Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genocide?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Gaius, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci


    pretty much. Though I suppose that Kevin could have voluntarily submitted to Federation justice and his potential punishment. Still, he could have then left whenever he wanted.
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Possessing a fake ID doesn't make you a American citizen. And did anyone ever intimate that Uxbridge was a Federation citizen?

    :cool:
     
  3. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Location:
    USA
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    When I first watched the episode years ago, I was following along and wondered if the alien would turn himself in, because I saw NO way to try it in a court of law...they surprised the hell out of me by having Picard make the unique and spectacularly logical decision to not attempt to bring the alien to justice. While normally I would consider genocide a terrible crime, extenuating circumstances often can moderate any kind of decision a court would make in this case (and often people and courts judge criminals differently if they show any kind of remorse), but in reality....there is NO way to enforce the law anyway. Out on a starship the captain is often judge and jury, and in this case, I find the decision to be appropriate.
     
  4. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Location:
    Trekker4747
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    He did seem willing to submit to whatever punishment they wanted to dish out, he felt guilty enough over what had happened.

    I still think he "willed" the Husnock out of existence (that's how I inferred it) and has Q-like powers. Though it's a case of Star Trek having so many aliens out there with this level of powers. I mean there's a race of aliens out there who with a single, stray, thought in a moment of rage can just cause an entire species to vanish?! And they can't un-do that?! (Even Q seemed able to "un-do" the stuff he created.)

    And, again, I think he "willed" it to happen. I doubt he picked up a fiery sword and marched across the galaxy and personally slain each and every of those aliens I think he saw the dead body of his wife, got really angry and just thought the aliens completely away.

    As Picard says, that's a lot to grasp and punish for and there's no means to do so. How do you punish a being capable of doing something like that? And, hell, if the Husnock were such and evil force the Federation might even be okay with it. (Remember, this same Federation theoretically would have been okay with the genocide of The Borg and The Founders.)

    Hell, you could say that the guy living out the rest of his existence, alone, on an isolated planet living in a manufactured fantasy is "punishment enough." It seemed implied to me at the end that, possibly, the planet would have been made off-limits in order to leave the Douwd "alone."
     
  5. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Just around the bend.
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Well, based on the fact that he couldn't even bring his wife back to true "life" points to him being less powerful than the Q. So I have no problem with him being unable to think the Husnock back into existence.

    Destruction is much easier than creation.
     
  6. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Location:
    Trekker4747
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    It's just such an odd thing that he can destroy so much with a thought but not create, though he can create realistic illusions. Seems like something doesn't quite agree there.
     
  7. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Just around the bend.
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    ^Why? It's real easy for the average person to wreck a car. How many people can build one?

    Like I said, destruction is much easier than creation.
     
  8. JB2005

    JB2005 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Honestly, you're holding the body of your dead wife in your arms, and you wish death upon the person who did it...it's hardly an unreasonable reaction.

    Kevin had been living as a human for decades, so in that moment he reacted not as a Dowd but as a human - the problem was that the human emotion manifested as Dowd powers...

    There was no mental intent, at best it would be voluntary manslaughter...
     
  9. Gaius

    Gaius Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    I am not missing the point. Of course it would have been foolish trying to imprison the Douwd right away. However, as I pointed out, Picard went up in flames for smaller harrassments of the Q, sometimes even threatening retribution. So there is an incosistency in the series. Picard should have something like this:

    'I am shocked to hear about your actions. Even though we are not powerful enough to be your judges, we have laws to fit your crime. Should you voluntarily submit yourself to justice, we would order your to a solitary exile in a distant corner of the galaxy, out of Federation space.'
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Isn't that basically what happened, though? "Uxbridge" lives in exile - whether it was self-imposed or not doesn't matter when the result is the same.

    Exile to a distant corner of the galaxy, though? Better to keep him in Federation-controlled space, to prevent accidental encounters with him by others (e.g., Klingons, Romulans, etc).
     
  11. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Just around the bend.
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Do you have an example of this? I don't recall one time where Picard as a federation representative threatened Q.
    That just sounds stupid. What is Picard going to do when Dowd says "no"? Picard would not have backed himself into a corner like that.

    Again, threatening all powerful beings is pointless when it's not out right foolish.
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Isn't that basically what happen? Without the Federation being the ones "ordering you?"

    Uxbridge was in solitary exile, being punish by his own conscience and ethics. It's unclear if his powers include being able to travel between stars, so he may be effectively trapped upon Rana Four.

    A far as "outside of Federation space," we know from the example of Journey's End that Federation colonies are sometimes located outside of the Federation's boundaries, so the Delta Rana system might also be outside.

