Robert Beltran says the Prime Directive is 'fascist crap'

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by The Overlord, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Looks like Robert Beltran has been voicing some complaints about his time on Voyager, but the biggest thing he complained about was the Prime Directive, calling it fascist crap:

    http://www.cnet.com/news/star-trek-...-beltran-the-prime-directive-is-fascist-crap/

    I think he has a valid point about the Prime Directive, in the TOS era it comes off as a reasonable idea that can applied differently based on the situation, by the TNG era it has transformed into a fanatical doctrine that cannot be challenged and Voyager was no exception to that. The TNG era PD often seems to make the Federation look elitist and lacking in empathy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  2. Smoked Salmon

    Smoked Salmon Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Beltran has been whinging ever since he left the show, but having spent some time with him I don't think too much of it should be taken seriously. He's a bit of a wind up merchant.
     
    Anna Yolei likes this.
  3. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Perhaps so, but I still think he has a valid point on how the PD was applied on the TNG era shows.
     
  4. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    California, USA
    In TNG's "Symbiosis," Picard had this to say on the PD. This is a 1st Season episode, so this pronouncement is setting the table for what the Prime Directive is all about in 24th Century STAR TREK ...

    "The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules; it is a philosophy... and a very correct one. History has proven again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous."
     
  5. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Philosophy should have to adapt to accommodate different circumstances, otherwise its nothing more then dogma and that is often case with TNG era PD.

    If a civilization is destroyed, the results are disastrous and inferring is not likely to be worse for them then allowing them to die. We wouldn't think developed nations who help devolving nations deal with a natural disaster are being immoral, to help is the compassionate and thus the human thing to do.

    I think episode where the Federation thinks allowing an civilization to die, because that is their "evolutionary fate" makes the Federation look foolish at best; cold, unfeeling elitist and indifferent to suffering of others at worst. That does not seem enlightened, not in the least.

    There is a huge middle ground between allowing worlds to die and imposing your will by force, the Federation should occupy that middle ground, rather then going from one extreme or the other.
     
  6. Ghel

    Ghel Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    Generally, the Prime Directive can be a solid philosophy, which can essentially be boiled down to "don't interfere with DEVELOPING civilizations" This was miss-applied on several occasions--ex. to allow Picard or others to excuse not helping other dying cultures (generally for dramatic reasons such as so that someone else such as Worf could disobey orders and help someone anyway)-- but the principle of letting people govern themselves is sound.

    Beltran, on the other hand, is one actor I never had any respect for. He was more than happy to take seven years of pay checks for an acting job he so clearly despised, but still never misses a moment to criticize everyone around him in spite of the fact that he is a terrible actor. He constantly complained about the writers, acted with all of the depth of the paper his lines were written on, and then was surprised when other actors like Dwight Schultz, whose role was originally a bit part, were given more screen time than him. Guess what, Beltran, there's a very good reason why talented actors like Colm Meaney and Dwight Schultz roles got larger over the years and yours continually got smaller.
     
  7. Ghel

    Ghel Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    I blame the way TNG handles the Prime Directive more on the way Picard was written than anything else. He tended to be pretty elitist in many episodes of the series, from the application of the prime directive, to his stance on any religion in "Who Watches the Watchers." Picard also directly contradicts his own argument against Admiral Doherty in Insurrection in the episode "Journey's End." There was no "How many does it take" arguments in that episode. Rather, Picard was all, "sorry guys, eminent domain and such. We gave your homes away to the Cardassians and we are here to evict!!!"
     
  8. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Location:
    California, USA
    It comes down to taking on other people's problems. That's why we Humans engage in so much small talk and banal conversations all of the time. We don't want to cope with other people's issues. Unfortunately, I'm one who people come to, at the most inappropriate moment, to tell me the Secrets of their Souls. Why? I wish I knew. I REALLY wish I knew. I suspect it's because they know I don't really give a shit ... to deal with it, or talk to other people about it ... so, that makes me trustworthy. But that's just a guess.

    Still ... Humans, individually ARE like that. They don't want other people's problems. And that extends to their government. Look at the EU, with Greece bleeding it dry with its fiscal irresponsibility. No wonder the UK said "this is bullshit!" and got out, which was long overdue. Even with Africa, the UN has had to go in - several times, over the years - to get their shit together, because of these warlords and this kind of thing. Charity is sent but it never reaches them, because of that. A casual acquaintance of mine is an old(er) doctor who goes to missions to Africa. He's invited me to go, in the past, but I can't do business that way - I'd come home destitute! http://www.thosepeculiarjohnsons.org/ He's just a casual acquaintance, I assure you, but we've had some very interesting conversations.

    But in the made-up world of STAR TREK, the Federation - reportedly - does not use money. So ... what's the problem? Why have the PD, at all, if even 3rd World Galactic Toilets are guaranteed (!!!) never, ever to be a financial burden? Because, as you know, money isn't everything. Can these people handle being upgraded to Federation standards without eating eachother? How much of a pain in the ass are they going to be? What does the Federation hope to get out of this, besides being a Do-Gooder? Is this world strategically located? Do they have dilitium mines? How about acres and acres of beautiful beaches packed with hot women? None of that? For real? NONE of it? Well F-that! See? There's just too much involved in it to get involved with it in the show. It can go on and on and on ... and where's the entertainment in that? You know? Where's the song? The dance? The MAGIC in a BOTTLE???
     
    fireproof78 likes this.
  9. TalonCard

    TalonCard Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2014
    I've often wondered as well how humanity can possibly justify the Prime Directive when its own history and culture owes so much to outside alien interference. Kukulkan, the Greek gods, Gary Seven's employers, the Muse from DS9...heck, it's implied in Next Gen that the very existence of humanity was caused by aliens! Seems just a tad hypocritical; I'd love to see that aspect of Trek be addressed directly.

