Star Trek: The Next Generation

"The Drumhead"

3.5 stars

Air date: 4/29/1991
Written by Jeri Taylor
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

The crew discovers that visiting Klingon officer D'Jan (Henry Woronicz) has been stealing technical secrets from the Enterprise and transmitting them via quiet and clever channels to the Romulans. There also has been an explosion on the ship's warp core, leading D'Jan to become the obvious suspect of sabotage. Admiral Norah Satie (Jean Simmons), a renowned Starfleet prosecutor, comes aboard the ship to aid in the investigation of the matter. "Aid in" quickly becomes "take over," and soon she's presiding over a sprawling paranoid inquiry involving unconfirmed speculation, serious allegations, and public hearings. Picard strenuously objects to what becomes a witch hunt.

It starts small and builds slowly: Just a few questions of a few people. Satie seems to be doing her job, and even I thought Picard was being overly naive when fussing over the fact that her second chair is a Betazoid. But soon the investigation has narrowed in on Crewman Tarses (Spencer Garrett), suspected merely because he worked in sickbay when D'Jan came in for routine procedures. Satie continues to press on, and ultimately presses Picard for not clamping down, despite the lack of incriminating evidence on Tarses and, further, with strong emerging evidence that the explosion in engineering was actually an accident. The details of the episode are solid, but it's the message that really works here. It's painful to watch Tarses destroyed over the mere fact that his grandfather was Romulan (rather than Vulcan, as he claimed). It's presumed guilt by national ancestry.

Ultimately, Picard is called to testify, in what raises the stakes to a witch hunt while, in narrative terms, serves to turn the story into a battle of wills between Satie and Picard. (Hint: Never bet against Picard.) The way Satie twists the facts is deplorable; I liked the story's invocation of continuity where she essentially attacks Picard for being abducted by the Borg.

There were numerous "courtroom episodes" on Trek throughout the years, and "The Drumhead" is one of the best. With the threat of terrorism and the ensuing questions of curtailed individual rights at the forefront of today's sociopolitical discussion, "The Drumhead," like DS9's "Homefront," is even more relevant in America today than when it originally aired. In a way it seems eerily prescient — until you consider that these issues have repeated themselves in cycles as a result of whatever the paranoia of the moment may stem from, whether it was the Japanese during World War II, suspected communists during the Cold War, or terrorist "persons of interest" post-9/11.

"The Drumhead" is a bit theatrical at times; one wonders if Satie, supposedly such a seasoned professional, would so easily be baited into a meltdown at the end. Or that she'd so easily have been able to lull Worf into her camp. But perhaps that's the point: The law has been hijacked by an overzealous individual whose judgment is suspect. (You can insert your own current-day political commentary here.)

Previous episode: Qpid
Next episode: Half a Life

◄ Season Index

226 comments on this review

Chris
Fri, Mar 21, 2008, 7:24am (UTC -5)
"The Drumhead" is one of my favourite episodes of all time - it has a wonderful slow build, with things becoming more and more sinister as the episode progresses. And as you said Jammer, it touches on continuity very well, referencing "Best of Both Worlds" and "Data's Day". The episode also contains one of my favourite epilogues. "Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we must continue to pay".

"The Mind's Eye" is another favourite - I think the music during Data's investigation is very effective, as it slowly dawns on him what is going on. It's also a funny example of the "no running" rule on Starships - Data finds out that his friend is about to kill a high-ranking Klingon official, possibly plunging the Federation and Klingons into war, and he walks quite calmly to the cargo bay. Still, it's a great episode with a very exciting climax.

"First Contact" was one of those episodes which I thought showed a different side of the Federation. Their use of deception in learning more about races is really playing with fire, if you ask me, and in this case they were found out.

I think Season 4 was the best season of TNG. It had one of the best mixes of stand-alone episodes and arc episodes, and contained a number of classic shows. Thanks once again for the reviews Jammer - I look forward to your views on season 5, which I think contains one of the worst, if not the worst, episode of TNG I've ever seen. It's a Lwaxana episode, so no surprise there.
Brendan
Fri, Mar 21, 2008, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
In my mind, The Drumhead was probably the best episode of the season and top 5 of the series for sure...

Not sure how you can give First Contact 4 stars... it was decent but a bit boring, and the conservative minister was a total caricature.

I agree with everyone on Remember Me too. On subsequent viewings however I found myself wondering how I didnt know what was going on right away, when Crusher vanished from the room after Wesleys experiment made a flash.
Eric
Wed, May 16, 2012, 10:51pm (UTC -5)
I didn't believe Satee's meltdown at the end either, but hey, the episode had to end dramatically somehow.
Glenn
Mon, Jun 18, 2012, 12:52am (UTC -5)
The bit about the Borg was nice -- I'd been wondering if such suspicions would ever be raised, especially since the episode immediately following the Borg episodes contained no such worries about Picard's "reliability". In our society, there's no way Picard could be trusted again.
Cormacolinde
Mon, Dec 31, 2012, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
I love this episode, one of my favorites of TNG. The inspiration from The Crucible and the HUAC activites (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_Un-American_Activities_Committee) are obvious.

And Picard's speech clearly reminds me of Joseph Welch's "Have you at last no decency sir" speech at the Army hearings.
William B
Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 3:47pm (UTC -5)
I just watched this and I think I need to watch it again to decide what I think of it. This is an episode that I think is on the border between excellent and weak -- which sounds bizarre, perhaps. But on the one hand, it is dramatic dynamite, a slow build in which Satie's slow freight train of an investigation slowly accelerates until it seems as if it'll be impossible to stop, and only Picard's cool-headed but passionate defense of civil liberties as the core of the Federation remain. It's also an episode which avoids the shadings that could make this story that much more compelling.

Part of what works about "The Wounded" is that it does not go as far as to make Maxwell wrong in his suspicions, "only" his methods. What that episode -- and others mentioned, including "Data's Day" -- demonstrate is that the cost of upholding the principles that Picard represents is real. In order to avoid starting a war, spies get away; to avoid going on a mission of total destruction, Cardassians get away with beginning to build up weapons. There is a sacrifice to be made, but the sacrifice is one that is worth making.

Clearly, Satie is wrong about Picard, and she is also (ultimately) wrong about the conspiracy on the Enterprise. There is some non-zero chance that there is a conspiracy we are unaware of, but it is so close to zero, which means that Satie comes across as ultimate unhinged from fairly early on. When it's ultimately fairly clear that Tarses' loyalty is to Starfleet, it's easy to agree with Picard that he should not be assumed to be a traitor because of his ancestry (and because he lied about it). Much harder is to defend Tarses as innocent until proven guilty of sabotage or treason when it seems genuinely plausible that he be a traitor, or that it's left an open question. Standing up for civil liberties, as Picard does here, I support fully, but the episode makes it just a tad too easy to support it. One must be willing to support civil liberties, the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty of a crime, even when that will sometimes lead to genuine security breaches. As a result, the episode misses a chance to go to a level beyond what it actually was, and be (really) about defending civil liberties even when -- *especially* when -- it is potentially very costly.

The episode gestures toward this and there are pains to make Satie, while still ultimately a villain, at least one who does seem to be motivated with a genuine desire to protect the Federation. I do think that she brushes aside the implications of the fact that the supposed sabotage in the warp core was an accident too quickly to be fully believable; her insistence that there *is* a conspiracy on board is not entirely credible. But for all this, there is a great deal of effort to make her credible and this makes her an effective antagonist overall.

