Spoilers [Season 1] The morality of the Federation's decision

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Picard' started by Charles Phipps, May 9, 2022.

  1. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Am I a bad person? Because I feel like Picard's righteous indignation was a little strange. The Federation built an enormous fleet to evacuate everyone and then it was burned to the ground along with one of their planets destroyed.

    I feel like that doesn't need, "and a bunch of worlds would leave the Federation if we continue" to justify not doing more.

    They did a massive effort to help and all the relief material was destroyed with lots of people dying in the process.

    That doesn't even read like realpolitic. It's like, "A guy empties his pockets and bank account for someone, is mugged on the way over to hand it over, and is then told he's a monster for not doing it again."

    Yet I know people who react to it as if the Federation is irredeemably evil and it ruined Picard for them.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
  2. The_Baron

    The_Baron Captain Captain

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    Picard threw his toys out of the pram.

    But - in a way I see why. Righteous indignation was always a part of his character. He had a very strong will when it came to what he saw as a the right thing to do.

    And, in the tng era the Federation would very likely have doubled down on their efforts to save the romulans even after what happened on Mars.

    But this isn't that Federation. This is a Federation that's been in all out war with the Dominion, harangued by the Borg, faced a terrorist attack by Shinzon. As well as having become aware of threats such as Species 8472.

    They'd been naive, and learned the hard way that the galaxy is a far more dangerous place than they'd believed.

    The attack on Mars was yet more proof of that, so their response is entirely understandable - even moreso if they'd been aware at the time that it was a Romulan behind it.

    Picard was still stuck in that golden age where morality and diplomacy solve everything. The Federation saw the reality of the galaxy.
     
  3. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well the analogy is not really accurate, the bank account is not emptied.

    It's more like: There is a billionaire, that fames himself for being enlightened and always generous to everyone that needs help. Then some person he knew gets terminally ill and can only be cured by an incredibly expensive 10M dollar machine. So, the billionaire generously promises to save the other person and buys the machine. He then sends one of his trustees with his personal slave to deliver the machine, but sadly, before arriving, the slave kills the trustee, himself and the machine.
    Shocked by this, the billionaire says "Well, I tried once and that has to be enough to prove that I am a good guy... also I will make sure that all slaves and everyone that is remotely similar to the slave will be killed!"
     
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  4. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno, I feel that's dismissive to an entire planet being destroyed. There's 150 worlds in the Federation and now there's 149. A third of Idaho being destroyed for a comparison or maybe all of Rhode Island since it's right next to New York (Earth).

    It's also the Federation's largest and most important shipyards. Oh and the vast number of ships requiring years to construct and building a super-elite robot force to do so. They had to evacuate all of Mars to do it too and 100x as many people died as Wolf 359 anyway.

    A reminder also the robots are non-sentient.
     
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  5. Ray Hardgrit

    Ray Hardgrit Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It seems to me if a bunch of people are trapped on a doomed planet and the Federation's rescue fleet blows up, the moral thing for them to do would be to ask themselves 'well, what else can we do?' instead of just throwing up their hands and giving up. And the Federation's morality is a big part of their brand.
     
  6. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I see the trustee as analogy to the destroyed shipyard/planet and lives. Although I might have had the idea that "trustee" means someone the billionaire trusts. So, please figure the trustee as one of the inner circle of the billionaire. Normally, you don't have 150 of these. So, losing one is a big deal. Is there probably a better word for that than "trustee"?
     
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  7. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I mean, I guess I actually am seeing one person a weird analogy. I'd say killing the trustee, the trustee's family, all of the workers on the project, and a bunch of innocent bystanders too. In which case, yes, I think the billionaire not wanting to restart the project makes a bit more sense.

    I suppose a more interesting question is how much of the Federation's resources is tied up in this evacuation because that's a rather difficult question to ask in a (mostly) post-scarcity society. They can't just magic up a new fleet even according to Picard but he has a plan to try to use older ships to evacuate a fraction of the previous evacuees so apparently this was a massive blow to them no matter what.

    Mind you, I believe Picard's anger is also projection because HE gave up too. He resigned from Starfleet and then didn't go to Rom, Martok (I would have loved to have seen that scene), or any other parties to try to get as many Romulans away.
     
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  8. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Yeah, but then you also have to replace the terminally ill person by billions of terminally ill persons/families.
    In the given analogy, the trustee stands in for a lot less people than the ill person stands in for...

    Note: "Innocent bystanders". I think it's weird to call them "innocent", since all of the mentioned people are "innocent" - or in what way wouldn't you call the trustee "innocent"?
     
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  9. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm entirely okay with that. What I'm getting into is the question of how much of a traumatic blow this was to Federation psychology, resources, and morale. No one is disputing that saving a billion people is a good thing, It's more a question about what is the expectation and level of anger that should exist if someone suffers their own horrific tragedy that prevents them from doing more.

    Mind you, I suppose it's also a question of how inhabited Mars is in the 25th century. Is it like the Expanse and an entire planet that needs to be evacuated or is it just the shipyards and most of the inhabitants of extra-solar habitats are on the Moon (Riker says its heavily populated in First Contact).

    I suppose emotionally, I feel Picard is victim blaming here.
     
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  10. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well, the tragedy does factually not prevent them from doing more. They actively decide not to help anymore. You can say that this decision is driven by fear or trauma or whatever, but it still is what it is.
    And it is quite obvious that the Federation does not live up to their promises.

    What? Isn't "victim blaming" to say that the victim is partially responsible for the incident?

