Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-27-2018, 09:12 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 4,855
Star Trek: TNG - Homeward - We hates it!

Spoilers, of course. This might wind up in the Pit.











I watched this seventh season episode for the first time on Netflix last night and I'm still pissed; what the hell, Jean-Luc?

In it, after a distress call from Worf's step-brother Enterprise arrives at his location and it turns out the planet he's on is about to lose its atmosphere. He's moved a single village of unsophisticated natives into a cavern system and employed a force field to protect them without their knowing it. He begs the crew to set up a concealed biosphere so that the one village can survive the extinction event. Picard refuses, citing the Prime Directive and, "it is not for us to decide that one group shall survive while the rest of the planet perishes."

The planet's atmo vanishes in a matter of moments and the crew has a moment of silence for the passing of a sentient culture.* Then they find out that Nikolai (Worf's brother) sneaked the village aboard and into a copy of the caverns on a holodeck, again without their knowledge. He now requests they be moved to a new planet some two days away. Again, Picard is reluctant, afraid they will discover the ruse.
If I'd been Nikolai I would have been so tempted to hand him a phaser and say, "Fine! Go down to the holodeck and execute them, then we'll at the point you say we should have been! No, don't send my brother and his team to do it. Kill them yourself, you fucking fuck!"

His negotiation skills were better than mine, though and an intricate plan is devised for he and Worf to lead them to the promised land on the holodeck. During the couple days one villager, their historian, does stray from the holodeck and to my surprise Picard doesn't order him to be spaced but rather offers him a place in the Federation or to return him to the group, even though Crusher can't wipe his memory. Conveniently, the villager opts for ritual suicide instead and Picard's precious Prime Directive is not jeopardized. In due course they arrive at the new home and the village is transplanted. Nikolai opts to remain with them, having impregnated one of the villagers and his Federation career was over in any event.

So, how about it Trek fans? Did you like this ep or would it have been better served by showing the logical end of the Prime Directive. Personally, I'm an uplift is good fan myself, so long as it does not stray into "white man's burden" territory.

*It was not around 25 years ago but the "thoughts and prayers" meme passed through my mind.
  #2  
Old 12-27-2018, 09:37 AM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,951
That was the last season. I had almost decided to stop watching ST:NG, I was getting bored with their trite "dilemma of the week" and "moralize ... moralize ... ok, we're done, abandon previous morality for a new one. See, personal growth in 20 minutes time."

If I ran a Star Trek: Variant, I'd create some sort of "Office of Intervention" for handling sapient species that aren't warp capable. Or I'd at least reduce the "warp-capable" requirement to something lower, like "has colonies on other planetary bodies" or "routinely probes outer planets" or even, "has covered the planet." Only the last one would save this culture, bit the others could potentially save a species like ours.

What can I say, the whole conflict was just a blip on the radar as we raced towards "All Good Things." We just had to deal with "Sub Rosa" first.
  #3  
Old 12-27-2018, 09:41 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,284
On the one hand, I've always been a Prime Directive purist. No contact, whatsoever. The risk of affecting a culture is too great. You just can't tell what effect you're going to have - good, bad or interstellar Hitler.

On the other hand, as I get older my viewpoint changes. Is it better, or worse, of me to think "well, what are we out here for, if not to preserve life?" If I had the power, I'd prevent polar bears from extinction, so why not actual sentient beings?

"You are playing God!"

"SOMEBODY has to!"

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 12-27-2018 at 09:43 AM. Reason: should have looked up the actual quote before posting
  #4  
Old 12-27-2018, 09:53 AM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 12,127
I never, ever liked Picards holier-than-thou attitude. The PD could be gotten around with creativity. Just watch Kirk. He was a breaker of rules. I am a Kirk fan-girl. Just cannot help it.
  #5  
Old 12-27-2018, 10:08 AM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck RealityChuck is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 41,938
The Prime Directive (or in other words "red kryptonite*") never made any sense whatsoever, and the mention of it was an immediate sign that the story was going to suck.