She is not acting for personal gain, except insofar as she has a strong sense of pride which eventually gets in thew ay of her judgment, when her confrontation with Picard (eventually) becomes personal. Her Betazoid aide is right that Tarses is hiding something (and while it is sad to see his career ruined, it does make sense that lying on one's application and perjuring is a serious offense). She's not wrong when she calls Picard out on using Troi's talents as a guide, the way she uses her aide's. Her greatest weapon through most of the episode is her supreme confidence in her own rightness, and when Picard attempts to block her investigation she can come to no possible conclusion but that he is part of the conspiracy.

Best of all is the use of Worf -- whom we know is a man of extreme integrity, but who lacks the conviction that Picard has in the value of personal freedom. The great irony at the heart of Worf's story here is that he buys into Satie's line of thinking even though that line of thinking condemns him. He has always believed that Duras is a traitor because his father is a traitor, even though he *knows* that other people wrongly think the same of him (falsely believing about his father, i.e.). Tarses refusing to speak further is *exactly*, in fact, what Worf did in "Sins of the Father" -- Worf *has his reasons* for refusing a challenge even though from an outsider with a suspicious nature the only possibly cause he could have for refusing said challenge is because he is hiding his own (or his father's) guilt. That Worf is unaware of the irony, even though it is subtly suggested in an early scene with Satie's aide, makes the story all the more compelling, especially when he is attacked in the final courtroom confrontation.

The real difference, in fact, between Worf's reaction to the interrogations of Tarses and to Picard demonstrates part of the key to this episode. Worf knows Picard and he knows that Picard had his reasons -- he was there and saw those reasons. Things that look suspicious on paper and can be twisted, around and around, again and again, are clear when seen in their proper context. Worf has that context for Picard; he doesn't have it for Tarses, and so he naturally assumes the worst. Satie, who has that context for no one on the ship, eventually believes the worst of everybody, focusing on the worst possible interpretation of each event, using the Borg incident against Picard (!), implying that Picard must be a terrible man because he dares to continue to sleep at night. Picard's attempt to get to know Tarses is part of the thing that separates him from Worf and Satie.

Satie's emotional breakdown I struggle with. By making Satie look especially unhinged, the episode continues to stack the deck against her a little too strongly in order to make Picard (who is already right) look more transparently right. But it still fits in with the episode's themes, suggesting that Satie operates by preying on people's emotions -- fear, anger, and finally hatred -- rather than on their reason. On some level, the ending suggests, Satie knows that she has strayed from the standard set by her father, and her inability to deal with this causes her to lash out at Picard as strongly as she can, because if she can prove that he is not a righteous man she can go back to being secure in herself.

Overall, I do think this is a very strong episode -- and yet.... If Satie were just a bit more justified, it would have been a much stronger show, and perhaps a classic instead of "merely" a very good show. Probably 3.5 stars.
Josh
Mon, Jul 8, 2013, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
@William: Count me as a "fan" of your reviews here. This may be the best yet, particularly because "The Drumhead" is both very strong and very frustrating since Satie is just a bit too obvious an antagonist. Still, the courtroom scenes manage to transcend cliche, and it's pretty hard to argue with the use of the "Picard speech" device.
William B
Tue, Jul 9, 2013, 12:36am (UTC -5)
@Josh: thanks. I can't remember another episode which left me as conflicted as this one, and it's pretty hard to sort through.
Latex Zebra
Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Some people complain that TNG was not episodic but certain themes were carried for quite a few episodes. Klingon/Romulan alliances being one of them.

I love this episode. Satie's meltdown is a bit full on but it wasn't a surprise as you start distrusting her quite early on.

This is probably in my top 10 TNG episodes.
Jay
Sat, Nov 16, 2013, 5:09pm (UTC -5)
Star Trek has a tendency to affix added unlikability to people they want to come off as villainous...it tends to be proportional to how much of a claim on being right the "villain" has.

If we assign any validity to Spock's "the needs of the many...", then the So'na POV from Insurrection was actually the more inherently virtuous (actually, I agree that it was), which is why they had to be made into mustache-twirling villains in other ways, like having subdued two other races into essentially indentured servitude and otherwise being presented as inherently hostile and even grotesque. It even was done post-Insurrection, when in DS9, Damar indicated that the So'na had joined the Dominion.
SkepticalMI
Sun, Apr 6, 2014, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
The last scene with Picard and Worf, where Worf is apologizing to Picard, is emblematic of the problem with this episode. Picard is giving his 50th speech of the episode, and sums up our Very Special Lesson for Worf: "Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged." Well, that's a nice lesson. Too bad mustache-twirling villain is exactly how they made Norah Satie.

I get a bit annoyed when writers and producers have to prop up their own views by making the characters with the opposing viewpoints evil. This is especially true when they out the opposing viewpoint in a way that makes all the other characters notice. Yet that's exactly what they do here, having Satie's suspicions overrun into a crazy witch hunt, ending with her breaking down in the court room and everyone leaving her. Hurray for straw men!

I mean, let's look at things rationally here. J'Dann DID have an accomplice. That much is known. He injected that genetic sequencer thingy into someone who left the ship and got it to the Romulans. Worf suspects some random diplomat, true, but he hasn't confirmed it yet. Yet Picard wants to consider the matter settled immediately. Why? There was a serious security breach on your ship. It behooves you to be a little more thorough then just saying "oh, it was probably that guy. Everything's all wrapped up now!" Yes, it was probably just that other diplomat and no Starfleet officers involved, but you should still check!

And if a trained investigator (who can read minds) tells you that someone is acting very suspiciously during the interview, it makes sense to look into the matter further. And to find out he was hiding his ancestry, well, again, it makes sense to look into the matter further! No, that's not enough to throw him in the brig. But that's not what Satie was suggesting! Yes, she was probably going too far in immediately declaring that he should be restricted from sensitive areas, but Picard was too quick to declare further questioning off limits. Besides, shouldn't sensitive areas be restricted anyways? Sigh...

Of course, the episode had another moment of lack of awareness with Worf. He asks Picard if Tarses was innocent, why would he not state everything openly? Gee, I don't know Mr. Accept Discommendation Rather Than Reveal the Treachery of Duras' Father... OK, so maybe Worf might not have realized it. But why didn't Picard bring that up? The answer, of course, is that Worf is TNG's straw man unenlightened crew member, and thus must always be in the wrong. Given how much I like TNG's cast, it's annoying when they're set up like caricatures rather than realistic officers.

The reason I'm harping on this so much is that this is almost a great episode. It's very well paced, has quite a bit of tension, and deals with some meaty issues. The directing is excellent. All the pieces are there, but they're unfortunately spoiled by Admiral Straw Man.
Kuwanger
Wed, Apr 9, 2014, 8:45pm (UTC -5)
@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".
SkepticalMI
Sat, Apr 12, 2014, 4:19pm (UTC -5)
The mustache-twirling part refers primarily to her courtroom breakdown. It's just so out of place and unrealistic.

I didn't want to bring it up earlier given how easily these comments veer off in a political manner, but I was reminded of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged while watching the end of this show. In the book (spoilers abound in case anyone cares), the characters are representative of Rand's Objectivist philosophy, so all the protagonists are 2-dimensional perfect paragons of rationalism while all the antagonists are 2-dimensional villains. That's ok, because it worked within the plot. The villainous qualities were greed, corruption, refusal to accept reality, and an overwhelming and flawed sense of self-righteousness. While it may be absurd to have everyone act this way, it was engaging on its own... until the end of the book. These self-righteous businessmen were now torturing one of the protagonists while becoming wildly unhinged, while said-protagonist was dealing with the torture and pontificating how awesome Objectivism is.

