OTHER Starship Captains - Symbolism, Foreshadowing & Plot Devices

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Captain Tracy, Nov 8, 2011.

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  1. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^Interesting point, and one I hadn't considered - that would be a good way to test Kirk's resolve and character.
     
  2. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    OK, how's this - Kirk is considered the greatest starship captain in Starfleet history. However, he flouted the Federation's greatest rule, the Prime Directive, time and time again. How do you rate Kirk as great, when he is a consistant lawbreaker, and rationalizes away his lawlessness time and time again?
     
  3. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    Well basically you can't support it, except it cases where the natural evolution and order of a culture was interfered with by the Federation agents, and THAT idea is whole problem on to itself. KIRK breaking the PD, is an unsupportable position position, as it is motivated by story-telling and then 'supported' by justifications which are flimsy at best, but support the sotry, nor the PD.

    How about giving me a specific from an episode to exam, as I did for you?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  4. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Yeah, Kirk did play fast and loose with the Prime Directive - but often with extenuating circumstances.

    In at least one case, he was over-ridden by higher authority in the first place ('A Taste Of Armageddon').

    In some instances, he was trying to undo or redress imbalances brought on by the interference of others ('The Omega Glory', 'A Piece Of The Action', 'A Private Little War' and probably others)

    In some other instances, he was dealing with crazy computers that had enslaved the human populace, and frozen any kind of development by them ('The Apple', 'Return Of The Archons', 'Spock's Brain'). Maybe the PD had a specific clause for this kind of situation? ;)

    It is said, time and again, that starship captains have quite broad discretionery powers. They need them - dialling up Star Fleet Command and then waiting on a ruling from them on something is often just not practical. Add to that, there will be times when someone on the spot is needed with the authority and judgement to NOT merely hide behind the rulebook.

    It seems likely that, everytime Kirk did some PD hijinks, SFC required a complete report from him and might have even had a formal enquiry on his actions - with the very real possibility that he would be relieved of command if found wanting. One can then infer that, for the most part, they found his actions at least acceptable.

    Noting the differance with Next Gen, where the PD was taken EXTREMELY seriously. Too much so sometimes, IMO. There were a few times where the PD was invoked that made absolutely no sense at all, and times when it just seemed to be an excuse for passive-aggressive behaviour.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  5. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Nice treatise! Thanks for composing it, I enjoyed the read!

    I have copied only the section I am addressing.

    1) 'Crazy Computers' LOL! I would bet no other 23rd Century man was as inundated with 'Crazy Computers' than KIRK. I was in such a serous vein reading your post, and when I hit this term, I busted out laughing,.. you got me with that sucker punch LOL!

    2) The problem with KIRK's actions in the stories you pointed to above, is that in each case, HE is judging the value of a culture, which is NOT his - nor his to judge - and then enacting changes to these cultures, BASED ON HIS PERSONAL VALUE SYSTEM,... this is the first baby-step toward TOTALITARIANISM.

    When one understand this, it make KIRK's 'Cultural Corrective Actions' on the NAZI-PLANET blatantly hypocritical; and damn near laughable when he gives them 'The Ol' Stars and Stripes' lecture.

    Why?

    Because KIRK is in reality upsetting the entire culture of a planet to SIMPLY SWITCH THEIR CURRENT FORM OF TOTALITARIANISM FOR HIS OWN CULTURES CURRENT FORM OF TOTALITARIANISM.

    So,... In 'Patterns of Force',... so-called 'evil' Nazi-ism is 'forcibly replaced' by the so-called 'good' Federationism.

    And who is the sole judge?

    The guy who is breaking his cultures highest law.

    Quoth The Bard: 'A rose by any other name,...'

    And what happened to the beautifully depicted tolerance for other cultures and customs, and desire to LEARN AND UNDERSTAND about Alien peoples and their ways, as demonstrated in say, 'The Corbomite Maneuver' ???

    That whole speech KIRK gives to SPOCK (?) about: "The PD refers to a living, growing culture",.. is absolute and unabashed B.S. - an adjunct 'conceptual correction en media res' to allow KIRK and SPOCK to justifiably blow-up 'Crazy Computers' and beat up Nazis, Cavemen, Gangsters, Aliens, Gas Clouds, Giant Amoeba, etc.

    Who is KIRK, to judge - in 20 minutes no less - the merits and demerits of an entire civilization and culture,... and MOREOVER,.. BY WHAT STANDARD????

    His own !?!!???!?!?

    3) The whole 'STAR TREK CONCEPT' was founded on OBSERVANCE, NON-INTERFERENCE, AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE, and NOT using its space-going AMBASSADORS, as roving Judge, Jury, and Executioner (or Interferer)

    The ENTIRE PURPOSE of drafting the PRIME DIRECTIVE was specifically to INSTRUCT These Starship Captians - when cut off from communication with the authoritative powers - WHAT TO DO.

