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Wed, Mar 28, 2018, 6:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost


I wouldn't call it smug. One of the things that is different about DS9 than TOS is the writers clearly see the characters differently. In TOS it's made abundantly clearly that humanity having grown out of the various social ills through people constantly choosing to live a life free of those social ills. By DS9, characters speak more in terms of being "evolved humans" and question if they'd revert to the primitive ways of the past if given the right circumstances; it no longer is the story of people actively choosing to being saints but just waking up in heaven and presuming to be a saint is easy.

Yet in this episode, we go back and actually see some of that old TOS ideology. It's not about it not being "worth giving up any freedom/privacy rights" but the realization that the choice to give up freedom/privacy rights is the real harm. The way in which we have a stable utopian society is precisely because we view those things as sacrosanct just as we view life--this is obvious today because we view the worst places as those that do not view life as sacrosanct. It is part and parcel of the social drive for a better society to mandate these things, not question when and where we should compromise because it's expedient.

Perhaps you think this is all too idealistic. The thing is, if the Dominion merely wanted to destroy the Earth, they'd have to try to actually do it. If they succeeded, well, it's proof they could.
With cloaking devices it might even be quite doable; what the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar would have likely worked if they weren't compromised. The best that can be reasonably done, though, is build star ships and fight to defend yourself at that level. Just like in the Cold War--the thread of nuclear Armageddon is there and you can't really get rid of that threat. Turning your country into a totalitarian regime is no solution to a legitimate threat. Within society, you can't do a lot, though.
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Sun, Apr 13, 2014, 8:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

I stand corrected about the mustache twirling. You're right. The episode would have been strengthened without the rant but would have left the episode with a more horrific truth, that Saties of the world keep on going and rarely do they go in and attack someone who has any chance of even debate. That's a harder truth to stomach, though. :/
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Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 8:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

@Jay: As far as the So'na go, on the one hand you're definitely right about the whole moralizing of characters turning them into figurative devils or angels. Having said that, I don't see the collection of metaphasic particles being a "the needs of the many" win. In the short term, yes, the particles could be immediately used to benefit the many more Federation citizens for perhaps a couple hundred years instead of a handful of Ba'ku. In the long term, doing the actual study of the natural extant ring of metaphasic particles would likely produce benefit to near all life indefinitely. Instead, the needs of the few--the So'na--are taking a lead because they can--in the short term--harvest the particles when the Federation can not and the Admiral wants all the credit. Which brings back to the original point, the reason the So'na end up being so monstrous is they want to live forever but not be trapped to a planet in the middle of nowhere. If only they had enough medical knowledge, they'd just do the harvesting and self-regeneration all themselves. The real shame was the unwillingness to face that the Ba'ku were had their own sort of guilt, to live forever and yet waste that life--very much against the ideals of human self-improvement of Star Trek. That seems the bigger sin.

@SkepticalMI: I don't think Satie was ever really portrayed as a mustache twirling villain. Just a self-important (her little speech of all her "sacrifice"), self-righteous (unwavering in her convictions of a conspiracy) motivation to do what she thinks is right regardless of her methods going near directly towards investing everyone to step through and prove their innocence--the core of a police state, really. Yet only near the is she painted as much of a villain as her exuberance doesn't seem to be ever perturbed by contrary evidence. I mean, that's the whole reason why Picard's little counterpoints are always about the moderation of taking reasonable steps and not about Satie being wrong or that there couldn't necessarily be a conspiracy.

@To everyone: At some level, I understand where the debate of a weak vs strong episode comes from, especially hinging on how the evidence of a conspiracy--the question of whether the dilithium chamber door was sabotaged--being possible revealed too early. But consider that later those at the hearing gasp when they hear of "evidence" of a corrosive on the door. We're looking at the investigation and the hearings from the inside. And we see that what has to be the truth today--there are numerous investigations led by the exuberant investigators who all see conspiracies where there are none and even under the best of intentions will actively ignore solid evidence to the contrary and lie in public towards their own ends--"a tactic; a way of applying pressure" that begins with lies and with paranoia can end in torture and death. You see, *you* the viewer see a monster while from a different perspective, without that breakdown in the court room, you'd never think twice about Satie being but a virtuous woman and it very odd that such a fruitful investigation was cut short. But then I ask you, how many terrorists have the NSA/CIA/FBI caught? How quickly are they to tout figures of success only when their programs are threatened to be cut off and yet the rest of the time, it seems very clear that at best they discover near nothing. Even under the best of circumstances, from the inside the virtuous are likely to appear as monsters. Meaning to or not, perhaps the lesson is one of how greater transparency is needed so we have a better grasp on "the inside"? Or, you know, Picard's general moderation of action because of a recognition of "The Drumhead".
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