What should be the minimal requirements for Federation members?

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

  1. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    But in the case of the Klingons joining the Federation wouldn't it be just the Klingon's? If they had granted independance to the worlds within their, then it would be up to those individual members to apply to join the Federation.
     
  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Not necessarily. What if their conquered worlds chose to stay in the Empire as equal partners with Qo'noS? What about other Klingon worlds that weren't conquered but were settled by Klingons, and have huge Klingon populations in their own right?

    It's entirely possible that the Klingon Empire by itself, absent conquered worlds that don't want to be in the Empire and have been granted independence, might be almost as large as the Federation in population -- may its population would equal 66% of the Federation's.

    That's still a huge, unfair population advantage for a newly-Federated Klingon Empire. Hell, even a population that is itself 33% of the Federation's total would be a huge, unfair population advantage for a single UFP Member State.

    Hence why I think the UFP ought to have population limits for its Member States.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    So for example if the population for it's member state is set at X what happens when it reaches X+1 does it get thrown out for exceeding the population limit? It's not very democratic to limit population.
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That's a completely fair question.

    In most instances, it seems to me that there's going to be a natural limit to how large a population a single planet can sustain while maintaining a decent standard of living for everyone. Given what we know about environmental sustainability and population growth today, given that it's an established fact of life that better-educated populations will tend to reproduce at lower rates than less-educated populations, and given Vulcan's stated population in ST09 of roughly six billion, I am inclined to assume that something in the area of six billion is the upper limit on what most planets can sustain in the Star Trek Universe and still maintain their technological standards of living.

    After that, I suspect that most population growth for a given Member State would have to come from its periphery planets rather than its central planet. If, for instance, the Commonwealth of Deneva develops a population of ten billion, it seems most probable to me that this growth is going to come from extra-Denevan planets that are also part of the Commonwealth's territory; Deneva Prime may have six billion, Deneva II may have one billion, Deneva V may have three billion, etc.

    In such a circumstance, I imagine that Federation law would require the UFP to sit down with representatives of the Member State's government to develop a plan for splitting the Member State into two or more Member States in a manner that is fair and equitable for both or for all sides.

    In my view, such a split is probably going to be in the best interests of the Member State's populace, since the extant planetary divisions are likely to produce populations on the periphery worlds that have interests which conflict with those on the primary world. Residents of Deneva II and Deneva V may well have completely different goals and values than residents of Deneva itself; if you split them off into the Union of Deneva II and V, or the People's Republic of Deneva II and the State of Deneva V, this allows Two's and Five's interests to be directly represented on the Federation Council, instead of having it go through the Councillor from Deneva Prime who may put Prime's interests ahead of Two and Five.
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But what about a farcical aquatic ceremony?

    I should hope not. Most of us have indeed read Harrison Bergeron. ;)
     
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    @Sci

    You're making a lot of assumptions along the line of "This is how it works in the United States in 2014, therefore this is how this system inevitably works". Just because the wealthy are able to exercise disproportionate power by controlling the 'Elected' representatives today does not mean it is an inherent element of the system.

    Freedom is not possible in any form of government if there are not limitations on the power the government can exercise over individuals. The exact organization of authority is not nearly as important as having solid Constitutional protections. A monarchy where the rights of the individual are explicitly spelled out is far more free a society than a democracy where 51% of the people can vote the other 49% into slavery. Also the structures that work and make sense for humans on Earth don't necessarily work for cultures with an entirely different biological and social structure. Which is why I would say Federation membership focuses more on the Human Rights Index than it does on how the government is organized.

    As for your concerns about population, I'm sure the system was designed with those kinds of concerns in mind. Just like the United States deals with population discrepancies between states by having one body with equal representation for every state and one with population proportional representation and bills have to pass through both councils. The Federation does not necessarily have a Senate/House system but that is just one of many possible solutions to population differences.

    And the council itself probably only makes decisions that deal with interplanetary matters, and internal matters are left to member planets. Any system is fine so long as it's designed so majorities can't force their will on unwilling minorities. Really, all the problems you're describing with unfair concentrations of authority due to population differences were solved in 1787.

