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Ken Egervari
Fri, Oct 15, 2010, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Progress

Yeah, but what bothers me is that Sisko seemed to be pro-evacuation as well.

The thing is, whether it serves the greater good is irrelevant. The real question is this - what gives them the right to violate the property rights and the right to life of a few in order to serve the good? I'm sorry, but mixing a little evil to get a "good" doesn't work.

If the government offered to buy/trade with them so they could consensually relocate, that would be a different matter, but they clearly tried to remove these 3 people by force. All reason ends at the sight of a gun.

Also what bothers me is that there was a slower method to achieve the same goals without relocating them and without violating rights. This was the moral choice, but they willingly said, "No, it's all or nothing!" Couldn't they have traded/asked the federation for a replacement? Was that not possible? I'm sure it would have been.

It's not just about progress every 2 or 3 episodes has a theme along this end, especially the Ferengi episodes. While some aspects of the Ferengi are not all that great, their desire for profit isn't evil at all, yet the show tries to link the profit motive with the unequal rights of females and the violation of rights of others (theft, scheming, disreptuble business practices).

The thing is, Quark in his later years was more than rational about how he ran his bar. He really was. The federation/Odo still tried to constantly blackmail him anyway, and do all sorts of evil things to him that actually morally wrong, but the show takes this "our way is morally superior" approach. They just assume it's true, even though it has been proven to not be true at all.

It doesn't stop there. There are just countless episodes where the Federation and the main characters take stances that not moral, and it's amazing how I didn't see it before.
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Ken Egervari
Thu, Oct 14, 2010, 1:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Progress

I have a problem with "Progress", and it's about the story's content.

DS9 used to be my favourite show period, but my philosophy about life has changed a lot since then, and I've watched this series 2 times.

After watching some old episodes, I realize that the underlying philosophy in this show is of self-sacrifice, duty of the state, blackmail when it becomes convenient, and so on. The shows are littered with principles that are just evil, and the characters willingly go along with it for "the greater good".

Progress is an example of this. A man is being forced from his house, and Kira recognizes that it's wrong. It IS wrong. There is no debating this.

The moral? She uses force to remove him against his will from his own land. Wow, just wonderful.

I would have respected Kira a lot more if when she was given to choice by the minister to step down so he could find someone else to remove him, she should have said, "Fine, I'll have no part with it, and you can have my resignation." That would have made the story much more interesting, and it would have been moral.

The problem is that this show, as a lot of star trek shows, is that it emphasizes that the greater good, or the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few with complete disregard to property rights, or the right to life.

It really makes me actually hate a show I once loved. I'm just looking at it from a different perspective now. It's unfortunate.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 6:32am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

Oh, I meant to say:

Is it not convenient for a government to say, "Well, it's in our expert opinion that you DON'T have a right to property..." That is immoral. You can make any evil policy legal, but that doesn't make it moral.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 6:21am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

"First of all, you are operating under another assumption, which is that the way people behave "naturally" is automatically THE GOOD and that if they are taught some value which is different, it is THE EVIL. [...] What matters is that this is an ASSUMPTION. It is an axiom for a belief. You believe that capitalism is generally good because it conforms to the aforementioned assumptions ("good" assumptions). All I ask for now is that you admit this much."

Yes, I am operating under this premise, but I don't take it as an axiom. It is not a primary that my logic is based on, but actually one of the larger blocks.

Let me try to explain in the smallest amount of text possible, as it's my fault not going through the primaries and just starting with higher level conclusions in the first place.

Human beings have consciousness. We have the ability to abstract, to form concepts, to apprehend reality using our faculty of reason. Reason is not automatic, we have to choose to use it.

At every moment in one's life, we can make choices. One of the most fundamental choices we have is life and death, and the most basic tool we have to help us is reason. If we choose life, we do things that we think will prolong it (i.e bring about our surival and our prosperity). If we don't choose life... or we fail in our thought process, than we die.

Life is the rational standard of value, and it's a value that all volitional living orgasms have. Essentially, things that seek to further our life are good, and things that seek to destory or oppose or threaten our life are evil.

Since life is the ultimate standard of value, we must have a right to pursue that value. If we don't have that right, we are essentially forced to act against our own self-interest and our own life. Essentially, we would be forced to do somethign which is evil, because evil seeks to destory our life. Therefore, we must have the right to life (which is the good) and nobody else has the authority to violate this right.

It would be massive contradiction in terms to say, "Yeah, I'm a human being and life is my ultimate standard of value, but I'm going to kill another human being because I choose to not recognize his ultimate standard of value too." This is not at all rational. It's hypocritical.

All other rights, like the right to property, the right to pursue happiness, etc. stem from the basic right to your own life, because these are necessary to support your life. It is the only implementation of your right to your own life.

For example, if you have no food and must go hunting, and then just after you cook the meal someone steals your food... how can you live? If they continually steal your food over and over for days, you'll eventually not have the strength to hunt any more, and you'll eventually die. (Let's just ignore alterantive food sources, and blah blah... they can steal those too). What if they just lock you up in a cage until you starve?

The thieves in this case are Evil, because they're opposing your right to life. So you must have the right to your own actions and productive efforts (whether that's hunting, making a chair, or building a fortune 500 company). There can't be any other way to implement your right to life if you don't also have the right to property.

So, this is what I mean by man's nature. Of course, I'm over-simplifying as it is, because this is a focused crash course in metaphysics, epistomology, ethics and even politics.

Point is, when a socialist claims that it is "good" to steal property and give it to someone else, he is wrong and is evil because he seeks to destory or oppose my right to life. It's really that simple.

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"Unless you're a bible thumper or something, theft in itself is not an evil action. Robin Hood would never have been written if there weren't doubt about this. It's always about context."

I am an athiest.

And I agree, theft is not always evil. I never said it was. But in the context of taking someone's produced goods or earnings, then theft in this case is definitely evil.

If someone were to steal my property through the use of force, I have every right to retalite by force to take it back. Of course, in modern society we give these rights to government so they do it for us, but if there were no government, we would have to operate on this right ourselves.

