What should be the minimal requirements for Federation members?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Wadjda, May 24, 2014.

  1. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I like the idea of the Federation council having a tricaramel legislature: (in order of power)
    -One entirely based on population groups (basically like then House of Reps)
    -One where each planet (besides colonies with tiny populations) gets one Councillor.
    -One where each species gets one Councillor.
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Why species?

    If a single family of Cardassians moves to Vulcan in the year 2267, does that mean that you have to add an entirely new Councillor for Vulcan to the House of Species?
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    A single family might be too small a group to warrant a councilor, however if half a million Cardassians immigrate into the Federation, settling on hundreds of planets (moons, stations, etc.) then they collective would have a councilor.

    :)
     
  4. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The idea is that it would be for species which have officially joined the Federation via their homeworld, and it would be much smaller body than the Planetary one, which would be bigger due to all the colonies. I admit it's sort of a flimsy idea, and maybe it could be a committee in one of the other two or something.

    Also, it wouldn't work in the way your asking. It has nothing to do with planets. So, if it were so specific, there would just be a Cardassian Councillor who represents all the Cardassians in the UFP.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ It would be nice to have a form of representation that "followed you" as you moved around. If you had a job (or a lifestyle) that involved you frequently traveling from star system to star system, and not really having a home planet, this guy would be your rep.

    If there were a group of people similar to the boomers on ENT, who represents them? They have no "home world," but they do have a species.

    How this would work with individuals who are the product to multi-species ancestry might be hard to say, but they could legally be covered by all their different species reps.

    This is a good idea Annorax 849.

    But the Councillor wouldn't be connected in any way to the Cardassian Union's government?

    The Cardassian Councillor would be independent of that body, yes?

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2014
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Of the ones you posted these are the ones I don't necessarily agree with.


    Having some kind of maximum population seems kind of silly, so long as the Federation has some kind of equivalent to the 14th amendment to prevent majoritarianism.

    I don't think democracy is a strict necessity so long as the system protects individual rights. For example, a Constitutional Monarchy that limits the powers of the monarch could also be sufficient.

    I would argue that equal opportunity is a better metric than equal wealth. So long as everybody has a chance to attain wealth the government need not enforce that everybody has the same outcome.

    Seizing people's wealth for being too wealthy is a pretty big violation of basic freedoms. Rather than limits on wealth, it should be limits on the amount wealthy people can have disproportionate influence on lawmaking, such as the kind of campaign finance regulations the US keeps striking down.


    Socialist economy is far more oppressive than a well managed capitalist one, which has protections against the wealthy preventing fair competition.

    I would think the rules focus more on how the poor are treated more than systematically shaming the successful.

    This one is hugely debatable, especially if you try to apply it generationally.

    I'm personally against capital punishment, but I don't think that having capital punishment for capital crimes is enough to disqualify somebody from membership.

    Your list seems to be "All members must agree with your personal politics". I would think the requirements are far simpler.

    -Unified government
    -Equal rights and equal opportunity for everybody
    -Protection of people's right's to life, liberty and property
    -Systems to prevent the poor from starving to death and get their basic medical needs taken care of
    -Equal legal and political representation regardless of background or wealth
     
  7. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think that your species has anything to do with the kind of representation you get on the Federation Council. And I don't think Star Trek has anything as bloated and useless as the council we see in Phantom Menace.

    Suppose that I'm one eighth human, one eighth vulcan, one eighth romulan, one eighth klingon, one eighth betazoid, one eighth cardassian, one eighth bajoran, and one eighth trill. Do I have eight representatives, or zero?
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek focuses on Starfleet, this is the window on the future that is featured. A hierarchy power structure is very much on display, in addition to Starfleet we frequently see planetary leaders and others in positions of authority.

    T'Pol was very much not on the same social level as those around her, should Vulcan be expelled from the Federation because of this? Of course not.

    Freedom includes the ability, right and power to achieve and grow to the best of their ability as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Freedom also includes the freedom to fail. Maintain a society of individuals on single societal level would involve forcible imposing on that society a single vision of what constitutes a "acceptable" societal position and lifestyle. It ignore the fact that there are exceptional people among us. This very idea is offensive and disgusting.

    It's treating people like cattle.

    So the people alongside the public roads being compelled by court order to pickup debris is wrong?

