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Do the ends justify the means?

Mitchz95

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Report this Mar. 23 2012, 8:15 pm

This became a recurring theme in DS9's sixth and seventh seasons with the introduction of Section 31 in "Inquisition". Those of you who haven't reached that point yet and don't want spoliers should leave immediately.


There are two simple choices in this kind of dilemma: a 'good' faction like the Federation either holds on to its ideals until the end, or it takes radical action to survive...and survives. What do you think? If Sloan asked you to join Section 31, would you?


"The future is in the hands of those who explore... And from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

OtakuJo

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Report this Mar. 23 2012, 10:59 pm

What's that quote again? "I would not join any clubs that would have me as a member."


But in all seriousness I think that's something you have to weigh up on a case-by-case basis. Interesting question though.


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

Pooneil

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Report this Mar. 24 2012, 9:06 am

Is survival enough? If you have to preserve your perfect idealistic quasi-utopia by putting aside your principles, would you still have a perfect idealistic quasi-utopia left to preserve? Or would you have destroyed it in the effort to protect it?


I'm terribly naive about such things, so I'd generally say that it's not worth destroying paradise in order to save it. But, like OtakuJo said, you have to answer that question on a case-by-case basis. There are times when the greater good is worth sacrificing for: Garak tells Sisko in "In the Pale Moonlight" that the cost of saving the Alpha Quadrant was only one criminal, one Romulan senator, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. That's affordable, I think.


But it can be too easy to apply that sort of thinking to every case and come to the same conclusion, which is what Section 31 does. They assassinate and manipulate so that the rest of the Federation can keep their hands clean. After all, what are a few assassinations against the survival of billions of people?


I think I might prefer to stick to my ideals regardless of the consequences. But then, I am very naive.

OneDamnMinuteAdmiral

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Report this Mar. 25 2012, 12:18 am

I take the side of Section 31, sometimes things need to be done for the safety of people who can't see the threat.


It is impossible to establish a perpetual republic, because in a thousand unforeseen ways its ruin may be accomplished. - Niccoló Machiavelli


Section 31 anticipates the unforseen.


It's funny how the main characters look down on the organisation yet have done the same things themselves. I guess its more convincing when it's for "the greater good".


Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?

OtakuJo

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Report this Mar. 25 2012, 12:42 am

But conversely, I do think that 31 having operated without accountability is potentially extremely sinister. An organisation that functions outside of the usual system of checks and balances is always in danger of overstepping its bounds, and nobody is capable of deciding themselves the point at which they are about to go too far. Organisations with that kind of power need to be accountable to someone outside of their ranks, in order to maintain the required perspective.


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

lostshaker

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Report this Mar. 26 2012, 5:41 pm

Quote: OneDamnMinuteAdmiral @ Mar. 25 2012, 12:18 am

>

>sometimes things need to be done for the safety of people who can't see the threat.

>


That's the rallying cry of tyrants and fear-mongerers. It is nonsensical hysteria meant to incite revolutions for the monopolization of power. Section 31 undermines the founding principles of the Federation and should be abolished.

Hugues

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Report this Mar. 27 2012, 5:59 am

Section 31 = CIA?


DS9 RULES!!!!!

miklamar

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Report this Mar. 27 2012, 12:33 pm

The Irish have a saying:  "If you shake hands with the Devil, you'll lose your hand."  It means (in my interpretation, at least) that if you consort with evil people, you will lose part of yourself in the process, even if you accomplish your goal.


The ends never justify the means.  Both must be moral and ethical, or you cannot call yourself noble and justified.  The old saying "the journey is the destination" means the same thing.  What you are, or become, is determined by your choices.


Another thing to remember is that while you are striving to achieve your ends--whether you, or someone else, determines them--this does not necessarily mean that you will ever achieve them, or even come close to achieving them.  How would you feel if you sell your soul, to try to achieve your goals, then fail to obtain the results you had desired so much?  Would your sacrifice have been worth the results?  Would these failed ends justify your ineffectual means?


Var Miklama--Zakdorn, engineer. "A sound mind in a FULL body!" "Time, like latinum, is a limited quantity in the galaxy."

OtakuJo

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Report this Mar. 27 2012, 1:53 pm

Quote: miklamar @ Mar. 27 2012, 12:33 pm

>

>The Irish have a saying:  "If you shake hands with the Devil, you'll lose your hand."  It means (in my interpretation, at least) that if you consort with evil people, you will lose part of yourself in the process, even if you accomplish your goal.

>


I think that was a large part of why Bashir was so determined to resist them.


@Hugues: Not sure about equating them with the CIA. The CIA does some pretty stupid and horrible things -- but Section 31 is much more covert, to the point where most people don't even know of their existence. No doubt there are similar organisations out there now, but....


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

Broadstorm

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Report this Mar. 27 2012, 3:34 pm

Quote: OtakuJo @ Mar. 27 2012, 1:53 pm

Quote: miklamar @ Mar. 27 2012, 12:33 pm

>

>

>The Irish have a saying:  "If you shake hands with the Devil, you'll lose your hand."  It means (in my interpretation, at least) that if you consort with evil people, you will lose part of yourself in the process, even if you accomplish your goal.

>

I think that was a large part of why Bashir was so determined to resist them.

@Hugues: Not sure about equating them with the CIA. The CIA does some pretty stupid and horrible things -- but Section 31 is much more covert, to the point where most people don't even know of their existence. No doubt there are similar organisations out there now, but....


That may not be an exact parallel in that the general population is aware of the CIA's existence., but perhaps NSA then.  For a long time, the government denied its existence, jokingly saying the letters stood for No Such Agency.

MoppyCGDaniels

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Report this Mar. 28 2012, 1:35 pm

In order to protect the Federation Sektion 31 does undermine the laws willingly. For this case the ends do not justify the means. So a rogue organistion like 31 had tried to assasinate a Romulan chairman to force them to stay into the war with the Dominion. Or commited genocide by infecting Odo with the attempt to finaly murder the Founders.


 


Even though since the birth of the Federation 31 had excisted on their own.

miklamar

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Report this Mar. 29 2012, 12:16 pm

But, when you begin breaking the laws/treaties, to achieve some unjustifiable end, how does that make you the good guys, anymore?  You become just another criminal, regardless of how noble you claim your purpose is.


And, where do your machinations stop? How can you tell where to draw the line, anymore?


Var Miklama--Zakdorn, engineer. "A sound mind in a FULL body!" "Time, like latinum, is a limited quantity in the galaxy."

kkt

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Report this Apr. 01 2012, 1:14 am

There's no one single answer.  I think Section 31 goes overboard in the sheer number of covert operations they conduct against friendly other powers.  On the other hand, some of them like infecting the Founders probably did help the outcome of the war and survival of the Federation.  If the female shapeshifter hadn't been sick, she would have been more on top of her game in the 7th season and she might have realized Cardassia was about to rebel against the Dominion.

captainroe

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Report this Apr. 11 2012, 4:28 pm

Every country/power needs an intelligence gathering service. Covert operations don't always go as planned nor do they always end with the desired results. And by nature those types of operations usually break numerous laws and treaties andoccassionally people die. If that's what it takes for a country, empire, etc. to stay in power, then so be it. 

OtakuJo

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Report this Apr. 11 2012, 11:54 pm

Quote: captainroe @ Apr. 11 2012, 4:28 pm

>

>If that's what it takes for a country, empire, etc. to stay in power, then so be it. 

>


So it's a question of power, not survival. Power over others that is not always legitimate.


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

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