It took me completely out of the story. Just because you're a greedy self-righteous jerk doesn't mean you're also a sadist! It didn't fit the way the characters were presented for the first 80% of the book. And it didn't follow naturally from the events of the plot (at least to me). People just don't end up over-the-top like that. Furthermore, it makes it look like a cheat; a way for the author to turn the ratchet up on the opposing philosophy. Naturally, the author is right and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly insane!

Have you ever composed arguments in your head while alone or in the shower or something, and imagined how devastating said arguments are? Of course, it's easy to win arguments in your head; you are calm and rational and understand everything perfectly, leaving your imagined opponent stuttering helplessly. Heck, I composed this reply while in the shower, and it was so awesome that the owner of Paramount read it and made me writer, director, and star of the next Star Trek movie... But seriously, most of us are smart and humble enough to know that we don't have all the answers, and that the arguments in our head are different than ones we might have in real life. But this episode reads like the sort of imagined argument you would come up with in the shower.

Norah Satie is a respected admiral and investigator. She is also a brilliant debater, and was trained by her father to be able to use logic as well as any Vulcan (at least that's what her tea break scene with Picard suggests). Given that, do you really see her spouting out a bunch of random insults at Picard's leadership, and then go on a rant when he gives one small speech? I don't.

Up to that final act, this was an excellent episode. But that rant kinda ruined it for me.
Kuwanger
Sun, Apr 13, 2014, 8:37pm (UTC -5)
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. :/
NCC-1701-Z
Mon, May 19, 2014, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
SkepticalMI: "Too bad mustache-twirling villain is exactly how they made Norah Satie."

I never thought of it that way until I read the comments. But watching the episode again, I see your point. Still, though, she seemed reasonable enough in the beginning before graduating into hyper paranoia, which I thought did effectively illustrate Picard's point in the end despite her becoming too obvious a villain in the end.

Still, I think this is one of Trek's better courtroom episodes (also reminds me a bit of BSG's "Litmus"), although the ending rant seemed too staged.
Charles
Fri, Jun 20, 2014, 4:48am (UTC -5)
The meltdown was in no sense indicative of mustache twirling, but of the fact that Satie is not the paragon of objectivity she presents herself as through most of the episode. She's not evil, she's overzealous and a bit of an egomaniac.

The respect and awe she held for her father was well-established earlier in the episode. This combined with her manic conviction that it is up to her to save Starfleet from disloyalty, conspiracies and the like allows Picard to pull the psychological trick of showing that one defining part of her character (devotion to father) is in contradiction with another (devotion to Starfleet).

It's a massive case of cognitive dissonance, and thus not too farfetched to think it might draw her out of her ultra-rational shell. In fact, the breakdown helps establish her as a real three-dimensional character rather than a mustache-twirling foil exactly because it shows her increasing penchant for witch-trial style investigation to be a result of zeal rather than leaving her motives for a personal crusade against Picard and crew masked by a calm and collected demeanor.
Andrew
Sat, Aug 30, 2014, 8:57am (UTC -5)
This episode was good but mostly because of Stewart's acting. Otherwise there was too little doubt or misdirection about how Satie (just that she had been right about a past dangerous conspiracy and that as a child she enjoyed family table debates) or the episode would turn out; there was a bit that Tarses lying about being descended from a Romulan was portrayed as real bad but it was predictable (yet really rushed) that the crew would then feel bad about being suspicious. Picard and Taylor objecting to surveillance or duty-reassignment to someone under suspicion if not likely lying felt very extreme given the stakes involved.
dgalvan
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Amazing the timelessness of this episode, filmed in 1991.

Watching it today all I could think about was the series of assumptions that led to the Iraq war, especially when Satie said something like "by the time we get well founded evidence, it could be too late!"

Also the Romulan-ancestor thing touched on the fear that American had for Japanese-Americans during WWII (leading folks like George Takei having to live in internment camps).
James
Fri, Oct 24, 2014, 7:04pm (UTC -5)
From the beginning of the episode I had a hard time reconciling how renowned and legendary Norah Satie that was being described in dialogue with the clearly lesser person standing before us in person. So pretty much the entirety of the episode was just an exercise in waiting for shoes to drop.
Yanks
Sat, Oct 25, 2014, 12:41pm (UTC -5)
Agree James. But we did get Picard's drumhead speech though :-)
Matrix
Fri, Dec 5, 2014, 6:44am (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed most of this but that ending was a little weak. The callbacks to prior episodes was nice. my highlight was the speech Picard gave about destroying a man based on the blood he carries, it feels as appropriate as ever.
Peter
Mon, Jun 1, 2015, 12:14pm (UTC -5)
This is easily one of my favorite episodes of any Star Trek series. It comes across as having been ripped right out of today's headlines - and then you realize it was written and aired many years before 9-11 and the ensuing security state, where data is collected on everyone just on the chance someone may be hiding something. Between Bill C-51 in Canada and the so-called Patriot Act in the U.S., the issues raised in this episode, and its portrayal of a powerful "patriot" who doesn't hesitate to destroy anyone to protect their perceived version of the status quo, the episode could not be more topical. And yet, it is nearly 25 years old!

That's what makes this story so good -- and what makes it come off as prescient -- is the idea that of the necessity to protect our rights and liberties at all costs comes up again and again, requiring eternal vigilance in the face of state power. Picard nails the risks of trading liberty for security in several superbly delivered monologues. Then there is also is the secondary theme of Crewman Tarses' ruination simply based on his ancestry. Too often, science fiction that is meant to cast light on current dilemmas is too heavy-handed and clumsy to succeed. This episode could serve as a blueprint for how to do this kind of sci fi story successfully.
Luke
Sun, Jul 19, 2015, 9:00am (UTC -5)
"(You can insert your own current-day political commentary here.)"

No thanks, I think I'll pass on what will only piss off people from every corner of the political spectrum.

Do I really need to go into what makes this episode so good? The slow build-up to full-out paranoia, the gut-wrenching use of Crewman Tarses, the wonderful use of Worf as an unknowing accomplice in Satie's villainy, some of the best Picard Speeches in the series, the wonderful use of continuity in the final showdown between Picard and Satie, etc.? Everyone knows what makes "The Drumhead" so good. As for Satie's breakdown at the end - it works for me. She clearly believes that there's a conspiracy afoot and that Picard is disloyal to the Federation and Starfleet. And now Picard is quoting her own father, who she views with an almost divine reverence. Naturally she's going to break down at that point.

But what really stands out about this episode is that it is about as close to a full-out rejection of the Roddenberry utopian Federation as you can get. "Eternal vigilance is the price we must continually pay."? I could easily see that whole concept being laughed at in the first two seasons, where humanity had presumably evolved past the need for vigilance. A lot of people say that DS9 killed the idea of Roddenberry's view of the future. Nonsense! Episodes like this did long before DS9. And God bless "The Drumhead" for it!

There are a few little nitpicky errors I can point out, but I don't think they detract from the episode in any way. For instance, why does Satie's Betazoid assistant (who is clearly meant to be a full-blooded Betazoid) act like he's only half-Betazoid like Troi? He shouldn't be getting impressions or vague senses from the people being investigated. He should be flat-out reading their thoughts. And, how is possible for Tarses' grandfather to have been Romulan when the Romulans were completely isolating themselves from the Federation back then?