The biggest problem was that no one ever faced any consequences for ignoring it. Picard broke it eight times a season, but always rationalized it away and never suffered the slightest reprimand. That's an episode I would have liked to have seen.

But in actual practice the Prime Directive really was "You cannot interfere with a culture unless it was inconvenient not to do so.


*Used in 60s Superman stories when they were stuck for a plot. But, to be fair, Superman used it better than Star Trek. Indeed, the Prime Directive was introduced in TOS so that Kirk couldn't use the obvious solution to defeat the bad guys (blast them from space).
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #6  
Old 12-27-2018, 10:54 AM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,951
And you know, they could have just written the Prime Directive like that. "Don't nuke it from orbit." That the Doctor, whoever they're played by, always interferes, and always gets called on it, and always just shrugs and say, "I'm a Doctor. It help. Its what I do. You wanna debate the Prime Directive, don't bring them to me. Or ya know, let me near them. Or let shit go down whenever I'm around. Or include me in away teams."
  #7  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:06 AM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,951
It just irks me how selective application of the Prime Directive is.
  #8  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:07 AM
AncientHumanoid's Avatar
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Quantum foam
Posts: 24,431
It's really more of a guideline than a directive...

Arrrr!





Seriously, Prime Directive eps are some of my least favorite. At least ST:ENT showed us how the Vulcanians influenced early Federation and Starfleet attitudes. If Riker and Kirk were involved in policy, things would be different.
__________________
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
  #9  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:19 AM
beowulff's Avatar
beowulff beowulff is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 16,200
I always thought that the Prime Directive was poorly stated.

My thinking was: It was to prevent cultural contamination (e.g. - the Iotians). But, it should be perfectly OK (in fact required) to interfere with natural disasters (like the one in the OP).
  #10  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:26 AM
Alessan's Avatar
Alessan Alessan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tel Aviv
Posts: 23,778
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
On the one hand, I've always been a Prime Directive purist. No contact, whatsoever. The risk of affecting a culture is too great. You just can't tell what effect you're going to have - good, bad or interstellar Hitler.

On the other hand, as I get older my viewpoint changes. Is it better, or worse, of me to think "well, what are we out here for, if not to preserve life?" If I had the power, I'd prevent polar bears from extinction, so why not actual sentient beings?

"You are playing God!"

"SOMEBODY has to!"
Now that I think of it, letting an intelligence species die out due to rigid laws, abstract principles and an obsession with the big picture is in fact very much something God would do. Seeing someone in need and helping them? That's human.
  #11  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:30 AM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,509
I can only see the Prime Directive as an extreme reaction to colonialism. It's better to have no contact than to ruin cultures. But they take it too far. You can reject colonialism without letting entire civilizations die out due to freak accidents.

And you sure as hell don't need some idea of "playing God." In the Star Trek world, at least, there is no God controlling things. There is no Grand Plan. And we humans have been saving people from death for millennia. Thinking about the Prime Directive is part of what led me to say that saving those "uncontacted" tribes' lives is moral.

The only thing is to minimize cultural contamination. And the plan put forth did that. I personally find it hard to believe the Federation didn't know bad things were happening, and that they couldn't have evacuated all the people: it's seemingly not all that inhabited.

From a narrative perspective, the Prime Directive makes sense to add stakes, if you can use it consistently. But not to support negligent genocide.
  #12  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:30 AM
AncientHumanoid's Avatar
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Quantum foam
Posts: 24,431
I would have liked to have seen an adaptation of Clarke's "The Star" short story into a Trek treatment. Maybe put them there before the cataclysm. Any genre of Trek, but I think Sisco would handle things differently. Even Janeway would probably be a good captain for that ep/movie.
__________________
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
  #13  
Old 12-27-2018, 11:39 AM
Ike Witt's Avatar
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
Friend of Cecil
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Lost in the mists of time
Posts: 14,150
Quote:
Originally Posted by AncientHumanoid View Post
It's really more of a guideline than a directive...
The Prime McGuffin - it is always what the plot needs it to be.
  #14  
Old 12-27-2018, 12:15 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I can only see the Prime Directive as an extreme reaction to colonialism. It's better to have no contact than to ruin cultures. But they take it too far. You can reject colonialism without letting entire civilizations die out due to freak accidents.

