Wherever I Am, I'm There
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Greater London
Role-playing a Cardassian, as I do on another website, can give you as strange viewpoint on the galaxy.
My colleagues are all Starfleet officers. People who believe totally in the Federation doctrine of 'Non-Interference', or the 'Prime Directive' as they call it. They have even given to uphold it with their lives, when they became a Starfleet officers.
I have always had my reservations about whether 'General Order Number One' could work as a philosophy in practice, but after doing some research I'm sure of it.
First thing I found was a Christian website, sorry lost the URL, but it had many criticisms of the 'Prime Directive'. One of it's discussion points that it threw up was that, wasn't an example of 'non-interference' by government on Earth, a system called Apartheid?
Secondly, I've been reading a lot of Iain M Banks. His 'Culture' is a society that loves to meddle in the affairs of other planets. In the book 'Excession' he writes about the 'Outside Context Problem'. To expand on his idea, it goes like this:
Think, if you will, of an island continent on an M-class planet populated by humans. After your isolated hunter-gatherer tribe have farmed the fertile land, domesticated the native animals, and invented a little technology like the wheel, numbers and writing, your neighbours have either co-operated with you, or else have been enslaved by you. You begin to raise temples to yourselves, have so much excess productive capacity that you are in a position of total and complete power, and you are able to turn your hand to more artistic pursuits.
Now, imagine one day, a more aggressive people from a distant, industrialized land across the sea arrive with gunpowder, metal armour, shooting sticks and infectious diseases. They speak an alien language, have very strange customs, and announce that you have been discovered, and are now subjects of their own Emperor. They plant alien cash crops on your lands, they interbreed with your women, and cause the extinction of your native animal species. Then they introduce the new concept of Tax, their nobility impose upon you a new system of government, while their priests impose upon you a new religion. That is a classic 'Outside Context Problem'; something you don't even have a context for understanding, aliens with powers beyond your ability to comprehend.
I decided that my Cardassian friend would love this. I could name hundreds of non-aligned low-tech worlds within Federation space ruined by their own 'Outside Context Problems', 'Star Trek' history is littered with examples. And the doctrine of 'Non-Interference' has been of no help to them at all, in fact, it has even exasperated the problem in most instances, because the Federation refuses to get involved. Surely, it is not only the right, but the duty of a major galactic power like the Federation to actively get involved, to bring order to the chaos of these worlds, rather than to stand back and wring it's hands? I would even go as far as to challenge you to name any system that has developed normally in both it's culture and society, in spite of the 'Prime Directive' being in force at the time.
In every world that Kirk visited after being tainted by outside influences, Kirk himself, had to break the 'Prime Directive' to solve the problem. Picard was a 'hand-wringer', always wanting to do some more, but tied down by the 'Prime Directive'. Janeway led some mid-way path, but this makes it difficult to understand her convictions.
Anyhow, anyone still believe the 'Prime Directive' would work?