ultimate reasoning behind prime directive ?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by at Quark's, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Isn't it just as wrong to let a people think that they can do nothing and no harm will come to them (no, primitives, you don't need science, it's just so unlikely anything bad will happen to you) than let them think someone else will come in and save them from harm should it arise (starfleet gods from the sky)? Someone argue the PRO prime directive case for me here...
     
  2. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Prime Directive in principle, from my understanding, was a concept that would make the Federation as seen in TNG seem "enlightened". It postulated that the Federation should not interfere with any species not capable or mature to understand the realities known to warp capable species.

    In practice, it was a cop out in practically every episode of TNG to save money because "nothing needed to be done" about any situations they ran into, therefore no budget was needed.
     
  3. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just ftr, in TOS they had no problem saving cultures from natural disasters.

    As for "Homeward", I could have done with a little less facepalming from everyone, and some acknowledgment and tacit approval that Worf's brother has thrown away his career to save some lives here.*
     
  4. The Castellan

    The Castellan Commodore Commodore

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    I look at it as a form of preventing competition. I mean Worf's adopted brother goes and saves a lesser civilization from destruction, and he gets into hot water for it.


    Yea.....better to let a civilization die horribly, but at least its natural development was retained.


    Being wiped out in a hideous way is not development.


    Also, with oppressive governments preventing said civilizations from developing by withholding information and technology is NOT natural, either (we see that happen today), and what makes THAT acceptable to Starfleet? Hell, there'd be no federation had neither the Vulcan's helped earth, or Picard stopping the Borg.

    Prime Directive = Overrated pile of ++++ that is used as an excuse to let everyone else 'eat cake'

    And that "you have to have warp travel capability for us, the almighty Federation, to even consider talking to you" is arrogant right there.
     
  5. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The pd keeps getting labeled as a product of liberal tng folly but it's very conservative an ideal isn't it? Everyone is responsible for themselves and should mind their own business. No one has the right to expect anything from me and I shouldn't expect anything from anyone else.

    I like the pd for various reasons and dislike it for others, but in Homebound I think it was little more than a muggufin (sp?) to set up the Nikolai holodeck story, and tptb didn't think things through. Thinking that some things were just meant to happen, when you could have prevented them, lends a mysticism to the I think well-meaning pd.

    The warp tech threshold for contact also I think is just an semi-arbitrary point of policy that's there because there are so many cultures the Feds could get involved with but have to draw the line somewhere and they've chosen early warp to be it. They're not in the business of jumping cultures centuries or millennia ahead (if those cultures even would ever get there) and instead prefer dealing with equals/near equals. For both their and the other cultures' sakes.

    ...again that doesn't sit quite right with me. Opinions?
     
  6. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  7. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    No, but if a giant meteor started heading toward Kling (Yes I prefer to call it KLING) the Federation would spring into action.

    And we also supported a military coup against a democratic government in South America and supplied weapons to half the middle east. Just because our elected idiots do awful things doesn't mean we can't morally judge their fictional counterparts.

    Depends what you call liberal and what you call conservative. The American definition of conservative would be to conduct with other countries on a strictly utilitarian basis. But it's the libertarians who preach a philosophy most similar to the prime directive.

    I figured they chose warp as the cutoff because shortly after a world discovers warp they're guaranteed to start meeting aliens anyway.

    I'm all for non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, so long as those internal affairs are voluntary on behalf of all involved. Freeing slaves and preventing genocides is a moral imperative, IMO. But after that, when everybody has the right to make their own decisions, we should not interfere in those decisions.
     
  8. Trekky0623

    Trekky0623 Ensign Red Shirt

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    The prime directive stems from ethics in anthropology, but taken to an extreme in some cases. In a basic sense, any conflict of interest between the person studying a people and the people themselves should favor the interest of the people. Though anthropologists usually find it deeply immoral to study a people in private, like we've seen with the duck-blinds in Insurrection and "Who Watches the Watchers".

    In any case, the basis of morality, according to Kant, lies in not treating people as a means to an end, but rather as an end in an of themselves. In that sense, any interference in a people for personal gain is also deeply immoral. This, in essence, should be the groundwork of the prime directive: When studying or encountering a civilization, the party studying the civilization must not interfere in an effort to help with research, or to impose our morals on their civilization (such as interfering in a war, or meddling in policies in an attempt to better a civilization). What comes to mind with this kind of interference is the kind we usually think of as destructive—conquistadors and invaders who impose their own social structure onto other civilizations.