    :)

    (Edit, missed Pavonis's post, he already said some of this)

    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Great minds. We have 'em. :)
     
  14. TerragonSix

    TerragonSix Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Location:
    In The South
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Main point would be, so what if he agreed to Federations justice, was sentenced to death... He was just create an illusion that they killed him, and would assume another identity, most likely to go to an isolated planet and be left alone.

    If a being can wipe out an entire race with a thought, what might you think he could do to the Federation? With a simple thought, he could destroy the entire Federation. Easily. As a matter of fact, he tried to reign in his powers, even when the race he killed was blowing up the planet, he did not want to kill anyone. But with everyone gone, his wife dead, he had the ability to stop it but couldn't do it...

    He thinks about his wife and anger builds up..

    Then, in less than a nanosecond, an entire race is wiped out.

    What would you have Picard say? The Dowd could've simply blew up the Enterprise as a minor annoyance. He didn't.

    It reminds me of a similar episode from TOS "Where No Man Has Gone Before". The difference was that in 'The Survivors', it was a powerful being masquerading as a man. In 'Where No Man', it was a man that was granted super powers like that of a divine entity.
     
  15. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    The very concept of punishment for wrongdoing starts from the assumption that there exists a party for which might makes right, a party capable of imposing sanctions. If you don't control might, you don't control right, either. The Douwd's morals would by their very definition be superior to Picard's whenever the two were conflicted.

    Picard raging at his superior would be little different from a burglar ranting that he had the right to break the window and take the stuff and the law is all wrong. "The law" is the decision of the empowered party (in a democracy, theoretically the majority), and it is rarely in the interests of the law to cater for the minority opinion because that would go against the very idea of enforcing a common set of rules.

    On the other hand, burglary is something that's automatically a minority crime: with no effort at all, one can form a majority that successfully opposes burglary as a practice. Genocide in turn is something all the significant political powers of Trek are capable of - but even if they gang up on a single perp, they will be hard pressed to prevent said perp from committing. Somebody like Uxbridge or Soran or Nero can slip through the cracks easily enough. When the means to oppose de facto are lacking, the morals won't easily translate into jus...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  16. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Location:
    Trekker4747
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Given everything we know about the Federation I severely doubt they have a death penalty. Hell, it's doubtful they have prisons and something much more... "humane" and designed for rehabilitation.

    (And, yes, I realize that TOS said that there was still a death penalty for visiting the planet in "The Cage" (and IIRC it was the only DP law still standing) but I think that is absurd even given what we know about that planet and chalk it up to TOS just not fulling fleshing out it's ideas and the background of its universe. I remain steadfast in my idea that there's no death penalty for anything in Trek's future and the penal system is something radically different.)
     
  17. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Just around the bend.
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    Wasn't Tom Paris released from a "prison"?
     
  18. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Location:
    Trekker4747
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    It's just that, though, it was a "prison." But it seemed to be more of a work colony or something. No doubt they have "facilities" where criminals are contained and kept out of society as a whole but I doubt they're "prisons" in the way we currently think of them.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    The facility was called a "penal settlement"; the mental care facilities used for treating criminals in TOS were "penal colonies". It would be easy to argue that they were the same thing: not torture facilities aimed at making the inmates suffer from freedom deprivation, but brainwashing centers aimed at keeping the patients within reach during the treatment.

    TOS mentioned two types of apparent Starfleet death penalty, stating with both of them that they were "the only one in the books" and indicating that these things come and go as needed. "The Ultimate Computer" alluded to a moral code where the punishment of murder is death, but we got no indication that this code would have practical applications: the murder perp in question certainly wasn't put to death. TNG "Justice" then established that capital punishment had been abandoned by the 2360s.

    It's fairly futuristic overall - but DS9 took a step backward in sending Richard Bashir to jail for a sentence of predetermined duration, apparently for the purpose of freedom deprivation torture. At least it couldn't be for keeping him from continuing a criminal career, as his crime was of a specific one-off nature. And if Garak's genocidal tendencies could be cured in six months, then Bashir probably wouldn't have to spend several years incarcerated for the purpose of curing his urge to buy illegal genetic treatments for kids...

    I wonder... Could Kevin Uxbridge have been subjected to the death penalty? He survived the Husnock attack (assuming he wasn't lying about everything), but one'd think that in his deeply depressed mood, he would agree to lowering his defenses and in essence committing suicide by proxy.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Just around the bend.
    Re: Is the Prime Directive preventing Star Fleet from punishing genoci

    ^Don't forget that punishment for a crime not only punishes the offender but also serves as threat to would-be transgressors. If you don't punish a "one off" crime like Bashir's, why would anyone else follow that law?

    Laws without punishment are nothing.