And you sure as hell don't need some idea of "playing God." In the Star Trek world, at least, there is no God controlling things. There is no Grand Plan. And we humans have been saving people from death for millennia. Thinking about the Prime Directive is part of what led me to say that saving those "uncontacted" tribes' lives is moral.

The only thing is to minimize cultural contamination. And the plan put forth did that. I personally find it hard to believe the Federation didn't know bad things were happening, and that they couldn't have evacuated all the people: it's seemingly not all that inhabited.

From a narrative perspective, the Prime Directive makes sense to add stakes, if you can use it consistently. But not to support negligent genocide.
My head canon (despite the second Star Trek Kelvin movie and aspects of Pen Pals) is that the Feds will save civs from natural disasters IF they can catch it in time. This episode seemed to insinuate that the disaster was unpreventable.

I agree sort of with Picard. How are you going to decide who to save. And sometimes saving a few isn't nessecerily better than saving none. That group could have discovered the entire ruse, plunging them into even more chaos. Also they may not have saved enough for genetic purposes.

what REALLY should happen is that an entire govt. branch should be dedicated to just this sort of thing. I don't know if there was time for all that but there was certainly time for Picard to ask for directions from Starfleet.
  #15  
Old 12-27-2018, 12:24 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
What happened probably is that ONE GROUP in the past did something ONE TIME altruistically with disasterous results, and the Federation overreacted. Then once it gets to Picards time its dogma. Inarguable dogma.

And it will stay that way until somebody important gets bitten by it. Then suddenly everyone will see the light, and decide this should be approached with nuance.

"Chancellor, I've discovered an instability in the core of Earth, should we tell them?"

"Nahhh....will of Kahless and all that."
  #16  
Old 12-27-2018, 12:27 PM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 4,855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Sams View Post
I agree sort of with Picard. How are you going to decide who to save. And sometimes saving a few isn't nessecerily better than saving none. That group could have discovered the entire ruse, plunging them into even more chaos. Also they may not have saved enough for genetic purposes.
No there was not enough for genetic variability. It was a couple dozen villagers at best and IIRC the magic number is 10,000 individuals.

And as I said in the OP, if things go pear-shaped you can always shoot them getting you to the same place Picard's original scenario would have put them.

I am reminded about the parable where someone walking in his neighborhood during a rainstorm. He finds crouched on the sidewalk a slicker-covered kid tossing earthworms back onto the grass. "It doesn't make any difference, kid," he says. "You can't save them all."

Without looking up, the kid replies, "It makes a difference to this one, and this one, and this one..."
  #17  
Old 12-27-2018, 12:59 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertDog View Post
No there was not enough for genetic variability. It was a couple dozen villagers at best and IIRC the magic number is 10,000 individuals.

And as I said in the OP, if things go pear-shaped you can always shoot them getting you to the same place Picard's original scenario would have put them.

I am reminded about the parable where someone walking in his neighborhood during a rainstorm. He finds crouched on the sidewalk a slicker-covered kid tossing earthworms back onto the grass. "It doesn't make any difference, kid," he says. "You can't save them all."

Without looking up, the kid replies, "It makes a difference to this one, and this one, and this one..."
He's making a humancentric argument. Maybe worms want to die together and dying away from their clan is the earthworm version of hell.

I agree in general though with the 'lets save some argument."

As i've said before in other PD threads, there's GOT to be a whole protocol in dealing with shit like this beyond, "ENNNHHH...we'll leave it up to the ranking officer on site and go with how he feels about things at any given moment."

And the bloody thing is OBVIOUSLY 'wink wink nod nod' given how easy Kelvin Kirk gets off, and how there's always extenuating circumstances. Prime Directive is literally less prime then running a stop light when in a hurry and no ones coming.

