Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Point?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Captain Shatner, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2001
    Location:
    Down in the tube station at midnight
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    We've seen non-Human UFP presidents ( of the three I can recall only one was human) and councilors on several occasions.
     
  2. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Well, there was the U.S.S. Intrepid in "The Immunity Syndrome," whose crew of 400 consisted entirely of Vulcans.

    For all we know, there are Starfleet vessels full of Andorians and Tellarites, too.
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    There are a few different ways of explaining it.

    We've seen many non-Human humanoids, so this could explain the seeming large number of Humans, they are in fact not Humans at all, but a variety of alien species from both inside and outside the federation, who are serving in Starfleet.

    Or, a different explanation could be drawn from the United States military, there are people from all the American states and territories serving in the US military, plus people from outside the US serving in the enlisted ranks. But a disproportion number of people in the service are from the American south-east. It could be somewhat similar with Starfleet, it isn't that it composted entirely of Humans, but Humans are a much higher percentage than any of the other federation member species.

    Or, Humans could be so culturally different than the majority of federation species, that it necessary to place us in our own ships.

    Or, Some federation members might not volunteer for Starfleet at all, they'll do other things within the UFP organization.

    Or, as has been proposed in the past, If a member species breathed some atmospheric gas other that ours (and we've seen people with masks before), or are comfortable with extremes in temperature, they could serve aboard their own ships, same with aquatic lifeforms analogist to octopi and dolphins.

    :)
     
  4. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Italy, EU
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Not to mention, the real reason: actors are human. ;)
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    As for if the Soviet Union still existed in the Federation... this is from TNG's Naked Now.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    After WWIII a lot of the disgruntled displaced old governments would have made some powerplays.

    After the fall of the United States of America, don't you think that the Native Americans would have thought about getting together and kicking whitey out?

    Chosen, not elected. Slicing the Melon finely I know, but the text suggests a political appointment and not an elected position.

    I google searched every Star trek script for the word Democracy, and other than a mention of "the dark Time" in Klingon history when they experimented with it, every other mention of Democracy is the common idiom "This is not a Democracy" some Captain belts out when the little people try to be difficult. Using the same proccess the onlymention of elections are about Kai Winn and Shakaar from DS9 so, really?

    No money.

    No elections.

    They're pinkos

    The Federation was Founded on Pinko Ideals.
     
  7. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    In the DS9 relaunch novels, after Bajor joined the Federation the First Minister(their local government remained in tact) specificly appointed the Federation Council member representing Bajor. Neoptism at it's best too as it was her ex-husband.
     
  8. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    The only things we know about the minimum requirements of a government to petition federation membership is that they're postwarp, represent the entire planet, and that there is no cast system presupposing leadership.

    I wonder what some grounds be for expulsion from the Federation might be?
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    We could treat that as an in-joke, no different from the giant rubber duck inside the E-D saucer, as this dedication plaque is not visible in the actual episode.

    More exactly, it's so off-focus that the only thing we can read is the name; the rest of the text is so illegible that we can't tell the registry number apart from the class name.

    http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x03/nakednow_hd_035.jpg
    http://tng.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x03/nakednow_hd_032a.jpg

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Not an in-joke as the Soviet Union still existed when The Naked Now was produced.

    There was no nuclear weapons platform in 1968.
    There was no Eugenics War in 1992.
    There was no manned Saturn mission.

    But they all happened in the Trek universe. I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea of Trek being an alternate reality where the Soviet Union simply didn't cease to exist. It probably did change at some point later in the Trek universe but held on to the name due to tradition.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    But we could treat it as one.

    The problem with that is that the dissolution of the Union in 1991 is a canonical fact, from VOY "Future's End".

    Of course, we may speculate that the Union and its intelligence arm KGB were later reinstated, which is why Tom Paris fails to remember that there was no USSR as of 1996.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Per Ardua
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    If facts contradict one another, I'll always discount Voyager first. :lol:
     
  13. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    When I first read the original post, I almost asked the same question, but I looked up the term first:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pure%20democracy

    So, in a pure democracy, every citizen has an equal say in every vote. Extremely impractical, as you can guess. I don't think it's ever existed in the real world. In practice, we have varying flavors of indirect democracy.