"The Drumhead" is easily one of the best of TNG, quite possibly one of the best of the whole franchise. And, okay, I'll indulge in a little political commentary after all - maybe some of the people around here who have been saying things like theists shouldn't be allowed to practice religion in public or that conservatives can't be true Trek fans should re-watch this episode because, after all, "the first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably."

I don't give 10 out of 10 scores lightly, but this one deserves it in spades.

10/10
Diamond Dave
Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 5:32am (UTC -5)
In commenting on how prescient an episode is, one must also muse on the timeliness of the topic at hand. Witch-hunts have always been with us and always will be. So to me this episode serves as an examination of a universal truth.

And, to my mind, it does it in an unsatisfactory manner. Satie turns too readily to rampant ideologue, and then to blubbering meltdown. Worf leaps in with his pitchfork, and contritely leaps out again at the end. The issues are laid on with a trowel, and the moral messages with all the subtlety of a brick.

What does work well is the spiral into excess, culminating in the accusations of Picard (one wonders quite what 9 breaches of the Prime Directive mean in practice to a Captain's career!). And if the subtle insinuation that there is a conspiracy at the heart of the Federation is tossed out in this episode, it'll come back later... 2.5 stars.
RandomThoughts
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 6:24am (UTC -5)
Watching it again, I liked the acting of Crewman Tarses (Spencer Garrett). He looked truly nervous on the stand, eyes darting, breathing funny. And I thought Jean Simmons did great with her dismissive looks. Whenever she heard something Satie didn't like, or didn't fit with her view, the actress really sold the body language for me.

In '91, I thought the Admiral (brought out of retirement) was mildly unhinged, and the further into the episode we got, the further she was shown to be a bit mad/loopy with her single-mindedness, until even Picard was in the crosshairs. I just wondered how they would ultimately show it, then Picard gave his speech. It really worked for me then (still does). But I'd wondered for a moment if it would stick, or if they'd just take a break and she'd be all better. Then the other Admiral leaves the room. I think he was there just so we could see him go, so we'd know the investigation was done. Otherwise, there would be no one to stop her.

I have this in my list of episodes that are really good, but I don't really like. As it built up I knew it was going to go horribly wrong in some way, and waiting for the shoe to drop made my skin crawl.

Regards Everyone... RT
John Carr
Wed, Dec 23, 2015, 7:12am (UTC -5)
I think all the criticism of the episode is accurate.

With that said, it's still one of my favorite episodes! I believe why so many of us love The Drumhead and Darmok is Patrick Steward's performance. Patrick's performance frankly overpowers the story limitations and bring us viewers passionately into the story. Looked under a microscope, both these episodes have flaws (but so does any story). It's just so much fun watching Patrick act perfectly and be allowed too showcase his talent.
Dan
Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 12:37am (UTC -5)
From William: "It's also an episode which avoids the shadings that could make this story that much more compelling." Yes, 100 times yes.

There's potential here, but I really can't get on the "great episode" bandwagon. If you want to have a compelling debate, you've got to be able to view the argument from both points of view. I lost that about the time that it was determined no sabotage occurred, but the all decided to go forward with the hearings anyway. What crime is being investigated? What facts are the hearings attempting to establish? I stopped believing there was something to investigate, let alone believing that someone might actually be guilty of something.

You want great "court room" TNG, Measure of a Man is a much better place to look. Here, it's all just framing for Picard to eloquently take on some straw men. Appreciate the facepalm at the end, though. Just 2.5 stars for me.
Michael Brennick
Thu, May 19, 2016, 3:35pm (UTC -5)
The casting of Jean Simmons raises this episode's profile substantially. Picard's facile grandstanding on his own "civil liberties" drumhead lowers the episode.
Ivanov
Wed, May 25, 2016, 11:19pm (UTC -5)
@Luke Maybe his grandfather was a Romulan defector who made it safely to federation space. at least that's the only logical explanation of why he is half Romulan.

I do find it strange that Starfleet will except Klingons Bajorans and even Ferengi(albeit several years after this incident) But Tarses is worried(and rightly considering the way the Betazoid treats him) that being part Romulan will automatically hurt his chances of being accepted into Starfleet. sounds like some good old fashioned discrimination!
Yanks
Thu, May 26, 2016, 8:26am (UTC -5)
The only reason this episode is watchable and notable.

"You know, there some words I've known since I was a school boy. With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably. Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today"

Captain Picard
GreatLink
Fri, May 27, 2016, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
The comments on this episode to the effect that it is an overly blunt McCarthyism allegory are well-taken, but.... there was nothing subtle about McCarthyism, and recent American history is well-nigh complete with people whose self-righteousness has led them to flout our Constitution (so our Supreme Court has said. In Hamdi v . Rumsfeld, Rasul v. Bush, Hamdan v. Rumseld and Boumedine v . Bush, cases which I fear are quickly becoming ancient history) in the name of the flag and "safety." Some of these these people, in their own minds, believe they act with good intentions.

So did Norah Satie at the beginning of this episode. To her, to be virtuous is to apply the principles articulated by her father. To me - I am a forme prosecutor - what some might deem Satie's out-of-character, unhinged behavior might be explained by what makes up the difference between her father and herself. He was a judge and she is, in effect, a prosecutor. More than one prosecutor will tell you that the longer he or she has been in the business, the easier it is to think that his prosecutorial actions are "justified" in the name of a higher power. Some prosecutors know that they are lying to themselves when they say this, and some are merely self-deluded. Either way, and as concerns Admiral Satie, the point I am trying to make here is that people who enforce the law can often develop tunnel vision. Merely losing a case is an insufficient deterrent to unethical behavior when a prosecutor keeps his job in May event. Why WOULD such a person feel the need to meditate on his ethical behavior when there is virtually no one to hold him accountable? (Except a judge, in egregious circumstances). Satie tells Picard, almost in passing, that she has not seen her family in years, and has no friends. As such, her actions in trying to ferret out wrongdoing have been in examined by human hands.

Her father, on the other hand, was a judge. Judges' decisions and writings are treated by many people in the U.S. with reverence. The episod - set 350 years from now, suggests that at least some judges are still held in public esteem.

Picard, by hurling Satie's own father's words against her, finally is able to tell Satie, in a way that others could not or would not, that her behavior is exactly the kind of overreaching that her father spent his life trying to stop. Her father, the judge, reaching out of the grave to admonish her, through the avatar of Picard's quote. For Norah Satie, there can be no more effective or utter rebuke. Her losing it, because she realizes what it is she has finally lost - a sense that the notion that rules must be followed only if following them serves some end - is to me quite understandable.

Criticism has been made of the fact that the episode would have been more compelling had Picard not so obviously been on the side of right and Satie on the side of wrong. We viewers tend to perceive that there is imbalance in part because Picard is a character whom we know and trust, and Satie is a stranger. So, all other things being equal, our natural sympathies lie with Picard in the first instance - a bias which leads us to conclude that the scales are clearly tipped in his favor, when maybe perhaps the balance is a little less lopsided.

Don't believe me that point of view can cause us to distort what may actually be something resembling dramatic balance? Think about Law and Order (the first one), a show that tells us from the get-go that it is told from the point of view of the police and the prosecutors. How many times have you rooted for McCoy or Stone or one of the other prosecutors to secure a guilty verdict? More times than what, upon sober reflection, you realize was the amount of times such a verdict was justified? If your answer is at least "one," maybe you'd be a little less harsh on this episode. Sure, it could have been more subtle, but subtlety is a tricky business - too little, it sounds like you're shouting. Even the tiniest bit too much, and you might come off as not really saying much of anything. Which is fine - unless you like Star Trek - and many of us do -because you admire its tendency to side with those who are on the right side.
Chrome
Fri, May 27, 2016, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
"We viewers tend to perceive that there is imbalance in part because Picard is a character whom we know and trust, and Satie is a stranger."