    Simple Translation: When in doubt,... BUTT OUT !

    However, you cannot actually follow the PD and tell a vast majority of TOS stories, simple as that.

    No surprise to 7THSEALORD ;-)

    HELL, the ONLY FOLKS who fully understood the hypocrisy of 23rd Century Federation, were the FREAKIN' SPACE HIPPIES from 'The Way to Eden" !!!! LOL!!!

    [​IMG]

    "YEAY -Aaaay BROTHER,..."
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  6. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Note that in 'Patterns Of Force', Kirk was yet again trying to redress the interference of another. John Gill, rememebr?

    Also, the messed-with culture was reaching into space with the stated intention of exterminating the people on the next planet over. Things had gone too far for the Feds to simply extract their man, back off and hope for the best.

    Think about the strategic ramifications as well. A runaway culture that embraced Nazism, had space travel, MIGHT have had the basics of warp drive (never mentioned, but Kirk had no way of knowing just how much Gill told them) and was on the hunt for Lebensraum AND Concentration Camp fodder.

    Great, just what the Galaxy needed.

    All in all, the situation was definitely beyond bleating about the sanctity of the Prime Directive. How many other cultures could those guys have messed with (read: enslave or exterminate) once they got going? What about the right to non-interference of those other people?

    You cause the mess, you gotta try to clean it up - or, at the very least, stop it from becoming any worse.

    If anything, Kirk was restrained. Enterprise could have stopped the entire invasion cold. I clearly recall that one Zeon pressed him to do that, but Kirk refused out of concern for the casualties that would certainly be inflicted.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2011
  7. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Alrighty, how about this - "The Enterprise Incident" - is Starfleet and the Federation acting simply in self defense by broaching Romulan Territory and stealing their property, or are they an interfering, colonial minded super power trying to keep potential competitors weak?
     
  8. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Outstanding point!

    And this is the never-spoken other-half of the PD which validates the PRIME DIRECTIVE, as JUST.

    It is not enough to say the PD states that Starship Captains will not interfere with the natural evolution of a people or its culture,....

    But in order for the PD to be VALID and JUST at all, its concept MUST provide to EVERYONE, EQUALLY THEIR RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM KIRK,... especially when on their own planet no less!
     
  9. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    KIRK, operating as an agent of SFC, is without a doubt, and by virtue of their actions and intent, and by their own on-screen volition:

    SPYING, BREAKING PEACE TREATIES, VIOLATING TERRITORIES, AND CONDUCTING SABOTAGE.

    And yes, you are quite correct, as played in the episode, the episode is just another of an Imperialist/Expansionist government body, stepping on the necks of others in their 'competition' with them.

    But SISKO, that question had NO DILEMMA,... I think I got ripped off LOL!
     
  10. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, I was hoping you would defend his actions, but you agreed with me. Darn! I'll try to come up with another.
     
  11. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    SISKO - LOL!!!! Okay pal, while you are working on my "what would you do in KIRK's position/dilemma, I give you another, and while you are working on your answer, it might inspire to formulate an even more difficult one for me.

    Okay SISKO,... heh, heh, heh,... BACK IN THE CHAIR LOL!!

    In the episode, 'The Apple', during its quest to 'seek out new life and new civilizations', the U.S.S. Enterprise has assumed orbit around Gamma Trianguli VI, an Eden-like class 'M' planet, inhabited by peaceful and primitive humanoids.

    However, their also exists on the planet surface an ancient
    machine which, due the structure of its power source, emits powerful electromagnetic waves, which not only slowly drain off the power reserves of the orbiting Starship, but in due time, crippled the ship's capacity to extricate itself from the influence of the emanations - thereby ensuring the destruction of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and the death of her crew of 430 men and women.

    So CAPTAIN SISKO,... do you?

    TAKE: Kirk's action and fire the ships phasers against the thing, destroying it, and thereby saving your ship and its people?

    Or, do you

    PASS: On Kirk's action, and thereby ensure the destruction of your ship and all hands aboard her?


    Now SISKO,.. NO WIGGLING THIS TIME LOL!!

    PASS or TAKE?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Brings to mind that old saying - "Your right to free expression ends at the point where your fist meets my face" or something like that. Similar thing could be extended to 'non-interference', perhaps.

