Section 31...

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by 2 of 10, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    "The Federation" didn't engage in genocide at all. Some rogue elements of the Federation society attempted it, (hell, just one guy did if you take my point of view) and still it's not obvious that any one died from the virus.

    Trying to blow up the Bajoran sun is OK, though. Because the Federation was the aggressor, right? The Founders and the Dominion are poor victims of the terrible Federation's all-mighty conquering armies of Section 31 ninjas, and were justified in their attempt to destroy an entire race, but not the Feds. Nope. Humans are just evil.

    Basically, both sides tried horrible things to wipe out the other side. But the Federation's side was an unauthorized attempt, while the Dominion's side was authorized and in fact carried out by one of their leaders. Which is worse? Will someone suggest the Bashir impersonator was a rogue changeling the way Sloan was a rogue Federation agent?
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    First off:

    Yes, we know you're talking to me. ;)

    I don't disagree at all. But that doesn't mean that killing them is legitimate.

    I'm not sure where your last statement is coming from; I do not at all think the Federation is worse than the Dominion, nor do I think the Federation to have been the aggressor in the Federation-Dominion War. I have time and again in this thread been very specific in my condemnation of Section 31, not the Federation.

    We do not have any information about whether or not the Section 31 virus killed anyone in the link.

    Doesn't matter. The inherent right of any species to survive outweighs the idea that they're all legitimate military targets. The need to wage war never justifies genocide.

    I have at no point made this implication, and I'm not sure where you got the idea that I did.

    But it also doesn't matter; we're judging Section 31, not debating whether Section 31's actions are worse than the Founder's actions. You don't get to justify murder by saying, "Yeah, but I killed so many fewer people than Ted Bundy!"

    Do you have any evidence that there weren't?

    Says who?

    Not necessarily. Who knows what frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum they can sense? The "sea floor" of their homeworld, for instance, may be positively full of impressions in any number of different EM spectrums that could be their equivalent of writing or paintings or other works of art. The entire sea floor may be inscribed with a vast poem, for all we know.

    And for that matter, alterations of their planet's surface may itself be an artistic project. If we gain so much pleasure from viewing things like the Grand Canyon, how much more aesthetic pleasure might a Changeling capable of interacting with such geographical features on a much more intimate level feel?

    It would be wrong if Starfleet Headquarters housed the entirety of a sentient species population.

    That's an interesting question; I don't know.

    Thank you.

    But I do feel the need to point out that, no, the Federation is not responsible for the actions of Section 31.

    :rolleyes:

    No one has claimed this.
     
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    First, don't be condescending. Second, maybe I did go overboard. My impression has been that some poster have taken the position that the Federation was despicable for "letting" Section 31 deploy a genocidal weapon, and despicable for not stopping it immediately. If that's not the case, fine. My apologies for misrepresenting the opposite viewpoint. That merely demonstrates that I don't understand the opposing view.

    My position is the Founders were as legitimate a target as any Jem'Hadar foot soldier or Vorta. While the Federation didn't authorize the development or deployment of the morphogenic virus, they didn't act immediately to rectify the situation. This inaction, I think, is causing some posters to view the Federation as no better, or possibly worse, than the Dominion. I don't understand this view.

    The Federation has high ideals and principles it tries to act on regularly. These high ideals were depicted regularly in TNG. In DS9, the Federation is sullied, its image tarnished. While they're trying to maintain their lofty principles, they end up getting dirty in a war, something never really done in Trek.

    Section 31 acted on behalf of the UFP, even though their actions violated the ideals of the Federation, and when the good guys of the Federation found out, they didn't act immediately to live by their ideals by stopping the virus. The good guys decided to use a situation that they didn't create, but that was to their advantage. Why shouldn't they? I think some people object to the inaction of the Federation. Is that incorrect?

    I say it's better to have high ideals and principles and try to live by them, even if you fail, than to die because you won't violate your principles. I gather some would disagree on this point.
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Fair enough.

    As for whether or not the argument you just constructed as a representation of the opposing side was valid as an argument...

    I think that that would be a fair and honest argument, but it's not one I would agree with. I tend to agree that the Federation had a moral obligation to control Section 31, to thwart its actions, and to offer the cure to the Founders. I would tend to agree that the Federation's failure to do so is despicable.

    But I would not agree that it therefore makes the Federation itself despicable. The Federation, after all, is a huge society, vast on a scale we can barely comprehend -- 150 planets across thousands of light-years, with likely dozens of billions, if not trillions, of citizens. I can't even bring myself to agree that a single planet-full of Founders who admittedly link their minds together are all guilty; I sure as hell can't agree to that logic with the Federation.

    As for the Council's decision not to share the Founder virus cure -- I think we don't know enough about the circumstances of the vote to understand it fully, and to therefore judge it fairly. For one thing, it's unestablished whether or not the Council was made aware of Section 31's role in the virus's creation. Bashir, you might recall, lured Sloan to the station by claiming to have found the cure himself; if I were Bashir, I might well stick to that story afterwards, for fear of Section 31 deciding to do more than just wake me up early if I start openly spouting their name.