The same is true if you kill someone is self-defense. Once a man uses force, you can only respond with force. If he's trying to violate your right to life, and you have to end his life to perserve your own, so be it. His irrationality to attack you in the first brought it on himself.

Anyway, so I am not context dropping in my earlier discussions about theft. The context was communism after all, and it would be equally true if one person refused to work and watched TV while still collecting welfare checks from his productive fellow citizens.

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"A socialist believes that it is actually good to steal from a rich person and give to a poor one because we are not animals in a Darwinistic competition to out-survive one another (or at least we shouldn't be)."

I would argue that the socialist is wrong because what gives him the right to steal from the rich man in the first place? Did the rich man do anything wrong? Why is he being punished? Why does he not have the ability to give his consent?

Also, even if you ignore that, why is it even desirable to make sure nobody out-survives anyone in the first place? Are you saying everyone must live to be the same age? Are we really 100% equal regardless of merit, productive achievements, intellect, effort, etc? Of course not. This is absurd. It is completely contrary to idea of justice.

You see, socialistic ideas simply fall apart. They don't make any sense at all. The socialist can believe it all he wants, that doesn't make him right or his ideas good.

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"You don't have to agree, but it is a matter of perspective. There is no simple answer to this."

I guess we'll have to disagree here. I think it's pretty clear-cut honestly.

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"This is why a drama like Star Trek is so powerful when done well, these questions are what propel humanity forward. If there were a simple quick-fix to the world's problems, life would be pretty meaningless."

I agree with this. Debate is definitely healthy, especially if we can come to a truth. This is ultimately the most important thing - to seek truth. It's how I come to a lot of the ideas I am advocating.

I used to think altruistically in many cases... and I used to completely believe in the vision projected by Star Trek at one time. I was heavily abused as a child, which really muddled with my thinking as an adult, and so did education systems and a variety of other experiences. I now think differently because evidence and logic has given me new truths to replace the old ones. I choose to think.

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"You state over and over again that it is not "in our nature," etc. etc. Aptly, I am reminded of the myth Chakotay tells Janeway about the Scorpion: "I couldn't help it; it's my nature. Seven of Nine becomes the very test of that truism."

I actually 100% agree with what you said here. An animal's nature is pretty simple and predictable. The reason, in a nutshell, is that they don't have free will. Since the Borg didn't have free will, I think it is fair to postulate, does a severed borg retain their nature as well? This was a fantastic episode by the way ;)

However (like the episode concludes), humanity is very different because not only are we not pre-programmed with lots of knowledge and behaviours like animals, but we were given free will too. We were also given the ability to think and learn, and the ability to use logic and reason to achieve our values.

Ironically, logic and reason must be a conscious choice. We also have no idea what values to pursue either. We must choose those as well.

This is the essence of what it means to be an individual. And ironically, for a show that is very collectivist, Voyager made some fantastic cases for individualism (See, I said something good about Voyager!)

------------------------------------

"Our nature is not fixed in stone, altruism IS a natural state of human existence sometimes, given the right conditions."

No, altruism is a choice, just as anything else. Not only that, it was an invention by man. Man had to make it up... and ever since, it is proven time and again to be destructive to one-self and to others.

And I do want to be clear, I don't think generousity and charity is equivalent to altruism. Absolutely not! A man can be 100% rationally selfish and still decide to give his money or his time away to charity or to someone he cares about.

If I had cancer and I was a billionaire, do you not think I may choose to donate money to cancer research, which may actually help thousands or millions of people? If my wife died to cancer, do you think I might have a selfish desire to make sure cancer doesn't take the life of anyone else? I very well might.

I know a woman who is very generous, and she may even say she's altruistic... but I know she wouldn't do these things if it meant that she had to sacrifice herself, her property, her well-being, etc. She just wouldn't.

When I say altruism, I really do mean the sacrificial part - the part where a man believes he can only live for other people and not himself... because if he does, he will then feel massive amounts of guilt and shame. This entire line of thinking is 100% educated and taught by churches, schools, parents, governments, etc. A child out of the womb does not know any of this.

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"It is humanity's compassion, intelligence and altruism which the Star Trek universe expands upon (it does not invent them out of thin air)."

I agree that Star Trek takes these ideas and expands upon them, but all I am saying is that the form of government and way of life in Star Trek has no logical basis, and in principle, is proven to be immoral.

Simply, the writers made it up. It's not like they hired the top philosopher's in the world to build them a philosophy that made sense (not like they actually did when it came to explaining the science aspects of the show)... because if they had, their form of government and type of society would be totally different than what is actually presented in the series.

Basically, Star Trek really is fiction and it is not something to hope for because it really cannot exist as presented. If it were attempted, it would just end up as communism.

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"I am NOT advocating communism per sæ. I don't want that to become our debate. You have not come close to proving that communism is evil."

Okay, I give up on this then. To me, it makes perfect sense.

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"Don't get me started on Rand."

I don't agree with everything rand thought. I think her ideas on intectual property were probably wrong. I actually think most or all of her ideas on sex and relationships were wrong too. Clearly wrong.

Still, her books are art, not reality. She wanted to communicate concepts easily and clearly, because this is what she defined art to be. A lot of her characters represent different ideas and how they will play out, but her books on actual philosophy had much more depth and information than the novels.

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"The labour theory is no "debunkable." It may be impractical under most conditions (maybe even all conditions), but it is a theory of value, not a science. It's not as though it must work or not work, it is a principle, a moral."

Just as a thought, what good is a theory if it has no practical basis in reality? To me, if you can't prove a theory in the realm of reality, then it's debunked. I mean, what use is it other than to say, "Yeah, this is how we NOT do it."

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"This "good wins, evil wins" nonsense is frankly a little disturbing. Such a grossly polarised view of anything is certainly immoral if anything is."

Not really what I said. There is NO compromise between good and evil. If such a compromise happened, evil would win. If someone is seeking to destroy your life, even a little, does it not succeed?