    I personally agree with you on the death penalty, but I think if you're going to make the argument that a person's life is not owned by the state, then a person's physical body isn't either and they shouldn't even have the right to incarcerate. A government does have the right to punish in order to protect people's natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and if the death penalty were more effective to that end than incarceration, then you can make an argument for it. Now, it just so happens that the death penalty is NOT a better deterrent than incarceration, so it's likely that most Federation members do not practice the death penalty.

    And you're right the government has the right to tax, but taxing one group disproportionately because we're just not particularly fond of them is an abuse of that power, and that includes the wealthy. Having a progressive income tax is one thing, having a wealth cap is entirely another, and besides being morally outrageous all it would accomplish is to make the wealthy better at hiding their wealth and to get them to move all their resources offshore. Like, oh, I can't make any more money? Ok, I'll just go ahead and relocate to Farenginar. Allowing some to become outrageously wealthy only creates poverty if they're allowed to do it in anti-competitive ways. If they become wealthy through fair and open competition, everyone benefits.

    In order to prevent the power gaps between the rich and the poor, the better route is comprehensive campaign financing laws, laws about elected representatives voting in cases where they have a vested interest, laws preventing parties from forcing people from voting the way they want, and immediate impeachment for any kind of influence peddling. Make sure democracy really is one person one vote, not one dollar one vote, and make sure everybody has access to the education they need to develop the skills to compete.

    Now, universal education, that might be one of the requirements.
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As a resident of Washington's seventh district I have only three, but as a resident of Washington State I have twelve people in my congressional delegation. And I understand quite well how this works, in matters directly effecting Washington State the 8 dems and 4 repubs will consult and often vote in unison.

    Okay, then how can society place anyone in confinement for life, or even a protracted period of time, given that they might be innocent?

    From the show, this isn't a given. Other than the Fed President (elected by the council itself?) when did we hear of elections?

    My mistake Sci, I meant T'Pau.

    But you are advocating holding a entire population within a narrow social-economic enclosure, preventing anyone from falling below, and restraining those who would rise above. In a metaphoric building with a hundred floors, you have everyone restricted to one level.

    Hey, those license plates have to come from somewhere.

    Not the dominate culture, but the essential sui generis of simply being Tellar.

    And the show itself (DS9) establish that there are multiple reps from each Member.

    But then the novel-verse long ago veered off away from the show.

    Amok Time (referring to the guy with the big blade).

    T'Pau: "He acts only if cowardice is seen."

    Legal, socially acceptable, summary execution. Again, this should be a matter for the individual Member worlds, based upon their own legal system, culture and history.

    By forcing a society to divide, it would definitely violate their right of free association. If a handful of Members thought different, then (hopefully) the majority of the Membership would disallow any expulsion. Majority rules, democracy in action.

    There also seem to be a assumption that dozens/hundreds of alien species are all going to agree to governance rules largely (with few exceptions) derived from Earth's history and specifically the Westphalia system.

    Given how few example we've seen, Member planets with any form of domestic democracy could easily be but a smattering amongst the various other government types. The only Federation Member government we really got any kind of look at was Ardana, and they appear to be a aristocracy.

    From one Voyager episode, the Vulcan High Command is still in power in the 24th century, and they certainly weren't a democracy.

    :)
     
  8. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But by the 24th century the re-assembled High Command would presumably be one that operated by Federation values.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk: "And the highest of all our laws states that your world is yours and will always remain yours."

    Why would Vulcan, a Federation Member, have to operated internally by Federation values? As opposed to solely by their own cultural mandates, and (centuries old?) societal practices?

    And what are Federation values? As one of the small number of founding Members of the Federation, surely Vulcan would have had significant influence upon the Federation's early construction. If say two of the founders were democracies, and four were otherwise, then it would be unlikely that democracy would be a requirement.

    Vulcan definitely would see to it that arranged marriages and death duels are not prohibited when it comes to Membership requirements.

    IIRC, the Andorian also on occasion engaged in death duels. Regardless of how infrequently they occurred, the Andorians wouldn't allow them to be hindrance to membership.

