NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by Brutal Strudel, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    You may want to add Sisko and what he did in "The Pale Moonlight" and Janeway and what she did in "Scorpion".


    It's hard to maintain the highest quality of morals when you are on the losing side of a conflict. Laws and standards people/characters swore to uphold become blurred and or bent; when self-preservation is taken in to account. The conflict and or war becomes about who can tear their opponent down fastest.


    Section 31 played the long game with the morphogenic virus. In the event of the Dominion conquering the Fed. The government could use the cure as a bargaining chip if they were to discuss terms of surrender.

    The Federation Council and Starfleet's first directive was to protect themselves and their citizens. It's ugly but from the Fed pov, they were in the right.


    Helo sabotaging the air system to kill the infected Cylons is different. Like Picard, Helo was uncomfortable using people as a biological weapon against an entire population. Laura Rosalin was interested in the self preservation of the human race. She was callous and dismissive of Cylons as people. Even Bill Adama tried to pass the buck on this decision. He didn't like it but he would still carry it out if ordered. If Picard in "I Borg" knew everything we would discover in VOY season 3-7 and the film FC. I think his decision would have been to use the Hugh as a weapon.

    Janeway formed an alliance with the Borg to created the nano-probe torpedoes. She used them to destroy dozens of Species 8472 ships. We saw the the effects her decision in the episode "Hope and Fear". Janeway defended her decision by arguing ignorance of the true circumstances of the conflict. That and her own self-preservation directive to get her crew home.

    Sisko assisted in an assassination the the creation of a ruse in order to bring the Romulans in to the war. This caused the Romulans to break their non-agression pact with the Dominion and join the Fed and the Klingons. However it also cost the lives of tens of thousands of Romulans. Romulans who died in a conflict based on a lie. All of this was done to preserve the Federation.

    It would seem self-preservation trumps morals in extreme circumstances.
     
  2. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Excellent analysis.

    So the real question is: Were the situations with Nero and Khan extreme enough to override the directives of civilization? How one answers that determines what is true north on one's personal moral compass. I think the writers failed to make the case in both instances.
     
  3. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    1. I think Kirk didn't have much choice about Kruge. Kruge wasn't going to let Kirk save him.
    2. IMO probably the Federation did the wrong thing with the Founders. They weren't in a genocidal situation at that stage to justify that sort of behavior.
    3. At the time I agree that Adama should have done anything necessary to wipe out the Cylons. They were in a genocidal situation at the time.
    4. I also think Archer was right to disable the Illyrians when he was pursuing the Xindi. I thought he had no choice.
    5. I think Archer did the wrong thing in Similtude. I think he crossed the line.
    6. I think Janeway was write to stop Icheb's parents from sacrificing him to the Borg though. Its funny because its almost the same situation as Picard with Hugh and I disagree with Picard's actions and agree with Janeway's and Janeway violated the PD.

    All this is just my opinion.

    But Archer, Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko all had to weigh morality against their responsibility as law-givers to the Federation. If they're not prepared to kill to protect Federation lives then they should give up their jobs as Captains and Commanders of SpaceStations.
     
  4. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As a lawyer I can testify that judges make inconsistent decisions all the time, sometimes the same judges looking at similar circumstances on a different day. It doesn't surprise me that the writers and by extension the characters do the same. I do think that some situations are more clear cut than others.

    Kirk's decision to summarily execute Nero left a very nasty taste in my mouth because of the way the decision-making process was portrayed on screen, with no attempt to take him into custody. It was blatantly portrayed as an eye for an eye decision.
     
  5. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    Except that's not what happened. Kirk offered assistance, and Nero flatly turned it down.

    If offering assistance doesn't cut it, just how much danger was Kirk supposed to put the Enterprise in, in order to demonstrate that he was trying to take Nero into custody?

    Would it have been satisfactory, if Kirk had said to Nero: "Either we both survive, or neither us do!"?
     
  6. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm not an expert on Federation law but I'm fairly certain that if someone resists arrest, the next step in the manual is not to blow them to F**k.

    But understand, my issue is less with Nero's ultimate fate and more with the thought processes that led them to that conclusion that we actually see on screen.

    E.g. Despite the ship being beyond he event horizon of a black hole, subspace communications were still working. It's feasible that transporters might work - certainly worth a try (I should point out at this stage that I don't think transporters should work at all unless the transportee has a communicator to function as a localised quantum scanner but since that happens all the time,that is entirely a different debate). When that failed, an acknowledgment that there is a risk that the ship could go through another time warp and pose a threat further in the past. Pew pew. The end. It's not revenge, it's a calculated risk assessment.

    Also note that Kirk's remained stationary next to the developing black hole to spend time destroying Nero's ship. This is not entirely logical in itself, since time distortion should have prevented any weapons reaching the ship in any event, and photon torpedoes should have been ripped apart long before they reached their target but in any event your comment about Kirk placing his ship in danger doesn't really track; he did that anyway.

    A fair bit of stuff was overlooked to make it a clear cut eye for an eye scenario. Arena implied that this knee jerk revenge approach is wrong, whereas this movie made it both right and very satisfying. I think that's where the moral compass issue comes up for debate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  7. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But does that need to be explained in explicit film dialogue to be something we can take into consideration here? We thought of it; can't general audiences be expected to do the same?

