Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by WarpNein » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:59 pm

Tesral wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:07 pm
They also have Spock's Brain, Shades of Gray, and a good deal of Voyager. Just because some tone deaf writer invented it does not mean I must agree or practice it.

Andf I had my say on the Prime Directive.
All of which are canon, for better or worse. You can prune the canon for the purposes of your stories, but for the purpose of arguing the Federation's technological abilities and/or value systems within the context of the show, the events of the canon are all evidence that must be taken into account. There are plenty of episodes I don't like (e.g. Homeward, if that wasn't obvious). And it does lead to a lot of questioning why they did something in one instance and not another. The moral issues I chalk up to good old human frailty, especially for those characters under extreme duress. The technological issues I have more trouble with. I can only assume that Starfleet keeps a good deal of this stuff under wraps. Otherwise everyone would use the transporter trick from "Unnatural Selection" (or "The Lorelei Signal") to live forever.

I enjoyed your write-up of the Prime Directive though. Thanks for posting it. I think we touched on a lot of the same issues.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by patrickivan » Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:36 pm

There's no arguing that S.31 isn't established as being part of Star Trek. And really, I wouldn't say that having a stand alone episode with them would be the end of the world. But as a major antagonist? It's boring, with the exception of if it was about being exposed and fought against (not literally physically fought against), with a more civilized response being the victor. And yes, even civilized people have to do things that are not desirable. The difference is in the reluctance to do so. In the search for any other option before reaching for the extreme.

The bomb may send one hell of an example, but if the war is actually ending, and there's no need to actually drop it other than AS a message against a POSSIBLE future aggression, then it is indeed more civilized to NOT do so.

But who am I to judge? Unless I had the power to chemically and permanently re-wire brains, every rapist, child molester, and murderer would be sent to fight club island in perpetuity, with a meagre food drop once per day. No other supplies. Nothing.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by Tesral » Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:30 pm

WarpNein wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:59 pm
Tesral wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:07 pm
They also have Spock's Brain, Shades of Gray, and a good deal of Voyager. Just because some tone deaf writer invented it does not mean I must agree or practice it.

Andf I had my say on the Prime Directive.
All of which are canon, for better or worse. You can prune the canon for the purposes of your stories, but for the purpose of arguing the Federation's technological abilities and/or value systems within the context of the show, the events of the canon are all evidence that must be taken into account. There are plenty of episodes I don't like (e.g. Homeward, if that wasn't obvious). And it does lead to a lot of questioning why they did something in one instance and not another. The moral issues I chalk up to good old human frailty, especially for those characters under extreme duress. The technological issues I have more trouble with. I can only assume that Starfleet keeps a good deal of this stuff under wraps. Otherwise everyone would use the transporter trick from "Unnatural Selection" (or "The Lorelei Signal") to live forever.

I enjoyed your write-up of the Prime Directive though. Thanks for posting it. I think we touched on a lot of the same issues.
Just because the TV did it, does not make it good. Star Trek has violated its own canon to the point I feel no compunction about doing the same. The sheer number of continuity errors have driven more than one pedantic fan to madness trying to rectify and rationalize it. Better I say to simply state that the writers made a boo boo, pick a direction and move on.

The idea of Section 31 violates the principles of a free and open society. It is saying "We know that this free and open idea can never work unless we have secret hard men doing secret bad things to keep up the farce."

Now, I have no issue with finding such people doing bad things for exactly that reason. It is the institutionalized idea I reject even for story telling purposes. The Federation and Starfleet are not stupid. And Section 31 is writing them stupid. Ergo, I will not do that.
Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by kobayashimaru » Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:05 am

"The idea of Section 31 violates the principles of a free and open society."
'The Price of Freedom is, Eternal Vigilance" --- some random old guy +
"no country for old beings". :lol:
the point being,
sure, it can be reconciled with the notion of a free and open society.