    If the alien whatsit or crazy computer had the power and inclination to seriously threaten a Fed starship (which, as far as I can recall, had taken no provocative action besides just being there), then that could open a whole new can of worms
     
  13. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Exactly, my clever friend :devil:

    To further compound many of the TOS dare I say, anomalies, regarding KIRK's actions, the actual orders contained in the PD, and the 'Stars and Stripes' rhetoric, is the whole Judeo-Christian philosophical/moral under-pinning,... and yet, time again and we see,...

    If NOMAD were a moral/ethics critic, would he not state:

    "Non sequitur,... the unit KIRK functions irrationally,... a mass of conflicting rhetoric and actions,... this unit is not well-ordered,... the unit's mouth and fist are incongruous,..."

    Well, let's see what our pal CAPTAIN SISKO comes back when he takes a bite of out his 'Apple' dilemma.

    AND,... If you would like, you may also have the next turn in 'The Chair' with a different question designed just for you LOL!

    [​IMG]

    Welcome 7THSEALORD,... may I offer you a cha - ,..... uh,.. seat? LOL!
     
  14. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Thank you, Cap'n T. I think.

    Further to that, there would have to be some kind of threshold or "cut-off point" for the Prime Directive. Otherwise, the UFP would be unable to deal with ANYBODY - seen a few truly idiotic examples of this kind of PD misuse in Next Gen.

    You are not supposed to interfere with a primitive / developing culture. Fair enough. Not even if they happen to sitting on stuff you want. Definitely Fair Enough. If one of the natives gets lucky enough to spear a member of your Away Team, well, them's the breaks. Still hands off.

    If the culture somehow figures out the existance of the UFP on its own and then institutes communications, that is probably where one set of rules should end and a new set begins. Consider sending in the diplomats.

    If the culture demonstrates both the capability and the willingness to deliberately endanger the UFP, its allies and portions thereof .... yeah, that is a biggie. Shooting down Federation starships should definitely fall into that general category. Ain't necessarily developing, more like well and truly developed.

    Also consider that, in certain 'crazy computer' scenarios ('The Apple', 'Return Of The Archons', 'Spock's Brain') whilst the subjects of the CC were primitive, naive and (mostly) harmless; the things controlling their fates and generally running their worlds from behind the scenes were anything but. Applying the PD to them could (IMO) be rather like extending full PD protection and privileges to the Romulans or Cardassians because of having conclaves or reservations of 'primitives' somewhere in their respective empires.

    So, dude, you might consider laying off Kirk just a tad. ;)
     
  15. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Ha ha, you know quite well 'KIRK' is just the allagorical symbol of the dramatization of the UFP/SFC will,.. now you go around making cracks like that and you are going to confuse the,.. well, the,... you know. LOL!

    Seriously though, I understand your point, however nowhere does it say: 'To seek out new life and new civilizations, and judge them to deem if they are harmful to themselves or potentially to us, now or in the future, and if found lacking, make them more like us by destroying their ancient culture, while going boldly where no man has disrupted a society before.'

    Okay 7THSEALORD, I will come back on later this evening, with your dilemma,... heh, heh, heh,,.... I'll be looking forward to this.
     
  16. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    To borrow a phrase, "The Prime Directive Is NOT A Suicide Pact."
     
  17. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Can you expand upon that?, I would like hear more on that perspective.

    Thanks.
     
  18. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    I am late to the party.

    Commodore Stone is made out to be evil, upstream. He wasn't going to ignore Kirk's actions. Discipline him, but quietly. Just no trial. Every other captain would still be served notice - screw up and lose your command.

    Loyalty is less valued nowadays (at least in how many people talk) than strict adherence to policies (i.e., have the court martial). But, loyalty is very important.

    2. Kirk and the PD are fleshed out in other threads, and if I recall, it is always or almost always a) to undo someone else's damage (Gill) or because the Ent is threatened (Apple, Armageddon). He tampers with Sandoval and Leila's Paradise, but that is a Fed colony, not an independent pre-warp culture. Just sticking up for my favorite hero.
     
  19. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    If following the Prime Directive means being passive-aggressive stupid - to the extent of allowing the rest of the Galaxy to ride roughshod over you - then you have a serious problem.

    Principles are good, important to both individuals and cultures. But they are not all that is needed - no person or culture has ever survived genuine danger just by being principled or nice. They survive by being smart, or strong, or adaptable, or sometimes just plain lucky. Especially (but not only) in war.
     
  20. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    The point of a principle (the idea that "princes" or rules over others in your worldview) is that you follow it regardless, even if it leads to destruction. Even as a Federation. The collaborating captain (Merrick?) in Bread and Circuses alludes to this - a Captain would rather see his ship destroyed than violate the PD. Kirk doesn't think this way, of course (and neither would I, I believe) - when ship is in danger, you survive first, worry about PD later.

    Picard would probably view it more as a "principle" but I'm not a TNG expert.
     
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