Edit: One more thing...you would think the people on Enterprise-D would be happy that Worf's civilian brother is the one who is willing to take the hit and make the call rather than getting all righteous about it.

Last edited by Dale Sams; 12-27-2018 at 01:02 PM.
  #18  
Old 12-27-2018, 01:06 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 44,682
The biggest problem witht the PD in both series is that the best way of preventing disruption of a culture would be to not let them know you are around. Imagine the disruption of our culture of a batch of aliens popped in. Then you'd lose half the episodes, but oh well.

In TNG it seems that the PD applied to spacefaring races. But that's not interference, that's diplomacy. TOS did not have that problem, at least.
In this episode sentencing the village to death to not interfere was stupid. Sometime Picard deserved all of Q's insults.
  #19  
Old 12-27-2018, 01:24 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
As for impregnating one of the natives, I'd of liked to have seen this dialogue:

Picard: "Offfff course you did. I mean you can't keep your meddling fingers out of this culture, why keep your dick out of it?"
  #20  
Old 12-27-2018, 01:32 PM
Alpha Twit's Avatar
Alpha Twit Alpha Twit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Somewhere south of normal
Posts: 1,814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
In TNG it seems that the PD applied to spacefaring races. But that's not interference, that's diplomacy. TOS did not have that problem, at least.
That's not accurate. The PD specifically does NOT apply to space faring races. Details seemed a bit murky but the general rule is that two conditions applied. A) Does the race in question have faster than light ships? And B) has the race in question already made contact with sentient races from other worlds? As long as both of these questions are answered "no", the PD applies.

The PD is generally supported by claiming it prevents more problems than it creates. From the standpoint of the Federation, this is probably true. That doesn't mean that the PD isn't just moral cowardice by another name.
__________________
"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
  #21  
Old 12-27-2018, 01:58 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
What's funny is how much trouble they go to to not contaminate this culture....then they ****ing let Worf's brother stay!!

If you went back in time even just three centuries and could attain a position of power....imagine how much change even just a common doper could make. Germ theory...human rights...vaccines...maybe invent antibiotics.
  #22  
Old 12-27-2018, 04:10 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: a condo in hell 10th lvl
Posts: 4,024
I think I posted this in the last "the pd ss bs" thread


there was an episode of tng that was basically a shot at ufo culture and the xfiles and said "were not ready" in which they get caught collecting info on a new planet that was at 1990s except they had no space program that was newly discovered there was a manhunt fire fight xemophobic public officals …..


it got to the point that Picard and the president of the country planned a cover up since "they weren't ready socially" to find out theres life in space on the enterprise and "quarantined" it off from further visits … I think even he gave the pres some help on correcting mistakes on their soon to be space shuttle..... everyone who watched it has said its fulla horse sh--
  #23  
Old 12-27-2018, 04:40 PM
BigT's Avatar
BigT BigT is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: "Hicksville", Ark.
Posts: 35,509
There are two different aspects that are called the Prime Directive, as if it has different parts.

There is the one about not making any sort of contact or interfering at all with species that don't have interstellar travel.

But there is also the one where they don't interfere in the legal systems or purely internal matters of other groups. It's why they couldn't beam out Wesley when he broke the law on that one planet, or why the Federation couldn't side with one side or the other when they would encounter various internal conflicts, including what seemed to be a Klingon Civil War. Worf had to resign to be able to take sides.

The latter is far more defensible than the former to be observed in a dogmatic fashion.
  #24  
Old 12-27-2018, 05:22 PM
Arkcon Arkcon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,951
The big problem I have with Homeward, in addition to:
1) It may be pointless, such a small group may still die
2) The lack of genetic variability, and/or genetic contamination

those aren't as serious, or may not be,
3) The loss of culture -- they lost some documents when they traveled, and lost even more when their historian escaped. Now what? The whole point is -- we didn't want them to become extinct, so that their cultural legacy wasn't lost. But they already lost some. So we essentially admit, we only like these people because they're humanoids.