    Doug
     
  14. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Location:
    Great Britain
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Given that Earth itself appears to have a Parlimentary based Government (i.e. Westminster). It could be argued that is the philosphy Earth would persue for the UFP council. With a simple one member one vote system.

    As for the Federation President themself, there is no indication that they have any special powers not afforded to a Parlimentary style leader. Declaring martial law. When we did see it, he might still have needed final council approval or approval from the UE Government.

    Earth it's self might have a President as a head of state, whilst the real power lies in the Prime Minister (Head of Government)
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Where is this from?

    USSR might stand for something other than union of soviet socialist republics. Union and republics might still be the bookends, but the two S's are ...

    :)
     
  16. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Union of Self-Styled Republics? Union of Self-Serving Republics? Union of Super Safe Republics?
     
  17. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Union of Super Sexy Republics!
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    As the name of the science vessel Tsiolkovsky was spelled in Cyrillics, one would actually expect the rest of the text in that plaque to follow form. So, no USSR there, but SSSR, which would look roughly like CCCP in Cyrillics. :vulcan:

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  19. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    Given the 80's budget issues, they probably added to it after the fact and couldn't afford the Russian translator for a second day. :p
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2002
    Location:
    Montgomery County, State of Maryland
    Re: Is the Federation a True Democracy? And How Did It Reach That Poin

    No doubt referring the the Leningard Oblast (province) that encompasses St. Petersburg! :)

    This makes no sense. When the Soviet Union still existed, Russia was part of the USSR. The Soviet Union was not part of Russia. Certainly, Russia dominated the Soviet Union -- in the same way that Serbia dominated the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, for instance, or similar to (though much more extreme and oppressive than) how England dominates the United Kingdom -- but the Soviet Union was never a division of Russia.

    Well, that depends on what you mean by "American" ideals. Certainly the Federation seems to be based on the values of the Enlightenment and classical liberalism -- freedom, self-determination, etc. The Federation probably believes in "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that governments derive their authority from the consent of the governed. And we know that the Seventh Guarantee of the Federation Constitution protects individuals from self-incrimination, a la the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment.

    On the other hand, the Federation Constitution probably also encompasses other rights besides those generally enumerated and agreed-upon by Americans. Universal healthcare and a guaranteed quality of life come to mind as probable rights in a post-scarcity economy. And I cannot believe that a Federation that encompasses interspecies marriages like Sarek's and Amanda's wouldn't protect something as mundane as same-sex marriage.

    So I'd imagine the Federation system is also influenced by non-American traditions -- the economic rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for instance. And probably by Vulcan, Andorian, and Tellarite values, too. Between the ushaan and the kal-if-fee, I imagine the Federation Constitution protects the right to consensual homicide, for instance.

    Eugenics Wars, not Genetic Wars.

    No doubt they're using the same name to describe their highly-advanced computer systems that was once used to describe early 20th century systems. Sheer coincidence. Or maybe it's sort of like how we call it "dialing" a telephone and say a telephone "rings," even though we're actually pressing buttons (no actual dial to be seen) and listening to pre-recorded music samples.

    That only tells us that 23rd Century Starfleet practiced species segregation (perhaps as a concession to difficulties alien worlds had in integrating as single crews in an era when those worlds were still in the process of integrating themselves culturally even after uniting under a single federal government).

    And we have no idea what other Starfleet crews are like, since we only ever got a good look at a few 23rd century crews.

    The Terran Federation is from Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Star Trek's crews are citizens of the United Federation of Planets.

    A fairly meaningless statement, given how vast Starfleet must be and how few crews we encountered.

    Well, it's probably more a parliamentary republic than a straight-up Westminster system. Think less Britain, Canada, or Denmark and more Ireland, Germany, or Israel.

    But who's to say Earth would get to dictate how the Federation Council would work? Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar are a lot older space powers than Earth.

