What are your controversial Star Trek opinions?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Amasov, Jun 20, 2020.

  1. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, that's gonna depend on what the adjective modifying the noun is gonna be, isn't it?

    When you say "Federation ambassador," do you mean "Ambassador of the United Federation of Planets to X," or do you mean, "Ambassador of Federation Member X to the United Federation of Planets," or do you mean, "Ambassador of Non-Federation State X to the United Federation of Planets?" Because that's gonna tell you who the ambassador works for.

    Like, I think we can all agree that the ambassador of a foreign state to the Federation has no authority over Starfleet. Similarly, I have a lot of trouble imagining that the ambassador of a Federation Member State to the Federation would have authority over Starfleet, because ultimately, that ambassador does not work for the Federation -- they work for the individual Federation Member rather than the UFP as a whole.

    To me, it makes far more sense to assume that only ambassadors of the Federation itself would have any legal authority over Starfleet, in specific circumstances. And I think it makes sense that in an interstellar state where real-time or near-real-time communication with the Federation government is not always possible, the Federation might legally empower some of its ambassadors to make certain foreign policy decisions on behalf of the Federation in specific circumstances.
     
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  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Federation of even just Starfleet on its own could have the authority to place an ambassador (of any of a variety of types) into the chain of command for a particular mission, where they would not otherwise be all the time, for other missions.

    it could be a perk of members for the Federation to have this authority, to give members voices in how certain missions are carried out.
     
  3. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Was that before or after Scotty murdered the prostitute on Argelius II?
     
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  4. Ovation

    Ovation Admiral Admiral

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    Before.
     
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  5. cooleddie74

    cooleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Same year in-universe but a season earlier in the series.
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There'd've been an audio-visual record of the events like we saw in "Court Martial," only legitimate.
     
  7. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commodore Commodore

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    Why not?

    As long as these democracies are not oppressive to their people, what’s the big deal?
     
  8. Shawnster

    Shawnster Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How long of a term limit is too long to be considered a democracy?
     
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  9. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The one thing that makes me hesitant to call a system that elects somebody for life truly democratic is that I think it would give too little power to the opposition and too little chance for them to get into power.
    Plus there's there's several dangers of electing somebody for life; it basically gives them a free run to do whatever they like and even if their intentions are benevolent in the beginning, a person can change during their lifetime and the person in power 40 years later might not be the same person the populace voted for (let alone that in the meantime a good portion of the planet's populace would have grown into adulthood and never had a say in who governs them)

    Imagine your planet requires you to be 18 to vote. You are 17 when the new king/queen gets elected, the new monarch is fairly young and lives to an advanced age, eventually dying 50 years later. You are now 67 and only now you are allowed to vote for the first time, up until then you had no say. That's just not very democratic.
     
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  10. Tallguy

    Tallguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One man. One vote. One time.
     
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  11. Citiprime

    Citiprime Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sarek seems to serve as both, which is part of the reason why I think the Federation uses the title of "ambassador" for Federation Council positions. He's referred to as the "ambassador from Vulcan" in TOS' "Journey To Babel," but he also seems to have a position and vote on the Federation Council. He's able to walk on the floor of the Council chamber to confront the Klingon Ambassador in The Voyage Home and he's a pivotal vote on the admission of Coridan too.

    He represents Vulcan but also is sent by the Federation to negotiate a treaty with the Legarans in TNG.
    In the United States, federal judges and Supreme Court justices serve lifetime appointments. In recent years, there's been some feeling that this should be reformed, but does that technically make US not a democracy given the ability of federal judges to affect law (e.g., abortion rights, etc.)?

    I mean, in Trek canon, Sarek served as the ambassador for Vulcan for over a century. Whether his position is elected or appointed is a Trek mystery and anyone's guess.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2024
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  12. Tallguy

    Tallguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    But all of the, what are they called, "delegates"? Actually, "a hundred and fourteen delegates aboard for two weeks, thirty two of them ambassadors". And they're going to a "council".

    Spock also refers to his father as a "diplomat" not a "legislator" or "statesman". But we're putting a lot of weight on two episodes when the ground has been covered elsewhere, I suppose.

    THIS will go well.
     
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  13. FederationHistorian

    FederationHistorian Commodore Commodore

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    And there are parliaments were sometimes the leader serves for as long as twenty years. They are still considered democracies. It does not seem unreasonable for the Federation to at least request that there is an election every twenty years on such planets where the monarchies are intended to rule for life.