My real problem is -- eventually, these people will develop science, and then discover that by evolutionary genetics, they're not from the planet they're on. Not only could this pose an existential crisis, but it could even block rational cultural development. I don't have a solution to this problem that makes everyone happy, but you can't just handwave all this away.
  #25  
Old 12-27-2018, 05:32 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: CentralArkansas
Posts: 24,810
Yes, it's important that the Federation doesn't use it's advanced technology to impose their will on other planets.

But, using technology to save a doomed planet from a natural disaster should be allowed. Especially if they can do it with minimal interference with the population.

Homeward is a very flawed episode on many levels. It's never a good sign when writers break the technology as a plot point. Oh dear, our holodeck is broken. We must hurry and drop these people off at a new planet.

Then they invent a human step-brother for Worf? I don't remember him being mentioned before. Worf's klingon brother appears several times.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-27-2018 at 05:35 PM.
  #26  
Old 12-27-2018, 06:34 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
I think I posted this in the last "the pd ss bs" thread


there was an episode of tng that was basically a shot at ufo culture and the xfiles and said "were not ready" in which they get caught collecting info on a new planet that was at 1990s except they had no space program that was newly discovered there was a manhunt fire fight xemophobic public officals ..


it got to the point that Picard and the president of the country planned a cover up since "they weren't ready socially" to find out theres life in space on the enterprise and "quarantined" it off from further visits I think even he gave the pres some help on correcting mistakes on their soon to be space shuttle..... everyone who watched it has said its fulla horse sh--
I think you're misremembering parts of "First Contact" (The ep not the movie)
  #27  
Old 12-27-2018, 06:37 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Yes, it's important that the Federation doesn't use it's advanced technology to impose their will on other planets.

But, using technology to save a doomed planet from a natural disaster should be allowed. Especially if they can do it with minimal interference with the population.

Homeward is a very flawed episode on many levels. It's never a good sign when writers break the technology as a plot point. Oh dear, our holodeck is broken. We must hurry and drop these people off at a new planet.

Then they invent a human step-brother for Worf? I don't remember him being mentioned before. Worf's klingon brother appears several times.
Saving planets from natural disasters absolutely happens in TOS. "Paradise Syndrome".

Its just crazyballs to include that in the PD. And the arguments of Pen Pals makes it worse when they start talking about "A greater plan and our part of it"

Now i admit if plagues are part of extinction level events it gets complicated.
  #28  
Old 12-27-2018, 08:48 PM
ivylass ivylass is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Orlando(ish)
Posts: 21,898
My question was, what was going to happen when Nikolai's wife realized her baby wasn't a purebred?
  #29  
Old 12-28-2018, 12:01 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,284
Look at the PD from the other side. Take, say, a culture that isn't against interference, even to the point of saving an entire race from disaster.

But they make you prove that you're worthy. And their test is positively medieval. Involving torture, and sacrificing your life for your race.

Is that a better way?

I know, it isn't either-or. But I'm not sure I agree with the Vians. I'd take Picard, sanctimony and all.
  #30  
Old 12-28-2018, 02:20 AM
Tim R. Mortiss's Avatar
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago
Posts: 6,910
This thread prompted me to go and re-watch the episode. My take is, in this episode (and other Prime-Directive oriented episodes), the purpose was to create a moral dilemma with no clear solution. That is, the entire purpose was to create a no-win scenario, so that the characters would be forced to make decisions that were necessarily imperfect. Any possible course of action would have negative consequences, and they would have to live with them. That is the soul of drama.

Another example would be the Kobayashi Maru, where the only pain-free solution is to reprogram the simulation. But in this case, that wasn't an option.
  #31  
Old 12-28-2018, 01:55 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 4,179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
Look at the PD from the other side. Take, say, a culture that isn't against interference, even to the point of saving an entire race from disaster.

But they make you prove that you're worthy. And their test is positively medieval. Involving torture, and sacrificing your life for your race.

Is that a better way?

