I am a fan of Star Trek, but I am not a rabid fan. I don’t wear ears to conventions or any of that, but the way “The Prime Directive” is handled in modern ST shows is not logical. I don’t feel like posting my manifisto right now, but I will if enough of y’all wanna discuss it. How 'bout it?
I think, just like anything in Star Trek, the “Prime Directive” only comes up when either, A: it makes an interesting plot twist, or B: the writers can’t think of any other plot twist to use. Other than that, it’s entirely inconsistent.
(Counting the minutes 'til this is moved to MPSIMS or IMHO… :D)
Go for it, Wierddave.
Ok, I’ll debate.
The Prime Directive is probably the most morally and ethically ambiguous concept ever to hit the small screen.
On one hand, it is morally reprehensible to interfere with the natural development of a culture that you may happen upon when you’re out cruising the galaxy.
On the other hand, when there are people in trouble, and man, were there people in trouble in the Star Trek series’s( what is the plural for series) it is morally reprehensible not to help them, and an advanced civilization offering help to a less highly developed culture is by it’s very nature going to alter that culture’s development, and not necessarily for the better.
The Prime Directive boils down to codified hypocrisy.
The Prime Directive will stay in place until a species less bloody-minded and dangerous than Humans assumes control of the Federation.
So far as I can see, the main criteria for acceptance into the Federation is whether a species fits into a standard Starfleet uniform. Ability to work a human-standard weapons console (with special explosive features) is also a plus.
I always find it interesting that, considering how important this rule is (hence the name Prime Directive) how often it gets broken.
[Moderator Hat ON]
Time to explore strange new forums and seek out new life and new civilizations…IOW, I think this’ll get better play in IMHO.
[Moderator Hat OFF]
I am a Trekkie (Trekker, whatever), and I’ve read a lot of books about the series, episode guides, etc. The Prime Directive is NOT used consistently at all. If it was real, all the members of the Enterprise, Voyager and DS9 would have been demoted or kicked out a long time ago for blatent misuse of it.
But hey, it’s for entertainment purposes, and it can provide some good storylines. A little more consistency would keep my suspension of disbelief going a little longer, but oh well…
What do the secondary and tertiary direcives consist of ?
Can a single directive Be a Primary directive … Hmm
Don’t leave Captain Kirk or Cmdr. Riker alone with a female.
NEVER wear a red shirt.
The plural of “series” is “series.”
To be fair, at least in Trek TNG there was an episode in which Picard is asked by Starfleet to justify all the times (seventeen at that point, I think) he had violated the PD. Basically, though, if it doesn’t fit into the story they want to tell or the way they want to tell it, they’ll just neglect to mention it, no matter how appropriate to the situation it may be. I mean, come on, this is action/adventure television. Does anyone expect better?
If they wanted to be serious about it, they probably couldn’t ever tell any stories at all about “less advanced” civilizations (and does “less advanced” just mean technologically less advanced? Who decides? The former Soviet Union was “less advanced” technologically than the US in some areas, but was supposedly miles ahead in others).
If the civilization in question has warp drive.
The show backed itself into a corner when it first mentioned the prime directive. It was first used by a writer to answer the question “Why the hell doesn’t the Enterprise just phaser those bad guys?” It devolved into a lame plot device.
However, fear not. The full text of the prime directive (which I reveal here for the first time) makes everything clear:
“The Federation will never in any way whatsoever interfere with another culture, unless it is inconvenient.”
“…or a member of the crew has violated a local law and faces a death sentence.”
Wesley Crusher should’ve gotten whacked on that planet of the Baywatch extras.
“Screw the Prime Directive, Scotty, our butts are on the line, here!”
And work efficiently at 1g, in air, at ~73 degrees.
Speaking of which, what’s with the forhead marks? It seems like TNG, and Voyager even more, makes new aliens by stylistically slapping a blob of putty in the middle of their foreheads just over the bridge of the nose. Is this lazy, or what? I can hardly count the forehead-blob aliens in Voyager, all supposedly different. Heck, even the original Star Trek put more effort into conceiving alien life forms. The salt vampire? The Horta? The doohickey that lived in a box and you couldn’t look at it without going insane? The pure-energy thingies that forced a treaty with the Klingons? The Tribbles? Okay, okay, occasionally we had a guy in a gorilla suit with a horn on his head. But overall, the imagination going into ST aliens has decreased with increasing production values through the course of the various serieses (the actual plural of “series”).
Oh yeah. The Prime Directive. My Directives look like this:
- Don’t get killed.
- Don’t be a jerk.
2.a) Don’t kill anyone that isn’t asking for it.
2.b) But don’t be a schmuck about it, either.
- No fewer than five seperate instances of weapons fire per episode are permitted. No more than one scene each of soul-searching and/or suppressed sexual tension per episode are permitted. BOOOOOOORING!
- If the people on the California planet want to put a crew member to death for walking on the grass, set up an illegal alien (haha) smuggling operation from the planet of the desperate poverty-stricken Mexicans and destroy their society by overburdening their social service systems; that’ll fix their wagon.
4.a) Unless it’s Wesley Crusher. Then volunteer to throw the switch.
- When the opportunity arises to destroy the Borg, TAKE IT YOU MORONS!
- Trust NO ONE. Has history taught us nothing?
- Vulcans are terrible at parties, but should be invited anyway since it’s easy to stick them with the beer tab.
- If you encounter a less advanced civilization, try not to screw them up too much, yadda, yadda, yadda.
- If you blow up the computer running the society and enslaving the populance, be sure they know where lunch is coming from before you beam up.
- You can be as violent as you want to be, but be sure to regret it later.
- Disobeying superiors is cool as long as your right.
(actually, this would be a cool advance. As long as the understanding is, that if you screw up, you’re toast.)
- There is no religion, unless it is practiced by “Primitives”.
The “Prime Directive” adds a little realism to the shows. I mean, how many laws in the real world are hard to explain and applied near-randomly? It just shows that hundreds of years have not weeded out idiot bureaucrats.
And it’s not really the “Prime Directive,” isn’t it? Maybe they should have called it the “Prime Suggestion.”
Actually, this is clearly explained by some of the ST books. They called it a budget constraint.
To repeat: the plural of “series” is “series.” Show me a reputable reference work saying otherwise, and I’ll eat Gak.