This is probably true, however I still think the writers could've done more to make us sympathetic to Admiral Satie's position. In "The Measure of a Man", they put Riker on Maddox's side and even gave Riker and the judge some reasonable arguments against Picard's position that Data is a lifeform. That's good court drama because the viewers wrestle with the very issues of the characters.

Here, Satie is so poorly presented, it's hard to believe she could've been legitimately interested in Federation security interests. Indeed, you yourself have sided against her position in your opening paragraph.
Andy2
Sat, Jul 16, 2016, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
I am almost certain that Admiral Satie had a mental health problem that interfered with her duties. I question why she was allowed to conduct the investigation, and why the investigation wasn't stopped earlier. In fact, I question why she was allowed to be in her position. I also don't understand why no one questioned her sanity during this whole process. She is simply unfit for duty.
ÓNéill
Tue, Nov 1, 2016, 10:19am (UTC -5)
I wish I had the time to really get this comment because it requires. It is been a long time since I saw this episode when I first saw it my mother explained to me the how you say Origins of the episode and where it came from. I'm in my thirties now and I have to say that this episode is incredibly creepy and tense. The end of that episode it reminds me of a 1950s or 1960s courtroom drama. Think Inherit the Wind and for some reason I also think of Manchurian Candidate even though Manchurian did not have a same type of courtroom atmosphere.

Perhaps it is my memories of seeing the film Inherit the Wind when I was still in high school in the early nineties as well as seeing chillin films such as The Manchurian Candidate both new and old and seeing it's and it's "remake" playing like a creepy sequel.

For whatever reason despite the science fiction atmosphere and it being roughly three hundred years in the future this episode has a certain Timeless quality. As I watch more contemporary products such as the man in the High Castle which is itself an adaptation of an old Philip K dick novel written in the sixties I think to myself that this show really hit upon something special. I have always been a fan of certain relics of our Modern Age showing up in the sci fi films. Sometimes it's embarrassing. There are some very clear 1960s ideal in the original Star Trek and if you pay attention you can see some obvious 80s hairstyles and design choices in Star Trek the Next Generation.

But when you take a show like this and and conjure up everything from the most beloved 1950s courtroom dramas and even plays such as The Crucible that's when you move past Syfy Into The Human Condition. When this came out we were still dealing with Communism in some ways if I recall correctly the Soviet Union did did not fall till several years later but I can't think of anything that was happening at that point in time that made this episode culturally relevant. To me that's a strength of the episode. I think I was 11 when I saw this for the first time and even then I remember it making me uncomfortable. I was young I did not realize that some of the the views I hold now could ever put me in a situation like this. Watching it now as an adult I realize only too clear Timeless nature of an episode like this. Everything from 911 to Trump to the prosecution of Jews and queer people this episode could have been made last week. Perhaps that is why a series like this has staying power. I would say it is easily the best episode of the entire season.

We can only hope for new science fiction to touch on the human condition as eloquently as STNG and DS9 did.
Trek fan
Tue, Nov 29, 2016, 4:40pm (UTC -5)
I would give this episode 2 1/2 stars. Good material, but poor execution, and I agree with the earlier comment that "Measure of a Man" leaves "Drumhead" in the dust because the former presented a balance of intelligent worldviews in the courtroom debate. While "Drumhead" paces the tension nicely and does a nice job setting up a confrontation between the captain and admiral, the one-dimensional zaniness and climactic ranting of the admiral undo any sense of dramatic interest at the end. Compared even to "Court Martial," the TOS episode where Kirk's trial is overseen by worthy adversaries as opposed to ranting fools, this TNG outing is a real loser. While the issues of security and personal freedom are certainly pertinent, the one-handed presentation fails to give the admiral's position any rational traction that might push back against Picard and provide the viewer with more dramatic traction. As often happens in TNG, the solutions here are a little too obvious and the moral superiority of the captain is a bit too self-righteous. There is good stuff here, but the script and performances fail to give us the "debate of equals" the admiral's reputation had promised, and the easy way out that the screenwriters take is just that: a cop-out.
Matt
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Just rewatched this. Odd thing, I though clearly remembered a plot point that it turns out actually didn't happen.

My recollection was that as the interrogation of Tarses intensified and it became clear that his career in Starfleet was finished, that he committed suicide.

I thought that the episode used that for both drama when it happened, and later when his innonce was determined, to show the consequences of going down the road of a witch hunt.

Turns out of course that none of that happened (I assume the first time I watched it that was my guess of what would happen, and then forgot about the true ending).

Not saying it would have been a better ending (as I presumably thought that was what was going to happen, maybe it would have been too predictable), just find it an interesting 'what if'.

Anyhow,, while Admiral Satie's meltdown may have been a bit over the top, my favorite part of the episode was the other admiral simply walking out of the hearing without a word after it. A case of making a strong statement without saying anything.
Del_Duio
Sun, Jan 1, 2017, 6:58pm (UTC -5)
"My recollection was that as the interrogation of Tarses intensified and it became clear that his career in Starfleet was finished, that he committed suicide. "

@ Matt-

You might be remembering 'The Defector' I think it was called, where the Romulan who thought he was trying to help his people by defecting to the Federation killed himself after he learned it was all a trick by the Romulans.

And since Tarses was part Romulan, this could be it!
Matt
Tue, Jan 3, 2017, 6:46am (UTC -5)
Del_Duio: I bet that was what I was thinking of. Good thing they didn't use that plot here then!
Strejda
Sun, Feb 19, 2017, 11:09pm (UTC -5)
One aspect of the story that I think goes unfairly unremarked, is that the episode doesn't act as if caution and suspicion aren't needed in times of danger. The klingon guy really was an enemy spy and he even used the race card. So while Sate may have been a bit too evil and not well argued, the episode is even handed enough in its approach to the situation. Yes, there IS danger-doesn't mean it's worth to let it destroy what and who we are protecting.
Chrome
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 11:10am (UTC -5)
"One aspect of the story that I think goes unfairly unremarked, is that the episode doesn't act as if caution and suspicion aren't needed in times of danger. The klingon guy really was an enemy spy and he even used the race card. So while Sate may have been a bit too evil and not well argued, the episode is even handed enough in its approach to the situation. Yes, there IS danger-doesn't mean it's worth to let it destroy what and who we are protecting."

It brings up Satie's side of the argument, but she's made into a complete strawman. It's easy to walk away with the message that "National security just isn't worth it." because nothing Satie does actually helps the Enterprise. They already found the spy, and the "conspiracy" was debunked because there was no sabotage. All Satie did was waste everyone's time with litigation while what the ship really needed was a bigger repair crew.
Peter G.
Tue, Feb 21, 2017, 11:25am (UTC -5)
I'll say one thing about this episode which never occurred to me in all the years I've been rewatching the series: they clearly meant for this episode to be part of a larger Romulan arc that they'd been building towards during season 4. As much as we think that DS9 initiated the long arc, the TNG writers were keen to do it despite being prevented by the network, and in S4 they did get in some building continuity. The arc traces back to "Sins of the Father", and in S4 goes something like this:

"Reunion" - Introducing internal Klingon tensions.

"Data's Day" - Bringing the Romulans into the picture as being up to something (we'll omit "Future Imperfect" as counting).

