Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Knight Templar, Aug 25, 2012.
This. Mirror Spock was already picking up that something wasn't right with Kirk, almost immediately.
He had three other characters that also weren't behaving right, if it was just Kirk, then he might assume he was just having a bad day.
^"Just having a bad day?" Wanting to exterminate the Halkans? Asking where his personal guard was? Treating Spock like a rival rather than a friend? Spock's not an idiot. It would be obvious that Mirror Kirk wasn't who he seemed, or had suffered some profound alteration in his mental state.
It's the other thing - a pretty broad sense of diversity that makes sense given the character of what Starfleet is. It doesn't matter what your background is, you too can join up to Starfleet's mission and the UFP's basically idealistic goals. It is, indeed, part and parcel of those goals, emblematic of the idea that the Fed's objectives are in some senses universal, or sufficiently broad as to appeal to an incredibly disparate group of people.
As a consequence:
Why buy into Starfleet if you don't buy into Starfleet's goals?
Over the years Star Trek's shown many outsider characters with perspectives on Starfleet's ideals with varying degrees of cynicism or from other cultural perspectives (Kira Nerys, Quark, Seven of Nine, etc.) - and also citizens of the Federation who don't really buy into the whole 'message' thing, like Picard's cantankerous brother. We've also seen characters - like Nog, Worf and Chakotay - who do not find a contradiction between their religious beliefs and their service in Starfleet.
But if you don't buy into it - why would you apply to join?
Is it, though? I mean obviously humans are a founding race and the capital is Earth and they have an enormously important role in the Federation, but IDIC is, of course, Vulcan. The Federation's utopian ideals don't seem to have been entirely shaped by humans.
^Also, as we know from Enterprise, the Prime Directive is based on Vulcan principles.
We actually did see a bit of this with O'Brien in "Cardassians", if I remember correctly. It was the episode with the young Cardassian boy adopted by Bajorans, who then bit Garak.
I do agree with you that a cast of the likes of DS9 would probably make Star Trek more interesting. They don't have to be too extreme, but fitting with the back stories of their character.
We first see that O'Brien has trouble with Cardassians in TNG's The Wounded.
Would that be the PD of the TOS time period, or the PD of TNG? They would seem to be two entirely different directives, different philosophies, that carry the same label. Did both separate philosophies come from Vulcans. Or maybe from two different groups of Vulcans?
Just this. It's too easy to say more diversity than what we've seen mean letting in a mass murderer. But having a wide assortment of Starfleet personnel, who sport an equally wide range of beliefs on various subjects, does not mean traveling to the farthest end of the scale with the first step.
Kira would definitely not fall into the "cynic" category. If Kira were to attempt to join Starfleet, would her different cultural perspectives prevent her entry. Or at the academy, would there be a steady pressure for her to not just conform, but to alter her beliefs at a personal philosophical level to embrace "the one way?"
Why would "MSL" be Starfleet's goal, or the Federation's? I personally place the Federation's total population in the 800 billion to 1 trillion range. They're all going to just happen to have "MSL" as their goal? Realistically they're going to be across the spectrum. Different species, cultures and home worlds are going to bring different ideas into the Federation when they join.
The Federation's composite ideals isn't going to be the same after gradually admitting 150 new members over the course of two centuries, as it was when there were only a half dozen members. And that's assuming that all the original half dozen wanted "MSL" in the Federation in the first place. These species were forming the Federation, who was going to keep them out? If Earth were the only one of the founding worlds to want "MSL," the other Founders might have said "Sure your representative can bring "MSL" to the Council, just don't try to force it on us."
Despite talk on other threads on the board, I do think the Federation Council is a democracy, but not automatically a liberal democracy.
If Earth were to (somehow) join the Federation today, our entry would alter the Federation, because of the multi-cultural beliefs we would bring to the existing Federation vast multi-culture society. Would the Federation first say 'This is how you must change your planetary society to get in."
The Federation in the 24th century has 150 (round figure) members. Many of those member would have colonies. So how many cultures would that be? One? More likely many thousands, just look at how many cultures we have just here on Earth today. How many religions, life-styles, motivations, political parties (world wide), belief systems, etc.. Now multiple all those that by say a few hundred..
Everyone in Starfleet embraces "MSL," really? Would Starfleet even be allowed (by law) to practice such a restrictive entry requirement? Again, I not suggesting letting in mass murderers.
Of course, an idea can change over time and diverge from how it was originally taught. Just because it changes, that doesn't mean it no longer came from the same origin. It just means people reinterpreted it or lost sight of its original intent.
Of course not. Where do you get the bizarre idea that Starfleet has only "one way"? The whole core philosophy of the Federation is respect for diversity. A believer in the Bajoran religion wouldn't be persecuted or banned by Starfleet any more than, say, a Buddhist would be kicked out of an American university or a federal government post. Because the Federation, like the United States, is a society built around secular institutions -- which does not mean it's hostile to religion, simply that it's neutral on the subject. It means it doesn't hold up one religion as right or treat any others as wrong. It embraces plurality of thought as one of its premier values.
