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Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist?

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1 Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:27 pm

There was a fun video from Film/Game Theory recently arguing that the Federation in Star Trek is fascist.



I was wondering what you guys thought. Probably some other examples that can be thrown for and against the argument.

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2 Re: Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Sun Sep 11, 2016 11:11 pm

Oh yeah, I was going to post this on a different to start a party of mocking it.

A lot of the 'evidence' is cherry-picked, taken from the Kelvin Timeline, or reliant of the lack of information about civvie life in the UFP. The bundle of sticks thing is frankly insulting what with the French Republic and the Iroquois Federation using that symbol.

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3 Re: Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:28 am

It's a very cynical way too look at it isn't it? I can't help but think it's the modern lens distorting the optimism of the 60's science fiction Start Trek was created in. I often wonder if this phenomenon is why we'll never get a good Fantastic Four movie.

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4 Re: Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:08 pm

Just some things I see as I'm going through the video. This will also be from memory (I might look up what I remember to be more accurate).
I haven't watched the shows in 8 years, but it's okay; I should have a decent memory, and if I can debunk his points, it makes the video all the more weak.

EDIT: 2016-09-19: I started this on 2016-09-11 (original post date) and then stopped shortly thereafter, I wasn't gonna post this, but someone asked about this on Arche's tumbler, so... I might as well finish (or chop off where I'm comfortable) and post. EDIT is where I've updated something from my original write-up.

(I started paying closer attention after this point, to refute, also iirc, previously in the video is mostly intro, nothing really worth countering)

1. Famous dictators of WWII including Hitler and Mussolini
So Godwin's Law, and I can stop here Razz.

2. Transportation: Claims that the Federation owns all the ships.
Two counter examples:

  1. The Fortunate (ENT: Fortunate Son) is the freighter of Travis' family; they are civilian.
  2. More recently, Kasidy Yates from DS9 is a Federation citizen and private freighter captain.


3. Communication: Claims that the Federation owns all the communicators; they're labelled with Starfleet insignia (EDIT: he cites JJ Trek communicators).
Well, we usually only see Starfleet, and of course they're going to label their communicators (EDIT: With TNG having the combadges made in the shape of the Starfleet insignia).
I'd easily believe the Fortunate or Kasidy's ship have personal communicators, and even if they didn't the ship itself can communicate.

4. Ent-D has computers that can run basic ship functions and can monitor comms and the location of every crew member on the ship.
The computers are powerful; so what? The Ent-D is a small village in space; basic functions, combat functions (Ent-D can function as a military ship, when necessary), advanced holodecks, etc.
As for monitoring comms, assertion with no examples given, so, meh (and even going down that rabbit hole: Ent-D is the Starfleet flagship, a military ship (at least partly). EDIT: Also real life corporations monitor comms (Internet monitoring, also SSL CA man-in-the-middle for even more invasiveness).)
Location monitoring has usually been via personal communicators (several episodes have "tracked people down, but wait, it was just their communicator that they removed")

5. Control the flow of communication, but also it's content. They own two of the most prevalent news programs in the galaxy; Federation News Network and Federation News Service.
Baseless assertion of baselessness. I just had to mention that stupid sentence for completion and because it's baselessness offended me.

6. Court systems under the thumb of the Federation (and then shows Starfleet logo; which is the military and exploration branch)
I cannot recall where we've seen the Federation court system. Starfleet court martial, sure.
TNG: The First Duty, has a court martial to determine what happened during a flight maneuver exercise.
TOS: Court Martial has a court martial (by Kirk's demand) because the computer record shows Kirk jettisoning the flight recorder on yellow alert, not red alert (EDIT: ostensibly leading to the unjustified death of a crew member).

7. Asserts the courts use unilateral hearings to weed out dissenters. (An example :O) TOS: Galileo Seven where Kirk disobeys orders to save his crew. A few episodes later TOS: Court Martial and they are actively trying to get Kirk to resign and when he refuses, trying to kick him off the ship in the first ever general court martial of a Starfleet captain. They're making up the rules to make sure Kirk get kicked off.
First, "weeding out": What, When!? (granted, I'm not using the new movies, but even those didn't have hearings, a later point he makes) (EDIT: they had drumheads, basically. As an aside, TNG: The Drumhead; good episode)
Second "the example": For the sake of brevity, I won't write a massive paragraph. Take my word for it though, that's either terrible writing on the part of an episodic TV show (contrivance upon contrivance to get the court martial), or terrible conjecture on the part of this video's creator. SPOILER: It's the latter.
Third "making up the rules": That never happened. If anything they gave Kirk's defense attorney latitude (EDIT: in TOS: Court Martial).

8. ST 2009 example: No court martial, just jettisoned off the ship
My own aside. after Spock nerve pinched Kirk, they could have put Kirk in the brig, instead. I'm just going to call that bad writing on the part of the movie and ignore it. (written, as such, so Kirk can meet Spock Prime and get Scotty (on the Vulcan moon? and yet, not? my memory is hazy regarding this))

9. "No checks and balances to impede that power"
So TOS: Court Martial he just mentioned... doesn't exist? I mean technically it hasn't happened in JJ Trek, but if he's pulling that *techhknically* he's automatically wrong. Them's the rules Razz.

