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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@Tomalak touche.

I guess I don't care for the premise which seems strange that genetic engineering would "enhance" a basic human character trait but admittedly I may be getting pedantic on this point.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"who both say that the genetic engineering itself caused Khan's level of super ambition."

I think we're getting in the weeds here over an imprecision in language. It depends what you mean by "ambition" and "caused"

Let's take the following statement:

"I want to be a billionaire."

What is the level of ambition displayed in that? Well are you:

a) A checkout girl at Walmart from a welfare family
b) A Harvard MBA working an entry level analyst job on Walstreet
c) The child heir of a billionaire

I would say that the level of ambition gets exponentially less from a) to c) with c) displaying essentially no ambition and a) displaying Khan-levels of ambition.

So ambition is obviously a relative thing. It is nonsense to talk about ambition in absolute terms. Is Prince Charles "ambitious" because he plans to be the King of England one day?

There is nothing in any Trek episode that seriously suggests that genetic enhancement actually makes people ambitious

All Kirk is saying is that when you give people the ability to move mountains, some of them are gonna do just that. Same message as Where No Man Has Gone Before except cosmic power is being replaced by power borne from genetic enhancement.

"ambition" in this context means the means to the end moreso than the end.
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"But the argument that it clearly leads to some kind of ambition to be a global dictator seems very weak. "

I think that Khan-like ambition isn't rare. There are people like this all over the place. Now I am not speaking of literal world domination from the outset as most people simply don't have the frame of reference to reach the point where they desire that. Nobody wakes up one day and imagines themself overlord of the world because that simply isn't culturally on the radar.

But where the frame of reference is there, human ambition is practically infinite. In other words, if there is some inkling that something might be possible such that many desire it, it's a safe bet that many will have the ambition to pursue the desire and being an actual superman is hardly a prerequisite to that ambition.

Go to Hollywood and I'm sure half the people waiting tables have the ambition to be the next superstar actor. Talk to kids on a basketball court or an ice rink and I'm sure no small number plan to play in the NBA or NFL. Go to silicon valley startup and there are wannabe Zuckerbergs and Bezoses everywhere.

Is there a meaningful difference between wanting to conquer the world and wanting to be the next Michael Jordan or Taylor Swift? I'd say psychologically it's the same thing. The context is different and of course the consequences to the rest of us vary wildly, but *wanting something outlandish*, desiring something - what does it matter what the object is?
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

"Why can't they write characters who goof without being judged to have themselves goofed?"

Because Sisko gassing a planet isn't a "goof" it is a war crime- and indeed one committed for little more than petty revenge. You can't possibly maintain that act as part of Sisko's character without breaking it. Sure the writers could have him do that. They could have him set a man on fire for thrills too. But that kind of breaks the series doesn't it?

It's like Burnham choosing to kill T'Kumveh and throwing away the mission - despite her just establishing emphatically 10 minutes earlier that this would lead to war and kill millions. The writers or someone just goofed and it was (rightly) never mentioned again and instead they just prattle on about the mutiny this mutiny that, as if that was her biggest crine. Mutiny can be fixed. Deliberately throwing millions of lives away for petty revenge can't.

Similarly, Sisko orchestrating the murder of the Romulan Senator and fraud (unwittingly in the first case, deliberately in the second) is understandable and can be reconciled with his character. Gassing civilians in a petty act of retribution against Eddington can't be.
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Jason R.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

I don't see Space Seed as implying that excess ambition was some kind of side effect of the genetic enhancement like a weird quirk of the procedure.

I think Peter is right that plenty of average people are ambitious - but being average (or close to it) where does that ambition take them but to an average outcome?

The point is that if some people stand above others to such a massive degree, a portion of them are going to seek dominance just like in any human society. And if their abilities rise to match that ambition, watch out.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 16, 2021, 6:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

Oh please Booming. Next you'll claim Colonel Quaritch from Avatar was lying when he said the gas grenades would be "humane".

Let's face it, the writers goofed with this episode. It happens. Luckily, these older shows were far less serialized than the newer ones. You can file Sisko's gas attack on the same shelf we keep Janeway and Tom's reptile children.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 13, 2021, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Cost of Living

@Mal spot on. I thought Lwaxana's chemistry with Alexander was the best part of this episode. The grandparent / grandchild relationship is perfectly captured in these scenes. And Deanna was such a prig in this episode.

And jeez louise with Worf, Klingon up you dolt! Can I just say that I do not understand how Alexander is supposed to be this big burden on Worf and all this woe is me handwringing about how living together us going to be so "hard". He's not some newborn baby howling at 2:00 a.m. or a toddler wrecking the place. He looks about 8 years old which means he basically feeds and cares for himself most of the time. He goes to school during the day. It's a starship; a self contained highly supervised space where Worf can check in on him at a moment's notice without even leaving work. Yes it's dangerous if you get into a battle with a Borg cube or sucked into a time loop, but outside if that, from a childcare standpoint, how much more ideal can you get?
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Jason R.
Sat, Apr 10, 2021, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"A difference of definition then."