On the other hand. there can be compromise between 2 rational ideas. This is perfectly fine.

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"What rights do individuals possess?"

First the right to life, then the right to property. all other rights like the right to pursue happiness, the right to liberty, etc. stem from those.

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"Well that's a question of a socio-political nature. In modern countries, these rights are specifically outlined in constitutions."

I do think we have inalienable rights that surpass whatever government wants to give us. I also don't think government can add rights - like the right to have a home - either. It works both ways.

Is it not convenient for a government to say, "Well, it's in our expert opinion that you have a right to property..." That is immoral. You can make any evil policy legal, but that doesn't make it moral.

This is why a moral government will outline a constitution that is actually 100% consistent with the rights that man actually has, and not anything different.

------------------------------------

"China has them as well as the USA. They are different rights, so Chinese and Americans have different rights as individuals. If and when the constitutions change or are removed, those peoples' rights will change. So if a country's economic practices violate the rights afforded individuals by the state, indeed the economy is incompatible with the society. This is closer to being called "evil," but it still operates under the premise that the charter of rights is intrinsically "good" which may or may not be true."

Frankly, I don't disagree with any of this, but I don't government is in a position to say what is good from what isn't. It's proven to be an evil institution from day one in all cases of human civilization, some more than others.

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"I'm vaguely amused at the notion that we keep trying economic systems on like shoes or perfume."

I never said this. I said we come up with lots of different systems to explain human economic behaviour, but we don't practice what these systems say. The systems just attempt at modeling what acutally happens in reality. Kansian economics, for example, is completely messed up and austrian economics has many good ideas.

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"Star Trek chooses to believe that specifically a major catastrophe and dissolution of structure (Star Trek VIII) will result in a revolutionary degree of change in this same direction."

And that's fine, but I disagree with their premise. If such a catastrophe were to happen, just like our recent financial collapse or how both of our world wars were funded, we'd see that government intervention, government regulation and governments violating the rights of individuals were the problem in all of the cases - not capitalism.

What I don't understand is that the fictional people in Star Trek choose a form of government that is entirely consistent with the evil governments that have already existed and have been proven to be evil.

It's pretty hard to "live long and prosper" when your form of government is opposing some individual's right to life.

Okay, time for bed. LOL.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 2:48am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

"economics is a system of theories which are implemented according to unique sets of variables, all of which must be taken into consideration when judging a society."

Economics is really just the study of how people trade. There are different systems, most being drastically different from one another. And most of them are not a true representation of real human economic behaviour.

"People are capable of committing evil actions, but no person, system or idea is inherently evil."

This is wrong. If a system advocates that the theft of someone's property to give to someone else, then that system is immoral, and is evil.

Why? Because the system is going to cause evil actions. When implementation, that theft really will happen.

Basically any system that requires immoral actions in theory to bring about it's goals will produce immoral actions in practice.

"There are numerous ways in which capitalism promotes the exploitation of man by his fellow man, but this does not make it evil"

Actually, this is truthfully statement, but probably not the reason you think it is.

What is exploitation? There are two drastically different definitions. If you mean it as, "The act of using something for any purpose"... then I absolutely agree. This is not evil whatsoever.

However, if you mean as: "to take unfair advantage of others"... then no, capitalism does NOT do this.

Capitalism is based on the idea that people have complete freedom to pursue their own happiness, just as long as they do not violate the rights of other individuals. If you want to acquire a value, you must trade for it. You cannot take it by force.

Likewise, you can't take advantage of people because they must first consent to buy your products. If your price is to high, they will shop elsewhere. If there are no competitors, it will encourages others to compete with you, as there is no government controls to stop them from competing freely.

Also, workers must agree to the wages that they are getting paid, and if the wages are too low... they will find other work.

There is actually no long-term way for a business under true a free market to take advantage of anyone. It will be against their own relational, long-term self-interest to behave in an unethical way.

Likewise, if a business does harm and violates the rights of an individual, they can be sued and go to prison.

So while I agree with your statement, I hope I clarified it in principle.

"just as the state-sacrifice model of communism does not make it evil."

As I explained above, it does make it evil. To me, this is very obvious. Self-sacrifice is easily proven to be to the destructive to man's life. Just as anything rational that further's man life is good... anything that destroys man's life is evil.

It is not in man's nature to serve others. We are INDIVIDUALS, not some collective. We do not exist to bring about the happiness others. We exist for ourselves. The very idea that man should self-sacrifice is totally against man's nature, just as it's against the mouse's nature to fly or balloon filled only with sand to float in the air.

Yes, someone can choose to self-sacrifice, but this is not in man's best interest. It does not further his life. It only brings about his destruction.

People follow altruism - self-sacrifice - because it's taught to them. They are educated and raised to believe it and practice it, but it is not natural, and that's why it is impossible to live up to, and why nobody has ever lived up to it.

"This is based upon the premise that it is possible to earn possessions or other property with one's labour."

Huh? I'm not following you. If a man owns some wood and tools, and then makes a chair with his own mind, and his own materials... is the chair also not his? Why does anyone else other than the man that produced it have a claim to it?

He may choose to sell the chair, or give it away voluntarily, but if he doesn't, the chair is his own and nobody is entitled to it.

"This is neither true nor false, it is an assumption, one upon which capitalist values are based."

I do not start with the idea of capitalism and then work backwards to justify it. I actually taking facts about reality - the idea that we are individuals, that we have free will, that we have rights to life, property, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc.... and then conclude that capitalism would be the only moral system of government to promote human life and freedom. These are not just the values that capitalism is based, but it's the system that is best suited for man's nature.

"Communist values are based upon the idea that there is an intrinsic value to labour which cannot be measured in goods, property or currency."

The labour theory of value was actually debunked before the bolshevik revolution began. In fact, economists of the time debunked it even before Marx died in 1883. The only person who actually believed it was Lenin, and every communist afterwards. It was NEVER based on proof.

"This is also an assumption. There is no proof that one is right and the other is wrong, it is about choices."