    In that scenario, the Council may well have remained unaware of Section 31, and have been led to believe that the virus was a natural phenomenon -- in which case their vote not to share the cure would have been the moral equivalent of their non-interference policy, as in situations where pre-industrial cultures face extinction-level events and the UFP doesn't help them. Such policies are of course themselves morally questionable -- but hardly the equivalent of active genocide, either.

    I do view not sharing the cure, ultimately, as a lapse -- but a far more understandable one if wartime anger drives them not to intervene in what they believe to be a natural phenomenon.

    If, on the other hand, the Council knew about Section 31's role in the virus's creation and still decided to stand by and do nothing? That's far more questionable. But we don't have enough information to make a judgment.

    I certainly agree that a society can still be a good and worthy society if it tries but sometimes fails to live up to its ideals. But I also think that such a society very badly needs to be harshly criticized for its moral lapses, in oder that it may be forced to learn from its mistakes. The voices of social conscience can be harsh, but they are necessary for the health of the body politic.

    And I absolutely reject the idea that the Federation had to choose between genocide and survival.
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    The Federation wasn't choosing between genocide and survival. They chose both. Genocide for the Founders, and survival for themselves. Should they have handed the cure over to the Founders and hoped for some goodwill in reciprocation? In the end, the cure was exchanged for an end to hostilities, a much better deal for both sides than if the Feds had given the cure away without expecting anything in return. The Feds have high ideals, but they're not naive.
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Poor wording on my part; I apologize. Please allow me to re-phrase:

    I absolutely reject the idea that the Federation had to choose between genocide and defeat at the hands of the Dominion. That is a false dilemma.

    You would be surprised how often good will is reciprocated when it is offered with genuine altruism.
     
  7. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    At a individual level, sure. At an international level, though? And it's high risk strategy. Hand over a valuable cure and hope the enemy ends hostilities? Naive.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    People are always willing to take risks to wage war; how come so few are willing to take risks to wage peace?
     
  9. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination

    past experience?


    Projecting to your opponent an over-eagerness to avoid war is probably one of the more surefire ways of increasing the risk of getting one.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No one has said that the Dominion has an eagerness to avoid war.

    But if the Federation had offered the Founders the cure? This would have been a decision made from a position of strength, not appeasement or fear. (Remember, everyone already knew the Dominion was going to lose the war by the time of "Inter Arma Enim;" Section 31 was even preparing for a post-Dominion War conflict with the Romulans.)

    Worst case scenario? The Founders, long believing that the Solids of the galaxy cannot be trusted, would see the Federation saving them from certain extinction, in spite of their war of aggression against the UFP -- and demanding nothing in return. It might not end the war, but it would almost certainly undermine the ideological basis for the Founders' xenophobia. It might lead neutral Alpha Quadrant powers to side with the Federation, and it would plant the seeds of change in the Dominion body politic. And in a best-case scenario? The Founders would call off the war from gratitude.

    It would be worth the risk.
     
  11. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    No, the worst case scenario is that the Founders take the cure and continue the war unabated. They'd lost Cardassia, but a kamikaze-type offensive by the remaining Dominion forces was a real possibility.

    Besides, you're assuming the Founders are rational, with their xenophobia merely a rational response to past persecution. It's not rational (considering they'd not been persecuted for centuries but still retained it as motivation and justification for conquering the galaxy) and no single goodwill gesture could possibly undermine millennia of xenophobia.

    And rather than gaining support from neutral powers in the AQ, it's more likely that the AQ powers would turn on the Feds for acting unilaterally. You don't think the Klingons and Romulans would object to their primary ally handing over their best leverage to the enemy? And even the Ferengi would ask why the Feds would be insane enough to give something so valuable away for no gain.

    Still naive.
     
  12. Jerikka Dawn

    Jerikka Dawn Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    "The Link is the very foundation of our society. It provides meaning to our existence. It is a merging of form and thought, the sharing of idea and sensation."

    "Because even in our isolation, we desired to learn more about the galaxy. You were one of a hundred infants sent off to gain that knowledge for us."

    "You were willing to violate the most sacred law of our people."

    "You will join us in the Great Link, open your thoughts, allow us to understand you. Only then will we be able to decide whether your actions were justified."

    "We have never had to sit in judgement over one of our own. That's why we took so long to bring you home. There was disagreement in the link over what to do with you."


    Any comparison to the Borg Collective as a single hive mind is completely ridiculous. The Great Link is a merging of the individuals of the Changeling society, and there is nothing to indicate that they operate as a single entity. Both the Solids and Changelings have consistently, in every instance, demonstrated through their actions and words that the Great Link is a collection of individuals with their own thoughts and opinions.

    Indeed, every single time we've seen Changelings interact with one another, they've been in disagreement about whatever was being talked about. The "Great Link" is pretty much Changeling Internet, not single-hive-mind-Changeling-Collective.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  13. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    At star's end.
    "Odo: When you return to the link, what will become of the entity I'm talking to right now?
    Female Shapeshifter: The drop becomes the ocean.
    Odo: And if you choose to take solid form again?
    Female Shapeshifter: The ocean becomes a drop."
     

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