I know, it isn't either-or. But I'm not sure I agree with the Vians. I'd take Picard, sanctimony and all.
My head canon is that the Vians are SO alien that they really don't understand how their exact actions are perceived. After all they're so powerful as to save an entire population but they resort to such weird primitive methods?

"The Empath" gets a lot of flack but if we take it at face value I think its pretty cool from a Sci-Fi angle. Like "Spectre of the Gun" its low-budget but very Twilight Zoneish.

Season 3 pushed harder on the truly alien then any other season of Trek I've seen. Vians, Melkotians, Medusans, Tholians.
  #32  
Old 12-28-2018, 02:50 PM
Voyager's Avatar
Voyager Voyager is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 44,682
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
There are two different aspects that are called the Prime Directive, as if it has different parts.

There is the one about not making any sort of contact or interfering at all with species that don't have interstellar travel.

But there is also the one where they don't interfere in the legal systems or purely internal matters of other groups. It's why they couldn't beam out Wesley when he broke the law on that one planet, or why the Federation couldn't side with one side or the other when they would encounter various internal conflicts, including what seemed to be a Klingon Civil War. Worf had to resign to be able to take sides.

The latter is far more defensible than the former to be observed in a dogmatic fashion.
I don't remember if they specifically referenced the PD here, but that is the kind of thing I meant. Though Worf had to resign because a Star Fleet officer can't get involved in an outside war or politics. That would be the case for an Army officer in the US today.
There may be good reasons for the Federation not to get involved in internal politics, but it ain't the PD.
  #33  
Old 12-28-2018, 03:23 PM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 58,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Sams View Post
What's funny is how much trouble they go to to not contaminate this culture....then they ****ing let Worf's brother stay!!

If you went back in time even just three centuries and could attain a position of power....imagine how much change even just a common doper could make. Germ theory...human rights...vaccines...maybe invent antibiotics.
More likely the light you'd be bringing to them would be from the fire that burns you after you've been condemned as a witch, but okay.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #34  
Old 12-28-2018, 04:35 PM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Sams View Post
"The Empath" gets a lot of flack but if we take it at face value I think its pretty cool from a Sci-Fi angle. Like "Spectre of the Gun" its low-budget but very Twilight Zoneish.
There's a Wild Wild West from that era that also has the same set design. Don't know if the same people worked both, or just a coincidence.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 12-28-2018 at 04:36 PM.
  #35  
Old 12-28-2018, 05:16 PM
terentii's Avatar
terentii terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 16,723
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
There's a Wild Wild West from that era that also has the same set design. Don't know if the same people worked both, or just a coincidence.
Gene Coon worked on both series. There was a B&W episode of WWW that had a mad scientist accelerated just like the Scalosians in "Wink of an Eye."

There may be other such examples, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.
__________________
If a man says something but no woman is around to hear it, is he still stupid?
  #36  
Old 12-29-2018, 12:20 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 6,284
Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Gene Coon worked on both series. There was a B&W episode of WWW that had a mad scientist accelerated just like the Scalosians in "Wink of an Eye."

There may be other such examples, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.
Oddly enough, the WWW speedsters episode was more scientifically accurate than WoAE.

I mean, neither was accurate, but WWW was closer to being accurate.
  #37  
Old 12-29-2018, 12:28 AM
terentii's Avatar
terentii terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 16,723
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
Oddly enough, the WWW speedsters episode was more scientifically accurate than WoAE.

I mean, neither was accurate, but WWW was closer to being accurate.
Right; the mad scientist in WWW burst into flame at the end, due to friction from the atmosphere.

Jeez, can you imagine Kirk and Leela having sex while accelerated? Talk about friction!
__________________
If a man says something but no woman is around to hear it, is he still stupid?

