Prime Directive problem with "Homeward"

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by chrinFinity, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When Janeway threw that one out to a doomed species Paris retored with, "They're all going to die. What can be worse than that?"

    As far as I can see it's a good question.
     
  2. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think TNG consistently handled the Prime Directive pretty badly, but "Homeward" is definitely the most vomit-inducing episode of the bunch.

    Actually, I think TOS had the better idea of how to use the Prime Directive (although I know those who want to nail down all things Trek won't like it): Keep it vague, and only trot it out when you need an excuse to tie the heroes' hands.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  3. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I there's alien life out there, and if Earth was going to be devastated by disaster tomorrow, I don't expect them to help us.

    So I don't see a problem with the Prime Directive forbidding it. It creates more problems than it solves. It's shown in Homeward. One guy was so overwhelmed by the Enterprise that he killed himself.

    He says an even more important thing: the Prime Directive is supposed to protect THEM. Whatever they do, eventually they are responsible for the fate of the civilization.
     
  4. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah I never got why the Trek writers went this direction with it. It's meant to stop the Federation from becoming the exploiters, even with the best of intentions. It's not meant as some catchall absolution of any responsibility whatsoever. TNG did this a few times and Voyager went crazy with using the Prime Directive as an excuse to let people die.

    Literally the way they cite it, if I see a pregnant woman hanging from a cliff about to fall, I should let her fall because her baby might grow up to be Hitler.
     
  5. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Then the Federation shouldn't be invading the space and infiltrating the societies of those less advanced.
     
  6. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I like the principle of the Prime Directive, partly because without it, you have no end of situations Starfleet could potentially get involved in.

    It essentially asks, "what is humanity's role in the universe?"

    Or, to what extent should humanity (or at least, Starfleet as a quasi-military branch of the UFP) be responsible for other races and what should be left to chance/fate/design/whatever-you-call-it?

    Personally, I do not like the idea of humanity assuming responsibility for junior races development, as this results in unpredictable moral obligations and practical consequences. Should Starfleet have to constantly have to deal with this, potentially creating economic impacts on the UFP?

    (yeah, yeah, they allegedly don't use money, but clearly they still have resource limitations: despite fusion & transporter tech, it is still possible to fight a war of attrition against them viz. the Dominion War.)

    The PD is a (by and large) ethical, practical & common-sense way of restricting what situations Starfleet officers - as a proxy of the UFP government - assume such potentially unending responsibilities. Of course, there are situations where individual Captains can breach it at their discretion. They then have to later justify it to Starfleet/UFP and such a breach is noted as part of their personal record (I'm sure several eps across the various series either imply or outright say that).

    I think Picard handled the situation in Homeward appropriately, given the circumstances he was placed in.
     
  7. Jeyl

    Jeyl Commodore Commodore

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    Archer: "Someday my people are going to come up with some sort of a doctrine: something that tells us what we can and can't do out here – should and shouldn't do. But until somebody tells me that they've drafted that directive, I'm going to have to remind myself every day that we didn't come out here to play God."

    Just as bad.
     
  8. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    not only that, but you had the irony of having characters who WERE playing God by deciding that one of the species was somehow destined to become the "superior" one or something, use the excuse of NOT wanting to play God to "justify" their actions.
     
  9. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    NASA is breaking the Prime Directive right now. They didn't sterilize Curiosity properly, potentially contaminating Mars.
     
  10. Holdfast

    Holdfast Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    We need to kill the tripods.
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The point is always this: can the culture handle it? In Homeward it is made very clear that as soon as the people found out about the Enterprise rescuing them, it would destroy their culture for good. Same thing happened in Who Watches The Watchers. Same thing in Pen Pals. The civilizations could not handle alien contact. So either rescue them without letting them know that you rescued them, or let nature follow its course.

    If you come down to a primitive culture and cure them from a disease, you might end up being their new god. And we all know how that causes death and destruction everywhere. In the long run, you might have saved people from a disease, but destroyed their entire culture with it.

    It's a basic moral dilemma. Like "would you kill one person to save a billion"? And well, the general policy simply is: you don't.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Um... in Pen Pals, we see only a little girl who seemingly had no problem with alien life. Your painting every culture you've mentioned with very broad strokes.

    I can't believe the people who claim that extinction is somehow better for a species than cultural contamination. That just boggles the mind.
     
  13. scotthm

    scotthm Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It is, until you realize that they have no problem at all interfering with equally (or more) advanced cultures when it suits them. So there's not much point in trying to make sense of Star Trek's Prime Directive.

    ---------------
     
  14. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

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    This is ultimately the whole point of the PD, as I see it. It's not really about those cultures out there at all, no matter who is professing otherwise. The main concern to them is how interfering affects THEM. It's a danger to them to be meddling in the affairs of other worlds, as well as a danger to the world's natural development

    However, certainly no rule should be completely black & white, & if you're willing to let the Enterprise create its own life form, to send "on it's merry way" for god sake, then perhaps if you're in the neighborhood, & can spare some doomed primitives, it's not going to be any riskier

    At least they're not dead. I can get behind that, even if on paper, we don't set a mission goal of seeking out primitives to save, which would be beyond possible

    So yeah, the episode betrays some of what we know about Picard. Picard is humane above all else, & the humane thing to do is help them, but he turns his back on his own humanity for a rule, & only helps when given no choice by an agitator. That's not usually the way he acts, as evidenced in Pen Pals, where he actually chooses to act, with much less rebuke
     
  15. Start Wreck

    Start Wreck Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Maybe he was on his third strike. :)
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    But if it's all about "them" (Starfleet) rather than the cultures, then nuances with the situation of the cultures shouldn't affect the situation with Starfleet. If the PD is there to uphold the principle that Starfleet cannot take law and fate in its own hands, then it shouldn't matter whether the lives of ten people or ten billion are at stake. After all, that very type of judgement would be the thing taken out of the hands of our heroes.

    Interestingly, Kirk was quite altruistic about saving civilizations from natural disasters without orders from on high: he tries to stop an asteroid from smiting an obviously transplanted culture in "Paradise Syndrome" while apparently very far away from home, despite being aware that getting smashed by big rocks is the natural destiny of this culture, and one deflected rock won't really change a thing. So one would expect not just some sort of standing orders to help cultures in need, but indeed an obligation to re-dictate destiny for hopeless cases, against all reason, regardless of whether they wanted it or not.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well there you're seeing the difference between the TOS PD and the TNG. When people are defending the PD in cases like this episode, they don't seem to realize they're defending modern trek's take on it, not the TOS PD at all.
     
  18. USS KG5

    USS KG5 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bonus points for this guy!
     
  19. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Should I bring up the Galactic Nanny State?
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Please don't. :lol: