Federation's dirty secret?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by RobertScorpio, May 5, 2008.

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  1. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    The story about this little girl being held captive by her dad for 24 years in Austria is really getting sicker as each day passes. But I can't help but wonder if Trek has touched on this subject, though not as sickly as in real life. (what should his punnishment be?)

    There is an episode of TNG, first season, when they come across a planet who has been hidden behind a cloaking device for many hundreds of years I think.

    Somehow the Cloak, I think, has rendered the men, or women, who knows maybe both, infertile. So they abduct the children of the Enterprise. Now, I always got the impression that these children from the Enterprise were meant to 'breed' with each other, or, with the adults of the planet, when they came of age of course.

    Luckily it doesn't get that far. But what do some of you think that episode was implying? I have always found it to be a creepy episode.

    And back to an earlier discussion we had. We seemed to agree that the Federation does not intervere with a planet's laws and customs. Do you really think the Federation would allow a world into the Federation that would allow incest/sex with children? I have to think not. Because if if such practices were not against some great Federation law, and ritual murder/suicide is already accepted in some cases, then what is really 'against the law'?

    The only law I think there is? Importing Romulan Ale. So is that the only law the Federation imposes???

    Rob
    Scorpio
     
  2. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    You retconned a 20 year old television episode to include a pedophilia subplot it never had because of something you saw on the news?

    No, they were becoming sterile, they needed people outside their gene pool who were young enough for them to carry out the necessary gene profiles *before* those people became sexually active.

    And partly because it had been so long since they had any younger people in their society they became somewhat "broody" and didn't consider their lives complete without children in those families.
     
  3. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Oh, I remember the episode quite well,thank you very much. One of those men was in his late 60s easily. None of those kids from TNG was ready be sexually active. That guy would have been in his late seventies by the time any one of those girls were 'ready for him.

    But what about the question at the end of the post? Since we already know the Federation allows ritual suicide on some worlds, what is to say they don't have their own "Thailand" in the Federation. Would the FEDERATION allow a world to join if it allowed sex with children? I say no. What say you?

    Rob
     
  4. Kemaiku

    Kemaiku Admiral Admiral

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    I'm just trying to figure out why you're trying so hard to see child molesting in a straightforward abduction story.
     
  5. raleighrob

    raleighrob Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ready for him? He was going to raise her. She wasn't supposed to breed with him...but the other kids once they grew up. These folks were pretty clearly trying to save their society, not necessarily their race.

    And it was clear they weren't a Federation planet. I would think a genetic problem this serious would have been known already and gotten a lot of help from Federation scientists if it were a member world.

    Of course not. (I doubt any planet that allowed that would even want to join the Federation to begin with.)
    We already know from DS9 that Bajor was told point-blank that any efforts by some small radical reactionary group (I forget their name) to reinstate an ancient caste system would keep the planet out of the Federation. And that pales in comparison.
     
  6. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    I am not saying that there was. But some of those relationships seemed creepy to me then as they do now. And we are not exactly sure what their motives could have been. Heck, I'm sure those adults had good reasons (umm, sure) to have all those young girls in that church in Texas before the truth came out.

    Just a creepy episode. Heck, even the DS9 episode where Sisko and Obrien crashed could have been a lot more serious than what it turned out to be. Those kids on that world had to be brain washed at an early age too.

    Rob
     
  7. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Are you sure? We have other episodes that condone suicide, and another that sells women into arrange marriages. I don't see the Feds doing much there.

    And caste system? Seems like Vulcan had one in the episode of AMOK TIME. So, I am not so sure castes are against the Federation law as much as you think they are.

    And it must be said? All a Starfleet officer has to do is take off their com badge, and they can actually go out and kill someone one, and come back to work as if nothing happened. Oh, a slap on the wrist, but it certainly implies that some people are actually permitted to murder, so long as it is in their culture's past as 'acceptable'. Oh, I love the episode, but such BS that he could just go do that.

    Rob
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2008
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Well, the question of pedophilia is one that is fundamentally biological in nature. It is predicated upon the issue of whether or not an individual below the age of majority is considered to have the capacity to give consent to sexual acts. In the case of the Human species, we've determined that the brains of children are insufficiently developed for them to have the capacity to give consent, and that the effects of sexual activity between a child and an adult are psychologically harmful to the children. Ergo, we have developed a strong taboo against pedophilia.