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  9. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Quite. Not only would representation by species be entirely awkward and inefficient (for the reasons you described, and many others), but there are quite a few examples of Trek aliens who have lived their entire lives on worlds other than their own and consider themselves citizens of that world (a Tellarite from Mars, for example).
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But that individual could still refer to himself as a Tellarite couldn't he, no matter how long he lived on Mars? No matter where he traveled, he'd still be covered by the Tellarite rep.

    If you had a problem that need to be addressed, I think you'd be able to lobby/communicate with any (or all) of the eight species reps, so the answer to your question would be eight.

    If there was an issue that effected Betazeds, that would be the rep you'd talk to to express your position on the matter.

    Between senators and representatives, someone from the state of California has 55 people in Congress, individuals from seven states only have 3.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  11. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps, but his place of residence is more important than his species. If he lived his entire life on Mars, then by definition, he is Martian.

    For example, I may be of German ancestry, yet I've never set foot in Germany - I was born and raised in America. Therefore I am American, and am represented in the government *as* an American - never mind what my family blood line is.
     
  12. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That point was just a response to his hypothetical. There probably would be no Cardassian Councillor in the scenario I'm thinking of, even if there were a few Cardassians in Fed space.
     
  13. Annorax849

    Annorax849 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, the idea of that chamber was a bit flimsy. I will say that there could be a pretty big Federation Council. Maybe not as big as Star Wars, but the only one we've was in TVH, right? That might have been a smaller chamber or even just a committee.

    Yes, but some of those aliens might want some sort of association with their species. I would argue it's a different situation than simply different ethnicity on a planet. The idea is that it would be the least important chamber, anyway.
     
  14. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps, but they wouldn't find it by representation in the government. The important thing there is location, not species.
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated (I worked in that field).

    If you were born in the US before your parents acquired the US citizenship by declaration of will (and thus automatically losing their German citizenship), you became a US citizen (because you were born on American soil) but kept your German citizenship you inherited from your parents.

    It depends whether you acquire citizenship because of the location you were born or because of your parents' heritage or both.

    Some people think it's cool to have two different citizenships, but actually it's problematic. Assuming you run into problems in another country, you'd have two different embassies responsible for you.

    I'd expect the UFP to have a solution for this, i.e. one citizenship only and therefore only one consulate or embassy responsible to assist (but a clear responsibility, at least).

    Bob
     
  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I would think in general the Federation regards people as individuals and doesn't draw lines and divide them, so long as they are Federation citizens. You have freedom to associate with whom you choose, but you're not considered as being fundamentally tied with the place you happened to be born in, at least from a legal standpoint.
     
  17. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    My parents were never German citizens. Some of my great-grandparents were.
     
  18. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not sure if this is based on clear statements from canon or not, but the novels make it pretty clear that a Federation citizen is covered by the councillor of the member state where they reside, not by species.

    Ex: the humans of the Alpha Centauri Concordium aren't covered by United Earth's councillor

    Ex: Rugal, the Cardassian boy from "Cardassians" re-obtains Bajoran citizenship and thus becomes first Cardassian citizen of the Federation
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was born in Germany.

    Suppose Earth is the Federation.

    Even though I was born on planet Germany, my species is indigenous to planet America. So no matter how long I reside on planet Germany my rep in the Fed Governace will be the one who represents the American species. After Germany, I lived on planets Philippines, Japan, and Brazil, before coming to live on planet America. Regardless of my many moves, my rep was the one for species American. That never changes.

    In addition to my species rep, there would be a seperate rep (in a sperate chamber of the Fed governace) based upon my physical location, whatever that happen to be..

    So if one day I relocate to a colony of planet Canada, I would have one rep from the Canadan homeworld/Memberworld, and I would retain my second rep, my species rep.

    Again seperate chambers. One physical location, one species. I don't know that a third chamber would exist.

    That would depend on how they set it up, when the Federation was first being formed.

    :)
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Here's the most basic example of why I think a population limit is necessary for individual Federation Member States:

    What if the Klingon Empire -- a polity nearly as large in size and population as the Federation itself -- applied to join the Federation?

    Set aside the other things that might disqualify the Klingon Empire for Federation Membership. Let us presume for a moment that the Empire has undergone liberal democratic reform -- that it has instituted political democracy, that it has a set of enumerated, protected civil rights and liberties that apply to all sentients within its borders, that it has granted either independence or status within the Empire equal to Qo'noS's to all of its conquered worlds, that it has abolished caste-based oppression, etc., etc.