    The Betazed also have arranged marriages, if after the Betazed joined the membership one of the other Members proposed a requirement to membership that there could be no arranged marriages, the Betazed (and the Vulcans) would oppose it.

    Now if (hypothetically) two-thirds of the founding Members were "non-democracies," And incoming Members faced no democracy requirement, how would the Federation possible come to possess a democracy requirement? Those "otherwise governed" Members who were already through the door would never vote in such a requirement, doing so would result in their expulsion.

    There's no evidence that the Vulcan high command was dismantled or replaced with another governing system, what happen was the control the high command simply changed hands. The people formerly in control of the Vulcan government and fleet were purged.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2014
  10. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Tell that to Thomas Piketty. His book Capital in the Twenty-First Century has provided centuries' worth of empirical data across multiple cultures to demonstrate how wealth in capitalist systems inevitably concentrates into the hands of a small elite unless something forces a more egalitarian distribution.

    Certainly. This is why I argued that one of the requirements for Federation Membership ought to be the legal enumeration and protection of civil rights and liberties.

    I think it silly to try to measure them against one-another, because both such societies are oppressed.

    You simply cannot trust a hereditary dictatorship -- and this is what a real monarchy, as opposed to a ceremonial monarchy, actually is -- to protect the rights of the individual. Ever. It is a cliche to say that absolute power corrupts absolutely -- but it is a cliche because it is true. Even if Good King Bob would never, ever violate his subject's civil rights and liberties, what about Prince Billy when he ascends to the throne? It is inherent to the nature of a dictatorship that the rights of the people over whom it rules are only as safe as the dictator's whims. Thus, dictatorships are inherently oppressive, no matter how nice the dictator might claim to be.

    The power to govern naturally belongs to the people at large. They delegate this power to the government, so that it can govern on their behalf. Governments require the consent of the governed to wield their power legitimately. The only way to gain this consent is through expireable democratic mandates. Thus, only democracies are legitimate.

    Now, we both agree that democracies need to have real protections of civil rights and liberties -- that a democracy in which, say, 66% of the population can vote to enslave 33% of the population, is also not legitimate.

    I am, in other words, making the following argument:

    That being a democracy is a necessary condition for a government to be morally legitimate, but that it is not a sufficient condition for it to be morally legitimate. Just as it is necessary but not sufficient to be in Canada in order to enter the Province of British Columbia, it is necessary but not sufficient to be a democracy in order for a government to be legitimate.

    You have in essence seemed to argue that I have claimed democracy is a sufficient condition. I have not; it is necessary, but it is not sufficient.

    This is in essence a function of the dramatic conceits of Star Trek as a work of fiction: Star Trek posits a universe in which the psychologies and cultures of aliens are relatively comparable to those of Humans.

    I think it is unrealistic to imagine that the two can be separated.

    Well, yes -- and I am proposing a design for the system to deal with that concern. :)

    That only addresses the question of formal political power. It doesn't address the questions of cultural and economic domination that can arise outside of the mechanisms of formal power. (There is, after all, a reason that many states in the U.S. feel marginalized while states like New York, Texas, and California are seen as dominating the country at large.)

    You do not live in the real world if you think these problems are not ongoing today.

    No, you can't, because the death penalty cannot be reversed if it is later discovered that a person was executed by mistake.

    What gives moral legitimacy to the act of incarceration, at the end of the day, is the fact that it is reversible -- a wrongfully-convicted man can be set free. An injustice has still been done to him, certainly -- but by having a correctible means of punishment, the state is justified in its capacity to remove someone's liberty if they have been convicted of a crime.

    Until or unless a reliable means is found to resurrect the dead, executions can never be morally legitimate.

    But it's not "because we're not particularly fond of them." It's because an enlightened society would recognize that too much wealth accumulation damages the rest of society. It inevitably leads to the oppression of poverty, and to an oligarchical social order that infringes upon the liberty of the majority.

    No, you do not; your Congressional delegation consists of Congressman Jim McDermott, Senator Patty Murray, and Senator Maria Cantwell..

    Do you know what happens if you write a letter to the United States Representative for the Eighth Congressional District of the State of Washington, Derek Kilmer?