I think Q would be chuffed that,
sentient beings at least tried to prevent
"Universe-wide TEOTWAWKI events" or blue-screen of death etc.
it's like Professor Moriarty realizing he's a hologram, inventing the EMH's mobile emitter,
and walking off the holodeck.
Or Professor Moriarty trying to correct problems in the holodeck, to ensure Moriarty's continued survival.
It's the next level of Kirk's Kirkism "I don't believe in the No-Win Scenario".

though I liken it to...
It's a little like "superheroes".
sure, a lot of folks dislike 'superheroes',
"how come they have all the superpowers |and we dont|",
"vigilante-ism by any other name still smells like horse-excrement"
"how can we trust |higher lifeforms| to share values?" etc
though when the hypothetical becomes a reality when they are in need of their assistance,
few folks refuse assistances from superheroes.
(though that's a whole plot-arc in the 'what-if XMen" etc)
So what if the 'superhero' doesn't reveal their true identity and 'register on an ordained list of superheroes"?
what matters is - the quality of their actions.

Section31 of the Federation Charter, exempts certain organizations from
the full effect of the rest of the Federation Charter under certain circumstances.
you could perceive Section31 as a "Treaty of Detente/Cessation of Hostilities"... ;)
They still have stuff like the Temporal Prime Directive and Omega Directive, however.
you could say, (cue Xzibit meme), it's "Starfleet's Starfleet"/"starfleet-ception" :lol:
"we noticed you like |Starfleet|, so, we put a starfleet in your starfleet" :D

------
Consider Q.
Q intervened in Encounter at Farpoint,
and Q and the Borg, and especially in All Good Things.
Q could have made a far more direct intervention - it is within Q's power to prevent the Borg from ever having existed.
Q allowed the borg to continue, not necessarily because Q liked the borg,
but because it was the least-worst option to do so.

Who exactly, is a peer of Q,
such that the Federation could hold Q to account for
Q's 'unwelcome interventions'? (which more-often-than-not, have helped humanity's survival).
Q can take a direct Antinomian prerogative "Q refuses to recognize the authority of the Federation".
So, if Q poses such a problem...
at what point does that cease to apply down the taxonomical hierarchy of lifeforms?
Q is by-default a 'naturally occurring instance of Section31".

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by ProfArturo » Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:32 am

I watched 'Homeward' again last night after reading this thread and I must admit the Prime Directive is a bit of a joke.

Whose to say that contact with aliens and learning from them isn't a natural part of a planet's development? Aren't we all neighbours in space? The PD would seem to be a very isolationist policy at odds with the Federation's stated goal of seeking out new life.

And as others have said, if we were in danger, would we not want aliens with the technology to save us to do so?

Worf's brother did no wrong.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by Captain Robert April » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:29 pm

WarpNein wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:17 pm
Quark nailed the issue in "The Siege of AR-558" regarding "hewmons:" They're a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time, and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon.
All time favorite quote.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by WarpNein » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:42 pm

Tesral wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:30 pm
Just because the TV did it, does not make it good. Star Trek has violated its own canon to the point I feel no compunction about doing the same. The sheer number of continuity errors have driven more than one pedantic fan to madness trying to rectify and rationalize it. Better I say to simply state that the writers made a boo boo, pick a direction and move on.
Whether it's good isn't what I was arguing. It happened in the canon. And since I am that pedantic fan who tries to rectify the canon, I can't use the MST3K defense. Besides, as far as 31 is concerned, we're not talking logically contradictory occurrences like warp speeds or weapons' strength. There's nothing innately contradictory about certain people doing things others can't or won't do. Rather than make it a writer's fault, (although it is, given many writers seem not to familiarize themselves with what previous writers have done) I make it a character fault. Picard is a great man, powerfully beholden to great virtue, but he can and has failed, as all humans have. For me "Homeward" and "Insurrection" are two of his failures.
Tesral wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:30 pm
The idea of Section 31 violates the principles of a free and open society. It is saying "We know that this free and open idea can never work unless we have secret hard men doing secret bad things to keep up the farce."
I accept that as an axiom. And to a larger point, a free and open society necessarily has limits on how free and open it actually is. Picard laid it out to Worf after the latter plants a bat'leth in Duras:

"The Enterprise crew currently includes representatives from thirteen planets, Mister Worf. They each have their individual beliefs and values and I respect them all. But every member of the crew has chosen to serve Starfleet. If anyone cannot perform his duties because of the demands of his society, he must resign."