Well yes, but if you google it the Chinese system is what comes up immediately. There is no other commonly understood definition.

I mean if it's not centralized, then what's the point of the term? Every society in human history right down to prehistoric bands of hunter gatherers had ways of managing people through reputation.

"The trans ban is a silly example."
Could you elaborate?"

Because it is in no conceivable way a credible example of a "social credit system".

As I said the only thing that even comes close in the west are the big credit agencies like Transunion, Equifax, etc...
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Jason R.
Sat, Apr 10, 2021, 9:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@Booming none of those examples amount to a social credit *system* which implies a unified centrally managed database. Even the major credit agencies (which I am surprised you didn't mention as they are far better an example than what you cited) are highly specific to a particular silo of financial credit and it is noteworthy that their silo is accessible by outside agencies only on consent.

You might as well just call 14th century feudalism a social credit system by your logic. The trans ban is a silly example.

China is the only country to my knowledge that has a system based on a truly unified database that covers every aspect of social intercourse.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"Am I the only one who has never liked Chevy Chase? He just oozes an insufferable attitude."

In this case an asset.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"Oh well, I'm a radical socialist and even I am pretty annoyed by now. When they took out this episode because of this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFFqCIeuGE8&ab_channel=CanonEos
In Germany we don't have a racist blackface trope. Still that episode cannot be watched here anymore. And it is a great episode. :(
I thought my illegal streaming days were over..."

Haha! I actually watched that episode randomly a few years ago - literally the only episode of Community I have ever seen. Chevy Chase is hilarious in that. I totally didn't notice the blackface at the time. I guess that guy is supposed to be a Drow?
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 9:27am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

And I find not so "liberal" obsessions with crushing speech hilarious - the wheel turns doesn't it?

I have no illusions that if Right was ascendant rather than Left we'd probably see the reverse.

My generation's reverence for free speech was, in hindsight, perhaps, anomalous - born of a particular time when Left and Right were in some kind of uneasy balance.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 8:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

I realize that Trish was being precise in her claim so I can't fault her statement in that regard. It is technically correct that private enterprises can be cajoled or incentivized by governments to crush speech that would otherwise enjoy first amendment protection if it was the government acting directly. We saw this in the 50s with McCarthyeism where it was private enterprise that blackballed suspected communists, not governments directly.

I also agree with Peter that if a populace wants to do something, it is going to happen regardless of constitutional protections. Jim Crow made a mockery of the gains made after the civil war and the spirit of the 13th amendment.

Free speech is a dying value in most western nations in my opinion. If I look at the past decade and especially since 2016 the prevailing narrative has been how dangerous speech is and how do we crush bad speech.

The only real wildcard in the USA is its Supreme Court, which through certain vagueries of fortune has tilted counter-culture toward protection of liberal values like speech. But absent a significant social change, that anomaly will correct itself eventually and any judicial resistance will be swept away, as has occurred here in Canada.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 9, 2021, 4:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"So yes, there can be consequences for your speech. As long as it's not the government meting out those consequences, the legal phrase "freedom of speech" does not apply."

What if it's government putting the screws to giant social media companies to do it for them. You know, stop the "hate speech" on your platforms or else we might have to anti trust your ass.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 9:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"Yes BECAUSE THE CLOSEST MODERN ANALOG TO THE SOCIETY PORTRAYED IN THIS EPISODE IS CHINA. "

May I ask why? (please don't bite my head off)
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 5:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Dave out of curiosity what have you been doing to stop Chinese atrocities (outside of talk)
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"In both cases, a main cast member was boning the leader of a society undergoing upheaval due to outside influence, all during negotiations. The only difference between what Troi and Riker did is the genitalia they used to do it."

God help me that I actually have watched Angel One enough to know this but Riker's dalliance takes place *before* they are even aware of the nascent men's rights movement.

Also, Riker's relationship had no effect on the planet's culture. It simply wasn't relevant as neither side was against it. In Troi's case just them being on the planet was disruptive to say nothing of going to bed with their genetically engineered leader.

I was, nevertheless, going to say that in a meta way, Troi feeling guilty for doing something similar to what Riker did was a double standard - except for the fact that in the Price, also Season 3, she did the same thing without any guilt.

The evidence is decidedly inconclusive.
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 10:38am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"I'm not saying there's nothing to condemn there"

Great, we agree after all!
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Jason R.
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 4:25am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"For the record, I'm not speaking from the position of a nationalistic rah-rah cheerleader. I just don't care for when people make assertions without verifiable evidence, nor do I like when those who crow the loudest about their virtues selectively apply their focus."