"The Drumhead" - Reintroducing the idea of a Romulan scare, and in the process subtly implying that Satie believed in the possibility of Klingons and Romulans conspiring together. To our knowledge this hadn't happened since TOS when they shared technology with each other.

"The Mind's Eye" - Bringing to the forefront that the Romulans are up to no good. And I had completely forgotten until I watched this again the other week that Sela makes her first shadowy appearance at the end of this one.

"Redemption" - Where it all comes together.

To have five separate episodes in a season all leading towards the cliffhanger finale is pretty darn good considering they had to slip it in, most likely under the network's noses. From that standpoint I'll forgive some of the details in "The Drumhead" that don't add up to that much, because I can see now that as an arc they were using it to put certain ideas in our heads about wondering what the Klingons and Romulans were up to. The fact of the matter is that the way the script dealt with Tarsis wasn't very compelling in terms of us actually considering he might actually be guilty of something, and so Satie being wrong ended up overshadowing the legitimate concern about Romulan interference, which I think should have been written in better.
John Harmon
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 2:23pm (UTC -5)
"The law has been hijacked by an overzealous individual whose judgment is suspect."

Ain't it the truth...
K9T
Thu, Mar 16, 2017, 4:03am (UTC -5)
>(You can insert your own current-day political commentary here.)

And boy, can you. Amazing how that's one thing that will never become dated...
Vii
Mon, Apr 10, 2017, 1:50am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the individual acting (Picard, Satie, Tarses..) but put together, it rang a bit hollow. As a former comment pointed out, the momentum was lost once it had been established that the explosion was not manufactured by a saboteur - from that point on, there just didn't seem much point in investigating further as there was really nothing left to investigate.

I too enjoyed Tarses' performance. That being said I was disturbed at how quick they were to discriminate against him based on the fact that he was Romulan, and by extension, the extenuating circumstances that led to him deeming it necessary to lie about his lineage. I can't imagine having to grow up with so much self loathing that you would have to lie about your race on a school application. No one should ever be made to feel bad about themselves due to their heritage/race. I suppose the Federation isn't as enlightened as it likes to think it is.
Michb
Tue, Jun 13, 2017, 3:46pm (UTC -5)
This one is as subtle as a sledgehammer, and therefore not really interesting. Apart from Tarses (briefly) the episode never becomes intriguing on a personal level. It also lacked any kind of humor whatsoever (maybe with the exception of Worf hitting the traitor with a move that I thought only Steven Seagal could pull off). Instead, "The Drumhead" smacks us over the head with its message and has the audacity to pretend to be intelligent about it. Definitely not one of the "great" episodes for me.
Trajan
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
For those who found Satie's rant difficult to believe, I was once in a real court and saw something similar happen. The accused was defending in person and when his theatrical case was derailed with derision by a (grizzled store detective) witness, he lost the plot. It was hugely entertaining.

Incidentally, has anyone ever had qualms about serving on board with a Betazoid? They don't seem to have any code of ethics about reading your mind as and when it suits them. Is there no general expectation of privacy in Starfleet?
Chrome
Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 3:59pm (UTC -5)
@Trajan

There's a huge difference between the average person trying to defend themselves in court and a seasoned prosecutor trying to make a case. I.e., If Satie was just some layman with a personal stake in the case, her breakdown would've been much more believable.
Trajan
Tue, Jul 25, 2017, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
@Chrome

You make a good point. It just seemed to me that although Satie boasts about her prowess she lets her 'team' do all the legal heavy lifting.

There seems to be a lot of precedent in Starfleet (in all series) for putting officers into a courtroom and expecting them to perform as legal officers. I didn't see Satie as being any different- just rather better at raising her profile as a result.
Mikey
Mon, Sep 4, 2017, 8:27am (UTC -5)
Satie's pet betazoid was able to to tell that the Klingon spy was telling the truth about not sabotaging the engines. She then jumped to the conclusion that he must have had assistance. Why did she not just ask the Klingon if he acted alone? Her betazoid would have been able to tell there and then that there was no conspiracy.

Apart from that point, I don't think this story fits into the trek world at all. We're constantly shown how society has evolved into something close to utopia, yet they expect us to believe this kind of rubbish could still occur. I call bs.
Jason R.
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 6:56am (UTC -5)
Rather, Mikey, I call BS on this supposed utopia - as DS9 and later Trek stories did with great success. Trek was always at its best when it explored its characters' humanity, and the utopia described (mostly through Picard in STNG) is phony baloney for a plethora of reasons.
Kevin
Fri, Sep 15, 2017, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
This has always been one of my favorite episodes. I did think Saties rant was a bit unhinged but it was one of those well written it could happen stories.
michael j
Fri, Oct 13, 2017, 4:02am (UTC -5)
So many here find Satie's meltdown implausible. I disagree. It's pretty much foreshadowed. She tells Picard she hasn't seen a family member in years and that she has no friends. She lives on starbases and starships. I'm already seeing red flags.

Note the frequent references to her father. She has elevated her late father on a pedestal because that is all she has. That and the Federation. That's not much of a life. Zealots -- especially isolated and lonely ones -- have facades that don't crack easily but when they do, it's quite a scene.
Startrekwatcher
Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 12:35am (UTC -5)
3 stars. It’s a relatively decent and st times engrossing episode but really a great or excellent episode

I felt Picard was being far too naive and Admiral Satie was taking it too far. There was a middle ground to be had where some restrained prudent steps could be enacted like keeping an eye on Tarses while they investigate but not going overboard investigating everyone he knew going all the way back to his training days. Worf was right there are enemies who want to undermine the federation and the Klingon admitting he gave schematics to the Romulans confirms it.

Then the episode kind of takes the easy way out turning Satie from initially a realist to a zealous look who having spent so much time investigating conspiracies came to believe there was a conspiracy everywhere. That part kind of was over the top
Caz
Wed, Oct 25, 2017, 4:26am (UTC -5)
Okay episode, not great, the production and characterization and believability criticisms here are valid. My interest usually boils down to the principles at play, so:

Courtroom dramas that play out social overreaction to possible subversion - recalling HUAC and the Red Scare, most obviously - thrive on showing the impact to individual rights. Not often mentioned is how such screwups malign something that is probably more important: social trust. I would like to have seen, in some narrative way, an attitude of suspicion break down crew morale, harm the crew's ability to trust its officers (Worf, for example, could have started having problems with performance from crew members who thought they might be investigated), and ultimately break down the interdependency upon which every group relies upon. You do this enough, and you won't have a crew anymore. You will have a collection of alienated individuals terrified of having every little questionable detail of their actions viewed in the worst possible light. This is how good faith dies.

Paranoia is a response to one's social environment, what happens when you sense that trust is collapsing. And while the case in favor of individual liberties has the biggest gut punch to it, individuals die regularly in Star Trek and it is not at all like what we see here. Individual welfare or utility are really not the point. Simon Tarsus could have been killed by the Borg, and it is not the same kind of failure, not unsettling in the same way. An internal breakdown is far worse, far more debilitating, and takes far longer to recover from than any direct enemy action. It has been said that no society is conquered from outside until it first fails from within.

