The Prime Directive

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by jazzstick, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. jazzstick

    jazzstick Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey!

    This weekend before a show a bandmate and fellow Trekkie and I where having a debate over the Prime Directive. I was defeating it by saying that it allowed pre-warp civilizations to progress naturally and not destory themselves while he took the opposite view that it was the height of arrogence because it sent a message that those with technology and knowledge are better because they know better. He stated that knowledge should be shared to better everybody and thay witholding information was a way to keep cultures and people down and in thier place.

    Your thoughts?
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Your both right to a certain extent. But then what technology do you share, medical, agricultural, weapons to you place a limit on what you share? Because anything less than everything is a form of the Prime Directive.
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    the TOS Prime Directive was a sensible enough idea and flexible enough to work.

    The TNG PD was social Darwinist nonsense that led to ethically monstrous decisions.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    The Prime Directive defines Starfleet's role as some missions resembling a type of advanced, militarized Peace Corps.
     
  5. jazzstick

    jazzstick Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    So it was arrogent then?
     
  6. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    It depends whether you think the Peace Corps mission is the right one.
     
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I think that any society that thinks it is better to allow a whole sentient race to die rather than alter their knowledge of the universe is fucked in the head.

    Withholding technology and not taking sides in internal squabbles is one thing, but allowing a race to die because they don't understand some of the dangers around them is just plain evil. It's like letting a toddler get hit by a bus because it doesn't understand the danger of wandering out into the street.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I think so.

    You're invading their territory and walking among them without consent or compensation of any kind in the name of exploration. The Federation is essentially deciding what is good for them.

    The Federation comes across as arrogant a good portion of the time in the 24th century.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey.

    The thing is the two are not automatically synonymous. A culture could be equally (or more) advanced as the federation and at the same time be technologically inferior.

    :)
     
  10. jazzstick

    jazzstick Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Let me ask you this then,

    If the Prime Directive is so arrogent, what would have happened if the Spainards use it with the Meso-Americans instead of using the raping, pillaging and 500 years of Catholic guilt and cutlrual assminilation. Would the world be a different place? Would things have turned out as bad?
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^The point is you can't know if things would be better or worse.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    No one will ever know.

    But you're automatically saying that the mistakes we've made before we'll make again. I don't think anyone here is presenting the idea that Starfleet officers raping the natives and giving them blankets infected with small-pox would be allowed.

    Plus, in a post-scarcity economy that Trek presents, there would be little of value to be gained from primitive cultures that you help in most cases.
     
  13. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    How could have the Prime Directive evolved into what we know it, if the Spaniards hadn't been pillaging in the first place?
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    But if you go by Enterprise, it seems to have come from the Vulcans and not the humans. :techman:
     
  15. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You mean, as a result of Vulcans regretting their interference with other races, particularly humanity?
     
  16. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Agreed. TNG seemed to carry the Prime Directive too far.
     
  17. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Tom Paris said it best when Janeway decided to let an entire race die because they don't know the consequences of what will happen, "They're all going to die, anything's got to be better than that!"

    Seriously... the whole "natural disaster" clause of the prime directive is the equivalent of saying you should let a pregnant woman you see die simply because her kid might be Hitler. Not only that, but saying it's moral to do so.
     
  18. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Nobody wants logic at a time like this! ;)
     
  19. erastus25

    erastus25 Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, TNG era writers really missed the boat with their interpretation of the prime directive. At times it's almost like they're defending God's right to do as he pleases without interference. That seems insanely counter to the views of TOS and also really damn arrogant. TOS regularly "interfered" to save a society from getting destroyed or being dominated by an "undesirable" influence (For the World is Hollow, Paradise Syndrome, The Apple, etc).

    As for whether or not it's arrogant - I'm going to go with not really. To acknowledge that your influence might fuck things up and then steer clear seems more like self awareness. Of course, that breaks down in later series, but it works well as defined in TOS.
     
  20. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No. It's the equivalent of letting the pregnant woman die because you don't believe it's your place to save her. It has nothing to do with what the culture (her children) may or may not become. It's the belief that people, cultures, civilizations have no right to interfere in ANY way with any other people, culture or civilization.

    Which, of course, flies in the face of morality. The whole idea of an Olympic swimmer watching a man drown because the swimmer feels it is not his place to save the man is quite ludicrous.
     

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