    TC
     
    Zonker likes this.
  10. Triskelion

    Triskelion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2008
    THANK YOU. Remember the mess hall banter about comparing boxing with Parisees Squares? Or some Maquis grumbling about the job, or the command choices? Just little moments like that are worth a thousand blinky buttons.

    Stop refraxillating the duotronic muffinberries already! How about some "The Maquis Way" divergences instead? Or even some romantic tension among the crew of this ship-in-a-bottle.

    Ha ha, there's something you don't hear every day.

    SF Debris has some really damning things to say about Chakotay's character source material, including some info about the show's Indian consultant turning out to be a total fraud. I believe it was in the review of Tattoo. The producers wanted vagueness as well, of course, so as not to get bogged down in tribal differences; but you can see where the characterization of Chakotay would suffer as a result. It also didn't help that Janeway had to win every argument or die trying.

     
  11. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Except shouldn't the Federation be more enlightened then humans today? Besides the cheap drama of Worf or Data going behind Picard's back to save some dying civilization and Picard ending up agreeing with them in the end, became really played out and made Picard look like a fool, that tried old cliche should have been retired long ago. The entertainment can be seeing Picard and the crew managing to save a civilization without them knowing it, rather then Picard saying some alien civilization dying is not his problem and getting mad at people who actually doing something proactive. I like proactive heroes and the PD when written wrong prevents people from being proactive heroes.

    I mean if we apply this logic to other franchises, Superman shouldn't stop natural disasters or stop aliens from blowing up the Earth, because that interferes with humanity's natural evolution, the Zack Snyder Superman who doesn't save people is right. Spider-Man did the right thing by letting that burglar get away, it was simply his uncle's fate to be murdered that night by that burglar and Spider-Man is doing the wrong thing by helping people and fighting crime. See how neither of those things works, people consume optimistic fiction because they want to see people who are sympathetic and do the right thing, not people who decide doing the right thing is just too hard and give up without trying.

    I also don't have the view that humans only ever act selfishly, I think humans can be altruistic at times, so sometimes when richer countries get involved with poorer countries its for the right reasons and sometimes they do it for the wrong reasons. I think you get good fiction out of people using common sense and acting altruistically.

    The PD was becoming a an Ayn Rand argument by the TNG era, that compassion is the source of all evil and engaging in sink or swim, survival of the fittest logic is the only way to go.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
    Tracy Trek and Gov Kodos like this.
  12. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2004
    Location:
    Gov Kodos on Mohammed's Radio, WZVN Boston
    Humans are a developing society so they should refrain from contacting potentially superior races and fouling up natural Human development.
     
  13. KelisThePoet

    KelisThePoet Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    The trouble with most of the arguments made against the Prime Directive is that they rest on the assumption that the heroes or the writers or the audience members get to decide what's right and everybody else has to accept it. If something is right or good for or compassionate toward a civilization, why not do it? The simple answer is that the powerful Federation cannot and should not dictate what is right or good for a less powerful alien civilization with an unequal say in the matter. Recall that the Prime Directive was originally a part of the original Star Trek, and that series frequently used the Federation to investigate, critique and satirize the interference of global superpowers in less powerful regions of the world during the Cold War.

    The trouble with many of the arguments for the Prime Directive is that these arguments treat less powerful alien civilizations like proto-Federation members. The very term "pre-warp society," rather than "non-warp society," is telling in its condescension. To many Star Trek characters justify the Prime Directive as a way to allow alien societies to evolve normally, with the implication that normal evolution will always lead to a more human, Federation-like world. Thus the Prime Directive becomes a paternalistic way of passive-aggressively coaxing the rest of the universe into humanity, rather than what it should be, a warning to powerful humans to mind their own business in a big, diverse universe.
     
    somebuddyx and Catarina like this.
  14. JeffinOakland

    JeffinOakland Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Think of Starfleet as National Geographic journalists circa 1970's and the aliens as African villagers.
     
  15. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    I think he's definitely on to something. The worst example of the prime directive happens ironically before it was even made. It's Archer letting millions of people die with a good conscience.
     
    Anna Yolei and Phoenix219 like this.
  16. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    "Sure we could show these people how to dig wells and tell them about crops that would result in better nutrition, but that would get in the way of Pulitzer Prize winning photos of starving babies covered in flies."
     
  17. urbandefault

    urbandefault Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2013
    Location:
    Sickbay, dammit.
    As much as some of the Voyager folks complain(ed) about their jobs, it didn't seem to bother them to collect the paychecks.
     
  18. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    I fail to see the relation. If was unhappy about my job, I certainly wouldn't do it for free.
     
    Papermoon likes this.
  19. stardream

    stardream Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Location:
    in the Time Wave
    Those frauds used to be a lot more prevalent but with the rise of the internet it's hard for someone to declare that they are 'Chief so and so' or a 'true descendant of Geronimo'.

    Those of us who are of Native American descent knew perfectly well going in that they would not get the 'Indian' parts right. They rarely do. I can't speak for anyone else but I would not have been the least offended if they had stated outright that Chakotay is Navajo or any other tribe, done their research and just gone with that. They didn't need to represent my particular nation.
     
    fireproof78 and psCargile like this.
  20. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    On the other hand, the only way not to offend any particular group was to talk about an imaginary Indian tribe, with imaginary customs.


    that said, I know that they got loads and loads of things wrong. Like the fact that dream catchers are for children only and therefore you don't give them to adults who are having a house warming party.