Actually, this is really not true. Read above. As for Laissez-faire capitalism, there is actually mountains of philosophers who have proved that capitalism is in fact moral, and would be the the most moral system of government ever devised by man. Ayn Rand would easily come to mind as the fore-front of making the best moral case for Laissez-faire capitalism.

It is, ironically, the only one we have not actually tried.

"I'm not sure what to make of this statement. I do find it ironic that you are a fan of DS9 which makes a big huff about how it avoids these kinds of black and white statements."

Example: If someone comes over to steal $1000 from you, and you negotiate it down to $1, did good win? Of course not. Evil still won, even if only $1 was stolen. In fact, you've just encouraged more theft in the future.

Who's to say more and more people won't come over to take $1 too? And if they could get $1, why not $2? $4? When does it end?

While it's hard to accept, there is compromise between good and evil. Evil wins.

"I agree that no country is capable of practising "pure" anything. as I said, these are theories which, when implemented in the real world, must factor in an host of conditions which "impurify" the system."

The best way to ensure that a country stays true is to limit government's power to only protect the rights of individuals. That's it.

Pure Communism would even be worse than 75% communism, which is worse than %50 communism, and so on. Any system of government that violates the rights of individuals, no matter how small or big, is evil. And yes, that pretty much includes every form of government we ever tried.

But we're working on it. In early United States, they got it *close*. Maybe in another 50 or 100 years when everything goes to hell, perhaps we'll try it finally. It only took 8000 years or so to get there.

"I feel I must point out that no economic system guarantees anyone's liberties or freedoms"

True. Some people will starve. Theft will still happen. Murder will still happen. The real question is... is the system promote immoral behaviour or not. Capitalism is the only system that does not.

And note, under capitalism, people do get sued and go to jail for violating other's rights. When people use force or fraud against others, it should be met with force. That is the only time force is to be used.

I am not suggesting a perfect utopia by any means. This is not possible. But why choose a system of government that is evil by design for? This is stupid.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 12:47am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

"When something traumatic happens to you, do you advertise it to all your coworkers?"

No, but why not a private scene in their room? Why not *something* to stress the continuity? The real truth is that the writers didn't work together, and a lot of them were incompetent. They couldn't think bigger than a single story, let alone defining the direction for 1 season or the entire series.

"In the quiet private moments on Voyager, one sees how characters are affected by experience, but you won't see something like Kira storming around or Sisko shirking Federation values because someone on Voyager had a bad day."

I don't see a problem with any of this. Kira's growth as a character was exceptional. The writers did a farely convincing job taking her from A->B->C->...->Y->Z.

I think they did a great job with character development of all the major characters, except for Ezri.

"In the 60's the "reset button" was seen as a cornball way to pacify the "family audience." In Voyager, there is a striking reuse of the button."

I hate the reset button. It is incredibly annoying. It actually insults my intelligence that I am meant to "forget" what I just spent 40 minutes watching when I start up the next episode.

How is it that TNG managed to successfully have some character continuity between episodes... and note that TNG came BEFORE Voyager... and Voyager royally messed up this idea that characters have continuity?

"but in each case, it's a matter of preserving face--a necessary sacrifice one must make in a military institution like Starfleet...but it also forces the characters to possess a strength of character and a resilience which allows them to survive and not fall appart into chaos throughout the seasons--which is apparently what everyone wanted to see."

Who is "everyone"? Not me. I hated this aspect of the show. And no, I don't think people should make sacrifices, especially when it comes to their mental well-being.

"I will be creating my own reviews of the 5 Trek series and 11 movies in time, and I welcome your feedback."

I am definitely good at stating my opinions ;)
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Sep 8, 2010, 12:33am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

"But I will point out a flaw in your own logic, as you are wont to do systematically: how many communist countries have there been?"

Actually, there is no flaw in my logic. And let me explain so you don't just take my word for it. I concede that it is not a valid proof that just because we haven't seen a successful implementation of communism that this fact alone can conclude that it is evil.

However, you *can* prove that communism is evil because of how it achieves it's ends, which I already discussed.

It *IS* immoral to take the earned property away from one man and give it to another. You cannot justify this and say that this is moral.

This form of legal theft is a fundamental part of communism. It is based entirely on the violation of man's rights. There is no way this practice can actually further life, but can only seek to destroy it.

It's not just the right of property, but communism violates the right to liberty, and the right to pursue your own happiness. Under communism, you have to pursue the happiness of the state. Pursuing your own happiness would be "selfish" according to communists.

To enforce the violation of rights, you have to use physical force, because you can't force a man to think or convince a man to work against his own self interests. And this is exactly what happened in every communistic country. The government had to use progressively more force to implement it's ideas.

Essentially, you can't practice evil and expect a moral and good society to come about. When you mix evil with good, evil wins. Every time.

I can go into the proof of all of this, but it would take some writing. Nonetheless, if you want me to go through it with you, I will.

Do you really think "modern capitalist countries" practice real capitalism? They don't. They actually mixed economies. There is *some* economic freedom, but there's actually a lot of government regulation, intervention (central banking) and redistribution of wealth (social programs).

The reason "modern capitalism" does not work is because it progressively gets more socialized. Governments continue to violate more rights against the individuals, and puts a stranglehold on individual freedom.

Many of the disasters that we are experiencing today are not the result of capitalism (although our politicians and media definitely want you to believe that... please don't take their word for it!). They are the result of government. They cause the problems, blame business, and then go about "fixing it", only to make the problems worse. Logic and actual history proves this, both under Republican and Democratic rule.

The real truth is that we have NEVER had a free economic system. Not once. It has never happened. The closest thing to it was 1800-1914 United States, and I don't need to remind you that this by far the most prosperous period in all of human civilization.

We continued to enjoy the benefits of capitalism until the federal reserve caused the great depression, and in the 1950-1960's, socialism really started to play a massive part of the United States. Today, you cannot call the United States, Canada, England, etc. capitalist countries. There is no way.