    So, this Klingon Empire -- still nearly as large itself as the Federation, in terms of both territory and population -- applies to join the Federation as a Member State.

    Having no upper ceiling on Member State population creates some major problems, here.

    If we assume that Federation Member States are represented by one Federation Councillor each in a unicameral Federation Council -- which is how it works in the novels -- then the Federation Councillor for the Klingon Empire is sitting in the Palais, representing something in the area of 100 billion people... yet his vote is no more valuable on the Council than the Federation Councillor for the Confederacy of Vulcan (population 6 billion).

    This is deeply, deeply unequal representation that absolutely screws over Klingon Empire Federates. Their votes are 16 2/3rds times less valuable than the votes of Confederacy of Vulcan Federates.

    But, then, let us presume that the Federation Council has representation based upon population rather than upon an equal basis -- that the Council is more like the U.S. House of Representatives than the U.S. Senate, in other words.

    If we presume this, then we're in a situation where the Federation Councillors for the Klingon Empire will vastly, vastly outnumber the Federation Councillors for every other Member State. It would give the newly-Federated Klingon Empire a position of complete dominance over the rest of the Federation Council, and by extension over the rest of the UFP. All of which is to say nothing of the informal mechanisms of dominance that a single unified Klingon Empire as Member State would exercise.

    Such a wildly unbalanced situation is simply not tenable. It would inevitably lead to the marginalization of other Federation Member States, especially since most of them seem to be single-planet or single-star system polities.

    That's why I argue the UFP would have both a minimum and maximum population size for Membership applicants. If the Klingon Empire wants to join the UFP, it needs to break itself down into multiple smaller polities, and then each polity can individually petition for Membership.

    No such thing. Legitimate authority naturally belongs to the people as a whole, who then delegate it to a government to exercise it on their behalf. Legitimate governments therefore derive their authority from the consent of the governed. The only government that obtains its right to exercise power from the consent of the governed is one that obtains a democratic mandate. The exercise of power without a democratic mandate is the exercise of unchecked, unauthorized power; it will inevitably corrupt and lead to violations of individual rights.

    Hell, a government that does not obtain the consent of the governed in the form of a democratic mandate is inherently violating individual rights, because the right to vote is an individual right.

    And, obviously, a democratic government that still violates individual rights -- and "illiberal democracy" -- is itself just as illegitimate. "300 tyrants one mile away vs. 1 tyrant 300 miles away" and all that jazz we're all familiar with.

    Governments only have the right to govern if they have the consent of the populace over which it governs and if they are obliged to protect civil rights and liberties. This inherently requires a constitutional liberal democracy.

    Well, what do you mean by that?

    If you mean something like the Westminster system -- a democratically elected Parliament selects a Prime Minister from amongst themselves as the M.P. with the confidence of the majority of Parliament, with a ceremonial Monarch who is obliged to rubber-stamp Parliament's choices and then to obey the Prime Minister -- then that is a form of constitutional liberal democracy, and is completely legitimate.

    If, on the other hand, you're talking about a ceremonial Monarch whose powers are limited because he just obeys a military junta? This is obviously not any form of constitutional liberal democracy and is completely illegitimate.

    1. Note that I said "minimum wealth," not "equal wealth."

    2. The problem, again, is that too much inequality of outcome undermines equality of opportunity. It's not as though we're playing a game in which the points revert back to "zero" for everyone every so often. The playing field is already uneven, and it becomes more uneven as wealth concentrates into fewer and fewer hands. The empirical evidence supports this -- we live in a society today where the top 1% own 35% of the nation's total net worth and the bottom 85% -- aka, the vast majority of people -- collectively own only 11% of the nation's total net worth.

    By that logic, any form of taxation is a violation.

    There ought to be limits to the amount of wealth one may own because otherwise, there will inevitably develop an oligarchy capable of dominating society and undermining democracy.

    Prime example:

    George Jetson goes to work for Mr. Spacely at Spacely's Sprockets, making N number of sprockets per day. As a result of George's labor, Spacely Sprockets earns P amount of profit -- profit directly created by George's labor. Yet that wealth which George created goes to Mr. Spacely instead of to George: the redistribution of wealth to the top. George is forced to accept this deal because he has no capital of his own, and can only create wealth through is labor -- and because all of Mr. Spacely's compatriots in the capital-owning class require the same deal. Having a powerful need to eat, George must accept the wage system, though it is little more than legalized thievery.