Last edited by terentii; 12-29-2018 at 12:30 AM.
  #38  
Old 12-29-2018, 11:51 AM
terentii's Avatar
terentii terentii is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Moscow/Toronto
Posts: 16,723
Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Kirk and Leela
Sorry; Deela, not Leela. DUH!
__________________
If a man says something but no woman is around to hear it, is he still stupid?
  #39  
Old 12-29-2018, 12:17 PM
AncientHumanoid's Avatar
AncientHumanoid AncientHumanoid is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Quantum foam
Posts: 24,431
Silly savage.
__________________
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
  #40  
Old 12-29-2018, 12:33 PM
JB99 JB99 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 793
There's another half to the Prime Directive that doesn't get mentioned often. I didn't see anyone mention it above, and I apologize if someone did.

When people discuss the Prime Directive, they almost always discuss it in terms of protecting the native culture from contamination. But the part that doesn't get mentioned often is that the Directive also protects Starfleet from the moral burdens of caring for less-developed cultures. Let's say that Starfleet made some sort of Herculean effort to protect the planet or relocate the people. That then sets a precedent by which they should also save the next planet that is in peril. If we want to take that logic to its obvious conclusion and say that Starfleet bears moral responsibility for their inaction, it follows that they should be intervening in every culture so as to share their medicine and technology. After all, they want to save planets in danger of destruction, but aren't people also dying of disease and famine and internal wars?

In short: The Prime Directive insulates Starfleet from responsibility for shepherding every single primitive planet they encounter.

I don't mean to threadshit here, but I'd like to give some real examples of how this plays out. Back in the 90's, the USA chose not to intervene in Rwanda. The logic was that we had no reason to intervene in someone else's civil war, when we had no strategic interests. The fact that it turned into sheer anarchy and slaughter directly impacted many leaders' decisions to intervene in future conflicts such as Kosovo or Libya.

When I was in Afghanistan, I often suggested to my fellow soldiers that we might need our own version of the Prime Directive. We experienced a lot of 'mission creep' in that many of our military goals were being obstructed by Afghanistan's social problems, which we had neither the expertise nor the mandate to resolve. I won't recall the details here, but there were also well-publicized incidents in which soldiers had to choose whether or not to intervene in Afghan civilian crimes, despite the fact that they had no mandate to participate in Afghan law enforcement.

Anyway, I thought it was a good episode when it first aired. I re-watched it two or three years ago, and I still thought it was quite good. As you've gathered, I'm not an adherent of the idea that Picard must intervene, but I agree with OP that once they were brought aboard the ship it becomes impossible to reconcile the problem because Picard cannot morally take the step of executing them. As others have pointed out, this is not so much a matter of Picard being a dick as it is a matter of cultivating the drama in the situation. I agree very much with Tim R. Mortiss that forcing the characters to choose among unpleasant options with competing moral priorities is how you wring drama from the story. If the moral conundrum had a clear-cut solution, it would be a short and boring episode.

I also think this was a good example of the maturity in the scripts we saw in the later seasons. I'll be the first to admit that Season 7 still had some clunkers (remember, the very next episode was 'Sub Rosa') but on the whole they were vastly superior to the early seasons. I really enjoyed episodes in which the characters made bad choices, or had to live with the consequences when there was no obvious 'good' choice. My other favorites are 'TNG: Lower Decks,' 'DS9: In the Pale Moonlight,' and 'ENT: Damage'

Last edited by JB99; 12-29-2018 at 12:35 PM.
  #41  
Old 12-29-2018, 12:44 PM
MEBuckner's Avatar
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Posts: 11,816
Speaking of stupid TNG "Prime Directive" episodes, I give you "Symbiosis" (Season 1, episode 22).

I think maybe the Brekkians and the Ornarans have interplanetary travel, but not warp travel. Anyway, the "Prime Directive" doesn't prevent the Enterprise from assisting an Ornaran vessel in distress, and even offering to help with repairs. But, when it turns out that the "medical supplies" the Ornarans are taking home from neighboring planet Brekka are really some kind of addictive Space Dope (Kids! Captain Picard Says "Just Say No to Drugs!") then all of a sudden the Prime Directive kicks in, to the point that Picard and the gang can't even mention to the Ornarans that their Brekkian interplanetary neighbors are not selfless medical benefactors, but are in reality interplanetary drug pushers. Not, beam down landing parties to eradicate the Space Poppy fields, or phaser all the Space Coca plants to ashes from orbit, or set up some kind of Federation blockade between Brekka and Ornara to interdict the supply of Evil Space Drugs. Just saying "Oh, hey, guys, FYI, my Chief Medical Officer has been analyzing the situation, and she says..."