Also, hilter (and others) were not capitalists. In fact, any government that violated the rights of the individual - the right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness - was not a capitalist.

Real capitalism is freedom, and humanity has not seen it.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Sep 7, 2010, 11:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

"there's no such thing as an "evil" philosophy"

I know you didn't want to get into a debate about communism, but I have to analyze this statement. Are you sure? So if I create a philosophy that ends up advocating the death of all human babies and that we ought to prevent all reproductive abilities because I concluded that it was necessary to end our species, is that not evil?

In order for communism to work, you have to steal from those that have productive ability and give to those who do not have it. You have to violate property rights in order to redistribute the wealth. Is not that not evil? In all communist countries, there were mass murders, and all kinds of other atrocities. Were these not evil? This was all brought upon by communism.

Sorry, but philosophies can rationally be judged to be evil, and it's important that we judge them as such.

"Optimism is not evil. However, I will agree that economically speaking, the Federation is communist--or at least socialist--the waters are a little muddy on that front."

Optimism isn't evil, but I don't think Star Trek is really about optimism. Optimism really isn't a philosophy. Truth be told, optimism isn't a rational concept.

Definition: "A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation"

Notice this definition doesn't say anything about facts and using logic and reason to be optimistic. It is basically being optimistic for the sake of it. It is based on whim.

Anyway, Star Trek does not explain it's model for economics at all. Sure, they have replicators and all of this technology, but where did it come from? Did people build all of this stuff for "the good of mankind?" Altruistically? So even the laziest bums benefit from the achievements of a few? This is actually not just, as they have no right to profit from unearned achievements.

Also, who does all the grunt work? All the messy labour nobody would want to do? I mean, if you don't have to work and everything is provided for you... where is the incentive to slug it out producing all the energy needed by the federation? There wouldn't be any incentive at all, and nobody would do it.

Are you to force them? Well, that's immoral. You can't force people to work. It violates their rights, and is akin to slavery.

"People work to better themselves, not to gain a profit."

This is, unfortunately, flawed thinking. I am all for people striving to better themselves, but I do not think it is immoral to make profit at the same time. In fact, I don't think there's a way to be the best individual you can be without having the ability to pursue your own rational self-interests (i.e., making profit, among other values you may have).

This is why no matter how much I love Star Trek, I am deeply bothered by it's moral and philosophical premises. It just would not work in practice.

As for DS9, I would totally concede to you that it deviated from the premises set in TOS and TNG. Note, I don't think the show is "right" because it showed people as they are today, and I am just saying it is different. There are many fantastically written stories in DS9 that are among my favorites out of all the series, regardless of this deviation. Some of the writing is stellar.

The problem with character development on Voyager is that a lot of it is arbitrary. Kim is the worst example. For 6 seasons+, he is basically the same character. And then the writers to shoe-horn "growth", but it just doesn't work.

I think the writers did a decent job with B'lana, some times. Even then, there's faults.

One of the big problems with Voyager is that massive character changes would happen in 1 episode, and then were forgotten in the very next episode. Some continuity would have made the series MUCH better.

Take Tom Paris for example. There's one episode where he switches bodies with another person, and the whole premise is that he's bored on the ship and is depressed. But the episode before, he's chippy and happy. They had this gradual planning in the first 2 seasons, but totally botched it in seasons 3-7.

I have no problem with Janeway using freewill, but it was mighty convenient for her (and the writers) to alternate her positions on various moral decisions as the story dictated. I think this made her character (and the show) much weaker than it should have been.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Sep 7, 2010, 8:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

"Voyager holds on to its values, its principals. In the AQ, the war and ass-headed writing on DS9 has literally destroyed the Federation's soul"

I actually find this laughable. Voyager compromised on its principles MANY times. In fact, Janeway would argue opposing ideas from one episode to the next.

One episode she would advocate "we do whatever it takes to get this crew home" and another episode she'll say, "We can't violate the prime directive in order to get ourselves home!"

Since the episodes are not fresh in my mind, I can't offer quotes, but if I rewatched this series, I know I could find at least 20 occurrences of this kind of hypocrisy.

As for the part about DS9, I completely disagree about the writing being ass-headed. While it was definitely a deviation from Star Trek's original premise, this isn't a bad thing.

Now that I know a great deal more about philosophy, the Trekkian philosophy does not make sense in practice, and it's actually immoral in many areas. After watching many episodes from all the series later on, I could pull tons of immoral decisions and societal consequences as a result of this "enlightened" philosophy.

To be honest, it's very much a pretend "working" form of communism. But you see, communism IS evil and cannot work. It is very much against human nature of rational, long-term self-interest.

If anything DS9 just showed humans for what they were, and made less pretenses about it. Sure, Sisko made many immoral decisions, but at least he didn't do it in the name of starfleet principles, he did it because he was a man and made choices with his freewill. There's a big difference there.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Sep 7, 2010, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Repression

Michael: "So one can forgive the writers for running out of ideas."

Here's an idea: Stop making episodes. If they have truly run out of ideas in their own estimation, then stop making the series.

But the truth is, there were tons of ideas to do in Star Trek. New, talented writers could have brought a lot of life to the series.

The problem was the premise of the series. Moving around from Star to Star, or some chance encounter, is actually pretty damn boring. Sure, an episode here and there was interesting, but it's not enough to keep people coming back week to week. TNG pretty much exhausted most of the core ideas this kind of series offered.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 2:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

The muddled thinking is not about, and was never about, who is right in terms of liking or not liking the episode. You are changing the subject.

RE: "This is supposed to be a SCIENCE FICTION show, goddamnit!!!"

This was one of the points you had originally said to which I debated was incorrect. I defended my arguments, and pointed out it was wrong and should not be a basis for why this episode is objectively good or bad.

Then I pointed out several other errors and contradictions in your thinking along the way.

RE: "Whether you like it or not, deeming a sci-fi production good, bad or otherwise IS based on personal feelings, perceptions, taste and whims. The quality of art, of which this is a form, cannot be objectively assessed or established. That is what makes art different from science, which can."

