Robert Beltran says the Prime Directive is 'fascist crap'

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

  1. JeffinOakland

    JeffinOakland Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Maybe the question should be: Is Starfleet there to do "the right thing"? Whatever that right thing is. Save civilizations. Emancipate slaves. Kill false gods. Rescue primitives from themselves. Spread peace, love and synth ale. Or is Starfleet really just a bunch of glorified future sociologists. Look, record, and leave.
     
    Phoenix219 likes this.
  2. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    I think that should be an exception written into the PD, so we can stop all the needless debates on a moral question I think is obvious, should the Federation help civilizations that are about be destroyed by a natural disaster? Yes, so stop debating something that is so obvious, because I have not seen one good moral argument about letting a civilization die because of a natural disaster.


    Except you just agreed that there should be intervention to save people from natural disasters, which is what Data is usually doing, why should Data be punished for putting compassion in a pretty clear black and white circumstance, over adherence to orthodoxy?


    Because people want proactive heroes, not people who moan and complain and look for excuses to do nothing in the face disaster.


    If the main captains generally do right thing under the circumstances, shouldn't we trust their judgment, rather then demand the PD hold their hands at all times.



    They said in the film PD doesn't apply to the Ba'Ku.

    I think helping to cure diseases and advance medical science goes far beyond personal advantage.

    But here is the problem with that movie, why didn't someone just ask the Ba'Ku if they were willing to leave the planet? Because if they said no, they would look like elitist jerks and there would be no movie, that is why.

    I am not saying removing them by force is the right thing to do, but I do not see the harm in simply asking them this question and if they were not elitist jerks, wouldn't they want to help others, even if they are no longer immortal in the process.

    I don't think you use a movie that flawed to prove your point, there are so many plot holes in that film.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    King Daniel Beyond
    I agree with Robert Beltran.
     
  4. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    There has been a fair bit of talk about letting people use their best judgement when intervening with a culture in trouble. As long as it's done with good intentions right? Let's check on a case study shall we?
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Generations
    Look at the contemporary justification:
    "an assumption that the Aboriginals were dying off. Given their catastrophic population decline after white contact, whites assumed that the full-blood tribal Aboriginal population would be unable to sustain itself, and was doomed to inevitable extinction."

    There are several other justifications of varying levels of racism. However, it's what society considered the right thing to do at the time. There is no hindsight when making a moral judgment. The prime directive prevents misguided interference by forbidding all interference.
     
  5. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Except a lot of people criticized Western countries for doing nothing to stop the Rwandan genocide, so clearly there some cases where people say we should intervene and a lot of people said racial bias is one of the big reasons western countries did nothing to stop the Rwandan genocide. You can't have one size fits all solutions. Plus if the Federation is better then humans today, shouldn't racism not be a factor in their decisions.

    Plus how people think its wrong for First World countries to give aid to developing countries when they are hit by natural disasters, people who oppose that seem callous, not enlightened.

    If you want to say the PD prevents the Federation from being imperialistic jerks, someone else can say the PD, in its most extreme form, makes the Federation seem like spoiled first world countries who look down on developing countries and are indifferent to their suffering, so that street goes both ways. To me being enlightened is somewhere in between those extremes.

    Instead of seeming enlightened, the PD in its extreme form, comes off as some Ayn Rand philosophy argument, that states empathy is wrong and you shouldn't go out of your way to help anyone, that doesn't seem like what the Federation should be based on.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
  6. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    The Federation wouldn't be racist as we understand it, but they could have some other unproductive assumption that wouldn't be recognized until a couple of generations later.

    This isn't a direct response to your point about disaster aid, but it reminded me that even today there research that indicates things like clothing donation to Africa undercuts the local economy thereby doing greater harm in the long run. Good intentions with bad results.

    Your definition of enlightened is just that, your definition. There is no objective measure. Someone else managed to convince the Federation that a truly enlightened policy is letting worlds deal with and grow from their own problems, with out letting your emotions goad you into interfering. Sounds like a Vulcan came up with it, when I phrase it like that. Your Ayn Rand comparison seems apt.

    I agree there should be an exception to the prime directive for natural disasters but only if they are truly natural and external. if they are wrecking their own planet they have to live with the consequences. Tough love and all that. And they really should do it without the aliens knowing about it. I'm going to assume the Federation has had to deal with creating a dependent culture after swooping in and saving the day. They would never try to solve a problem themselves again if they expect the Feds to save them. That's how to kill a culture with kindness.
     
    Paradise City likes this.
  7. φ of π

    φ of π Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Location:
    Unimatrix √-1
    Pre-Warp civilizations that are facing extinction due to natural disasters only have themselves to blame for not having Warp Drive and being enlightened enough for the Federation to help them.

    That's how the Prime Directive works, right?
     
  8. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    You can make the opposite argument and say that there could be good unforeseen consequences to Federation's intervention, it really depends on the circumstances of each case.

    To me, people have to make the best decisions they can with the information they have, people who constantly worry about "what might happen" are not going to be the best explorers. If you are worried about "what might happen" all the time, you might as well stay home and hide under your bed, rather then exploring the galaxy, because the very act of exploring the galaxy could cause unintended consequences.