I should also point out that in the Pocket Books novel continuity, Kira became a Starfleet captain when Bajor joined the Federation in 2376 and the Bajoran Militia was incorporated into Starfleet. No Bajorans were pressured to change their religious beliefs in any way.
I think you've answered your own question about the Prime Directive.
Oh, come on, that's a contradiction in terms. The whole point of secular liberalism is that it's inclusive, not restrictive. If a society is liberal (in the philosophical sense, not the partisan sense) in the aggregate, that means it respects a variety of points of view on the individual level. If it's secular in the aggregate, that means there is no state religion and individuals can choose their own. The only thing that isn't tolerated is intolerance, or the attempt to compromise others' rights in pursuit of your own.
Which is why I said 'varying degrees of cynicism or from other cultural perspectives', Kira is very much from column two.
Kira was originally supposed to be Ro Laren, before Michelle Forbes turned down DS9. Ro Laren was a Starfleet officer who believed in her Bajoran faith and made a point of wearing a Bajoran earring. I didn't mention her when listing religious members of Starfleet because she was a recurring character who only featured eight episodes (which is less than Nog).
So, no, Kira's religious perspective would not have been in conflict with serving as a Starfleet officer. This is kind of what secularism is about - your personal beliefs are your own, you have the freedom to do what you want to the extent it's not harming others... but you're not going to have society mandate that you must stick to your assigned caste role, as the false Emissary insisted Kira return to in DS9's "Accession." Your identity is a choice, not an obligation.
Because that's what Starfleet and the Federation are all about. THe Federation is not just humans and aliens who are all together because... uh, why not, inertia. It's not a society where on some planets aliens tyrannically enslave others and murder them for public sport while on other planets saying the word Belgium is an offense punishable by decapitation. There are basic moral principles that the Federation holds as universal, including, you know, treating other sapient life forms with dignity and respect, and if you'd rather mutilate Bajorans well that's part of why the Cardassian Union is an enemy of the Federation and not card-carrying members.
What the Federation can have in spades is cultural diversity. Nude Betazoid weddings. Weirdly ritualistic Vulcan weddings. Organizations of humanoid aliens who volunteer for the honor of sharing their lives and their bodies with sapient slugs. There can be different perspectives on many moral questions, as Worf was so often a counterpoint to his colleagues. But if you don't have the basics - you know, the integrity of individuals, the inclusivity of people from multiple walks of life and perspectives - then this may not be working out for ya.
It's quite true that not everyone in the Federation may agree to these ideas. But if you don't find them valuable, why sign up to the Federation's all purpose arm?
It's something like a liberal democracy with a basically post-scarcity economy.
Earth's basically ineligible, because we don't have a single planetary government. And, yeah, there's a lot that would need to be changed if we were joining the Federation even beyond just having 'a one world government.' Take any few dozen countries with notable institutionalized human rights violations and you'd have a good idea of what kinds of things need to go.
I'm not even sure what you mean by MSL, to be honest with you. But again - short of allowing in planets who kill you for saying Belgium - I can't see the Federation being much more inclusive than it is.
As I recall, Ro wasn't really a big believer. In "The Next Phase," the only episode that touched on her spirituality, she was aware of her people's supernatural beliefs about spirits but had always dismissed them as superstition. She also wore her earring on the "wrong" ear compared to DS9's Bajorans; only the Pah-wraith cultists wore it on the left ear as Ro did. The post-series DS9 novels assert that she's a nonbeliever who wears the earring as a symbol of her cultural heritage. I think they said she wore it on the left ear to block vedeks from pinching it to sense her pagh. (And I wish they'd gotten around to explaining how they do that, if it actually works at all. Are Bajorans telepathic?)
Now, that is exactly right. "Secular" just means "not concerned with religion." That means neither compelling religion nor forbidding it.
Actually, in the current book continuity, the Cardassians and Federation are solid allies. That whole almost-being-wiped-out-by-the-Dominion-and-then-helped-to-rebuild-by-the-Federation thing forced the Cardassians to rethink some things.
Life in the Federation and aboard its Starfleet is to easy. With replicators and halo-decks taking care of every need and dream there is no real inner conflict to drive the differing values among the crew we see. That nail which sticks up out of place was hammered down in Starfleet Academy long before the characters we see were commissioned and posted to The Enterprise.
They didn't even have to draft troops for the Dominion war
I can stop you there, as the context is the Cardassians as portrayed on TNG and DS9. It's a good example of a society which hasn't bought into the Federation project or their ideals, in contrast to alien societies within the Federation - like Vulcans and Betazoids - who have. The Cardassian legal system where people are considered guilty by default is exactly the sort of 'diversity' that would have no place in the Federation.
Another less hostile example are Klingons, while they have been allies to the Federation it's also clear they don't just have a different culture, they have a different legal system and overall ideology to the Federation. This is why, for example, when Riker wants to get information out of a Yridian who is distinctly not threatened at the idea of a Federation prison he raises the spectre of a Klingon one.
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