It's not about what I like or not. Art can be objectively judged. Just because you and most of the population do not know how, does not mean that it is impossible to judge it.

For further reading on why this is the case, read The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand.

RE: "I don't like this episode at all, for the reasons I enumerated supra. You do. These are both opinions, neither of which can be proven to be objectively correct."

This, to me, sounds like conceit. Instead of using logic, which is the only valid form of debate, you insist that emotional is to be used, instead. You claim I have used opinions and emotions, but I have not. You, on the other hand, have done so.

Instead of using logic to justify yourself (because you can't), you claim that this is an emotional matter. I guess, you think that gets your reasoning off the hook.

You are free to think what you want, but you are not free to escape the consequences of your thoughts.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 1:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

RE: "Ken, dude, you need to chill out and not take this stuff so seriously! It's an episode of a supposedly sci-fi series. You liked it; I didn't. That should be the end of that story because neither one of us is going to convince the other that he should change his mind!"

I have never been trying to convince you that you should like it. Re-read all of my posts. I am merely pointing out your muddled and contradictory thinking.

RE: "I believe that the "fiction" part should be in the service of the "science" part. If it's not, then there is nary a difference between Star Trek and, say, the Chronicles of Narnia or a James Bond installment or a Terminator movie."

Not true. Chronicles of Narnia is NOT sci-fi. It is fantasy, and family-oriented fantasy at that. James bond is action-adventure. There's really nothing sci-fi about it. Terminator IS Science Fiction though.

The problem is that you "BELIEVE" that sci-fi should be in the service of the science part. What are your believes based on? Where do they come from? Logic, your emotions or simply whim? If you cannot explain this, then your claim to this belief is arbitrary and it has no basis in fact.

RE: "If the preponderance of "fiction" begins relating to character "development," then you no longer have a sci-fi show but some sort of fantasy/romance/drama/adventure."

Characters and their development is seriously one major part of all fiction. No genre of fiction is void of characters and their development, which follows that science fiction is not void of them either.

Like all television, there is going to be a mix of genres. Some new genres are born purely by mixing two related genres.

RE: "I don't want to see her eating dinner, getting dressed, talking about her feelings for 40 minutes, praying, getting counseling, daydreaming, or anything similar. That is BORING."

There is a difference between getting dressed and dealing with childhood issues. One is a mere activity that if it doesn't contribute to the plot in a meaningful way... it WOULD be boring.

The concepts conveyed in lineage though DO HAVE MEANING to both the plot, insight into the character, as well as the long-term development of that character.

It that character development boring to you, that does not mean it is not good art or good fiction. Like I said, you can both recognize and acknowledge good story-telling without liking the source material.

RE: "Your attempts at defining "art" are misguided. The definition of "art" is controversial at best, and "good art" defies definition altogether."

In what way is it contradictory? This definition holds up extremely well. In which what is it controversial?

Good art would seem to exemplify the definition to its fullest, so there is no contradiction.

RE: "Face it: This is all about taste and there's no accounting for it."

No, it's not. I have found a mountain of contradictions in your logic.

You cannot objectively say things like, "I feel" and "I believe" and blah blah... and then come around and say things like, "Sci-fi should not deal with character development". This is not logical. And for you to continue to believe what you believe in the fact of these logical arguments makes you out to be quite irrational.

Emotion is not a valid form of cognition. Only logic is. Simply saying, "It is about tastes (i.e. my emotions) and there's no accounting for it" does not make it true. No matter how many times you should decide to reiterate this.

"I feel Star Trek should be about something different from what you feel it should be about. Judging by the reviews of this episode on this site, I'm in the minority. Fine by me."

There is no FEELING involved at all. I am pointing out that this episode does, in fact, fit in the premise of the show. The premise is taken from looking at all the episodes in their entirety, and judging what that premise was.

I am also pointing out that this show is, in fact sci-fi. I have proved it. There is no feeling, whim, tastes, etc. involved at all.

Judging is forming and evaluation and coming to a conclusion based on the facts and context. It is a process of logic. Some people say that judging produces "opinions", but if the proper logic and facts are used, the two "opinions" should converge to the truth.

While you might be arguing that "my emotions are right dammit!", I am pointing out that your logic is muddled and that you should probably rethink your ideas. If you didn't understand what was said, I suggest you re-read it.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Jul 20, 2010, 9:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

RE: "No, but psychological traumas should not be the subject of a sci-fi show!!"

This is not true. As I already explained, the term "sci-fi" itself does not imply fiction (and character development is a big part of fiction) should take a back seat.

You may not like the character development - that much is true - but it is not accurate or logical to say that sci-fi should not deal with such issues.

RE: "Look, there are no criteria for what makes a sci-fi show, let alone what makes a GOOD sci-fi show."

You have contradicted yourself. First you claim that there is a criteria that psychological traumas should not be the subject of a sci-fi show... and then in your next line, you say there is no criteria that makes a sci-fi show. Which one is it? Unlike Janeway, you can't have your cake and eat it too.

As for a GOOD sci-fi show, you would have to define what "good" is. Good is a very vague term. it can mean many things to many people. If you simply mean it as one that YOU enjoy as opposed to one that can be objectively declared as good art, then there can be no debate.

In any event, GOOD FICTION has to be a part of good science-FICTION. If it's not, science-fiction is a contradiction in terms - which it is not. Lineage has many good qualities that account for good FICTION.

RE: "Star Trek is, after all, a form of artistic expression, and art is all about opinions."

Art is a selective re-creation, and often an exaggeration, of someone's value judgments about reality. Arts job is to distill a set of concepts into a set of percepts to easily communicate the concepts of those value judgments by the artist.

RE: "You think this is a good episode, I think it sucked. You feel this type of subject is suitable to a science-fiction show, I don't."

I don't FEEL anything. By using logic and definitions, I have actually proved that this episodes does in fact fit within the premise of voyager, and does in fact qualify as science fiction. You are confusing two aspects of the debate... "is it sci-fi?" and "is it good?"