Dave fwiw on the specific subject of the drone war you should know that the fact that "thousands" have been killed (in general, not specifically civilians, innocent or otherwise) is not really a controversial statement.

It is hard to find any kind of official tally from quick Google searching so I can't say if it is 3,002 or 8,004 and I specifically avoided citing civilian sources that you might not trust like the NY Times.

Suffice it to say I don't need "evidence" that this is happening because it's not a secret and the US government clearly admits it is happening and has been for years. It is not controversial, full stop!

Now you may not agree with my "black box" concerns - and that's all they were, concerns. I hardly accused the USA of genocide or said your leaders should go to a war crimes tribunal. I just said I worried how these targets were being verified and if we applied a "false conviction" rate you would expect even in a decent civilian criminal justice system, that would add up to alot of innocent blood, before you even address the actual "collateral damage" numbers which officials absolutely acknowledge too.

And seriously, how do you know my "outrage" is selective? I'm not allowed to raise a modest concern about US foreign policy in a topic *about* US foreign policy without providing my CV showing I gave equal time to war crimes in Tibet or Sudan and 10,001 third world dictatorships? Is the fairness doctrine back? Are you it's new ombudsman?

By the way, on the Troi issue the PD wouldn't apply to humans although from the episode it looks like Picard was perhaps trying to honour its spirit. I would say that in context, Troi's concerns about her judgment were more about how her affair could destabilize this delicate society, which wasn't in issue in say The Price or with Riker in Angel One.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

To be fair, without going back to forensically audit this thread it may be that Booming was disproportionately condemning America. I just caught the tail end of this.

Regarding China, as Peter correctly points out, it was not the topic at hand so I didn't mention it as it didn't seem pertinent. Also Peter is right that Americans and especially Canadians these days don't have much say in what China does.

One last point: America isn't just any old country. It is the world's last superpower and indeed, the originator and incubator of many of the fundamental ideas of international law, human rights and other ideas we take for granted today. Americans have a certain self regard in this way and see them as the world's "good guys". As a Canadian, I can tell you that many of us still share that view, even if it's fashionable to look down on Americans (who Canadians really envy if we are honest with ourselves)

Yes, I could take the time to condemn China, Russia and probably half the countries in Sub Saharan Africa. But those countries don't claim to be bastions of human rights, freedom and justice do they? Why shouldn't a country that deems itself exceptional in its own mythos be held to its own inflated standards?
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Dave I am not even sure you'd end up disagreeing with me if you took the time to address what I am actually saying here versus what you seem to imagine I am saying.

But to be fair we are so accustomed to hyperbole that when someone makes a small point, there's a knee jerk tendency to blow it up to something it isn't - like you seem to be doing here.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 4:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilian_casualties_from_U.S._drone_strikes&ved=2ahUKEwipiuvXpunvAhWPVc0KHZgaDN8QFjAAegQIBxAC&usg=AOvVaw0L4AwrMK9LV8aVqlin25iB"

This Wiki article has some numbers about total drone deaths. I am, by the way, ignoring civilians entirely and speaking just about the actual targets, who do number in the thousands. I didn't see a tally over the entire drone war but whatever number you prefer, just run with it if you please - the number isn't the point whether it is 6,000 or 8,000 or 3,011.

I am simply noting that even a 1st world justice system convicts a fair number of innocent men. And I question whether execution by aerial drone has the rigorous standards of a Jury trial.

So when you apply any % to those figures and then add to that % the actual collateral damage estimates (which are unintentional civilian deaths) it is quite alot.

Not saying America is evil or that China isn't worse or whatever.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 4:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"Where is the evidence that we kill thousands of innocent civilians by drone strikes every year? Mathemstically, we'd be killing at least a dozen a day ..... so where's the evidence?"

You need to reread what I wrote. I stated the USA has killed "thousands" period. Not thousands annually, but thousands over the course of many years. And I didn't say they were "innocent civilians" although some certainly were (official sources don't deny this).

Reread carefully what I said about the black box and respond to the point I made, not to the one I didn't.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 5, 2021, 6:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I don't want to get dragged down this rabbit hole but I will say that for several administrations now, the US has conducted routine extra judicial assassinations through drone strikes. Thousands of people. No trials, nothing resembling a standard of proof that we would understand in criminal law, no oversight that we can vet as civilians.

Now I get why they do it since 911 and I am sure many of these targets were very bad people. But, consider this: even in a first world criminal justice system with every judicial protection and procedure, innocent men get convicted all the time. And these men ain't getting the full criminal law protection. And I say it again: *thousands*.

Even if you forget entirely the civilian collateral damage (which is also significant) and just focus on the ones they intended to kill, that is alot of dead men.

I don't know for sure what is in that black box and outside of a select group of insiders I don't know if anyone can know - and that's a scary thought.
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 4, 2021, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Are you guys actually disagreeing about something? I can't tell.
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