I do not fully understand, one named Kirk.

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by BoredShipCapt'n, May 28, 2013.

  1. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    Keeping in mind that this statement is anachronistic in its fixation on the USA and was really meant to be a political message for the 1960's audience, what statement was it actually trying to make?


    1. That the U.S. and its Constitution should govern the whole world? (Surely an insanely imperialistic idea.)

    2. That all countries should have constitutions similar to the American one? (Still a kind of cultural imperialism, or at least jingoistic paternalism.)

    3. That Communist countries should be regarded as having similar constitutions to the U.S., even if they don't? (A somewhat pointless exercise in self-delusion.)

    4. That international and home-grown Communists in America should not be denied their freedoms under the Bill of Rights? (A fair point, but far afield from the dramatic situation, given that the Bill of Rights was a later addition to the Constitution and the Kohms and Yangs were essentially separately-governed entities.)

    5. That there should be peace between America and the Communist world? (Also a fair point, but having little if anything to do with the establishment of the Constitution.)


    Other possible meanings?

    I get the basic emotional idea about Americans being nice swell people that should be friendly and fair to others, but what in the end does that have to do with the Constitution applying to the Soviets or the Chinese? And if I don't understand, how the heck is Cloud William supposed to?
     
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That all people the Yangs dealt with - certainly those they governed - were entitled to be treated equally to the Yangs themselves.

    I'm always dismayed when some yahoo asserts that somebody isn't entitled to a fair trial or something because "they're not citizens, and the Constitution doesn't apply to them."
     
  3. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    So basically #4, then, with an overlay of the Golden Rule which mystically attaches itself to the Constitution because Americans are so inherently swell.
     
  4. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We are inherently swell. :p

    Anyway, you can put it in those terms if you're desperately looking to start an argument. It would be less provocative and as accurate to say that Kirk is indeed expressing the intent of the so-called "Golden Rule," using the document that the Yangs hold most sacred as the lever with which to move them.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Mainly, Kirk is trying to stop his own life being taken by people who use their misreading of an important document as the excuse for their brutality. The document may or may not contain a message of goodwill and harmony as such - but the one thing it doesn't contain is the excuse the Yangs are seeing in it, the excuse to subjugate or kill everybody who doesn't speak the holy words.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong as such in reading a message of holy genocide in any random document that specifies the right way to live, govern, walk or whatnot. Elimination of wrongness from the world can take such a wide variety of forms, and violence is typically among the easiest. But the US Constitution isn't explicitly calling for genocide, and it is a document specifying the means of achieving rightness and eliminating wrongness (through a system of government). Hence, Kirk is quite justified in his claim that a proper reading of the paper would make Omega IV revolve the way Kirk wants it to.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. BoredShipCapt'n

    BoredShipCapt'n Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks; well said.

    I suppose I was slightly trying to start an argument (or perhaps merely continue one after my breakfast didn't agree with me). :D
     
  7. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    This reminds me of a moment in the latest movie that got a Spock like raised eyebrow from me.

    On the way to apprehend Harrison Spock makes the declaration that they should not use the missiles to take him out but, instead, should arrest him because he's a Federation citizen and deserves a trial.

    This is the same Spock that told Kirk that Nero didn't even deserve mercy, let alone a trail in the last movie. A traction that got a grin from Kirk and an order to "fire everything".

    Nero was helpless. He wasn't going anywhere. His ship was in the process of being eaten. An yet, just because Nero refused an offer of mercy he was executed instead of being put on trial for his crimes. A crime that Spock would be arguing he was entitled to if he were a Federation citizen.

    Harrison was still on the loose and, for all they knew, working with the Klingons and could have started a war and yet it's more important to give him a trial than to prevent a war.

    Kirk, Spock, Uhura and two red shirts illegally entered Klingon Space. They had removed anything that would identify them as Starfleet. That's espionage. They were spies. They, along with Harrison, attacked the Klingons on their own planet for reasons that had nothing to do with them. The Klingons had done nothing against the Klingons and yet Klingon citizens died while Harrison was taken alive.

    Apparently, Federation lives do mean more that non-Federation ones. Much like the drone war of today. However, Kirk, Spock and the rest come down firmly on the side of "It's wrong to kill our people with drones but it's fine to do so to outsiders."

    Star Trek has always had variable positions, morally speaking, but they have tended to stay on the side of "everyone is entitled to the same rights". Apparently not now.
     
  8. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    ^
    OK, original series only. STID discussion goes to a different forum.
     
  9. aridas sofia

    aridas sofia Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The US Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment states:

    Not "any citizen". These rights that the US Declaration of Independence says it is a self evident truth all possess equally are herein incorporated within the legal structure of the US Constitution to apply to anyone within its jurisdiction. I believe this is what Kirk is saying- that the formal protection of the essential rights of all human beings that the US Constitution sets out to achieve must apply to all or they have meaning for none. They are not the rights of Americans. The US is founded upon the idea that they are fundamental inalienable rights that are intrinsic to everyone.
     
  10. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the point is broader than the example of the Declaration or the Constitution. Star Trek in the 60's WAS for an American audience, hence the dipping into that historical pool for inspiration. It could have just as easily been a Greek reference.

    The broader point is that people should be allowed to choose their own leaders. Democracy should rule.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    One wonders how many Amendments made it to the copy that Cloud William possessed...

    If it was taken to that planet by a time traveler from Earth who built or purchased his own time machine, it's probably from no earlier than the mid-21st century (by which time a couple of more Amendments might have been included, or a few removed). If it got there through alien intervention, it could be the real deal from the late 18th century, without even the 1st-10th Amendments added yet.

    The flag Cloud William flew had what does look like 52 stars, though, probably suggesting late 20th century versions of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other paraphernalia as the basis of the Yang faith.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/2x23hd/theomegagloryhd1031.jpg

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'm having a lot of trouble seeing how one could reach this conclusion.

    Counting the stars, and even be certain of how they are laid out, are both problematic in the first place.

    But also, just take a moment to think about real-world production issues. It would be eyebrow-raising for a 50 star flag not to have been used, since anything else would have been much less available or would have had to have been custom made. It's hard to imagine any such expense having been approved, for something so irrelevant.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Oh, sorry, a typo there. I mean the visuals (as well as your considerations) support the "standard" 50 star version - judging by the spacing of the stars against the stripes, and their orientation in each visible "row" (with the stars "the right way up", those rows must be diagonal, so it's not the 48 star flag or any of the preceding ones).

    Since we never see it properly unfolded, it could in theory also be the mid-21st century, 52 star version from TNG "The Royale" (also with those diagonals and much the same spacing), but naturally not in practice. Or it could be the short-lived 49 star flag, and there's a slim chance one would be available for shooting, even...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Past all that, its like jazz, you get it, or you don't.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b56e0u0EgQ[/yt]
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah.
     
  16. Praetor Baldric

    Praetor Baldric Lieutenant Commander

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    It always gives me a chuckle when I remember that this rousing patriotic speech was given by a Canadian! :guffaw:
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe the message comes across a little clearer when it's from someone on the outside looking in.
     
  18. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk's from Iowa.
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, but Shatner is from Montreal, Canada and Kirk ain't from the Yang/Kohm planet.
     
  20. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    He's an actor playing an American for whom those words have meaning. Acting.