The Prime Directive

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ArchAngel
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:25 pm

Haha, yeah, the emotional imperative ends up overriding any reason-based ethics, for better or worse, and Star Trek often embraces emotions over logic as being distinctly "human." But yeah, to quote one of our most prolific mass murderers: "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic"

The Prime Directive is an overly simplistic answer to very complicated moral questions, and I like that Star Trek isn't quite comfortable with it as soon as they put a face on it.
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:37 pm

That particular episode actually made an effort to explore the matter in detail, through a scene in which the crew debates the issue.

The problem is that when it comes to saving a low-tech world, the excuse is always "We'd contaminate their culture." Well, it seems to me a contaminated culture is preferable to extinction. The aliens in Star Trek: Into Darkness may now be worshipping a god that bears an uncanny resemblance to a Constitution class starship, but at least they're still alive.

It's either that or just admit that it's a matter of fate. This planet was fated to die and it isn't the place of the Starfleet to prevent it... Which would be fine if it were consistent, but it's not... Because they will save societies that are aware of the Federation. So fate hinges on your technology level?

Achievement unlocked! Your tech is high enough that the Federation will contact you and save your world with phasers and treknobabble if you're ever faced with extinction!
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:36 pm

Fate is really a bizarre concept when related with ethics. Is "Fate" simply the perceived ends of the status quo, and if so, should it be maintained?
By that means, the Kitty Genovese murder was an act of fate.

On the other hand, how far does our responsibility to help others go? It seems to me that the intention of the Prime Directive was to avoid rampant colonialism by the more technologically advanced Federation.

Extend a small effort to save them from extinction seems almost like a given yes, but how about the small tragedies. Energy dependencies. Various non-epidemic diseases. Growing wealth inequality. Subpar working conditions? Itches on the back that you just can't reach? When does it stop? How responsible is Starfleet to fixing their problems?
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:19 am

You know, if they had done a few episodes asking those kinds of questions, that would have ROCKED. They're really good questions. I mentioned the crew debate in the episode "Pen Pals," and they talked a little bit about it. Everyone was saying that, of course, the Federation should intervene to save the population from extinction, and the Captain asked, "what if it's a war?" Should the Federation intervene is, say, a nuclear war would extinguish a civilization?

I really wish they'd explored thee questions more.
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArchAngel » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:49 pm

That's it.
Arctic, you and I need to quit our jobs and become the head writers for a new Star Trek series.

And by Head Writers, I mean, Head Writers and leading stars.
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:10 pm

Absolutely right, sir. This needs to happen. We can clean up the science and engineering, we can eliminate treknobabble and we'll get awesome story contributors like Harlan Ellison and DC Fontana to help.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArchAngel » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:24 pm

So, the real question is, when would we put it? Post Voyager? TNG era?
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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:43 pm

Hmmm well if we're gonna do truly good, thoughtful storylines, then the era is merely window dressing... unless...

Suppose it were sometime after the Star Trek: Enterprise era... when Starfleet and the Federation were up and running but the specifics on how to approach the Prime Directive were still being worked out. The whole show wouldn't be about that question, but it still leaves plenty of room for exploring it.

One could focus the setting on the Enterprise during the time Captain April or Captain Pike commanded her, for the sake of continuity... or invent a whole separate ship so that tension would be heightened when the ship were in danger. (The audience would know the Enterprise won't get destroyed during this series.)
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:20 pm

Ooooh, can I write the occasional episode? :D


You guys have really hit upon the main reason I enjoy Star Trek (The shows, not the movies quite as much): They let us examine hard issues that may be somewhat relevant today, with a lens that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Just wanted to chime in. :P

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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby ArcticFox » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:17 pm

Of course! We'd insist on it!

I agree that's what makes Star Trek good, it's just a shame when they miss so many opportunities.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: The Prime Directive

Postby Avinson » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:40 pm

Whew, that is a really really tough topic. I saw Pen Pals last week...man, when he took that arrow...oh...I thought wow, that is really putting your money where your mouth is and standing behind a belief. But now that you mention it...there does seem to be some wavy application of the rule doesn't there.
Funny moment when data told Picard about his conversation with the girl...Patrick Stewart line was priceless 'oopps' lol


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