    However, what Star Trek then does is take this to an extreme, saying that NO interference of ANY kind is permitted at ANY time, even at the cost of loss of life. However, saving a people from a natural disaster or preventing a star from exploding is not treating the people as a means, exploiting them. Indeed, saving a people helps them continue to be an end in and of themselves. And sometimes Star Trek DOES acknowledge this, as in "Pen Pals", when a distress call would seem to override the prime directive.

    If a civilization asks for helps, then, it would seem that interference is permissible, if not morally required. What Star Trek fails to realize is that there can be inferred requests for assistance, inferred distress. In the United States, the police cannot enter your home without your permission or a warrant. However, if they see you being attacked in your home, for the same reasons as above, they are allowed to enter, as it can be inferred that if you could, you would request assistance.

    Star Trek doesn't do this, though. The show, especially in Voyager, fails to apply reason to individual circumstances, analyzing the situation to see if it can be inferred that the civilization wants help. Instead, we get the usual argument of "The Prime Directive is correct because it is good. We cannot interfere." It is pseudo-philosophy at its finest.

    Sometimes we hear the prime directive applied to post-warp civilizations, and this should most certainly not be the case. If warp travel is the border for which the Federation has decided to reveal themselves to civilizations, then surely if a post-warp civilization is in trouble, contact can be established and we can ask the civilization itself whether it wants help or not. In the case of the Klingon Civil War, it seems the Federation fails to recognize an official Klingon government, which would be the reason for non-interference. If they had, however, and the Klingon government had requested help, I doubt the Federation would have stood idly by while the Klingon people tore themselves apart in a Klingon civil war. Just like modern countries can request peacekeeping operations from other countries.

    The Prime Directive is correct and moral in principal, but it has been taken too far to an extreme. If a planet is destroyed, or a ship is about to explode, we can surely assume that any rational being in that situation would want to be saved, and therefore we are morally obliged to help.
     
  9. robau

    robau Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I just figure the prime directive is practical in wanting to deal with fellow warp cultures for trading and whatever.

     
  10. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    One of the most blatant Kirk violations, that I never hear lip service given to is "Friday's Child". The Klingon hadn't interfered. He was offering an alliance, but he didn't provide arms or men. Maab's coup seems completly within his culture's boundries and Kirk sticks his nose in. The result is EXACTLY* why the PD exists.

    Of course, alls well that ends well.

    *Eleen: "I was prepared to die, kill him as well!" Good job, Kirk.

    I suspect these pre-warp TOS contact CF's are exactly why the Feds changed their first contact rules.
     
  11. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re getting involved in civil wars, if the French didn't get involved in our war for independence there'd be no US. If the the UK or whoever got involved in the South's war for independence, there'd be 2 US's. Should the UFP take sides in internal matters of warp capable states?
     
  12. Captain Picard.

    Captain Picard. Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That did not happen in first contact.
     
  13. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm a little confused by the First Contact TV ep...are they supposed to contact the civilization right before they have their first warp flight, or are they supposed to have a big "Welcome to the Rest of the Galaxy" party after they go to warp?
     
  14. The Librarian

    The Librarian Commodore Commodore

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    One thing that makes "Homeward" a bad example is that by the time the Enterprise had arrived the planet was already pretty much dead. The entire atmosphere somehow turned toxic within a matter of hours. There's probably nothing they could have done away on such short notice. Whining about how Worf's brother saved some people was a bit over the top, but they can't be blamed for not saving the entire planet when they had no opportunity to do so.

    It does, however, illustrate part of the reasoning behind the PD, although not in a very good way. Why did Worf's brother choose to save that particular village? Because he liked them better than he liked the next village over. Also because he was screwing one of the aliens, which is even worse. From a policy standpoint this is a horrible reason for interfering or as a basis of who you're going to save, especially when the observer shouldn't have been getting so connected in the first place.
     
  15. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Well, Kirk wasn't there to observe the Prime Directive. He was there as a Federation negotiator for the mineral Capella IV had.
     
  17. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Heh. You mean Kirk had it worked out,: "I save her, save her kid, get rid of Maab and get her back on the throne...and get her to sign over those mineral rights to us." I like it!
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    It was either that or allow the Klingons to gain the rights and likely roll in and take over the planet in the long run.
     
  19. Captain Picard.

    Captain Picard. Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes they travel back in time to visit that man that creates the first worp speed. I remember Gordi explaining to him about how famous he is going to be and he was talking about when he visited his statue when he was a school boy.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    First Contact is also a season four TNG episode. About the Federation making contact with a race getting ready to make their first warp flight. Riker is captured which complicates things.