    What if they are allowed to vote as to whether various legislation should be made law, and rather frequently, such as on a weekly schedule. Or for other positions to be filled except the monarchy every few years. Then what? Is it still anti-democratic?
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If they're not giving the people the right to pick their own rulers after a significant amount of time, then they are inherently being oppressive of their people. People have an inherent collective right to pick their rulers.

    In the United Kingdom, there has to be a General Election for a new Parliament every five years; the only exception is when there's a truly existential threat, like World War II. (And the U.K. held a General Election literally as soon as it was possible to do so, even before that war was fully over.)

    The term of office for the President of the United Mexican States is six years.

    I think that if we're looking at longer than seven years for a new election for the legislature and/or executive, then we've got a problem.

    Of course, it's also possible that he changed jobs at some point. And the Klingon Ambassador to the UFP was allowed on the floor of the Federation Council too, so clearly this is not something that only Federation Councillors can do.

    I mean, I don't think the United States is a real democracy, although it's mostly for reasons other than federal judges and justices holding terms of good behavior. But when the Supreme Court has also claimed for itself an excessive amount of power without being meaningfully accountable to anyone, yeah, I think life terms for justices contributes to a democratic deficit.

    In other circumstances, I would argue that life terms for judges and justices is a very different thing, because in theory the judicial branch is not supposed to directly govern the way the executive and legislature do.

    Again, we don't know exactly what Sarek's job title(s) was/were. We don't know if he was the Ambassador of Vulcan to the Federation, or of the Federation to non-Federation powers, or both at various points.

    Yeah, the legal mechanics of "Journey to Babel" were unclear.

    And if they hold elections during that period wherein the leader has to obtain a new democratic mandate which will also expire, then it is! Yeah, Angela Merkel was Federal Chancellor of Germany for 16 years, but Germany also held federal elections for the Bundestag in 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2017. In any of these elections, the German people could have elected a different majority party to the Bundestag; Merkel's mandate to serve as Federal Chancellor expired three times and she had to win new elections three times.

    Twenty years is hardly adequate. That's only one election a generation. People change their minds. Circumstances change. A democratic mandate cannot reasonably extend much more than half a decade.

    If every official except the monarch is popularly elected but the monarch's rule is anything more than ceremonial, then you are describing a hybrid regime like Iran's that contains both democratic and anti-democratic elements.
     
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  15. Shawnster

    Shawnster Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's not. It's a republic.

    While often categorized as a democracy, the United States is more accurately defined as a constitutional federal republic. What does this mean? “Constitutional” refers to the fact that government in the United States is based on a Constitution which is the supreme law of the United States. The Constitution not only provides the framework for how the federal and state governments are structured, but also places significant limits on their powers. “Federal” means that there is both a national government and governments of the 50 states. A “republic” is a form of government in which the people hold power, but elect representatives to exercise that power

    https://ar.usembassy.gov/u-s-govern...ten categorized as a,law of the United States
     
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  16. Tallguy

    Tallguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    *Sniff* That was beautiful, man!

     
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  17. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    God save us from "it's not a democracy, it's a republic" nonsense. It's a rhetorical device most commonly used by political actors with authoritarian leanings to rationalize anti-democratic politics.

    In political science, a republic is just a sovereign state that is not a formal monarchy. The term encompasses everything from a constitutional liberal democracy like the French Republic or the Federal Republic of Germany to an authoritarian dictatorship like the Russian Federation or the People's Republic of China. It's a term that's so generic as to be almost meaningless.
     
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  18. Tallguy

    Tallguy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So you just don't like the "it's a republic" part? "It's not a (real) democracy it's a..."
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Most of the time, when people say, "The U.S. is not a democracy, it's a republic," it's their way of trying to rationalize policies that disempower normal people and give power unjustly to the ruling class.

    In this context, when @Shawnster said it, it was a meaningless statement, because he then immediately defined "republic" as "a form of government in which the people hold power, but elect representatives to exercise that power." But that's not what "republic" means; again, a republic is just a sovereign state that isn't formally a monarchy. China is a republic, but no reasonable person would say the people hold power.

    The term for "a form of government in which the people hold power, but elect representatives to exercise that power" is "representative democracy" (as opposed to "direct democracy," where the people rule directly, usually via referenda and popular meetings; direct democracy is rarely functional above the town level.)

    So when Shawnster claimed the U.S. is "a republic, not a democracy," he might as well have said, "The U.S. is a democracy, not a democracy." It's just nonsense.

    When I say, "I don't think the United States is a real democracy," what that means is that I think the U.S. is not meaningfully accountable to its people, that power isn't really held by the people. It is a negative evaluation of the situation.
     
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  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nope.

    At least not in my experience. It's usually to recognize with precision what the form of government is.