VOTE today! And is the Federation a democracy?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by jayrath, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't recall a single episode where voting in the Federation is discussed. I hope I'm wrong.

    Either way, I hope everyone will vote today.
     
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't believe elections were ever mentioned in Trek, but I think its safe to assume that the Federation is a democracy, where all individuals (once reaching an adult age in accordance with their species development and customs) would be given a vote.

    Only makes sense to me, otherwise you go down the route of a dictatorship, which just isn't Trek.
     
  3. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Why is it that dictatorship is a 'must' in a society without voting?
    Democracy cannot exist without voting?
    Lol... I beg to differ.
    People think they live in a democracy today, whereas its nothing more than an illusion of one where the selected few govern everything and benefit the most.

    Please attempt thinking outside the box for a moment and stop applying (highly flawed) cultural notions of our society (and the socioeconomic system) to the one of the Federation that is actually not supposed to be like ours.

    For some people it comes down to the following:
    'If its got no voting, then it MUST be a dictatorship'.
    'If it has no money, it HAS to be Communism'.

    These appear to be limited notions and projections onto society/system that was envisioned to be fundamentally different (just because the writers messed it up as time went on and degraded it into what we have today [even though its not] is their issue [stemming from the notion that they couldn't work within Roddenberry's rules).
     
  4. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    That is not true. There is a mention of elections in DS9. It was in "homefront"

    JARESH-INYO
    I never sought this job. I was
    content to simply represent my
    people on the Federation Council.
    When they asked me to submit my
    name for election, I almost said
    no. Today I wish I had.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Problem is, it's not clear who elected the Federation President, all the adults in the federation, or just the people on the federation council at the time.

    Kirk did say the the federation is a democracy (to Kor), but we saw a federation member planet which was pretty clearly not a democracy. Kirk might have been referring to the federation council employing basic democratic rules during council procedings. But not to every member world being democracies themselves.

    We know in the 23rd century, that Vulcan had Vulcan Princesses, so in that century at least Vulcan might have beem ruled by a Royal family. We did see Vulcan changing government style in the 22nd century. they might have done it again.





    Basically yes.

    Yes, the people elect democratically the select few, and they goven until we kick them out and elect replacements. Or we send them to a federal prison, whichever happen first.

    Oh, I don't know. Except for the technology, they seem very much like us. Relatively few differences (there are a small number admittedly).

    Missed one. If it's communism, then it's really just a dictatorship. Different name, same thing.

    Roddenberry (despite what he occasionally claimed) didn't create Star Trek all by himself, he had considerable help. He also wrote very few episodes, that was done by others too.

    When Roddenberry's rules increasingly made no sense, the writer simply worked around them, or just completely ignored them.

    That why there is only one clear no money reference in all of Star Trek, and many dozens of examples of people inside the federation using money.

    One of his rules that made no sense.

    :)
     
  6. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Anyway . . . vote today?
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think the Federation is a democratic republic or maybe just a democratic alliance of otherwise individually sovereign worlds.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I don't think there's enough evidence one way or the other.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ That's really the problem with this question, it isn't that there nothing to work with, just what we have is so thin.

    And what we do have can be interpreted different ways.

    :)
     
  10. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well I would imagine that the Federation respects to governments of each planet as long as they adhere to certain "national" laws like equal rights to all citizens and ect.

    They likely elect or name representatives to the Federation council and they elect a president who is essentially a prime minister. A popular vote for president is possible with the technology of the day but probably difficult and considering the Federation seems more like the UN than the US I would suspect there is not a popular vote for the President.
     
  11. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well the point of our (the US's) representative, multi-branch, democracy is to create multiple layers of oversight in our ruling process. Three branches of government balancing decentralized power with the electorate maintaining or overhauling said branches every so many years.

    Compare that to what we used to have - hereditary monarchs with absolute power for a lifetime.

    Far less oversight. Far fewer opportunities for course adjustment.

    I think of the Federation as being a democracy to the nth degree. Power decentralized to the general public, and the system working somehow. The Federation Council is there to make that work, and alternately to govern in ways that the public can't - say when decisions need to be made quickly, without time for larger debate and vote. Until there's some sort of Collective going, there's no way for the general public to vote on all things at all times, so you do need something left of the old republican system.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Comes back to Ardana, a federation member, which pretty obviously doesn't have equal rights, and whose system was known about prior to the event of the episode in TOS.

