Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Captain Tracy, Nov 8, 2011.
Thought the episode was a comment on religion, myself.
Good points. But, as often pointed out in the TOS universe, starship captains have A HELUVA LOT of authority, given their distance from command central. Kirk may have weighed options, and (remember, he admitted he admired Khan) made a command decision that he in fact may have had the authority to make. I don't think the question is whether he had the authority to do it, I think the question is was it the RIGHT thing to do? What say you?
Well first off buddy, I say: WELCOME BACK!!!!!
Now, to your question,... You are 100% correct that due to the nature of things, Starship Captains do have 'a hellavu lot of authority in their scope of powers' - being judge, jury, and executioner - IN SITUATIONS WHEN COMMUNICATIONS WITH HIGHER COMMAND ARE CUT-OFF, OR THE TIMELINESS OF A RESPONSE WOULD PROVE ENDANGERING TO THE CREW AND ITS MISSION.
However, this is simply not the case in 'Space Seed'.
Therefore, based on that fact alone, I say, KIRK not only had NO AUTHORITY, but moreover usurped the UFC:SFC, the Chain-of-Command, and knowingly and purposefully violated his orders to deliver Kahn to the authorities for proper disposition.
And should be facing a COURT-MARTIAL himself!
So to answer your ACTUAL QUESTION in short: Breaking the very laws you are sworn to uphold, to enforce your own personal idea of what is 'just, humane. or right'; is rarely 'The right thing to do',.. The UFC:SFC has in place, procedures of petition AFTER the Captains' duty have been discharged,... and the criminal delivered to authorities.
^But, were Khan and his people criminals? Again, I point to their lack of choice over their actions, based on being unwilling victims of genetic manipulation. And, if Kirk and co. don't "press charges", as it were, then that would leave Khan and friends lose in the Federation, or locked up for being who they are, since there is an apparent Federation wide fear of genetic alteration, as shown in DS9 re Bashir, and in the ENT eps dealing with the "supermen". So, I say Kirk knew that he was not going to persue charges, and rather then condemn Khan and company to some cage somewhere, decided to give them the opportunity to live out their lives challenged, but free. The humane thing to do, no?
The problem is one of the duty of a StarFleet officer, acting in that capacity and charged with upholding and executing those duties,... and that of being a 'Federally funded humanitarian with transportation',.. which when it comes down to the business of enforcing Farederation Law and StarFleet directives,... he is not.
So when acting as an deputized officer of 'The Powers-That-Be', there is no latitude for personal feelings, opinion, politics, vendettas, or what-have-you; expeically when in direct communication with Higher Authority.
Again, in this case, the Captain is not afforded the power of judgement,... or 'creative alternative solutions',... only delivery for processing,.. with 'The 'Right To Petition', being executed AFTER delivery and the fufillment of lawful military orders.
How do we know that Kirk didn't have contact with Star Fleet Command before rendering his decision? They might have just "deal with the situation as you see fit" or perhaps he ran the idea past someone and they signed off on it? Besides, by handling it this way they avoided any publicity for the incident (your basic coverup) and avoiding any messy PR problems.
Don;t know if this has been mentioned or not re: The Intrepid in "court martial"
1.>Was it the same Intrepid that was destroyed in "The Immunity Syndrome"?
2.>At that time did it have a Vulcan crew? It is possible that a Human crew was rotated off the ship and a Vulcan crew assigned at some point inbetween the episodes.
I don't agree 100% - I think in Trekverse, especially in TOS time, Captains would have a lot more leeway in things of this nature. However, I will say "uncle". Your move, Ron.
Yes, that is probably best, as it seems we have reached an impasse.
In the conclusion of the tale, 'A PIECE OF THE ACTION', it is revealed that DR. McCOY has left his communicator behind - and in BELA's office.
Knowing the Iotion's are a 'highly-imaginative and imitative people', coupled with the understanding of what the introduction of a single book did to their society, their apparent lack of ethics and morals, and most alarming - contained within the communicator is a piece of technology known as a 'TRANSTATOR', being the root technology for the entire basis of STARFLEET technology, - with the implication being, if opened and examined, the IOTION's will soon have Starships and Phasers !!!!
SO,... SISKO,... as Captain, do you just 'laugh it off and ignore' the situation as KIRK did,... or do you take action and recover the thing?
That's a great question, and it begs the further question which I think is the root problem here - why doesn't the Federation just help them out and give them the technology? The Prime Directive doesn't apply, as the Iotians are aware of space travel. In fact, not only are they aware, but it is implied that by studying the transtator, they could develop warp capability on their own! Also, they have already been "interfered with" by the Horizon. So the question is, why doesn't the Fed just send people to the planet to help the Iotians develop? Their natural abilities imply that they would be up to speed and members of the Federation in no time. On the surface, I don't see a moral problem with doing that, do you? So, if I'm Kirk, I leave the communicator, and I tell the Federation to get off their collective butts and get some people over there, because the Iotians are coming, like it or not.
The Apple? I got the impression it was a commentary on socialism and the nanny state.
SISKO - Yes in deed there are many problems with the whole Iotian issue to be sure.
I agree with all that you have stated, save for the fact that I do not understand why you choose not to recover the communicator.
I, for one, would get the communicator back; and THEN file the appropriate recommendation regarding the disposition of the Iotians and their planet.
Do you not feel it is irresponsible to leave this piece of equipment in their hands?
The fact the Federation is not only aware of these people, but moreover have visited them before,... begs the question - which you have raised, in part - why then has the Federation not done for the Iotians what they have done for so many other cultures (even when the culture didn't want it, or need it), and provided "Federation Aid",... do you smell the lack of a "profit motive' here??
^Interesting point on the "profit motive" idea, and part of the reason I leave the communicator - it forces the issue. If the Fed is playing games as far as the Iotians, then being hit with the fact that they may soon be facing Iotian starships, may force them into confronting a problem they have been sloughing off on. I see it as righting a wrong - especially if, as you point out, there is in fact a profit motive involved.
SISKO - heh heh heh,.. are you actually suggesting letting the Federations 'Roosters' come home to roost? LOL!!! Bravo!! LOL!!
Yes,... the Federation 'Profit Motive' is a huge UNSPOKEN underpinning behind the actions of the FED's in their relations with alien cultures,... and if you watch the episodes with this thought in mind, it becomes overtly obvious after a half-a-dozen viewings that when the FED's encounter a planet which is rich, or potentially rich in resources, the FED spring into action - whereas with a planet like Sigma Iota II, with no obvious resource,... well they get the short end of the FED stick.
Okay 'Pally',... you turn to fire away.
In truth we don't know what happened with the Iotians. It's all speculation. It's a long stretch to assume that the backwards Iotians could reverse engineer a piece of what is essentially (to them) advanced alien tech into warp drive and starships relatively overnight. And who is to say that Kirk didn't turn around after his little joke upon learning McCoy's mistake and retrieved the communicator. Just beam it away and problem solved.
^That all may be true, but it doesn't answer the question of why the Federation just doesnt share the tech with the Iotians. As stated, the Prime Directive no longer applies, so why keep it away?
I think there might well be nuances and contingencies in the Prime Directive. There'd have to be. Seriously, you can't just hand a load of advanced tech to backwards cultures and hope for the best. Look at our own world.
The Iotians are presently a group of peoples with a corrupt gangster mentality who would really need to be educated before they could deal with advanced technology. Look at how in our own history new tech often isn't used for it's intended purpose but has been corrupted into something wrongly used.
Part of the problem with a planet-of-the-week type story is that the featured culture is only sketched out in broad strokes. The episode references the Iotians as being highly imitative, but that doesn't really say much. Humans are highly imitative in that we, too, mimic or adapt things we see that impress us in some way or other. But that is hardly all that we are. In a more credibly scenario some Iotians would/might imitate some aspects of the gangster era as portrayed in the book left behind by the Horizon. But it's highly unlikey that the entire society would imitate everything related in the book. Add to that the book naturally doesn't tell everything about 1920's America.
Or put it another way: would you hand 23rd century tech, or even 21st, to the likes of Al Capones with the mentalities of that era? I wouldn't
SISKO - Alright, I am ready for you to throw your next "What would you do?' TREK hypothesis at me,... and none of that 'slow-pitch' stuff either LOL!
C'mon now,.. stop stalling, it is your turn.
OK, Ron, you asked for it - our beloved Star Trek. Starting with TOS and going through all its incarnations - does it simply present and uphold the white male american viewpoint? The Federation and Starfleet - organizations with imperial overtones that seem to always be on the side of "right" - and using military force when those "values" are conflicted with. Can we subsitute "America" for "Federation"? Kirk seems to represent the quitessential american ideal - tough, quick to anger, ready to use violence, acting off the cuff and making snap decisions based on what he defines as "right", and, oh yes, white. So my question is, is the Trek we all worship just a further example of American propaganda in science fiction form? Or does it have redeeming qualities? Have at it.
SISKO - It's a great question; and the answer - by my way of thinking is - BOTH.
The underlining and overshadowing tone of the show is most obviously: 1966 White-Male dominanted socio/politico, imperialist/ expansionist, American big-business - projected into a 23rd century backdrop.
However - the individual writers were able to adroitly weave into the overriding tone of the show - and the often ham-handed,'Truth, Justice, and the American Way Roddenberry rhetoric - subtle and compelling social, moral, and humanitarian issues and statements, which, in their best handling, caused us to examine our own philosophies and views.
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