Second, just because you don't like something personally, doesn't mean it is bad art. If you want to objectively rate this episode, it is actually quite good storytelling, even if you hate the source material. There is no feeling involved at all.

RE: "DS9 is the only Star Trek series I gave a miss."

Then you missed the best Star Trek series ever produced.

RE: "(I even somehow plodded thru the ridiculous Original Series.) I gave it a chance and really wanted to like it, after the nonpareil Next Generation. But every one of the dozen or so time I tuned in, there was shot of some bar/club (cf. Voyager's mess hall with Annoying Neelix) or someone crying or talk of some "prophets" (WTF!?!)... The only sci-fi part of it seemed to be that it was all happening on some space base."

For a show that was very focused on science and fiction... and for a show that had an excellent premise... I am shocked you didn't find value in it. Compared to Voyager, it is a far superior series. They are not even in the same league.

RE: "A "boy losing his father"? How many freaking times has THAT been done!!?"

Yes, but "The Visitor" does it in such a way that could NOT be told with any other genre. Have you seen the episode? It is extremely good Science AND fiction. It is considered by many to be among to the top 10 or 15 episodes of DS9.:

Search Season 4 of DS9 on the review section of this site!

RE: "Frankly, no, I do NOT care about the characters. In a sci-fi show the characters are the catalysts for the story, the means to an end. Sure, it's great that they have their quirks and personalities and what-have-ya, but they and their quirks and personalities should NOT be the focus of the story."

Then I don't know why you watch Star Trek... or TV in general. Documentaries are probably more your thing.

RE: "Real life? Well, first of all, Star Trek is hardly about real life but"

You're wrong. The value of judgments of the writers in today's reality are scattered and emphasized constantly in all of the Star Trek episodes. You must look deeper. Even though these episodes occur in space, and the aliens are not human, they nonetheless convey concept the artists which to communicate. Sometimes very, very obviously.

RE: "even if it was, "real life" has a multitude of aspects. Let me put it in a very pedestrian way: I do not want to see the characters "exploring" themselves, their emotions, their complexes and all that bullshit for the same reason I don't want to see them taking a shower, brushing teeth or getting dressed. It is not the salient feature of SCIENCE FICTION!"

How is FICTION not part of science fiction? See above.

RE: "I am interested in the character(s) when I'm watching a true-story drama of some sort; otherwise I'm not. Star Trek is all fictional: The universe, the inhabitants, the show's characters and, for the most part, the technology, too. Why the hell would I want fictional characters in a fictional universe "exploring" "real world" dilemmas?!?"

Because that is what art is.

RE: "Anyway, this is all my opinion from which anyone may dissent."

Not, it's not. I've put forth a very good logical argument. You have not :) All I've heard is whim and opinion from you.
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Ken Egervari
Sun, Jul 18, 2010, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

When you say, "exploring one's troubled relationship with one's [insert parent]" or "coming to terms with one's [insert psychological trauma or complex]" have no place in a sci-fi show."

... based on what criteria? Does trauma suddenly stop happening in the 24th century? Do parents suddenly become perfect?

In DS9, Garek, Jake, Kira and a pile of other characters had such episodes. They were all good ones too. Some of the best. Are you saying The Visitor was not a fantastic sci-fi rendition of a boy losing his father? If Star Trek didn't tell this story, Gilmore Girls and any other pop drama show would never be able to.

In the abstract sense, if you care about the show and its characters, you should care about stories that are based on such characters... no matter if they deal with their parents, traumas, what they do on the holodeck, and any other kind of character piece.

If you don't care about the characters... then why are you watching the show? If you want a show that features a different cast every week, and they purely just talk about sci-fi concepts and ideas, then it wouldn't be Star Trek. I can't think of a show like this at all that would be the least enjoyable to watch.

The thing is, shows are and should be about individuals. There is no collectivist society or tv show. The crew shouldn't be a bunch of borg. This is an accurate depiction of REAL LIFE, as everyone in the real world is an individual too. Are you saying the show, if it is to be a work of art, is not supposed to objectify parts of our own reality?

Yes, no television show can give an accurate depiction of the 24th century, however we already know using logic that what is depicted in Star Trek CANNOT be it. By the 24th century, if Humans have not learned that these types of governments produce non-free societies, then humanity is more likely to be dead than produce something called the Federation.

Of course, if you take the phrase "sci-fi" or "science fiction", it doesn't suggest that their should be an emphasis on either. The genre doesn't dictate %'s of science to fiction. It is not implied in the term. So when you say it should contain more science than fiction... based on what? Your preferences? Whim? I would say any science fiction show, if it is to be called science fiction, just needs to have some elements of the two in any way the writers saw fit to express their art.

As for "the show Voyager was meant to be"... let me as you a question. What was it meant to be? It had no focus. No goal. After looking at the forest, it wasn't really trying to be anything other than a collection of mostly isolated adventure stories with very little cohesively binding them together.

I fail to see how Lineage doesn't fit with that premise, because it's ridiculously broad and unfocused.
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Ken Egervari
Sat, Jul 17, 2010, 3:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

I disagree with Michael. Stories first and foremost should be about characters, and the story should also have a message. The best shows star trek writers have ever produced have done this over and over.

If these character episodes also in fact contain all the bling and blang of sci-fi-, it just makes that much more special because it's something that only star trek can do.

It must be said, this story could not be told in Gilmore Girls. It does use sci-fi concepts and procedures that are not available now.

Nonetheless, if what you want is accurate depiction of the 24th century, this isn't it. The entire Federation's economic model doesn't make sense. It didn't make sense in socialist China or the soviet union. It doesn't make sense with the way many of the modern economies are progressing towards now. And it won't make any more sense in the 24th century either.

Trek has always been about big concepts and ideas. Maybe Voyager hasn't, but it has enough "sci-fi show with a different forehead of the week" as it is. It's very refreshing that this show is different from the usual trash the writer's put out week after week.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Feb 16, 2010, 4:03am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: These Are the Voyages...