If the noninterference required by the "Prime Directive" is really that complete, then what they hell were they doing trying to rescue the crew of that freighter in the first place? Shouldn't they have just let them all die in the name of "not interfering in this system's natural development"?
__________________
"In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves." -- Carl Sagan

Ceterum censeo imperium Trumpi esse delendam
  #42  
Old 12-30-2018, 09:29 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 4,855
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
If the noninterference required by the "Prime Directive" is really that complete, then what they hell were they doing trying to rescue the crew of that freighter in the first place? Shouldn't they have just let them all die in the name of "not interfering in this system's natural development"?
It's a tradition of the sea carried on into space: If someone's having a hard time and likely to perish, you make an effort to save them from a hostile environment even if it's their own damn fault.

Although ultimately unsuccessful, the search for Malaysian flight 370 involved an awful lot of countries most of which had no strategic or economic reason to do so. Even countries at war will rescue enemy sailors, mission and safety considerations permitting.
  #43  
Old 01-04-2019, 08:12 AM
Bryan Ekers's Avatar
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Montreal, QC
Posts: 58,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEBuckner View Post
Speaking of stupid TNG "Prime Directive" episodes, I give you "Symbiosis" (Season 1, episode 22).

I think maybe the Brekkians and the Ornarans have interplanetary travel, but not warp travel. Anyway, the "Prime Directive" doesn't prevent the Enterprise from assisting an Ornaran vessel in distress, and even offering to help with repairs.
I agree it's a bad episode that rebounds from preachy extreme to preachy extreme, but I gathered the Brekkorns were aware that more technologically advanced species existed, since they don't seem at all surprised when the Enterprise shows up. I kind of got the impression that the more advanced of the two planets (I forget which one it was) had been even more so in the past but their addiction had caused them to regress to where they could barely maintain the interplanetary shuttles they had, let alone the interstellar ships they might have once had and which could have justified an earlier Federation contact.
__________________
Don't worry about the end of Inception. We have top men working on it right now. Top. Men.
  #44  
Old 01-04-2019, 03:41 PM
Hypno-Toad Hypno-Toad is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: By the Caloosahatchee
Posts: 11,630
The thing that bothered me about Worfs brother is the way he sprang into existence from nowhere. The only brother Worf had previously was unknown to him until the airing of the episode, so I give the writers a pass on that. But Nikolai, who Worf knew from childhood, just appeared out of the aether.

And wouldn't it be fun to watch all of Worfs family get together.
__________________
This is my signature. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Last edited by Hypno-Toad; 01-04-2019 at 03:42 PM.
  #45  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:35 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 4,855
Worf's new brother was lampshaded by Troi. "You haven't talked about him much." 'Much' being the new 'not at all.'
  #46  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:55 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is online now
2018 Midterm Prediction Winner
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 20,933
I really hate the prime directive because of how it is pathologically selfish wrapped in a veneer of 'caring' about other cultures. Other cultures would welcome the invasion much of the time.

And again, once the federation actually wants something, the prime directive is ignored. When the federation finds the omega particle the prime directive doesn't count. When they wanted the anti-aging effects from the planet in star trek insurrection it was ignored.

Its idiotic. It'd be like if westerners pretended to be moral by refusing to give farming advice, penicillin and vaccines to a tribe in Africa. But if that tribe was sitting on top of a diamond mine we send in the bulldozers. The prime directive is so god damn stupid.

But I guess the true purpose of it is to explain why aliens could exist and nobody sees them.
__________________
Sometimes I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 01-05-2019 at 09:56 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:55 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017