    An alien species may have an entirely different set of biological concerns, however. Let's take the Deltans, first seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for example; we know that they are a species whose culture places a great deal of emphasis on sexuality; indeed, they even have to make a pledge to refrain from sexual activities with non-Deltans -- "sexually immature species" -- if they wish to serve in the Federation Starfleet. If we go by the novels, such as 1985's Dwellers in the Crucible, we find that the Deltans are depicted as having an intense biological and psychological need for sexual activity with other Deltans -- that, indeed, they will die without it. It's entirely possible that Deltan children need to engage in sexual activities with other Deltans -- that it is health-stabilizing rather than health-damaging as in Humans -- and that the pedophilia taboo simply does not exist in Deltan society because pedophilia does not harm Deltan children even though it harms Human children, and because Deltan children have the same capacity to give consent to sexual acts that Human children have to give consent to eating food.

    On the other hand, you could have an alien species whose members are completely asexual, and for whom sexual activity at any age is psychologically harmful; amongst such a species, sex of any sort would be taboo, and it may well be that their legal system holds that none of them have the capacity to give consent at any age!

    To say nothing of the question of how you would address the concept of sexuality in a species whose members reach physical maturity rapidly -- how would the issue of pedophilia apply to the Jem'Hadar, who are physically mature within a week? Do you just measure it in terms of psychological maturity?

    So I rather imagine that the pedophilia taboo would be dependent upon the biology and psychology of a given species. If the species has children for whom sexual activities are psychologically damaging and whose brains are insufficiently developed to have the legal capacity to give consent, then sexual activities with that species' children will be a terrible crime. If you have a species like the Deltans whose members are from a very young age as physically and psychologically dependent on sexual activities as ours is on food, then it may well be a crime to prevent such children from engaging in sexual activities. It's a matter that's wholly dependent on the biologies involved.

    As far as Federation Membership goes, I imagine that the Federation would deny Membership to an alien state whose culture practices pedophilia if the Federation determines that pedophilia is harmful to children of that species. I imagine that it would grant Membership to an alien state whose culture practices pedophilia if the Federation determines that pedophilia is not harmful to children of that species. And I imagine that the Federation would require any Member State whose culture features pedophilia because such acts are not harmful to its children to pass strong laws banning pedophilia with the children of species who are harmed by pedophilia. So, Delta could join the Federation, but only if it passes a law banning, say, sex between an adult of any species and a Human child (or any other species of child harmed by pedophilia).

    As for incest:

    As far as cultural taboos go, again, it's probably a matter that varies from species to species. It may well go without saying that for a species like the Deltans, incestful sexual activities are the norm and an incest taboo simply does not exist. Similarly, if you have a species whose members are mostly clones due to asexual reproduction, you may well see sexual activities occuring between two clones of the same individual, even if they'd never met as children; this would technically be incest, since they'd be the biological offspring of the same individual, but that doesn't mean that the psychology of the situation would equate to that of two Human siblings. Again, it depends on the biology of the species involved as to whether or not an incest taboo exists or ought to exist.

    Personally, I would certainly hope that when it comes to civil rights and liberties, the Federation follows John Stuart Mill's rule from On Liberty. If it is an activity occuring between consenting adults that violates no one else's rights, then the state has no right prohibiting it. Period. Even if it's psychologically harmful for their species. Adults have the right to make unhealthy choices.

    No, we know for a fact that there are a number of Federation laws. In 2370m, for instance, the Federation Council passed legislation banning travel at speeds above Warp 5 except for exceptional circumstances. ("Force of Nature" [TNG]). The Federation Charter explicitly bans caste-based discrimination ("Accession" [DS9]) and interference in a foreign state's internal politics ("Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" [DS9]). All sentient individuals aboard a Federation starship are afforded full rights under the Federation Constitution ("The Perfect Mate" [TNG]), including a list of Guarantees that protect civil rights and liberties, such as the Seventh Guarantee's protections against self-incrimination ("The Drumhead" [TNG]) and the Twelfth Guarantee's protections of the rights of artists ("Author, Author" [VOY]). There's something called the Acts of Cumberland that deal with the rights of artificial intelligences. ("The Measure of a Man" [TNG]). There's a Federation Code of Justice under which Maquis prisoners were to be tried in 2370 ("The Maquis, Part II" [DS9]) and a Federation Judicial Code ("Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy" [VOY]).

    The Federation Council can also ratify treaties ("Journey's End" [TNG]) and set foreign policy in conjunction with the President ("The Way of the Warrior" [DS9], Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). We know that genetic engineering of sentient individuals is illegal in the Federation and that there is a Federation Supreme Court to which prosecutions of such laws can be appealed. ("Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" [DS9]). We also know that there are Federation Grand Juries capable of indicting individuals for violations of Federation law. ("The Ascent" [DS9]), and that there is a civilian law enforcement agency known as Federation Security (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock).
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2008
  9. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Great response!! I read it and you are definately an expert on Federation law..I'd love to see a BOSTON LEGAL kind of show dealing with these issues in TREK's universe.

    Star Trek is a show that is progressive in it's plots, and themes. But you can punch a hole in most laws on Star Trek;

    Caste systems. They must still be allowed because the Vulcans, at least in Spock's time, still do it. And while we are on the topic of Spock, how old was he when he had sex with Savik? He could not have been an adult. So there is an example of sex with a child for the sake of survival.

    Timison, I think that was his name, was from a world where the state actually practices euthanasia. And Worf was willing to have his child kill him, so this must also be acceptable on Kronos. (Though they are not true members of the Federation I understand.)

    And as I mentioned with Worf. Why is it he didn't stand trial for the murder of Durass. It was certainly premeditated since he had time to stop by her quarters, with Alexander in tow, before going off to whack Durass.

    And I think that episode I found so creepy on TNG is creepy because they were pairing young kids with older folks. Although it is never stated the old fart was going to have sex with the young girl, it is never stated that he ISN'T going to have sex with her either. I believe that part of the episode was left open just for that reason.

    In other threads, many have said that the Federation does not intervere with a planet's laws. But I say, in order to join the Feds, there must be laws that a new member world must adopt. And if there isn't, then why not a world with incest? Child sex? Rampant drug use? Cannibalism? Polyigamy? Go right down the list of sexual-taboos on Earth.

    If the FEDS don't have laws against those activities, then those activities must be lawful everywhere. Or you'd have a bunch of "Thailand" worlds where people can go do whatever they want, protected by law.

    Hmmmmmm....Risa?


    Rob
    Scorpio
     
  10. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't you watch that DS9 episode? Caste based discrimination is specifically FORBIDDEN in the Federation. The Vulcans do not practice any such thing.

    Even if you believe that Spock and Saavik had sex (which is not for certain), Spock looked to be about 18 or 19 years old at the time. That's hardly a child.

    Which is not a Federation world.

    Also not a Federation member.

    Because it was an internal Klingon matter and was none of the Federation's business.
     
  11. Orac

    Orac Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Do you think the real reason Janeway let Neelix off before returning to the Alpha Quadrant was so he wouldn't have to face charges of pedophilia in the Federation? It was kind of convenient that the writers coupled him with a female of his own species and age (i.e. rehabilitated him) before he left Voyager.
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Thank you, sir.

    In what sense?

    Well, that depends on a lot of issues, not the least of which is whether you would count Spock's legal age from his birth or the biological age of his regenerated body. Furthermore, his regenerated body seemed to lack his actual mind because his katra had been transferred to McCoy; arguably, Saavik had sex with the legal equivalent of a nonsentient entity due to the absence of the katra. Arguably, that means that Spock lacked the capacity to give consent at the time; of course, he also would have died without it. Presumably there are pre-existing Vulcan laws regarding an act of sexual intercourse with a mentally incapacitated individual undergoing pon farr that would cover that.

    Yes, but they weren't a Federation Member State, so it's an irrelevent topic.

    Not only not "true" members -- not members whatsoever. The Klingon Empire is a foriegn state with its own sets of laws. (Though, to be fair, early TNG established that the Klingon Empire had joined the Federation ("Samaritan Snare"), but by the third season, they retconned that so that the Klingons had not joined the UFP. We basically have to pretend that Wesley never said that they'd joined, or creatively reinterpret it to mean that the Klingons joined the Federation... in creating a new era of peace. ;) )

    Good question. Certainly it occured on a Federation starship, which means that Federation law and the Starfleet Uniform Code applies. But perhaps the Klingon government applied diplomatic pressure on the Federation not to prosecute.

    Well, we know for a fact that a Federation Member State's laws must be compatible with the Federation Charter from DS9's "Accession." And we know from "Force of Nature" (TNG) and "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost" (DS9) that laws passed by the Federation overrule Federation Member State laws. It's like the United States -- each state can pass its own laws, laws vary from state to state, and each state has certain areas in which it has the exclusive right to make law (marriage, education, motor vehicle operation, etc.), but they all must be compatible with the United States Constitution and federal law, and a federal law overrules a state law.

    Well, again, I ask you, why should incest between two consenting adults ever be illegal? A crime requires a victim; who is the victim if Jim and Sarah, two siblings who are grown adults, decide they wish to have sex?

    Again, I addressed this above. The illegality of pedophila would be dependent upon the biologies of the species involved. Federation law probably states that it is illegal to engage in sexual activities with children of species who are harmed by such acts, but not for children of species that are not harmed by such acts.

    Why should the state have the right to tell an adult what he/she/it may or may not put in his/her/its body? Drug use violates no one's rights; ergo, in a society dedicated to liberty, it should not be illegal.

    Well, how are you defining cannibalism? The nonconsentual consumption of the flesh of one's own species? That would already be illegal because it would be considered assault and/or murder.

    But, take for the example the Tiburonians. In the novel Titan: The Red King, it is established that the highest honor one can pay to a dead Tiburon in their funerial ceremony is to consume the dead's ashes after cremation. Arguably this constitutes cannibalism, but why should that be illegal? What if someone belongs to a culture where part of the marriage ceremonay is a removal of a digit for consumption by the spouse? Such an act would be purely consentual; why should it be illegal?

    Why should polygamy between consenting adults be illegal? Heck, TNG's "Data's Day" establishes that Andorian weddings require groups of four people, which implies that their marriage ceremony is what we would call polygamous. The DS9 Relaunch novels estabalish, in point of fact, that the Andorians do not have male and female sexes -- rather, the reproductive functions are carried out by four sexes: chan, thaan, zhen, and shen, and that what we would call a marriage requires all four sexes. So there's already a situation where a founding member of the Federation likely practices what Humans would call polygamy. ENT established that Denobulans marry in groups of three -- each male has three wives and each wife has three husbands. Why shouldn't that be allowed?

    Seems to me that the only sexual taboos that ought to be illegal -- even today -- are those that violate someone's rights. Pedophilia is illegal because it violates a child's right to be psychologically undamaged and because it is an act of rape since a child lacks the capacity to consent. Rape is illegal because it violates a person's right to determine their own sexual behaviors. But there's no reason for consentual activity that creates no victims amongst adults to be illegal.

    Nonsense. Murder isn't a federal crime in the United States; that doesn't mean that murder is legal everywhere in the US. It's legal nowhere in the US. It's just that in our legal system, it is the responsibility of the states to prevent murders, not the federal government.

    Why would he face charges of pedophilia? Kes was an adult, a fully mature Ocampa.
     
  13. alicelouise

    alicelouise Commander Red Shirt

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    The Federation has many diverse worlds. It would stand to reason that they have practices that would be unacceptable in a human environment. Many strictures and taboos have a root in practicality. For instance incest: ancient royal families practiced it and the results manifested themselves in deformity, retardation, and insanity. Incest wasn't forbidden for its own sake. It was said that the last Hapsburg was his own uncle, grandfather and brother rolled into one. Even marriage between 1st cousins causes higher disabilities than average. This is why there's the taboo against incest on Earth.

    A non human society may not have those biological concerns with close relatives mating. The Federation would be quite provincial to deny that society entry into the club.
     
  14. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    Spock and Tpring were betrothed to each other when they were kids. That is caste system, I know, because my best friend is from India and that was how he and his wife were arranged for marriage.

    The problem with your version of Federation law, as I see it, is that there are no laws. What is stopping Picard from going on a whirlwind vacation. He could go to another Federation planet, have sex with a kid (if it's legal there), and have sex with the kid's dog (again, if it is legal there), and then go to the next planet and snort cocain, get in a drunken brawl with a Klingon, kill the klingon, take him to another world where they practice cannibalism, eat the klingon, then go to another world, marry three women, and have sex with his children if it's okay there..

    see? There really is no law, no grand federation law, if you can do all these explicit things on worlds that allow it. The only thing you can't do is import Romulan ale and travel faster than Warp five..whoopdie doo..

    Rob
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    No, it isn't. Arranged marriages don't have to have anything to do with caste systems. I'm sure there are many countries on Earth today that arrange marriages but have no castes, just like there are those that *do* factor caste into it (like India).

    Vulcans would no doubt consider caste-based discrimination highly illogical. There is precisely ZERO evidence that they actually practice it.

    India is not Vulcan. :p
     
  16. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Well, no. That's certainly how the Indians do it, but an arranged marriage does not automatically entail the existence of a caste system. You can have an arranged marriage without caste being an issue at all.

    By that definition, there are no laws in the United States.

    And if it's legal to have sex with that species' children, it must be because pedophilia does not harm those children. If it doesn't harm those children, then why should it be a crime?

    I think it's safe to say that nonsentient animals by definition cannot consent, and that that is probably a universal rule.

    Why should snorting cocaine be a crime? Who is the victim?

    While that's probably not a crime in the Klingon Empire, it would be in the UFP, because it would be regarded as an act of assault and murder that violates the Klingon's right to peacefully exist.

    Well, I imagine that whether or not that would constitute a crime depends on whether or not the Klingon had consented to Picard's eating his flesh whilst in life.

    No, because in the Federation, pedophilia with Human children would be universally banned. Remember, I said that the question of pedophilia would depend upon the species of the children. It would always be illegal to have sex with a Human child, irrelevent of location.

    And I see no reason for Picard not to have the legal capacity to enter into a consentual state of marriage with three women.

    A fair number of those laws that you cited really shouldn't be laws in a society based upon liberty. Why should snorting cocaine be a crime? Why should consentual polygamy be a crime?
     
  17. -Brett-

    -Brett- Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because it was perfectly legal under Klingon law (Worf said as much to Picard), and it happened on a Klingon ship, where their law applies and Federation law doesn't.
     
  18. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    You know, I had been under the impression that Duras was killed about the Enterprise, but Memory Alpha tells me he was not. So, obviously, the Federation can't prosecute Worf if he didn't break Klingon law aboard a Klingon ship -- and it would appear that the Federation doesn't regard whatever bans on murder it may have as being extra-jurisdictional.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Umm, don't most legal systems of today specifically acknowledge the existence of the victimless crime?

    Most such crimes in the books could be classified as simple taboos - say, a ban on public nudity. However, they are supposed to exist because they have a practical society-controlling role - say, ban on public nudity enforces a certain mentality about sexuality which supposedly makes it easier to control sex crime.

    Other victimless crimes are in the books because they could at least theoretically have "indirect victims" - say, intoxicating oneself in circumstances where the inebriated state might endanger or at least inconvenience other people. Typically, such crimes reflect back on the first category because allowing them to take place unpunished would encourage the society to behave in an undesired manner - say, A enjoys his cannabis all day long, leading the entire working community B to adopt the same practice and collapsing industry C. Hence a law against suicide, too, sometimes with truly absurd sanctions that hardly matter for the deceased but are intended to influence the "indirect victims" and discourage them from following suit.

    Then there is the whole category of attempted crime. As it fails, it creates no victims, but it still had at least the theoretical chance of succeeding. The above category usually fits this bill, too - say, drunken driving when nobody is around and the driver is in full control of the vehicle and the traffic situation despite his blood alcohol levels. Here (as everywhere else) law typically errs on the side of caution, assuming that the attempted crime would have had the worst possible consequences and even the best-intentioned perpetrator would have failed to control his actions.

    The existence of a victim does typically make crimes more severe and the punishments accordingly harsher. But it would be difficult to find a set of laws today that only listed crimes that have direct victims or clearly verifiable indirect ones.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but in theory, the Federation is better than the legal systems that exist today.

    Which is absolute nonsense. (Can you tell I don't think that bans on nudity ought to be on the books, either? Simple cultural taboos can take care of the issue one way or the other without needing to involve the law.)

    I wouldn't call, say, operating a motor vehicle whilst intoxicated a victimless crime. That creates victims of anyone else who is on the road by virtue of the inability of the intoxicated driver to control the car.

    In any event, I would argue that it is a person's fundamental right to determine what substances they want to put into their bodies so long as it endangers no one else. There's no more reason for snorting cocaine to be illegal than there is for drinking alcohol to be illegal.
     
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