I was watching the DS9 episode "Way of the Warrior". Garak and Quark have the following conversation: Quark: I want you to try something for me. Take a sip of this. Elim Garak: What is it? Quark: A human drink. It's called root beer. Elim Garak: [unwilling] Uh, I don't know... Quark: Come on, aren't you just a little bit curious? [Garak sighs, takes a sip and gags] Quark: What do you think? Elim Garak: It's *vile*! Quark: I know. It's so bubbly, and cloying, and *happy*. Elim Garak: Just like the Federation. Quark: But you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to *like* it. Elim Garak: It's insidious! Quark: *Just* like the Federation. Got me to thinking. We always hear about how the Federation's #1 rule is do not interfere in the development of other cultures. Now that only applies to those races without advanced spaceflight, but why? Who is to say that is the point where the Federation is now suddenly allowed to annex them? Is it not possible this culture could still undergo significant and valuable development that now maybe does not happen? We see that at least with the two above characters they are frightened of their own lifestyles/cultures becoming part of this homogenized Federation standard. If you look at the Ferengi from the beginning of DS9 to the end you see their culture make pretty significant steps toward the Federation ideal. Granted, it's not nearly as objectionable as blatant imperialism. But Garak and Quark are right. It is insidious. The thing that bothers me the most, as I said before, is that the UFP seems to be aware of the pitfalls and potential harm to other cultures, but they only stand by their own principles to a point. I would imagine this is something that would be a major topic of debate by academics in that world in the same way the expansion of Western culture here on earth has caused some resentment on an international scale. Anyway, discuss.