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The Federation

Pooneil

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POSTS: 1023

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 10:04 am

I'm curious about what Trekkers think of the Federation. On TOS and TNG there were only vague hints and suggestions as to what the Federation really was -- an alliance for mutual protection, a way to facilitate trade and commerce; generally a pretty diverse place. DS9 by its nature got into more specifics with everything. The Federation became more homogenous, much more like a traditional nation, with a government, laws, a president, a capital, etc. Much of this development was used to make the UFP a darker, more complex place,  for better or worse.


Some of these things confused me. I didn't seem right that the Federation president, in "Paradise Lost", would have the authority to declare martial law on Earth. Nor did it seem right that there would be laws banning genetic engineering throughout the Federation simply because of a war fought on Earth centuries earlier. Commander Eddington's arguments against the Federation also stuck out: he made it seem as if the Federation was a bland, static entity rather than a mix of hundreds of different cultures.


So what do you think? Is the Federation the United States, or the United Nations? Have I misread the show with my own left-wing quasi-anarchist bias, or did Ron Moore and the other DS9 writers bring their own political baggage to the series?

Captain Derk

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POSTS: 52

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 11:50 am

In DS9 a darker veiw of the federation was seen, as any group/nation reacts in a war. In my opinion the federation was united nations however during the dominion war they relied heavily on starfleet causing the federation to become a more nationlised, militrised, indpendant 'group' forced to focus on there own defense rather then there orginal directive of exploration.


I Am Captain Patterson Of The Federation Starship U.S.S Winter.

TheDriver

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POSTS: 1652

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 1:45 pm

Starfleet's mandate isn't necessarily focused on exploration. Remember, Starfleet is all about "keeping the peace."


While TOS and TNG focused (primarily) on the exploration aspects of Starfleet, recall that DS9 was originally primed to center on diplomacy while Voyager's first directive was to bring a group of Maquis "traitors" to justice!


"Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for breakfast."

Broadstorm

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POSTS: 828

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 3:46 pm

The Federation was basically a nation with each planet a state or territory.  Many would argue that was is modeled in concept after the United States, but there are some differences.  The President, even the non-Human ones, reside on Earth, making it comparable to D.C..  However, given that it seems that it is the Earthers & the token foreigners who get most of the attention, I think the Federation would collapse rather quickly if the Earth ships started cruising around with "taxation without representation" directly above or below their registry numbers.

JASantiago88

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POSTS: 191

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 4:04 pm

Quote: Broadstorm @ Feb. 19 2012, 3:46 pm

>

>The Federation was basically a nation with each planet a state or territory.  Many would argue that was is modeled in concept after the United States, but there are some differences.  The President, even the non-Human ones, reside on Earth, making it comparable to D.C..  However, given that it seems that it is the Earthers & the token foreigners who get most of the attention, I think the Federation would collapse rather quickly if the Earth ships started cruising around with "taxation without representation" directly above or below their registry numbers.

>


I think that why the eliminated currentcy. Also they seem more like if The united states and China merged and focused on space instead of military

Broadstorm

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POSTS: 828

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 4:37 pm

Quote: JASantiago88 @ Feb. 19 2012, 4:04 pm

Quote: Broadstorm @ Feb. 19 2012, 3:46 pm

>

>

>The Federation was basically a nation with each planet a state or territory.  Many would argue that was is modeled in concept after the United States, but there are some differences.  The President, even the non-Human ones, reside on Earth, making it comparable to D.C..  However, given that it seems that it is the Earthers & the token foreigners who get most of the attention, I think the Federation would collapse rather quickly if the Earth ships started cruising around with "taxation without representation" directly above or below their registry numbers.

>

I think that why the eliminated currentcy. Also they seem more like if The united states and China merged and focused on space instead of military


Actually, that was intended as a joke.  I was simply commenting on how the shows tend to focus on the Humans & non-UFP races.

Jason222

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POSTS: 715

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 7:51 pm

I say yes it is nation state or at least intergalatic vrs of one. For example they did not allow Maquis to leave UFP and form own nation.