    This system is essentially seizing someone's wealth for being too poor. It is, as you say, a violation of basic freedoms -- yet we accept it. Even though George and his laboring comrades clearly did not have an equal say in setting up this economy, even though it extracts wealth from them to give to the owners of capital. Because having that wealth and that capital mean that Mr. Spacely and his friends get to dominate the social order.

    This is not freedom, and it is not what an enlightened Federation should accept.

    What you describe is social democracy, which I listed above.

    The problem with social democracy, though, is that it is still dominated by the capitalist class, who, as I outlined above, set the terms for the social order. It also relies upon the exploited labor of less-wealth foreign societies (e.g., sweatshop labor, etc.). It is much better than a pure capitalism, but it is still oppressive.

    A democratic market socialism -- not state ownership of all firms, not state control of all wealth, but democratically-operated worker-owned firms that equitably distribute profits to all their employees while competing with one-another -- is a far, far less oppressive social order. Capitalism is essentially kleptocracy; democratic market socialism would return wealth to the people whose labor created it.

    "When someone says he got rich through hard work, ask him whose."

    Your statement here relies upon the a priori assumption that wealth is inherently legitimately gained.

    You are also ignoring the presence of systems of privilege that are completely unearned -- white privilege, male privilege, inherited class privilege, straight privilege, religious privilege, cisgender privilege, etc. It is not "shaming the successful" for a society to embrace an anti-racist social order rather than accepting white privilege, for instance.

    No. Any society that has a history of such oppressions which is not willing to enact reparations and restitutions is a society that has not come to terms with its own past, with its prior abuses, and which is likely trying to avoid acknowledging its current inequities and oppressions. Such a society is not ready to join the Federation.

    It ought to be, for two simple facts:

    1. No justice system is perfect, and having capital punishment inherently means you will be killing innocent people at some point.

    2. An individual's life is not the property of the state, and therefore the state has no authority to end it unless acting in defense against an immediate danger.

    My exact words were, "Personally, if I'm writing the Articles of the Federation, my criteria would be..." I make no secret about the fact that I think these are the policies that would be necessary for any society to avoid oppression.

    Excellent point!

    A specialized agency on the frontier, in service to an egalitarian society.

    And within the Federation, these persons derive their authority from democratic mandate.

    Imperious, speciesist, emotionally immature, in denial about her own reactions to things....

    I'd say she was about on the same social level as the Humans she served alongside. :)

    Straw man argument; no one has said that an entire society should be excluded from Federation Membership because of one individual.

    Absolutely. And only a relatively egalitarian social order can enable this.

    The problem is that "freedom to fall" inevitably degenerates into entire classes of people not being able to get back up due to external power structures, and then their children never being allowed to rise.

    Strawman argument; "relatively egalitarian social order" does not mean "single social level."

    Interesting question and I hadn't considered that particular manifestation. I'm open to the possibility that some forms of court-ordered community service are legitimate for minor crimes, if they are enacted as an alternative to either jail time or fines. But I'm inclined to say that these forms of community service should be very restricted, to prevent judicial abuses. And forced prison labor should absolutely be abolished.

    But what if that man considers himself part of Martian culture rather than Tellarite culture? That Biological Species Representative for Tellarites may not represent his interests well at all if she reflects the dominant culture of Tellar.

    So you'd get more representation in the Species Representatives Chamber than someone who is just biologically Andorian? Unequal representation and more of a voice in that chamber than others?

    What makes you so much more valuable than others that you should have this privilege? It's not like you accomplished anything through your accident of birth.

    No, you have fundamentally misunderstood how representation in Congress works. No matter what state you are from, you only ever have three representatives in Congress -- the United States Representative for your congressional district, and your state's two United States Senators.

    For the record, the novels have established that a single Federation Councillor represents each Federation Member State on the Council. There are, as of 2380, 155 Federation Member States. They meet in the Palais de la Concorde in Paris.

    Yep. Meaning Rugal, upon obtaining Federation citizenship, was represented on the Federation Council by Krim Aldos, then-Federation Councillor for the Republic of Bajor. As a resident of Earth when not aboard a starship, Worf receives his representation through the Federation Councillor for United Earth -- as would, presumably, Data, if he were to be granted UFP citizenship, since he was "born" on a colony world that's part of United Earth's territory.