    But is the possibility of somewhat undercutting the local economy with aid, means Western countries should never offer aid to developing countries hit by natural disasters?


    Except the Federation is supposed to be better then today's humans and frankly callousness is just as bad an attribute as greed and when the PD is taken to an extreme, it comes off as callous. If future humans are supposed to be better then humans today, they should embrace callousness as a virtue. An ideology that makes compassion a vice and callousness a virtue, makes people less human, not more. It reminds of Republicans who say people should be kicked off welfare, because they are becoming dependent on it, but don't consider why people are on welfare in the first place or do anything to give them the tools to get off welfare on their own.

    The only thing I am arguing is the Federation should save civilizations from natural disasters, I don't want to see another episode where a natural disaster will wipe out a planet and a captain is arguing that trying to save these people would somehow "ruin" them and use the PD as an excuse to do nothing.

    I don't mind the Federation staying out of civil wars or not trying to overthrow every dictatorship in the universe, but the natural disasters thing is a line I am sticking to.
     
  9. Pegaritaville

    Pegaritaville Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2002
    Location:
    On the 'Croix
    Or just stated- one little sentence- that he was from numerous native backgrounds and that's why his backstory and beliefs were so effed up. I'm Dakota and Chippewa (1/2 Chippewa, 1/8 Dakota), so by the the 24th century I wouldn't be surprised if Chakotay was a bit of a mix. But there was no explanation whatsoever of why he "borrowed" from cultures all over the continent.

    As for the original topic, I gotta agree. The Prime Directive as presented in the 24th century was too vague, arbitrary and elitist.
     
    stardream likes this.
  10. UssGlenn

    UssGlenn Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I always assumed Chakotay was from the Native American planet created by the Preservers. Spock stated that the culture there seemed to be an amalgamation IIRC.
     
    Phoenix219 likes this.
  11. Tracy Trek

    Tracy Trek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Location:
    Terra, Sol 3
    I agree, there should not be a debate about helping them in the case of natural disasters. I fail to see how saving them is going to ruin them if they are going to be utterly destroyed anyway. You can't get much more ruined than that.

    I do think every effort should be made to help covertly though.
     
  12. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2001
    Location:
    Lynx Empire
    When it comes to Chakotay, it's sad that they messed up his background story. Instead of that silly "Rubbertree people, Sky Spirits" drivel, they should have come up with a real tribe, let's say the Mayans, done some research and stuck to that. Unfortunately, Hollywood has a bad habit of going for stereotypes and sometimes they even mess that up. I watched an episode of Hawaii 5 0 recently where the main assassin was said to be Bulgarian, however this Bulgarian's name was taken from two Slovak hockey players.

    As for planets inhabited by Native Americans, there seem to be at least three of them. We had that planet in TOS where Kirk encountered a Native American settlement, then we had Dorvan V in TNG which I actually thought was Chakotay's homeworld until I read "Pathways" and found out that Chakotay's homeworld was Trebus.

    As for the Prime Directive itself, I can understand its purpose which forbids the Federation to meddle with pre-warp societies. But if I were a Starfleet captain and discovered that a planet with a peaceful population was threatened by a giant comet on a collision course, I would tell my crewmembers to look the other way when I blasted the comet to fragments. :techman:
     
  13. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2016
    Unless the pre-warp society has natural resource the Federation wants access to, or a crew is in need of shore leave, then the PD goes out the nearest air lock.

    It might be interesting to discuss when legitimately the PD does not apply to a primitive culture. Instead of ascribing such incidents to either bad writing or a breaking of the PD, the PD could take into account conditions where it would need to be set aside or simply wouldn't apply.

    The culture in TOS Friday's Child would seem to not only be pre-warp drive, but they were also pre-industrial.
    After Picard returns to the surface and sent the Enterprise away, he fully explained the situation to the Baku. If the Baku were going to volunteer to leave, that would have been the time.
    The Western countries did played a major role in the ending of apartheid in South Africa, so it not like the West never stepped into African politics. Just not every time.
     
  14. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    It's true that if Chakotay was a Mayan. His whole story might have been a bit more believable.
     
  15. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    There is one big rule in film, show don't tell. Show me this. The reason why don't show it is because it would make the Ba'Ku look like jerks.
     
  16. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    Except when it's a low budget film, in which case there is a lot of tell-don't-show.
     
  17. The Overlord

    The Overlord Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    That's not really relevant to the point I was making, important dialogue scenes that inform the plot should always be on screen, if the Ba'ku saying no is important, it should not happen off screen. What you are talking about works for stuff like Jaws, where the shark is off screen for a lot of the film because it builds up to the shark's appearance, but in a film that is about a moral dilemma, relevant dialogue to the plot has to stay on screen.
     
  18. locutus101

    locutus101 Vice Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    I agree.
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ History's Greatest Monster Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    Covington, Ky. USA
    My interpretation is that you don't interfere with events that they control. They have to go through growing pains. But they can't go through those growing pains if an asteroid they don't know exists, kills them all.
     
  20. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Location:
    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    It's a death sentence for the Baku to leave Baku.

    A prolonged sentence, but cashing in Immortality for no recompense is a big ask.