted with military authority..

    After a period of desperation during "the Clone Wars" the chancellor tricks the senate into giving him emergency powers, eliminates the Jedi, and declares himself Emperor-with group member support. The Republic becomes an empire-legally.


    The Federation-a large organization of peaceful planets with democratically elected President.

    Starfleet- an organization (appearing about 80% humans) devoted to democracy and freedom.

    Starfleet-assassinated a foreign leader calling for peace and attempted to assassination their own president in a plot to keep Klingon and the Federation apart.

    -During the Dominion War, during a period of desperation, a genocidal virus was released into the Founders by someone within the Federation with technical means and support.

    -An Admiral attempted to take over earth after tricking the president and Starfleet into giving him emergency powers. Dominion War related.


    Can the same thing happen to the Federation?
     
  5. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    ^There were plenty of anti-democratic elements in ST's Galactic Republic. The chancellor was selected by the Senate, a body which we can't be certain was democratically elected. The Jedi are not themselves a popular military force, composed of only those people whom they select and who are segregated from the general population at a young age. There is some indication that feudal power still remains influential in political affairs. There is impatience with the democratic process, even from one of the series' heroes (Padmae), and a desire to centralize power more with the executive. And no one seems willing to defend its integrity: instead of raising or drafting a popular army, the political will turns to manufactured soldiers, who may have been robbed of their political self-determination from their conception.

    The UFP has to go a long way to sink the the Galactic Republic's level.
     
  6. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So why does Obi-Wan declares he defends democracy? Why did Padme say this is how democracy dies? Neither of them seemed the type to soft-pedal the issue. Though to be fair she said she was asked by the Queen to be Senator. That could be either to run or an appointment though. And she did specifically say she was elected Queen.

    Either way, the bloated nature of the Senate in Star Wars is a great example of the Federation's future as it keeps expanding. You're either going to have a body that get so insanely bloated it can't accomplish anything, or a body in which each person is supposed to be representing more and more people that there is no way they can know their constituents and their needs. If not both.

    Heck, the Federation already had a near miss crisis with the Maquis. Those people had the choice of being forcefully relocated, or thrown to the wolves with no legal alternative other than the state department signed a treaty. Either they had no representation at all on the Council, or it was overriden and ignored and that resulted in a near civil war.
     
  7. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Because Lucas didn't inject his story with any real political awareness, just canned talking points to substitute for an in depth discussion. Remember, his focus is the heroic saga, in which the individual imposes solutions. And the fact that there is a senate (elected or not) does not make the Galactic Republic automatically democratic. Rome's Senate remained long after power slipped over to the Princeps (and later, the Emperors).

    I think it's worth noting that the societies that join the Federation must be prepared to do so. From what can be seen, some change in the political mentality is required. At the very least, we've seen that the process of creating the Federation changed both Humans and Vulcans, the latter being more interested in order (à la Founders) than they would be by TOS.
     
  8. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I notice you ignored my point on how they hung the Maquis out to dry. Not to mention Picard himself said they were loosening up the rules during the admission process because of the Dominion War in Insurrection. Things change, especially when a crisis develops.
     
  9. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    ^I was initially addressing the notion that somehow the Galactic Republic was obviously democratic. However, I still think the UFP is nowhere near the GR, especially if one corrupt individual can bring down the latter.
     
  10. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think in the rolling bar introduction in the Star Wars prequel, it says something about the Republic representing freedom democracy, blah blah blah...

    All the 'bad powers' that practiced things like slavery and piracy and war were all outside the republic.

    With that said, it was obvious the Republic was prosperous, but bloated and distant from each other.

    Imagine planet 700 joins the Federation and at this point there are too many cultures for the average citizen or individual to keep track with.

    And to be honest care about??

    Uh oh.....That sounds almost like the Republic's situation.

    When Naboo was invaded, the senate did nothing, because they were so bloated and distant from each other.

    They also didn't really care as much since there were so many worlds, and Naboo was just another small part of the Republic.

    What happens when planet 700 joins the Federation and it's now boring and just another planet to the other members?
     
  11. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As Nightdiamond said above, the signs are there already at 150 planets. Only the "hero effect" stopped Leyton, the parasites, the UC conspirators and so on. A few people light years away just randomly handed a whole bunch of planets full of citizens over to a hostile power with no vote, or anything. During the Dominion War this same happy go lucky government abetted genocide when things got rough.

    The cracks are showing as is. Imagine when they get really big.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ Don't forget the most important political feature of the Galactic Republic, which Palpatine exploited to establish his fascist government: The presence of giant corporations and economic inequality. Hell, corporations in the Republic were so powerful that they literally had their own seats in the Galactic Senate. Could you imagine if ExxonMobile or Goldman Sachs had their own seats in the U.S. Senate or if Royal Duch Shell had its own seat in the U.K. House of Commons?

    The Federation has its problems, but it has its huge advantages, too.
     
  13. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    ^Your making the assumption that corruption is a sign of the irreversible decay of democracy or a republic regime. It's not. Indeed, I would suggest that the US is not less democratic in spite of many incidents in which corruption was allowed to undermine the rights of various groups (like Native Americans and African Americans) or in which certain truths were withheld or manufactured in order to justify armed intervention (like the Maine Incident). Democracy is far more advance in the US than it was an the signing of the Constitution. The larger issues is not the fact that corruption occurs, but what response their is when it comes to light. Problematic things happen in the ST universe, but it is not clear how they were dealt with. On the other hand, there are many times that ST characters affirm and defend the rights of individuals, communities and societies, some that are explicit, some that are implied. Is the corruption seen in the 24th century the sign that the UFP slipping toward a less democratic or a more chaotic future? Maybe, but it's not necessary.
     