This episode was horrible.

The only nice thing about this episode is that we got to see high-def recreation of the TNG sets.

I agree that this finale doesn't do the crew, the arcs or anything justice. Of course, it's written by B&B... so why would they care about all the hard work that Coto and company did throughout the final season?

Coto really did have changes to put in play in season 5 (if they kept going). There would have been changes, but we simply didn't see it. B&B just don't care, so we get a horrible story that is totally irrelevant and doesn't tell us anything about the characters. The whole affair just doesn't matter.

1 star, if that.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Feb 16, 2010, 3:36am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Divergence

I think you're being a bit harsh. While it is true that the Klingons may have just went on a frontal assault to destroy enterprise directly... and sending trip across the two ships was a little unbelievable... the episode was thoroughly enjoyable.

These Klingons are much more refreshing than the post TNG Klingons. They are ruthless, and dark.

I still give this episode 3 stars. While none of the episodes of this season were stellar 4 star episodes, almost all of them are competent and miles ahead of the crap that came before in season 1-3.

I initially went into these two episodes thinking it was the stupidest concept for a story ever, and I had no interest in explaining away poor costume design from the original series... primarily because I just don't care.

Having gone in with absolutely bad expectations... and then getting a very plausible and enjoyable story in return? I'd say that's a win.
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Ken Egervari
Tue, Feb 16, 2010, 3:20am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II

Honestly, both of these episodes were pretty good. As said above, the hunt for the Gorn was a little pointless and could have been cut from the script... but these episodes really stood out for me. I didn't expect much, and they aren't earth-shattering pieces of television... but you can tell the writers went out of their way to go balls to the wall with these episodes. They didn't hold anything back.

There was supposed to be a 5 episode arc continuing this story in season 5. It's a shame we'll never get to see it.
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Ken Egervari
Sat, Jan 9, 2010, 1:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Tacking into the Wind

All I can say is WOW. This is easily one of my favourite DS9 episodes. Watching an episode like this tells all of us just why DS9 is so amazing. I mean, no other series can do this for Star Trek. None. Just brilliant.
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Ken Egervari
Sun, Jan 3, 2010, 8:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Equinox, Part I

I'm not so sure Voyager would have held up to TNG. TNG is a lot better, even on second or even third viewings. The writing is sharper. The characters ring truer. For a non-serialized series, it was quite good and is very watchable (most of the time... especially season 3 through 7 when the show finally started to click).

I think we forget how good some of the TNG episodes really were, and how consistently good they were. Yes, Voyager has some fantastic episodes... but they are few and far between. TNG had consistently decent episodes to great ones and only a few duds. Season 4 through 7 really shine as fantastic seasons.

TNG, while not my favourite series, even holds up to DS9 in some ways... because it offers different types of stories that DS9 can't tell, and vice versa. Voyager is just aimless and doesn't know what it's trying to do at all. Somehow, unlike Voyager, TNG managed to have a direction and a sense of purpose without actually having a serialized plotline.
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Ken Egervari
Thu, Dec 31, 2009, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Chrysalis

Definitely not my favourite episode. Like the review says, the episode telegraphs what the conflict is going to be, and what the outcome is from a mile away. It's all too obvious to be engaging.

That, and the fact that the entire endeavor is pretty much pointless makes this a less than stellar episode. It has no real lasting impact on the series, doesn't really expand on the universe or the story in any way (significant or not).

I'm always a little disappointed with filler episodes in the final seasons of a show. I kind of expect one bang after another. You have so little time, why not make the most of it?

A story like this could have been done at any point in the series... even before Julian's genetically enhancements were found out, because as the story is told, it's not really about that - it's more about Julian's loneliness, falling in love too quickly, and him rushing things. Having said that, the show seems a bit late and could have been explored in season 6 instead... or just not at all.

There is a similarity to a show like Molara as well that makes this ground already covered.
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Ken Egervari
Sun, Dec 27, 2009, 7:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

This show is a little hard to take in at times. I'm not sure how the Valient can take 30 to 40 torpedo hits. That's a little unbelieavable.

I know it is a common convention in Star Trek that whenever they need to escape, the cast has "just enough" time to do whatever they need to do to avoid getting killed. It just seems that whenever the cast fires at an enemy ship though, it only takes 1 phaser... or 1 torpedo.

Voyager was more known for this, but even on TNG this was the case.

I think in this episode, it goes to extreme levels. I don't think the ship should have been able to take that much torpedo fire, and that ruins the believability of the climax.

The new red squadron actors were a little stiff as well. Just something fake about them, especially when compared to the regulars.

Otherwise, enjoyed the show.
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Ken Egervari
Wed, Dec 23, 2009, 2:11am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Lineage

Easily one of the best character episodes on the series. 4 stars from me.
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Ken Egervari
Mon, Dec 21, 2009, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

Jeri Ryan played the doctor's part excellently. She has such an amazing range as an actress, as we also saw in Infinite Regress. It made the episode fun.

All in all, this is a perfectly decent episode.
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Ken Egervari
Mon, Dec 21, 2009, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S7: Nightingale

I think this episode came way too late, despite its many flaws. Ensign Kim changes WAY too much in this episode. In a few episodes back, he's gullible about getting home... and now he's playing captain?

The truth is that in some scenes, Harry appears to be quite a strong leader - a deeper voice, more confidant, etc. While I don't doubt the credibility of this character EVENTUALLY... it comes right out of left field here. Simply put, the character did not undergo enough transformation to make what is shown here credible.

Sure, Harry makes some pretty bad mistakes as captain... and I suppose you should make mistakes when your learning command. Still, the mistakes even come out of left field... and the dialog and acting make it go way over the top. When Harry was "being the big man", I was cringing. I had a sick feeling to my stomach. I felt that the writers were pushing too hard to force this on Harry. The dialog and logic behind his actions also kind of didn't make sense.

The whole episode is just two much of an extreme. I get emotional stomach pain watching.
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