10. Admiral Marcus' many clandestine programs with Section 31 (secret missiles, warship, etc.)
Okay, hang on. If he's talking about the Federation of the 24th century, you can't pull JJ Trek universe as examples, it's an alternate universe. Might as well pull in examples from the Mirror Universe... is he talking about them, but using Prime universe for examples? Is he a liar (EDIT: or deceiver (a bunny-cat dick Razz))? Well, by his own standards of debate -- baseless conjecture, speculation and twisting of facts -- Yes, he is a liar (EDIT: deceiver, cherry-picker, clickbaiter, whatever).

11. Kirk fought against Marcus, what about the rest of the Federation? Where were they?
Black. Projects. Or to quote him, "clandestine programs". Do most (or enough) U.S. Senators know all the black projects that go on in U.S. gov't? In the world? No.

12. "capitalism designed to give the common man democratic power through their spending"
Unless the common man organizes (ala boycott) the individual common man has little power. An individual extremely rich man might, if they apply their money correctly.

13. Nazi reference(s)
EDIT: Fuck it. I'm seriously invoking Godwin's Law. We're done here.

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5 Re: Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:05 pm

This is the same guy who runs Game Theory, correct? He's got a lot of flack already for not understanding the scientific method or what a theory actually is.

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6 Re: Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:36 pm

Yeah, it's MatPat behind Game Theory and Film Theory.

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7 Re: Is The Federation in Star Trek Fascist? on Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:59 pm

Hello, I discovered that one too.

Odd. The writer is American right? Why is the assumption that a system which does have a lot of imput into your life is automatically either fascist or communist? Europeans are far more comfortable at the idea that you sacrifice a little freedom to a group in-order for your well-being as an individual to be protected. It's not an either or scenario, we just take the concept of E pluribus Unum a bit more literally than American.

I'd argue that some of the points covered are already here, anti-terrorism and criminal measures such as DNA databases, security cameras, hacking people's email accounts and lots of other things are the beginnings of the kind of tools shown throughout Star Trek, never-mind satellites, the internet and cellular phones. How exactly are these things fascist when they are managed by politicians we choose to elect and whom we can embarrass and reject if we choose? I thank God I do not live in a police state, if Star Trek was one, believe me we would know.

That and the writer mistakes Starfleet and the Federation as the same concept. The Federation has a working political process, at least hinted at or shown briefly including Federation Presidents. Starfleet is just the prism through which we see the Federation most often, it's as if we were judging the United States solely based on the show NCIS, which would present a strong-arm government which goes where it likes, uses violence and employs assassins on a redemption kick casually. Starfleet is the military - it may have more in-common in the way it operates with a Coast Guard, but it is a military in the way the US Coast Guard as an example operates, to defend when required, to provide what is technically known as Military Assistance to Civil Power to support diplomacy, civil defence, emergency management and other tasks, but likes to focus itself on exploration. Of course its going to see constraining if you are judging a society based solely on its military with the discipline and structures that requires. A military does not a society make. We see Starfleet justice and review systems on-show, not the Federation as a whole, unless we count tie-in novels, we see relatively little of the civilian legal or political structures of Federation members, and generally the detail is either from the Klingons (not Federation), the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Bajorans or the disposable culture-of-the-week. Military legal systems are generally separate from civilian ones because context, war, is different, as is what constitutes appropriate conduct and an understanding of personal responsibility which goes far beyond that of the average business executive. When they step too far, they know it and step back again such as with persuiting peace with the Klingons which actively disadvantages the military-security element and blood testing for Changeling infiltration - that's called civilians in-charge of the military which is not fascist.

He also doesn't seem to understand the concept of state secrets or that not every agent or official is always honest or honourable and the affect power sometimes has on people, sometimes even very great men and women do terrible things, the career of Winston Churchill is classic - saves Britain and by extension democracy from the Nazis, galvanises the West for the Cold War, makes peace with the Irish after most of them decide to leave the Union, wins a Nobel Prize for Literature but sent troops against the miners, bombed Iraq, trashed the economy with the Gold Standard and let's not even get started on Gallipoli (interesting idea - terribly executed) or his attitudes to Empire and India in-particular which are just plain wrong. You can justify a lot of terrible things if you believe your motives are correct, but as they say only Nixon could go to China.... Admiral Marcus does not represent the values of the Federation as a whole, or at least understands them differently to the way that most people would read them.

Post-scarcity economies would mean that the government would have to intervene in-order to ensure the general population who with average educations and skill-sets have no or limited job prospects in a low-production-high-replication economy were supported with basic housing, food and energy supplies and to continue to encourage those with specialists, skills which a replicator can't replace. There would be structures to manage this and communicate any problems. He is again measuring what he sees of Starfleet and expanding that to fit the whole Federation which is quite wrong.

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