  14. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    True, it's the people that fight against the corruption that defines the Federation.

    But some of the actions it takes to protect itself and some of its attitudes are interesting.

    Starfleet-- was going to seize Data and take him apart and study him, even against his consent.

    The funny thing is very few people at the time considered it immoral, unethical or illegal, except Picard and his crew.

    They intended to mass produce him, put him on star ships, labor etc, --think Clone soldiers from Star Wars.

    Later on they tried to take Lal, his daughter, away without his consent.

    What if Picard didn't care and Data was dissected, experimented on, and was mass produced? It's a chilling idea of what the Federation would have looked like later on.

    StarFleet-- after coming seriously close to losing the war, Sisko tricks the Romulans into going to war--with Starfleet's complete consent.

    In order to do this, the highest levels of Starfleet and the Federation had to back up the plan.

    And just for debate, (not to be conspiratorial or anything :lol: )

    --why is Starfleet, admittedly not the military or political organization, making all these important decisions-- where are the professional politicians, law makers, representatives..
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I'm sorry, but I find that statement laughable. When the United States was founded, only white men who owned property were allowed to vote. Women -- 50% of the population right off the bat -- were not allowed to vote. Neither were African Americans or Native Americans, both of whom were the victims of crimes against humanity -- slavery, and invasion and genocide -- that rank right up there with the Holocaust in terms of the scales of immorality. Indeed, I would argue that the United States did not become a real democracy in any meaningful sense of the term until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Up until that point, the best way to describe the United States under slavery and then Jim Crow would be "pseudo-democratic apartheid state."

    You're not a democracy if you prevent an entire race of people from voting. Period.

    This I agree with, however -- in part because the problems we see in the Federation do not represent the sort of systematic oppression that we find in institutions like Jim Crow or slavery.
     
  16. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Perhaps I didn't write clearly, but it seems we agree: the US was less democratic at its founding that it is today.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    After the cure for the sickness imposed upon the Founders was discovered, the federation council decided to withhold it (a decision I agree with). The federation is allowed to look after it's own interests, it's own population, first.

    Sisko maneuvered a sworn enemy of the federation into fighting (and dying) for the federation's cause, why would Starfleet, or the council, disapprove?


    :)
     
  18. QCzar

    QCzar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think we're slipping toward splitting hairs a bit. The crux of the debate is how long the Federation will last, not what its stated values are and how often they've been upheld. The central point is that the vulnerabilities of the system are not, as they're presented, immune to forces which could indeed undermine it if the "hero" factor is subsequently not in play.

    And these things question whether a body as vast (and likely to become much more vast) as the UFP can endure eternally or even for several millennia. Perhaps its susceptibility to corruption diminishes over time, but this seems in contradiction to on-screen evidence which shows no decline in powerful corrupt Federation/Starfleet officials' ability to game the system. And that's notwithstanding the persistent threats from outside the alliance.

    I believe that reforms could be made which could help them mitigate some of these issues. They could:

    Develop a more robust constitution and rules of conduct, such that would prevent the kind of rampant corruption we see on display so often. Increase punishments to further discourage same. In any democracy, especially one composed of peoples of radically differing values and social mores, the greatest danger to its credibility is corruption. Thus, the potential for such profligracy must be dealt with wherever it can be found.

    Prioritize Federation-wide interests when considering allowing new races to join. This would prevent what I call "vision creep", where a new race may meet all the conditions for being a member, but nevertheless have an agenda which could, in the long run (as such races become dominant in the council), do harm to the overall principles of the alliance. This one would be tricky though, as it does violate some of their central tenets in some ways.

    Much more strongly enforce the Prime Directive. I know it's fun to see our favorite captains dodging this one time and again to save a planet from imminent destruction/tyranny, but by doing so they consistently place the Federation's core values in jeopardy. As far as races outside the alliance go, the charter quite clearly states that if you're not in then we won't bother you (unless you bother us). These worlds will make their way into the union in their own time (or they won't). The Federation exists to benefit its members, not to police the galaxy.

    And as long as all the above be true, be much more aggressive against intransigent threats, both external and internal. Starfleet needs bigger balls and more Picards and Kirks. When it comes to preventing the alliance's destruction, nothing should be off the table, no matter how distasteful. The articles of the Federation Charter that deal with Starfleet are there to ensure the alliance's continued existence into perpetuity.

    When a new world joins, it not only absorbs all of the benefits of union, but also all of the baggage. That includes any grudges or conflicts it has with non-member worlds/factions. It is up to Starfleet to make absolutely certain, to the best of their ability, that a race is not in more danger by being a member than they would be by not.

    Strongly prosecute and punish all who violate the Temporal Prime Directive and extend enforcement beyond that directive to and aggressively pursue any who could be seen to be using time travel as a weapon against the Federation.

    Create regional sub-councils as the alliance continues to grow. Inevitably the Federation will grow to such a size that it becomes impractical to believe that a single central government can adequetely represent them all in any meaningful way. Regional bodies can be more responsive to issues and conflcts which are vital to the union, but do not really affect those outside the region. The sub-council can then appoint or elect representatives to the new, smaller Grand Council who would be emissaries for the entire region’s point of view in Federation-wide policy.

    These and other reforms could place the alliance in much stronger stead to weather the passage of time and the immensity of size.

    * = All that said, I don’t find the UFP’s human-centrism to be problematic, as humans are obviously the Mary Poppinses of Trek.
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Being fictional, the Federation will last as long as the writers want it to. So therefore, if it should ever fall, it is only because a writer made it so. None should ever want to make it so. That's my view. :)
     
  20. QCzar

    QCzar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    *Vulcan neck pinches Mr. Laser Beam*