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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 11
02-15-2010, 09:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielV
It is an interesting, but deeply flawed article in a few ways (Including some you mention above, such as the predominance of humans being due to budget limits, etc...). The major flaw is that the article does not consider the impact of the elimination of scarcity. The federation has replicators, highly efficient energy generation, and most likely effectively unlimited space via inexpensive space travel. You have now eliminated almost all the problems a government might have to deal with. Add in Holodecks and the vast majority of Federation citizens live in a Utopian existence. They want for nothing. The adventuresome (and troublesome) component of the population have a combination of Federation service (Starfleet probably being only one example), emigration (settling of new planets), and Holoplay as outlets. The reason why Trek glosses over the potential problems with a 'socialist federalist' society is that most of the problems are ameliorated by the elimination of scarcity.
And this block of text hits the nail on the head. The key to United Federation of Planets style socialism is the elimination of scarcity. Replicators, cheap and reliable interplanetary travel, terraforming, advanced biological sciences, and energy resources to utilize the aforementioned technologies have made the concept of limited resources obsolete except in the most bizarre of situations.

Economic debate between socialism and capitalism arises because of one reason: resources are limited. Current society is built around that concept. If that concept is changed and resources are made near infinite, then the economic regulations, tax codes, currency systems, and squabbles over resources become meaningless. Poverty is eliminated, everyone's needs are fulfilled, and the so called class struggle becomes a thing of the past.

What is valued now, as Picard once stated in First Contact I believe, is cultural achievements (like art and science) and duty that are driving forces behind the Federation society, rather then monetary wealth and material gain.

I have always seen the Federation as more a defensive confederation then a unified state. There is a common military, law and judicial system, bill of rights, and diplomatic process along that each planet follows their own affairs. The preponderance of humans in Starfleet I think is based on several factors:
1. Budget of the show's creators
2. So many Federation facilities are on Earth, most people are already experienced with the Federation.
3. Characters the viewers can more easily relate to
4. Population perhaps? I have not seen any census data for individual Federation planets, but Vulcan in the latest Star Trek movie, according to Spock, had a population of about 6 billion. Earth has more humans on it now then Vulcan did 250 years in the future. How many humans will there be in 250 years? So if there are more humans then say, Vulcans, of course there would be more humans in Starfleet then there would be Vulcans.
5. Other races may have different concepts of service. For example, Vulcans seem to be more likely to want to join the Vulcan Science Academy then Starfleet.

The article itself is a stupid, inflammatory piece of political drivel written by someone who has little knowledge of Star Trek.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 12
02-15-2010, 09:57 PM
The author of the article seems to forget that the federation exists in a universe where energy is free and plentiful and everyone has a replicator. That's why they don't have any money (or tax collectors), or any reason to do anything they don't want to do. Though obviously they're evolved humans who only want to conduct research or play musical instruments.

AAAAND: There are mostly humans in starfleet because humans founded starfleet. Other member planets have their own defense (like the vulcans) or they can opt to have starfleet do it for them.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 13
02-16-2010, 05:07 AM
Sometimes... nah most of the time I see people reading too deep into every aspect of entertainment, life choices, and/or beliefs. A prime example of something more recent is how critics and groups from around the world has been breaking Avatar apart to find hidden agendas and political plans. Granted James Cameron did state he is an environmentalist and tried to portray some of that in the movie. But all the other claims about the Main characters role or view of him as well as who the Na'avi actually are sposed to be other than a 10 foot tall blue alien who is in tune with Nature through a Telekenetic process are getting a really stretched.

In honesty there is not a single story throughout the Age of Man that can be completely unbiased in every single possible way. Yes people write stories or produce entertainment and due to their own thoughts and imagination create something. You cannot create something with a completely blank mind of any political, religious or ecological views. Granted Star Trek touched base on aa Utopian Society set forth in the future. That was Gene Roddenberry's vision of a sci fi future. Where greed was non existant where everyone lived in peace and harmony. Supplies and resources where endless due to technology. Where the entire existance of the Human Race was transformed into a Galaxy exploring Utopian society. With the possibility of life on other planets and anomalies never before seen or only in speculation were produced in order to fill the Void of a lifeless Universe.

The thing is that well ultimately in the end, through our civilization our hopeful outcome to our planet is to eventually evolve into a Utopian society. Where we can all live on one planet in peace and enjoy life and instead of working just to get by in a Monetary controlled world be instead working to evolve our species and improve our quality of life and understanding of everything known and unknown.

There is no hidden Republican vs Democratic agenda in Star Trek. If anything this is a completely different view in its entirety. Yes a Federation of Planets were formed only due to the fact that there are hostile alien species in the Universe that only purpose is that to conquer. Just as our purpose in todays world is. Their civilization evolved into a different way... instead of keeping the fight on their planet they took it to space to try and become the supreme victor. In which case with todays Government and policies if we had the same technologies as Star Trek we would be the same type as that of Cardassian, Romulan, Klingon, Dominion, or even Borg.

When it boils down to it what kind of entertainment would it be if there were no high tech space battles between differing points of view in a futuristic environment. Wouldn't have had that much success or even content to last as long as this franchise has lasted if there wasn't a single adversary in the story line. So if you really wish to talk politics and try to squeeze out some minute amount of reason out of each and every sentence of this Franchise's story line perhaps you should go elsewhere and start looking into a more realistic and modern day story rather than a Science Fiction story.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 14
02-16-2010, 06:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceFork
The OP effectively peed in my Wheaties.
Except that it's your own fault for reading it. Therefore you effectively peed in your own Wheaties or presented them to be peed upon.

Now this a man who really likes pee in his Wheaties.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 15
02-16-2010, 06:46 AM
OK, now that I've actually had a chance to read the article:

Wow, yeah, that' guy's kinda dumb.

Are we being indoctrinated? I certainly hope so. The more people who actually believe we can someday live in the kind of society that the Federation represents the more likely it is to come to pass. IS it a welfare state? No, welfare implies the state supports you and you don't contribute anything. The majority of the people we've seen in the Federation, both in starfleet and out of it, have contributed to society. They have been scientsts, politicians, beuracrats (and not always in the bad way), diplomats, chefs, journalists, etc. When was the last time you saw an unemployed Federation citizen? On top of that the Federation realizes that artists, poets, writters and their ilk are actually contributing to society.

If anything the Federation's greatest achievement is that people can do what they want, and no one looks down on them for it, and nothing holds them back except themselves. You want to be an architect? If you can learn the material you can be an architect. You don't have to worry about being able to afford architecture school. Want to be an artist? As long as you have some talent you can, and no one will look down on you for it.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
02-16-2010, 07:00 AM
I should have stopped when I saw the words "national review" in the address. But oh no, like Bluebeard's wife, I had to open the door and find the severed head of rational thought.

What makes the Federation "work" is that after a bunch of stupid wars and just general jackholery, humanity collectively came to its senses and started living like they were actually are the same species. People largely worked for the good of the whole, not necessarily the good of the individual -- although the subtext is that given unlimited resources and the ability to fulfill one's individual destiny, each individual will WANT to work for the good of the whole. If we as humans had that collective attitude, communism -- the idealist "on paper" communism, not the barely-disguised fascist dictatorship that is "capital C" Communism -- would actually be a swell form of government.

Roddenberry and Co.'s point, I think, is that we can do that... but we're not ready for it.

EDIT: Also, there's this:

"Star Trek’s failure is unfortunate. Along with the Star Wars, it is our most vivid and best known popular culture vision of the future."

If the guy would bother to pay attention to the words "...a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" he'd know that Star Wars isn't a vision of our future. Jackhole.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 17
02-16-2010, 07:11 AM
I have a natural authoritarian preference, I'm mostly right wing but actually have a functioning brain so it's not like I'm Captain Unreasonable.

That said, I find that the majority of the time, people aren't talking about being conservative or right wing. They're talking about the United States version which I find abhorrently stupid. Being a big ol' fan of government centralisation and effective authority does not mean I give the slightest damn about religious values or that I don't rather like universal healthcare and social support. It means I feel that civilisation itself is a wonderous thing that allows us all to live in exceptional comfort and happiness over the alternative to civilisation, which is scratching out a subsistence life of hunting and gathering before dying of dysentry at 30, and anyone who fails to walk the not unreasonable line between having freedom and the social responsibility inherent in exercising those rights, doesn't deserve them.

Ultimately, Star Trek presents a more hopeful and optimistic viewpoint, and I don't feel like I have to make any concessions on my part to accept it for what it is. Basically any story, right or left, will cheerfully wave the wand of authorial fiat to ensure its own preferred result whether it's for actual plot or to actually make a political 'point', and for every ludicrously naive story of utopian humans, I can find a masturbatory story of militaristic right wing carnage. Often with the two overlapping with the undesirable side being destroyed by their own naive foolishness/aggressive warmongering.

The reality will always end up the same, a mushed up shade of gray.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 18
02-16-2010, 07:18 AM
And I'm now officially stupider after reading that article.

Let's look at it this way. Mankind fears what it doesn't understand, and mankind typically reacts to what it fears with anger, fury and confusion. A person like the writer of that article simply cannot fathom a world like Star Trek. They can't possibly believe that a world where people are free to express their creativity, develop their natural abilities, and put those abilities to work for the betterment of sentient beings, including those different from themselves, could possibly exist.

Or maybe they're terrified because they don't see a place for themselves in such a world. In a Utopian society, who has need for those holding the reigns of power, pulling the strings of the plebians and making the world dance to their tune for fun and profit? In a world like Star Trek, they've lost the one thing they value more than their own lives: power. It's been replaced by the one thing they fear the most: change.

Chaos and change can be destructive forces, true, but they can also be used to mold a better society. Keep the parts that work, toss out the rest, and reshape the world to suit the needs of an ever-growing society. There's no place in such a world for those who would exploit the weak for gain. So naturally, they fear it, reject it and attack it.

...I really need to stop drinking so much caffeine at work. I'm actually starting to make sense!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 19
02-16-2010, 07:21 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khorak View Post
That said, I find that the majority of the time, people aren't talking about being conservative or right wing. They're talking about the United States version which I find abhorrently stupid. Being a big ol' fan of government centralisation and effective authority does not mean I give the slightest damn about religious values or that I don't rather like universal healthcare and social support. It means I feel that civilisation itself is a wonderous thing that allows us all to live in exceptional comfort and happiness over the alternative to civilisation, which is scratching out a subsistence life of hunting and gathering before dying of dysentry at 30, and anyone who fails to walk the not unreasonable line between having freedom and the social responsibility inherent in exercising those rights, doesn't deserve them.
(in a really bad "Sling Blade" voice) "I like the way you talk."
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 20
02-16-2010, 07:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daevan
I'm actually starting to make sense!
Uh....no, you're not. The Federation is still a recogniseable government, you can kind of spot by the name. It's a federation. In fact, out of all the governments on Earth....it's most like the United States, except the members have a legal right to leave.

While the Federation has a lot of freedoms and you have a lot more thanks to replication technology and efficient energy generation, it's still not minimally governed to the point that there's no such thing as power there. *LOL* In fact, a lot of the more ruthless aliens they've worked with are more than happy to complain about the amount of rules and regulations the Federation imposes!

The Federation is still very much ordered and controlled, which is why there are those aliens who don't like their perception it's a human controlled government.
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