    They'll throw your letter in the trash, because you are not one of Congressman Kilmer's constituents. Period. You are utterly foreign to them; you might as well be from Denmark if you're one district over.

    See above re: being able to free innocent prisoners.

    Actually, it is:

    By forcing a society to divide, it would definitely violate their right of free association.[/quote]

    No, because that society can always choose to allow itself to be removed from the Federation if it is unwilling to divide.

    The Federation's right of free association comes into play here, too. They don't have to let you into the club if you don't abide by their rules. If you don't want to play, then that's fine -- but that doesn't mean you get to stay in the club.

    From "Kir'Shara" (ENT):

    If something called the "High Command" exists in the 24th Century, then it seems probable that it's a replacement agency with the same name. Certainly no reason to think Vulcan is still a military dictatorship.

    Because they agreed to do so to become Federation Members. And because Federation values are Vulcan values, since Vulcan helped forge those values.

    It would indeed seem to be the case. However, we know that from as early as the 2150s under the V'Las dictatorship, it was still possible for a Vulcan to refuse to consent to an arranged marriage without suffering legal consequences. So it would appear that Vulcan arranged marriages are informal, but not legal, obligations.

    And between the kal-if-fee and the Andorian ushaan, it would indeed appear that Federation law allows for consensual homicide in at least some circumstances. Perhaps it also allows for consensual euthanasia.
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    ^^ Many good points and arguments, I found it most interesting to read. The one thing your post reminded me of, was to wonder how a political system where the winner takes it all (51% or more) is compatible with what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
    Wasn't the core issue of the Independence War "No taxation without representation"?

    Regarding the original topic, I found this line from "Patterns of Force" interesting:

    KIRK: Mister Spock, I think the planet is in good hands.
    SPOCK: Indeed, Captain. With the union of two cultures, this system would make a fine addition to the Federation.

    Sounded to me as if a unified planetary government was a prerequisite for admission to the UFP.

    OTOH, neither Kirk or Spock threatened to report the conditions on Ardana in "The Cloud Minders":

    SPOCK: But they are not allowed to share its advantages.
    DROXINE: How can they share what they do not understand?
    KIRK: They can be taught to understand, especially in a society that prides itself in enlightenment.
    DROXINE: The complete separation of toil and leisure has given Ardana this perfectly balanced social system, Captain. Why should we change it?
    SPOCK: The surface of the planet is almost unendurable. To restrict a segment of the population to such hardship is unthinkable in an evolved culture.


    Bob
     
  12. Enterprise1701

    Enterprise1701 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As Sci pointed out, you've forgotten that the Vulcan High Command in ENT was dissolved. If it reformed by the 24th century, it would most certainly be in line with Federation laws.
    That was only ever shown on ENT. There's no evidence that it remained legal in the Federation era.
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    True, but there's no particular reason the ushaan ritual would be illegal in the UFP era, provided that both parties have the legal option of refusing to participate. We already know that Federation law seems to allow the kal-if-fee ritual on Vulcan; given their similarities, it seems improbable that the kal-if-fee would be legal but not the ushaan.

    My suggestion would be that the Federation allows for its Member States to have consensual homicide under very specific, regulated conditions -- the key being consent. I very much doubt that, say, United Earth or the Alpha Centauri Concoridum allow for such duels, though.
     
  14. Maxillius

    Maxillius Commander Red Shirt

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    -One world government
    -Warp/FTL capable for at least a generation of the planet's inhabitants, preferably two.
    -No intra-species wars for at least three generations of the planet's inhabitants
    -Limited contact with enemies of the Federation unless the planet has applied for asylum status first
    -Planet's government has proven they can defend their own planet without Starfleet assistance for seven Federation Standard days (maximum time it takes to assemble a battle fleet and plan tactics to repel attacker).
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That's an interesting idea -- and, depending on how long the post-WW3 violence might have lasted, it's possible it might actually disqualify Earth from Membership! Possibly Vulcan, too, depending on whether or not you classify the conflict between the V'Las regime and the Syrannites as an intra-species war.
     

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