My views are quite right wing and from the usual Trekkian perspective, I prioritize security, in-group "prejudice", and competition enough that you might call it gleeful assholery, especially if you didn't know me personally. But if caught between upholding security and enabling trust, I would support trust in the vast majority of situations. Picard should have, somewhere, showed some concern that Satee was breaking down his ship from the inside more than sabotage ever had, and appealed to his crew, especially his senior officers, to find a way to get those hearings off the schedule. I think this would have been a better resolution than a noble speech on freedom and an unjustified mental breakdown from someone who had been built up to be a legend for her rationality.
Trent
Thu, Feb 15, 2018, 6:56pm (UTC -5)
A Klingon, possibly working with Romulans, is revealed to be a criminal. Starfleet prosecutes him. Picard is fine with this. A deranged Admiral with severe prejudices, however, won't stop with this one Romulan. In her eyes, everything is a conspiracy aimed at toppling her civiliation. She fixates on a young man with Romulan ancestry. Prejudiced and bigoted, and cloaking this all in a righteous cause, she essentializes the young man and sets about attempting to convict him. Afterall, all Romulans are guilty. Even half breeds.

In Trumpland, this episode just rings so true.
Sean Hagins
Wed, Mar 7, 2018, 10:43pm (UTC -5)
Everyone seems to feel that the Admiral's blowup at the end came out of nowhere. I think (as also Charles did) that Picard's mention of her father was the touchpoint. She wasn't some raving maniac, but there are some things that will set people off and seeing how much this Admiral idolized her dad, it would make sense that anyone she views as suspect hiding behind her father's words (in her opinion) would set her off.

As far as the Federation being racist, I don't see that as a stretch. Remember only 80 years ago in TOS, a crewman who served on the Enterprise with Spock for years (presumably) suddenly turns on him when he sees that the Romulans look like Vulcans. It's highly possible that the Romulan-Federation war of the early 23rd century is still a touchpoint to the average citizen. Whilst the Klingons are now established allies, the Romulans never were. And also since they just came out of the shadows again, this means that so little is known of them. It is easy to be racist against a "boogyman" like that.

As far as politics, I am completely neutral-I watch Star Trek for entertainment, not to relate it to anything else.
John Hellier
Sat, Apr 7, 2018, 5:39am (UTC -5)
And sadly the last episode featuring Ron Jones on Music which was a major mistake by the production team getting rid of them He brought grey colour to the episode he scored

seen the TNG episodes in Blu-ray and restored is Joys of being reconstructed so brilliantly it still makes an impression watching even if the odd episode isn’t as good

I still tend to feel the TNG was it is most Star Trek influenced 123 and 4 series 5 6 and 7 for me didn’t quite have the impact that the earlier ones did
Norvo
Sat, Apr 7, 2018, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
Great episode that really makes you think even if it's a little obvious Picard is right (because he always has to be, apparently). I did notice that D'Jan's way of transmitting classified information through his blood would later be reused in the pilot of Enterprise with the Klingon courier Klang. Oversight, franchise fatigue or subtle send up? You decide!
borusa
Wed, May 16, 2018, 4:17pm (UTC -5)
I remember feeling very uncomfortable when first watching this and rightly so.
This is a super episode, ably assisted by a star turn from the venerable Jean Simmons.
I agree with the comments about the 'I've broken stronger men than you!' meltdown in the last reel but as someone said it was a necessary dramatic development.
TNG at its best in my view.
Session
Mon, Jun 25, 2018, 10:13pm (UTC -5)
It's truly unnerving watching this episode, at random, right after Trump held a rally to publicly announce crimes of a targeted minority.

Chilling.
Rahul
Tue, Jun 26, 2018, 5:40pm (UTC -5)
Spreading fear in the name of righteousness, not sticking to innocent until proven guilty -- a powerful episode with some quality performances from Simmons, Stewart and also the actor who played Tarses. It's crazy but also somewhat believable how a few questions and doubts turns into an absolute witch hunt in Satie's hands. Trek does deliver its messages with sledgehammers but the blurring of the lines (a trial vs. an inquiry) and the effects it can have were compellingly illustrated here.

Satie's breakdown at the end was a bit over the top and should not have been necessary for the other admiral to call off the shit show. But it's fascinating to watch how Satie cloaks herself in her love for the Federation, her father's words as a famous judge. But one also has to wonder what consequences fall on Picard for the Romulan spy ("Data's Day"). But for sure Satie is over the top and it gets ridiculous to see this continue. Prescient stuff though for our times.

This is a good story for showing how some circumstantial stuff can balloon into destroying a career (Tarses) and becoming a turning point for an organization. A much better episode than "Conspiracy" as it avoids a totally stupid (gory) ending and improves on the building up leading to the climax.

Perhaps also a point about how one (Satie) can become so singularly focused on something that one fails to see the forest from the trees. This also happens to Worf -- this is in-character I think as he has his us vs. them mentality and Satie's paranoia feeds into his desire to protect.

One detail I didn't like was how Satie brought in a viewing gallery for the inquiry. I guess this was a bit of an over the top act to show how ludicrous things were starting to get.

Picard's great once again -- never raised his voice but stayed calm and emphasized not trodding on a man's freedom. Although Tarses lying on his application is worth uncovering/exploring/punishing -- small lies can turn into bigger things if somebody feels they can get away with it. Yes the surveillance was over the top but some mild discipline should come of it. But the kid's career should not be ruined.

3.5 stars for "The Drumhead" -- I believe this episode is sometimes cited as one of TNG's best. I wouldn't go so far as to say that but I think it is one that can resonate with non-Trek fans and does transcend the show to some extent. The Picard character will win a ton of points -- he gets in some words of wisdom to Worf in the episode's coda. Very engaging episode that also shows what happens when the person in charge (Satie) has too much power and is basically nuts.
Sarjenka's Little Brother
Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
I liked it then.

I love it now.

It's absolutely chilling to watch this in 2018. It resonates with me so much more than it did in 1991. And I don't see any Jean Luc Picards on the horizon to save us from our current band of Admiral Saties who have hijacked our country and have an angry, self-righteous mob to support them.

I'm going to have to make room in my Top 5 for this one.
Jason R.
Sun, Jul 8, 2018, 7:19am (UTC -5)
"It's absolutely chilling to watch this in 2018. It resonates with me so much more than it did in 1991. And I don't see any Jean Luc Picards on the horizon to save us from our current band of Admiral Saties who have hijacked our country and have an angry, self-righteous mob to support them. "

Haha You know what's funny about this comment? Pretty much 100% of the population would agree. 50% would point at the other 50% and the other 50% the reverse.

And everyone might be right!
JerJer
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 11:42am (UTC -5)
Star Trek casting:

When you want an officer who's screwing up, such as a captain steaming full speed into Romulan territory to blow up everything in sight, or an incompetent like Barclay, you cast a white male.

When you want to show a successful, high-ranking person, you cast a black male.

When you want a strong, independent, successful person, you cast a woman...
Elliott
Tue, Jul 24, 2018, 6:15pm (UTC -5)
@JerJer

Oh please. In this episode, the shady spy is a black man, the noble hero is a straight white man and the crazed villain is a woman. Get off 4chan and grow up.
Patrick
Fri, Jul 27, 2018, 3:05am (UTC -5)
Spot-on, Jason.

Connecting Satie with Trump strikes me as reflexive anti-Trumpism — though one could argue they are both bullies, Satie’s sinister arrogance seems to have little in common with Trump’s blustering self-satisfaction.

Perhaps an analogy with the Left’s obsession with a Trump-Russia conspiracy is a better fit for this episode, with the monomaniacal Rachel Maddow in the role of the articulate but unhinged Satie.

Of course, Rachel Maddow’s motivations are quite clear — the great weakness of The Drumhead is that Satie’s motivations were never made clear by the writers.