The openness and tolerance of the Federation and Starfleet have limits. Worf had to learn the lesson over when he got dressed down by Sisko for helping Kurn attempt suicide. I regard it as axiomatic of all ostensibly free and open societies that their freedom and openness come second to the ideals and values that define that society, and that it can and should welcome only those who agree to be bound by said ideals and values.

The major issues crop up (and 31 exerts itself) when the free and open society can no longer deal with the nature of the threats arrayed against it. The Federation cannot be open and welcoming to a foreign power that wants only its subjugation. This goes to another larger issue Kirk touched on in "The Motion Picture" re V'Ger:

"We can only hope that there is a life-form on that vessel that reasons the way we do."

In other words, they can only hope for a similar psychological morphology, as it were. Now there's some good reason to do so. We know that many species in the galaxy share physical and psychological similarities thanks to the Progenitors' seeding the galaxy in "The Chase." (Well, billions of years before "The Chase," but still.) The freedom and openness work well with many of these species precisely because the underlying mental architecture, while it allows for a lot of superficial diversity, operates on many similar value structures that recur in various species. Most of the species have things like literature, music, opera, art. Many of them celebrate bloodlines and family heritage. They all have currency of a kind. Cardassian literature extols service to the state, Klingon opera extols death in battle, but all of these things find parallels in other species in Star Trek, which creates a common ground for these species to coexist. The thing about diversity is that it only really works when it's shallow: a diversity of cuisine, literature, dress and custom glued together by an underlying architecture of shared moral and psychological structures. This runs into huge problems when you encounter something as alien as the Founders, or the Crystalline Entity, or any of the various mega-lifeforms from "The Cloud" or "Bliss" or "Contagion" or "One of Our Planets is Missing." In some of these cases, reasoned communication can be established, but not in all.

If, as an example, the creature from "Bliss" were intent on devouring Federation planets, and efforts to reason with it failed, if indeed it is even capable of reason as we understand it, Section 31 would develop a solution.
patrickivan wrote:
Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:36 pm
And yes, even civilized people have to do things that are not desirable. The difference is in the reluctance to do so. In the search for any other option before reaching for the extreme.
Sloan seems to take a perverse pleasure in what he does, but that's no guarantee every member of the organization does, or that a sadistic bent is a requirement for membership. Of the two operations we've seen them execute, one is the attempted eradication of the Founders, and the other is the discrediting of a potentially dangerous Romulan senator. They could just as easily have killed Cretak and made it look like an accident, especially since working with the Tal'Shiar would given them every opportunity they could want. It's interesting that Koval began working with Section 31 of his own accord, without the knowledge of his Starfleet counterparts. He obviously saw in them kindred spirits.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by patrickivan » Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:48 pm

ProfArturo wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:32 am
I watched 'Homeward' again last night after reading this thread and I must admit the Prime Directive is a bit of a joke.

Whose to say that contact with aliens and learning from them isn't a natural part of a planet's development? Aren't we all neighbours in space? The PD would seem to be a very isolationist policy at odds with the Federation's stated goal of seeking out new life.

And as others have said, if we were in danger, would we not want aliens with the technology to save us to do so?

Worf's brother did no wrong.
Worf's bro did no wrong? Violating orders. Acting with the authority of his government? Of course he was in the wrong. But was he wrong from a humanitarian point of view? Of course not.

The Prime Directive is hardly a joke. It would have taken the consensus of all the member involved with it's creation. No small feat. And the Prime Directive clearly does allow for interference, as did it not be so rigid as to destroy the lives of people who did violate and in itself, justify that violation.