    But what do we think the movie has to say about Nero's knee jerk revenge approach? Do we imagine that the film promotes "knee jerk revenge" in general?
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    This defense of someone who committed genocide makes me kind of ill, to be honest. It would be like someone criticizing a soldier for putting a bullet in Hitler's brain if he had refused to surrender (if it had played out that way).

    Kirk offered Nero a chance to surrender, he offered it to someone who not only committed genocide but also to someone who had murdered his father. Once the offer is rejected, I see no issues at all about making sure beyond all doubt that Nero never caused anyone else trouble.
     
  9. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm fairly certain that if the killer of billions or anyone resists arrest the next step in the manual is NOT TO LET HIM GO
     
  10. Crisp Crinkle

    Crisp Crinkle Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Please. I didn't say that! :lol:
     
  11. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sorry sorry sorry.
    I apologise
    I realised that as soon as I posted it and re-edited it twice.
    I'm just too slow :)
     
  12. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Correct, which is why I suggested an attempt should be made to arrest him and when that failed stress that there was still a possibility that he might escape. As it was, the only express dialogue was that Nero's ship was about to be destroyed.

    If it's not on screen, it's not canon! Plus I would not expect the casual moviegoer to have a strong sense of what the Federation was meant to stand for in a new reboot.

    It's not the place of a Federation captain (or any military officer) to act as judge, jury, and executioner. You might end up there but it's really supposed to be a decision you reach without another reasonable choice. The fact that your enemy has committed greater war crimes does not justify you committing a war crime yourself.

    A more satisfying conclusion for me personally would have been if Nero had rejected Kirk's offer of help, fired his own weapons, and the gravitational well sucked them back in to destroy him, the obvious metaphor being that hatred is self-destructive and a thirst for revenge will destroy you in the end. The moral compass is preserved.

    Nero was a rather illogical and one-dimensional villain. He was basically insane, although I'm not sure why his crew were also so compliant. I would have preferred a multi-racial terrorist crew to a bunch of anguished Romulans who waited 25 years with no deviation from their plan for revenge.
     
  13. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which only exposes the inherent fallaciousness of that mindset if it's taken to such extremes.

    Clearly the basis for such an idea is a natural result of what was presented on screen. We thought of it; does something which makes sense have to be spelled out in dialogue in order to be considered valid?

    It's not about what the Federation was meant to stand for. It's about the danger posed by Nero, which can be intuited by the viewer regardless of what they think about the Federation.
     
  14. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The express dialogue tells the viewer that Nero isn't a threat. You are asking the casual viewer to intuit something that is the opposite of what they are being told in a franchise with which they are unfamiliar.

    My unease with the portrayal of the scene remains.
     
  15. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That same viewer watched Nero's ship survive passage through a black hole before. Again, it's not all about dialogue, nor is something automatically true just because Kirk says it ( see: Nibiru ).
     
  16. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True but the circumstances were quite different. On this occasion the wormhole was opening inside the ship and the dialogue tells us that this is going to destroy them. As nerds, we cannot discount the possibility that, like so many comic book villains, he won't survive but the casual viewer is not told that and there is no evidence that any of the characters on screen believe that.

    We cannot assume Kirk tells the truth but his conversation 'aside' with Spock gives us an insight into both their feelings. Kirk does not want to save Nero but acknowledges that it might be the best option morally and politically.

    I don't believe that those Caitians weren't hookers either.
     
  17. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I take it you mean "he will survive"? It doesn't take a nerd to think of that; movies based on comic books have attracted a huge audience.

    Unless Kirk's firing on the Narada is that evidence.
     
  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yes sometimes it is the job of a Starship Captain to act as judge, jury and executioner.

    Plenty of times in TOS Kirk made arbitrary decision based on his experience and knowledge as a Federation Captain. As soon as he found a method he killed those flying things on Deneva. He killed that giant amoeba thingy. Also the cloud creature in Obsession, the Zetarians. Then there's General Order 24.

    He even made the decision to strand Gary Mitchell. Even though at the time Gary had committed no crime.

    And while nuKirk didn't have PrimeKirk's years of experience its not that hard to work out you don't let a mass murderer go no matter what.

    You just hope that they always pick the right person for the Captain's job.
     
  19. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not to mention later going after him with a phaser rifle, with intent to kill!
     
  20. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ooh yeah good spot. Although in most movies based on comic books the villains dies and don't DON'T come back.

    If we are going to assume that the characters don't say what they mean, how do we know that Nero wouldn't actually like to be rescued but doesn't want to lose face in front of his crew? Or more to the point what does his crew feel about this, since we don't get to see what they say on the matter?

    Sometimes the writers' intent is clear e.g. I never believed as a child that Kirk actually did get round to killing Maltz just because he pulled out the same Nero card.

    Other times the characters' views are shown to us to be wrong even if they think they're right, such as Picard in First Contact.

    Other times they're right and we are supposed to be cheering them on. This was the tone in the movie. A bright a breezy revenge execution. :vulcan: It's the tone that disturbs me as far as Federation ideals go.