    The federation council might elect someone from the existing council, who would then preside over council meetings. Strickly speaking there would be no separate "executive branch."

    In two different episodes, the federation is referred to as "an alliance," first by Kirk (TOS)and later by Daniels (ENT). The UN would be a better model than the US.

    Not impossible, but cumbersome.

    Especially if some member planet populations have no historical tradition of democracy.

    :)
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Even this is slightly overstating the case. What Kirk said in "Errand of Mercy" was actually "we are a democratic body", and even though Kor spoke of the Federation previously, it might be Kirk speaks of a subset of the UFP because that gives him a better-sounding argument.

    It's sort of funny that Picard never preached the virtues of a representative democracy...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kor: "I have a great admiration for your Starfleet. A remarkable instrument. and I must confess to a certain admiration for you [Kirk] ... you of the Federation, you are much like us."

    Kirk: "We're nothing like you. We're a democratic body."

    Okay, it's not exactly clear in that case what Kirk meant by "we." On the surface he would appear to be referring to the federation itself, as the "democratic body." It certainly wouldn't have made any sense for Kirk to be referring to Starfleet by that term. So who then is the we? Humans only? Perhaps only those within the federation that Kirk felt personally akin to, but not the entirety of the federation.

    I feel that if the federation is the diverse place that I see it to be (and want it to be), then the many worlds of the membership will have a wide variety of government types. However that doesn't preclude the membership's representatives to the federation council from using democratic procedures in council.

    When it comes to a particular government type, I can't remember Picard ever stating a preference.

    :)
     
  15. RPJOB

    RPJOB Commander Red Shirt

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    What do you do with a potential Federation member who is peaceful prosperous, the people are educated, well fed and happy yet they have no concept of democracy? Do you totally upend their culture to let them join or let them select their representatives by some other means? What if it's ritual combat to the death?

    The body Kirk speaks of may just be the council. There may be a Federation assembly that we haven't seen yet. The council could handle the day to day stuff but the assembly could be where policy comes from. From what we saw in TBH the council chambers don'y look big enough to hold representatives from all the member planets and some of the seats were even taken up by non members (Dr Taylor, etc) There's even people in Starfleet uniforms there, wearing the same badge as the other, non-Starfleet members. Does Starfleet get a seat on the council? Perhaps when you join up you lose your voting rights on your home planet and gain some via Starfleet. This keeps Starfleet from being beholden to any one planet.
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No such thing. Any society which lacks democracy will inevitably be dominated by a ruling elite who dominate and oppress the masses, prompting anger and factional conflict.
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Say like a royal government system (planet Brunei), or a communist government system (planet Bolshevik ), or a corporate government system (planet Microsoft)? But with the addition of all the things you listed?

    If inclusion of that world is to the existing Federation's best interests, then sure.

    For all we know, planets with a democratic government system are a minority within the Federation.

    Upend their culture? I would say no, take them in as they are, or reject them.

    Even with a democratic planet, the representative wouldn't necessarily be select by a election.

    If the traditional form is single combat to the death for the privilege of being the planet's representative (or one of the representatives really), then that's their business.

    Unlike in America, where we have democracy?

    :)
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Do we have democracy in America?
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It would be a bit odd to refer to the entire nation as a "body" - political bodies in general parlance are parties or governmental organizations.

    It would also be a bit odd for Kirk to consider the Council to be "us", though. But Starfleet does appear to play a major role in UFP internal and external affairs; perhaps Starship Captains (in the exclusive TOS sense) actually hold significant voting powers exceeding those of mere mortals?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Historically, Democracy was not necessarily a guarantee of freedom, only that "eligible" citizens have a say in what a government does or can do.

    The ancient Greeks had both democracy and slavery side by side.

    The Klingons are a good example.

    The Klingon government, as already pointed out, has a funny idea of democracy too. A couple of candidates are selected from a few of the most powerful houses, and then they slug it out to see who leads.

    Or you can challenge a current leader to a fight to the death, and if you win, you get the leadership no matter what your views or qualifications are.

    Oh yeah, and on top of all that, women cannot serve on the council, or lead a house, though they are considered equal otherwise.

    Go figure :confused: