How Did Viewers in the '60s Perceive the Federation?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Shon T'Hara, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Ok I surrender. I was just trying to point out that many different people could be happy in the Federation. Socialists would be happy because there is no wont or need for the basics of life. Capitalists would be happy because they are free to accumulate wealth if they want (as long as they don't exploit other people) and libertarians would be happy because they would be free to pursue their own desires as long as it didn't harm other people. The Federation has something for everyone...well except anarchists.
     
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  2. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    That seems like a bit of an over reaction to the point that was being made. The point was just that individuals of similar species are more likely to group together. For example, if humans had to wear bulky thermal radiation suits to serve aboard starships crewed by an alien species, there are going to be fewer humans willing to do that. thus there would be less human representation about alien ships of that type. Its not that differences are being used as an excuse to divide people, or that the Federation is enforcing some kind of segregation. It just a simple matter the cost/benefit of generating these mixed environments aboard ships.

    I think we definitely need to look at the 23rd and 24th century Federations as different systems. they are similar in someways but different in many others.

    The biggest issue I have with this is that having a central government to ensure the system works smoothly, puts a lot of power into the hands of those people who run that system; and power attracts corruption. So eventually those people who are hoarding and misallocating those resources are the very ones running the system. The time it takes for that corruption to happen depends on the system of government. There we run into the problem that the more power the system has the easier it to a run a system efficiently, but also quicker the corruption will take place. The less powerful the system the slower corruption will happen, but the less efficient the system will be. And thus we arrive at humanity's struggle.

    Would a central infrastructure be needed for free education? When we reach a point when anyone can learn anything by pulling up a video online, do we need a central organization to educate people?
     
  3. Lieut. Arex

    Lieut. Arex Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree that bothlibertarianism and communism both begin with unrealistic expectations of human behavior and given the norms of human nature both are impossible to put into successful practice
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which is what checks and balances are for. The reason America's democracy has lasted so long is that we have checks and balances to keep any one group from amassing too much power. The reason that attempts to institute Marxism have invariably degenerated into dictatorships is because Marxism, much like libertarianism, is based on the naive assumption that individual humans are perfectible and that no checks on power are needed except individual responsibility. Since there will always be corrupt individuals, corruption will run rampant in the absence of checks on their power. But as long as there are robust checks and balances, as long as every group is countered by other groups that put a brake on its excesses, then any tendency toward corruption or abuse can be kept from running out of control. (At least when the system is working properly and hasn't had its defenses eroded away as in our current state of affairs.)

    That's exactly why it's so important for capitalistic and socialistic forces to be in balance within the same system -- because each one counters the excesses in the other and a healthy middle ground can be maintained.


    What a bizarre question. "Pulling up a video online" is hardly a way to get anything remotely resembling a good education. Have you seen the kind of idiocy that's out there on YouTube videos? Good education requires quality control and systematic standards. It requires access to good, reliable educational materials, not just whatever cheap videos manage to get to the top of the list because their posters entered the right search terms. Most of all, it requires teachers, people who can guide students and inspire them and challenge them and bring out the best in them. Education is one of the most vital functions in society, and it's reprehensible how much our current society devalues and dismisses it.
     
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  5. uniderth

    uniderth Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed. I did point this out using other words, when I said that the less powerful the system is the less efficient. The check and balance of power is precisely a method of reducing the power of an institution. The reason why a US president can't just institute corrupt laws is becasue the legislature has the power to pass laws; but at the same time this system prevents a president from instituting good laws as well. Therefore the system is slower at becoming corrupted as the expense of efficiency.

    Isn't it sad that our choices for humanity are an efficient system that lasts a short time, or a less efficient system that last a long time.

    I'm going to hold off agreeing with this one, just becasue we would first need a solid agreed upon definition of Capitalism and Socialism. I get the gist of what you're trying to say, but I'm not sure I agree with the terminology.

    Certainly there's idiocy out there. But there is also really good stuff. I've self taught myself a couple programming languages from the internet. I could have self taught myself the electronics education I learned at college. Yes, there are fields that require hands on experience. But even that is easier to do with a massive network of connected people. I'm not saying that internet is a magic fix it pill. But it opens so many doors for free education and learning tools. I agree that education is a vital function of society. But we don't need colleges anymore. We have a huge ocean of knowledge from which to draw and I think we do a huge disservice to ourselves by dismissing that as a valid tool of education.

    If you're worried about standards, that was we have industries for. Industries generally have agreed upon standards that they operate by. Whether they were educated by a college professor, or by a youtube video is irrelevant, becasue their education will be manifest in their ability to meet those standards.[/quote][/QUOTE]
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That's ridiculous. Educational institutions serve many valuable functions, not just for education per se but for research and scholarship, not to mention the social and community benefits. I'd say the world needs colleges a hell of a lot more than it needs armies and corporations. Of course new opportunities for learning in different ways can complement them, but it makes no sense to say that they should replace them.

    Heck, I've always thought of the Enterprise-D as it was originally conceived to be by TNG's developers as a university village in space.


    How sterile and ugly to think that getting ahead in business is the exclusive arbiter of the value of an education. What about personal enrichment? What about having a mentor who inspires you and makes you a better person?

    Of course, I admit I'm biased on this issue. I have multiple relatives who are professors at various universities, including my Uncle Emmett, who helped decipher the Linear B alphabet and became the world's leading expert in the reading of ancient Mycenean texts (a field whose name, pinacology, he actually coined), and my namesake cousin S. Christopher Bennett, who's an expert in pterosaurs. I have two uncles who are retired physicists, one of whom worked on some of the earliest computers back in the '40s. Then there was my father, who made his career as an announcer for Cincinnati's university-run classical radio station. Universities offer a lot more than just classes.

    Oh, and my father's alma mater is now the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, regarded as the finest theatrical school in the country. Many of its alumni go on to successful acting careers on Broadway and in film and TV. You're dreaming if you think you can get that kind of education over a webcam.
     
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  7. TGrinch

    TGrinch T'Bonz - Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    Let's keep it on Star Trek, folks.
     
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  8. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just for the record, extreme libertarians would not be all that happy with the Federation. Yes, theoretically, they're free to do what they want. Theoretically, they're free to do what they want now, here, today. Their issues are always about government encroachment slowly eroding those freedoms and their only accepted solution to these issues is to limit the power of government as much as is humanly possible. The Federation very clearly does not subscribe to that solution. There are government regulations which we hear about at various points. Starfleet has the power to enforce blood screenings and search civilian ships. People who trade with the 'wrong' group of people can be arrested. Dilithium (or else engine technology) seems to be rationed with Starfleet getting the best and civilians getting less powerful stuff. The government has extensive records on pretty much everyone. We've seen multiple instances of civilian projects that were summarily subsumed by starfleet. Etc, etc.

    Capitalist and socialist may all find shared joy in the Federation, but it's no libertarian paradise.

    How relevant is this point really to Star Trek?

    Cardassians may complain that a human ship is cold, but they're in no danger of physical deterioration while in a human-optimised atmosphere. Pretty much every major species in the Federation seems to share roughly similar atmospheric requirements. In fact, I'm trying to think of any spacefaring species we saw that couldn't survive in that apparent goldilocks zone and all I'm coming up with are the Breen (which is an assumption, because we don't actually know if their suits are environmental or serve some other purpose), the Tholians, the Benzites (who are still very close to the gz, since they don't require suits at all, just a little atmospheric additive) and... uh... I'm out. Maybe you could add the Medusans, since they need to be contained for other people's safety, but not for their own.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What are you basing this on?

    Really, we've seen so little of civilian life in the Federation that it's hard to draw any conclusions about it. If your only knowledge of the United States were from things like M*A*S*H, JAG, and other military-centric shows, you might think the military was far more dominant in everyday American life than it really is. If civilians don't seem to have stuff as good as Starfleet's, maybe that's just because the shows focus on situations where Starfleet is available and the civilians with the best stuff are off somewhere else. We have seen at least one exception, though -- TAS: "The Survivor" portrayed Carter Winston as a super-rich philanthropist (back in the 23rd century when they still had money) who used his fortune and resources for the same kind of humanitarian missions that we normally see Starfleet undertake.
     
  10. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe so, though it seemed to be referenced enough to show a pattern. Doesn't matter, though. Regardless of that point, it's clear there's tons of stuff in the Federation that would make libertarian purists rage.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But my point is, that pattern could be selection bias -- we see Starfleet appearing dominant because we're watching a show that chooses to focus on Starfleet missions. If a situation is best addressed by civilians, then we don't see it in the show because the show isn't focusing on civilians' activities.
     
  12. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    Can you cite these references? I'm hard pressed to think of any.
     
  13. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Civilian ships seemed consistently slower. I'm thinking off hand of DS9 and ENT, primarily, but I'm pretty sure it was mentioned in TOS and maybe TNG as well. I don't have specific episode titles off the top of my head, though, no.
     
  14. sekundant

    sekundant Fleet Captain Premium Member

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    May be the same aspect from other side..

    A long during and very intensive discussion which began long before the October Revolution in Marxist crises was about how to achieve from a semi industrialized society to socialist or communist society. It was not a limited topic and with the time is opened to every direction, so in some cases lost its own frames and even targets. An interesting example was the Lenin's very harsh request to Clara Zetkin, that German socialists should postpone or better stop their passionate discussion about " liberation of woman/gender or sexual freedom issue" and but help with all their powers to young revolutions operative problems and mobilize their basis to build a large front against the growing Fascism at 1920.

    Why was important at that point to think about "future" societies? OK, dreaming about coming wonderful days is always motivating but, main reason was, they knew without carrying widely basis community their construct over them has no chance to survive.

    No, Marxists from the first hour were not naive, they experienced in their own lives that theory and practice are two different things. These Avant-garde lived mostly under very extremely conditions like arrest, torture, exile, poverty, losing their comrades, not to forget most of them came from privileged upper or middle class who were not very familiar such states. Many of them broke under those conditions or changed their sides. Survivors have to think about it and they decided, they are products of their own society with its moralities and values who are not very altruistic. So, they need another kind of human being, to fight and establish the socialist society, but sprout already at capitalist society. So called "new human" so to say.

    Besides the discussion about socialism, assuming the human nature never changes and stay always selfish is not logical. Approaching it to understand, may be ancient Roman society would be interesting to consider closely. Upper class was highly educated, very interested in arts and philosophy, convinced republicans and slavers! It was totally ok and having slaves was standard, they weren't seen as human, but some kind of objects as for us the our vacuum cleaner, not more. How did the humanity change this attitude? (unfortunately, still not everywhere, everyone)
    Economic system is changed and time, too much time..Marxists haven't time to wait and socialist states was besieged from enemies, did not even have a little chance to wait some generations, so they tried to quicken it, just like Mao's Culture Revolution, not wait its own dynamics and they made so brutally mistakes. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean we should forget about socialist ideas.

    Now, if we come back to Federation, with soo many cultures and life forms, how can you build a stabilized society form? How can you ensure your Charter will be accepted, respected or literally lived? It is a very long and painful process to build up the "Federation individual" analog to new human.
    As we see, Federation is not always successful in this manner:
    I think how they handle with Maquis is creepy.
    We have very idealized, sophisticated Picards, but also Rambo like Siskos.
    Female figures at TNG and DS9 are sometimes more archaic than 90's as the shows aired.
    and so on..
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
  15. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Marsden is very sad.
    This thread is no fun anymore.

     
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  16. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    ^^^
    What she said.
     
  17. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Is the 'problem' with Star Trek that the ban on human conflict in favour of allegorical conflict with aliens representing our worst failings that it let's us off the hook?

    That said, there are many, MANY flawed humans in TOS.
     
  18. C57D

    C57D Guest

    Surely that is a TNG "we are so perfect and enlightened" issue and not a TOS one?
    Plenty improved but still imperfect humans in TOS - both in the crew, and guest of the week.
    Which is one of the many reasons why I prefer TOS.
     
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  19. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, I agree , even Kirk oscillates between being enlightened and being gung-ho.

    I wonder how and why they made the changes to the Bible for TNG. They screwed themselves out if a ton of political intrigue stories, at least until the bajorans came along.
     
  20. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Frankly none of those would really apply in the Federation. It seemed to me the Federation, esp. on Earth, had found that perfect balance between government and individual rights. Socialism, capitalism and libertarianism weren't really even necessary from how we view it today. Sure, you could probably point to examples of all 3 in the Federation. But as they exist today, no, I think they would be anachronistic on Earth in the 23rd and 24th century.
     
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