    (If my understanding of the term "victim blaming" is correct) In this case victim blaming would mean if someone would say
    "F*** the inhabitants of Mars, they invited being killed by building a rescue fleet!" or
    "F*** the Romulans, they invited their star to go supernove with their provocative behavior!"
    I am pretty sure Picard does not say any such thing in season 1.

    Edit: I replaced two words with "F***" (now using stars). I am not sure, whether writing the actual words is welcome here, so sorry, if it is not welcome.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
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  11. Anduinel

    Anduinel Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, victim blaming is saying that the victim invited the attack (for example, "Look at what you were wearing, ma'am. Do you really expect us to believe you told him no? You sure you're not just having morning after regrets?"). In this case, it's Picard insisting the Federation keep their word to the best of their ability, despite the change in circumstances, and the Federation saying the change is big enough that they don't feel that's feasible.

    I'm applauding neither party in this instance. The Federation decided to drop its ideals in favor of taking the easy road. But Picard did the same. If he was willing to deep six his career anyway over the rescue effort, he could have done it while using his influence to save a few people. Hell, he could have at least gone back for Elnor and made a difference to that one person. But he sulked off back to his vineyard for fourteen years instead.
     
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  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The sad truth of the matter is the Federation's decision after the destruction of Mars is perfectly logical. The Romulan Evacuation was already a controversial issue with fourteen member worlds threatening to leave the Federation over it. But then with the destruction of the Starfleet's primary shipyard, priorities very much needed to be shifted. With shipbuilding abilities severely restricted for likely the next few decades, Starfleet had to focus more on defense without the luxury of a large scale charity effort. And likewise, the Federation can't afford to lose fourteen member worlds at a time when it needs all the strength and unity it can get.

    Picard's reaction to all this stems more from the fact that he's always been an idealist as opposed to a realist, and seeing harsh reality stomp over his idealism breaks and disillusions him.
     
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  13. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I still don't see where the victim blaming is in the Picard case.
    For your example: the woman is the victim. The harmful, criminal action is rape. The central idea of victim blaming is: The action was done by someone else, but the victim is blamed.
    So, in the Picard case: Who is the victim? What is the harmful action?
     
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  14. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Well the sad truth is: At least with equal legitimation, one could say that this analysis "stems from being an anti-help-ideologist as opposed to a realist". We don't have any numbers of actual federation resource capacities or any proof that there are actually any of these felt "practical constraints".

    The "we can't afford to help"-narrative is a good and easy story, but it is not more than that, it is a story told by people in Starfleet with an anti-help agenda.
    So, the statement "we are too covered up in our own needs" is at least equally naive and realism-averse as the statement "we can help whenever and whatever we want".

    In any case, only looking at the actual facts of the actual situation can determine which of these statements is less or more realistic.

    And for this case, the only real fact we have is that Picard presented a fully-worked out plan with actual existing resources that could have been carried out.
    So given this information, l tend to think that here actually Picard's position was more realistic than the "we can't afford to help"-narrative presented by the people in Starfleet with anti-help agenda.
     
  15. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I see it as an allegory. The Federation Council saw the members threatening to leave and they decided to put the Federation First. The allegory here being to Putting America First.

    Picard is on the opposite side saying the Federation should offer aid and protection. "We're trying to save lives." "Romulan lives." "No, lives." Then Picard gets upset, calls the reporter out on not knowing her history, and ends the interview. It's the equivalent of Picard being on FOX News, they tried to set him up in a way that favors their political narrative, he saw where this was going and left.

    Why did he even want to do the interview in the first place? Probably to stare the enemy in the eye for all to see. And he didn't perceive the enemy as the Romulans. He perceived the enemy as those who don't want to help others.

    In the process: he threw Starfleet under the bus, because he was still bitter about the disagreement between him and Starfleet Command and the fact that they actually went through with accepting his resignation because they chose the equivalent of Xenophobia over helping people.

    The Federation's main problem with the Romulans, I think, is that they didn't stay allies after DS9 ended. And even trying to improve relations after NEM probably didn't even really go anywhere. So, the Federation probably decided, "We just saved the Quadrant together and this is how you still treat us? Fuck you!" And that led to them thinking, "From now on we're putting the Federation first!"
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
  16. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Good point. The Picard in PIC, season 1, did not nearly have the integrity of the Picard in TNG.
     
  17. Norad

    Norad Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Good analysis. With the important distinction that "Federation" in this slogan only stands for the lifeforms living in the Federation, but betraying the very principles that the Federation actually stood for.
     
  18. Anduinel

    Anduinel Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm not agreeing that there was victim blaming, I'm agreeing that the term doesn't apply. Picard wasn't saying that the Federation brought the attack on themselves, he was trying to get them to adhere to their promise to support a rescue effort.
     
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  19. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, the Federation would normally have offered no aid but they did so the post-Dominion War Federation was willing to overlook the "internal matter" of the Romulans and do a lot of humanitarian aid regardless of the Prime Directive.

    (I think people overly romanticize the TNG Federation)

    I used the term "victim blaming" because Picard seems wholly unconcerned about the Martian victims versus the Romulan ones. It feels like his attitude is monofocused and shows a marked lack of sympathy for the trauma endured by the Federation or how it might shift priorities.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Federation couldn't have continued the rescue effort even if they wanted to. The rescue fleet was wiped out, the remainder of their forces probably couldn't have made a :censored:ing dent in the evacuation, and there was no chance that a completely new fleet could be built in so short a time.

    I mean, Archer Spacedock is still centuries away, so it's not like Starfleet can simply replicate a fleet at the touch of a button...

    So I don't really see why the Federation is suddenly the bad guy here. :confused:
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2022
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