JASantiago88

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POSTS: 191

Report this Feb. 19 2012, 8:47 pm

Quote: Broadstorm @ Feb. 19 2012, 4:37 pm

Quote: JASantiago88 @ Feb. 19 2012, 4:04 pm

Quote: Broadstorm @ Feb. 19 2012, 3:46 pm

>

>

>

>The Federation was basically a nation with each planet a state or territory.  Many would argue that was is modeled in concept after the United States, but there are some differences.  The President, even the non-Human ones, reside on Earth, making it comparable to D.C..  However, given that it seems that it is the Earthers & the token foreigners who get most of the attention, I think the Federation would collapse rather quickly if the Earth ships started cruising around with "taxation without representation" directly above or below their registry numbers.

>

I think that why the eliminated currentcy. Also they seem more like if The united states and China merged and focused on space instead of military

Actually, that was intended as a joke.  I was simply commenting on how the shows tend to focus on the Humans & non-UFP races.


 


Hey hey..with every joke ther some truth in it. but i see it as this:


 


"In the distant future, Mankind reach out to the far end of space and electrons and light flow throughout the universe. The advance of space, however, has not yet wiped out nations and ethnic groups."  So Federation is not a Nation like Klingon persay, but it's more like a a United Nation with different species and humanoids. Mind you there is still a earth govenment within the Federation. (would make a good Star Trek Story that if the American Government tried to gain back it's power and spark a civil war)

Pooneil

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POSTS: 1023

Report this Feb. 20 2012, 10:11 am

Quote: Jason222 @ Feb. 19 2012, 7:51 pm

>

>I say yes it is nation state or at least intergalatic vrs of one. For example they did not allow Maquis to leave UFP and form own nation.

>


That was actually one of the things that confused me. In TOS and TNG there were dozens of colonies and independent worlds that nonetheless seemed to be part of the UFP. There was no central bureaucracy or "big government" telling them what they could or couldn't do, just an occasional visit from the Enterprise to see how they were getting along. For example, in the TNG episode "The Ensigns of Command", Data has to convince a group of colonists to abandon their colony to avoid certain death -- whether or not they're part of the Federation had nothing to do with it. But when the Maquis show up, suddenly there's talk of laws and UFP citizenship.


Did the portrayal of the Federation change, or was it always like that? It seems to me that over time the UFP became more "modern" and less science fiction. Another episode to compare is "Journey to Babel" -- Sarek is negotiating between two Federation members. That suggests to me that member worlds had much more independence than in later shows.

TardisCaptain

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POSTS: 64

Report this Feb. 20 2012, 12:01 pm

We've seen different Federation departments


 


Federation Bureau of Agricultural Affairs (Trouble with Tribbles)


Department of Cartography (Inter ARma Enim Silent Leges)


Federation Astronomical Committee (Eye of the Needle)


And even more listed on Memory Alpha.  Add a Federation council, Federation President and more and it sounds like a government.  Colonies can declare their own independence (a plot point often used in novels).


I'd say the answer to your question is yes.  The UFP is a government.


 

dirtsailor73

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POSTS: 104

Report this Feb. 20 2012, 1:20 pm


I can see parallels between the U.S. and the UFP: The Articles of Confederation (weak central government/strong state governments) vs. The Constitution (stronger central government), and the power of the central government vs. the power of the state governments pre- and post- Civil War. Over the course of history, the U.S. central government has continued to grow in power while the power of the individual state governments has decreased. It's possible that the same thing has happened in Star Trek. The power of the UFP (central government) has increased while the power of the individual states (member planets) has decreased.


Colonies are another ingesting matter. I've always seen them as a hodge-podge mix of the 17th/18th Century British model and the 19th Century American model: Some colonies are for profit ventures (or as close as you can get in ST), some are to escape (perceived) persecution, and some (most?) are simply to expand and get some elbow room in an ever-crowded galaxy.


At least that's my $.02


 


Steve


 


"The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank." ~LCDR Montgomery Scott, A Taste of Armageddon.

lostshaker

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POSTS: 2293

Report this Feb. 20 2012, 3:45 pm

The term Federation suggests a central government, so the degree of planetary sovereignty is in question. Now, the Federation's highest law is the Prime Directive, which prohibits foreign inventionism in the local affairs of all worlds, presumably for members and non-members alike. So the Prime Directive lends merit to planetary sovereignty as far as domestic governance. For example, earth employs an economic system that has seemingly abandoned money while the Federation employs a credit system, perhaps based on energy serving as a tradable market commodity. Other members may employ local and competing currencies.  

OtakuJo

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Report this Feb. 20 2012, 8:56 pm

I wish I could remember the reference, but I did come across an excellent definition of what is required for a "nation" to exist, while studying the Heritage paper in Museum Studies. But since I cannot entirely recall, I shall paraphrase.


A nation needs to have a large enough population to be independently viable. (Yes, the Federation has that.)


A nation needs to have a physical territory. I think when we look at Star Trek star maps that the Federation certainly has a territory in space: Unsurprisingly quite clearly demarkated by borders during conflict.


The Federation does have a central government, representation from different planets and peoples, and also other centralised institutions such as Starfleet to uphold its interests. Presumably it also has a capital on Earth.


A nation also needs to have some degree of shared history, heritage, and common interests among its population in order to be sustainable. This is a little loosely defined, but I do believe the Federation has this as well.


It is a nation -- but a nation in the sense that the USSR was a nation, rather than in the sense that, say Germany or Australia are nations. It encompasses many different planets (each arguably smaller nations in their own right) with many different interests that sometimes co-incide. It is also clearly a powerful political entity within the quadrant.


The comments from Eddington and others were fully intended to point to a more problematic side of the Federation, which I do believe are relevant arguments. In many ways, Federation ideals are insidious for outside cultures trying to maintain a hold on their own identities.


Comparison might be drawn with the spread of European culture through globalisation. This is not necessarily an entirely evil process, and does not make America an evil empire, but we cannot ignore that many languages and cultural identities are being endangered as a result. From the perspective of characters like Quark and Garak, their concerns are entirely valid.


Have you ever danced with a Tribble in the pale moonlight?

Pooneil

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POSTS: 1023

Report this Feb. 21 2012, 7:54 am

Quote: OtakuJo @ Feb. 20 2012, 8:56 pm

>

>The Federation does have a central government, representation from different planets and peoples, and also other centralised institutions such as Starfleet to uphold its interests. Presumably it also has a capital on Earth.

>...

>The comments from Eddington and others were fully intended to point to a more problematic side of the Federation, which I do believe are relevant arguments. In many ways, Federation ideals are insidious for outside cultures trying to maintain a hold on their own identities.

>Comparison might be drawn with the spread of European culture through globalisation. This is not necessarily an entirely evil process, and does not make America an evil empire, but we cannot ignore that many languages and cultural identities are being endangered as a result. From the perspective of characters like Quark and Garak, their concerns are entirely valid.

>


Good points, OtakuJo. I always looked at the UFP council as more of a general assembly than a senate: it was composed of ambassadors, after all, and the president seemed to be more of a chairman than a leader.


Eddington might have a valid point about the Federation (though I disagree with Garak and Quark re: root beer, which has not grown on me at all), but isn't his picture a bit too monolithic? The Federation is not a single culture, and most of the evidence suggests a diversity of ideals, values, religions, and beliefs. Bajoran reluctance to join the UFP was mostly based on this "big government" paranoia: they'll take away our religion and our freedom and assimilate us into the collective. I think the DS9 writers chose to explore this side of the Federation (a side which they made up themselves) mostly for the sake of conflict and drama.

guillermo.mejía

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POSTS: 2852

Report this Feb. 21 2012, 11:48 am

^ I can understand that big goverment paranoia. Puerto Rico (where I am from) has participated in Federal surveys before where the topic is does it want to be State 51. A fear of loosing our identity mixed with some lack of knowledge about the actual pros and cons of statehood mean that every survey eds up with the same result: leaving our status as is, a Commonwealth.


Bajorans might like to get that deal rather than being a full member. I was born in Puerto Rico, therefore I am a US citizen, but I payed no Federal Taxes when I lived there. On the othe rhand, there's no voting for the President.


"Aye. And if my grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon." - Scotty, The Miracle Worker since 2265.

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