The Prime Directive seems to be something that can and would evolve. Hell, Picard, as rigid as he was, would break the rules if they strayed too far from his moral standards. That's what made him and others like him, a great leader.

Not Janeway though. I still maintain that she screwed her crew right from the get-go by interfering with the Kazon, the Ocompa, and the Keeper. Such a colossal major violation based on so little data of what was going on between all parties, and as a result got so many of her crew killed. Such horseshit that she was made Admiral after her return. But they had to, because of optics. Horseshit.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by Tesral » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:05 am

patrickivan wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:48 pm
The Prime Directive is hardly a joke. It would have taken the consensus of all the member involved with it's creation. No small feat. And the Prime Directive clearly does allow for interference, as did it not be so rigid as to destroy the lives of people who did violate and in itself, justify that violation.
It is a joke really. At least as (almost) stated. Take a look at the article I indicated above. The Conundrum of the Prime Directive . I do address the issues you mention and more.

I'm going to hand out the heavy reading today. The Principles Behind Star Trek is also a good read and deftly, to my mind, explains why Section 31 is a bad idea, and never brings the subject up.

Yes the writers put the abomination in there. I think they did the show no service and I will not continue the practice or participate in it's continuation.
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"I saw it done on Voyager" is no excuse for anything, even breathing.

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Re: Section 31 Obsession. Not Me Though.

Post by patrickivan » Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:06 pm

Tesral wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 2:05 am
patrickivan wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:48 pm
The Prime Directive is hardly a joke. It would have taken the consensus of all the member involved with it's creation. No small feat. And the Prime Directive clearly does allow for interference, as did it not be so rigid as to destroy the lives of people who did violate and in itself, justify that violation.
It is a joke really. At least as (almost) stated. Take a look at the article I indicated above. The Conundrum of the Prime Directive . I do address the issues you mention and more.

I'm going to hand out the heavy reading today. The Principles Behind Star Trek is also a good read and deftly, to my mind, explains why Section 31 is a bad idea, and never brings the subject up.

Yes the writers put the abomination in there. I think they did the show no service and I will not continue the practice or participate in it's continuation.
Well, I think you shoot yourself in the foot right here:

"5) Our way is not the universal way. Don't shove it down anyone throat."

And it really backs up the non-interference rule in that, not interfering in out cultures issues, does allow them to evolve or die as if the Federation wasn't there. Just because they do see an issue, and CAN solve it, doesn't mean that gives them the right to. Even IF asked.

But that said, and as I stated, the rules clearly aren't as rigid as they appear at a glance. The Prime Directive has been waived on more than one occasion. People, based on their human personal moral standards, have indeed interfered for both good and bad. And the Federation reviews those actions and either absolves, or reprimands. Kirk and Picard violated the Prime Directive many many many times for the better. But in some cases those who interefered, caused long term issues that resulted in great loss. Admiral Jamison's weoponizing cultures screwed things up horribly as just one example.

And a point made in The Q, actually brings up a fantastic point. The Vulcans. "Infinite Diversity, Infinite Combinations: The glory of creation lies in its infinite diversity, and in the ways our differences combine to create meaning and beauty."

Those who decided it was time to welcome Earth into the fold, but while doing so, refrain from interfering with their natural development until they caught up on their own. It was inevitable that Earth and Vulcan would meet (being so close together), so it made sense for the Vulcans to make first contact. But their decision NOT to interfere was both correct, and led to that very same principal to become incorporated into their future relationship when the Federation was formed. Not to interfere. No matter how much it !!!!!!!! off humans, they couldn't just hand them technologies. They had to learn and evolve naturally. You could argue that their very presence was interference, but that presence was inevitable. Earth was ready to leave the solar system and Vulcan was next door.

No, the Prime Directive isn't a joke. It's completely valid and it isn't as rigid as it appears. Just like Picard wasn't as PC as people make him out to be. PC is just a term that people through around to dump on progressive attitudes that include everyone, and exclude no one. PC is a horseshit term made up by the extreme right and used in absolutes by the extreme left.

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