    Then why is he called "President of the United Federation of Planets" rather than "Prime Minister?"

    I'm fairly certain that PMs can't directly declare martial law themselves, but must instead advise the head of state (be it a monarch or president) to do so. We distinctly saw Federation President Jaresh-Inyo sign a declaration of a state of emergency on Earth himself, straight up, with no one else's approval.

    There is no evidence whatsoever that he needed anyone else's approval. Indeed, if he did, then Leyton would have had to appeal to THEM instead of Jaresh-Inyo. But that's not what happened -- we saw Jaresh-Inyo sign the declaration, and then we saw Starfleet troops beaming into the streets immediately thereafter.

    This is how the novels have gone with it -- there's a United Earth Prime Minister and a United Earth President, and they continue to function within the Federation much as German länder still retain their own ministerpräsidents or to how Canadian provinces retain their own Lieutenant-Governors and Premier.

    * * *

    For whatever it's worth, the novels have established that Federation Members each get to chose their own Federation Councillor by whatever mechanism they want; the Federation Councillor from Betazed is popularly elected, for instance, while the Federation Councillor from Bajor is appointed by the First Minister with the approval of the Chamber of Ministers, and the Federation Councillor from Andor is appointed by the party that wins a majority of seats in the Parliament Andoria as part of the Andorian Cabinet.

    The Federation Council is comprised of one Federation Councillor from each Federation Member, and meets on the first floor of the Palais de la Concorde in Paris (the Federation capitol), with floors three through eleven devoted to their office space. The Federation Council must approve anonymous petition for presidential candidacy based upon whether or not the potential candidates meet the legal requirements for the Federation Presidency.

    The Federation President is popularly elected, with every single Federation citizen entitled to a vote; counting the votes often takes up to two weeks. The President serves a four-standard-year term, and is not term limited, but no Federation President has served more than three terms. There is no Federation Vice President, and in the event of a vacancy from office, the Federation Council appoints one of their own as President Pro Tempore; the President Pro Tempore serves for one standard month while a special election is called. The President appoints a Cabinet and appoints Federation ambassadors. Floors 13 through 15 of the Palais are devoted to the President and Cabinet officers' offices, with most of Fifteen taken up by the Presidential Office.

    The relationship between the President and the Council is a sort of hybrid of the presidential and parliamentary systems. The President is legally required to preside over sessions of the full Federation Council except in extraordinary circumstances (usually interpreted to refer to the President being off-planet). The Council is organized into sub-councils, which are the equivalent of Congressional or Parliamentary committees; bills must pass through the relevant sub-council to be voted upon by the full Council. The President must appoint all members of a sub-council, with the approval of the full Council. (The only exception to this is the Federation Security Council, the legislative committee charged with national security, to which the Federation Councillors from Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri are automatically appointed as the founding Members; this is an anachronism that is controversial.)

    The President has the option of presiding over sub-council sessions, but usually leaves that to the sub-council's chair. The exception is the Federation Security Council, sessions of which the President typically presides over. The President is expected to work closely and actively seek the advice of the relevant sub-councils and of relevant Federation Councillors, leading to a much closer relationship than exists in the U.S. system. There is no Federation Prime Minister. The Federation Security Council shares the right to issue binding orders to Starfleet Command with the President.

    The President retains access to a dedicated civilian transport called Paris One, though he or she sometimes uses Starfleet vessels such as the U.S.S. Venture. (In at least one alternate timeline that diverged from the Prime Timeline when Spock was killed as a child, Starfleet vessels of any size carrying the President assumed the call sign "Starfleet One" in the 2280s.) The President also has access to three dedicated Palais-based shuttlecraft for intra-system travel, named after early UFP Presidents: the al-Rashid, the T'Maran, and the sh'Rothress. The Palais itself was in place by the mid-to-late 22nd Century.

    And, of course, the DSN episode "Dr. Bashir, I Presume?" established the existence of a Federation Supreme Court with the right of judicial review; that same season, the episode "The Ascent" also established the existence of a system of civilian Federation courts and of a Federation Grand Jury system.