But there is still the pleasure of watching this fine example of Picard’s principled Stoicism, even within a fairly implausible scenario.
Thierafhal
Thu, Aug 23, 2018, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
After J'Dan's confession as being a spy, I found his comment that Worf was a weakling, rather amusing. I know that he was referring to Worf's position in the peace loving Federation, but it was still amusing seeing the "weakling" Worf kick his butt. Also funny was when he was calling Worf out for being a traitor who would never have the chance for glory as a warrior. J'Dan himself wasn't a "warrior", he was a scientist, so what the heck is he talking about? Where's J'Dan's chance for glory?...
Allojud
Sat, Sep 1, 2018, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Unfortunate it is, that apparentmy some law has been passed that prohibits enjoying this episode as entertainment, as a parable, a cautionary tale.

Robert Mueller is Satie; Dick Cheney was; McCarthy was. It hurts a political party's cause these days when the party does not affect a victim mentality and cry, "witch hunt."

The scope of Satie's commission was never defined in the episode. She was, Picard stated in a Captain's log, "arriving to assist in our inquiry." It can be inferred, given her being called out of retirement, and by her being having exposed the conspiracy from Season 1, that she had a fair amount of latitude over the means of how to conduct the inquiry. Of course, she abused this discretion and Picard exposed her for being a demagogue, and the investigation closed.

Robert Mueller, warmly regarded by Republicans two years ago, was tasked by Congress and through regulation with investigating matters related.to whether Russia attempted to interfere with our 2016 presidential election. His investigation, along with other evidence, has shown that this attempt was made - and was to some degree, successful (such as, through its hacking of DNC databases). Mueller was not asked specifically to find whether President Trump colluded with Russians in any such attempt to interfere. That question, though, of the President's involvement, is fairly within the intendment of Mueller's charge. Mueller has every right within what federal law permits, as he investigates potential interference, to find out the who, what, when, where, and why of the interference attempts. If he has exceeded the scope of his commission, surely there is some law or even legal principle he has violated. The people screaming "witch-hunt"- The same ones who love witch hunts because they would deny Hillary Clinton due process of law and "lock her up" for some unspecified crime (our legal system is the envy of the world because due process means a prosecutor cannot make up a crime and convict someone of it; a crime must already exist on the books) - should look in the mirror. These people supported the investigation of Bill Clinton by Kenneth Starr. STARR himself has gone on record as staring he should have given that investigation to someone else after its Whitewater portion ended.

Satie revealed her own motives when she told Picard, haughtily, I question your motives!" Are Trump supporters ranting about witch hunts because they don't think the drumhead trials spoken of by Picard should have happenee-because they are driven only to see justice delivered dispassionately?

Turn on Fox News and watch the next 10 minutes. You don't need Admiral Satie's powers of deduction to find out the answer to that one. With Trump, it is "Justice for Me, But Not for Thee." It is the Justice of the Hypocrite and the one who sets double standards. That is not justice. It is, to paraphrase something else Picard once said,petty thuggery.
Andrew
Thu, Oct 25, 2018, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
^Fine point about how an investigation can go quite a way beyond its initial parameters and that expansion actually be appropriate, justified, even still be within or at least related to the initial scope-and yet those investigated due to that expansion will almost invariably shout that the expansion is abusive and the investigation now obviously way out of hand.
Candaq
Tue, Jan 22, 2019, 5:04pm (UTC -5)
The comparison to Mueller and the Russia investigation are compelling.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 22, 2019, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
^

Agreed. Is this the kind of society & governance we want?

Reds Under Beds was a concept I thought went out with Joseph McCarthy's censure, but I guess not.

A truly timeless episode!
Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Though a change, it probably wouldn't really be a bad thing (or that much of a change) if yes, every president from now on was investigated for a possible crime if there was at least significant evidence he (or assistants) had committed it, heck, yes, expand that to members of Congress too.
Dave in MN
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 11:10am (UTC -5)
If everyone in power is under permanent investigation/surveillance , who is investigating the investigators?
Andrew
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 9:09pm (UTC -5)
Fair point but the best we can do to avoid investigations getting out of hand, being corrupt themselves, is probably what we're doing now, have an independent investigation be not completely independent from the larger Justice Department and also have the President and legislative houses checking and balancing each other including the executive departments.
Mal
Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 9:15am (UTC -5)
“We think we’ve come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, all ancient history. Then, before you can blink an eye, it suddenly threatens to start all over again."

- Picard

Of course he would say that. This was a real tipping point for Picard’s command. I’m sure he could feel the walls closing in on him. It was the beginning of the end for him. He was done. Picard will resign. He will not serve out his term.

https://youtu.be/qjUvfZj-Fm0
Meister
Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 9:03am (UTC -5)
10/10

This episode put me on edge as it reminded me of the hunt for the crystalline entity. Is that the same actress? f not,it gave me the same vibe of a witchhunt from te beginning.

Havin that in mind, I wasn't watching this with fresh eyes so do not know how it appears to someone who has no inkling or sense as to what is to come.

The captain's speech at the end bumped it up to a 10 for me and I shall try and recall his sentence "spreading fear in the name of righteousness" as it applies today over and over again.
Startrekwatcher
Sun, Sep 8, 2019, 6:26am (UTC -5)
I rewatched this the other day I realized it is kind of all over the map as far as the narrative

It starts out about a legitimate investigation with good faith from all parties then decided to pull the rug out from the intriguing conspiracy angle before halfway in turning into a story making Satie too extremely paranoid and Picard too extremely naive before deciding to change course again with Sati turning into an all out villain singlemindedly wanting to destroy Picard for opposing here

The writing left a lot to be desired
Chris Clancy
Mon, Sep 23, 2019, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Saw "The Drumhead" again this morning in Japan. It had been a long time since I last viewed it. The title jogged my memory; I recalled having enjoyed the episode. The recurring theme of Picard in the courtroom is certainly memorable. Though acting in his own defense may not carry the same dramatic effect as his defense of Data in "Measure of a Man," Picard's quoting Judge Aaron Satie is effective. "The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged." How poignant this line rings in this day and age.
Fenn
Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
I love how the pacing's done here. The investigations reach full throttle in practically the last five minutes of the episode, and it's the very force of Satie's blind passion that brings them to a halt.

It's established that the explosion was an accident early on, and so the tension of the episode is not in whether Tarses is guilty, but in how Satie -- in such a position of power, and determination to use it -- can be stopped. It's a relief that the crew of the Enterprise are clear enough of mind to see through her in the end, and do not get further caught up in her viciousness for its own sake. Forcefulness and strong stances, whether substantiated or not, can be terrifyingly persuasive.

Also I have to say I was mildly amused by the extent of Admiral Thomas Henry's role in this episode: to sit in a chair, and then leave the room. Is that all you have to do as an admiral? Sign me up!
Dr. Bob
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
While Satie was near the end of her diatribe, It bothered me that admiral Henry just walked out of the room instead of ending the hearing right then!
Chrome
Tue, Mar 17, 2020, 11:14am (UTC -5)
If the legal system of Star Trek works anything like our own, I don't think the admiral can just unilaterally end the hearing. He probably goes and files a report to Starfleet, and Starfleet ends the hearing through some JAG channel. That said, I liked the subtlety that we get from the moment as Admiral Henry quietly walks out of the room. It serves as a sharp rebuke that contrasts with Satie's boisterous and rambling accusations.
Mal
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 10:01am (UTC -5)
I think we need to examine where Starfleet is at this point in Season 4.

In Conspiracy, back in season 1, we saw an alien takeover at the highest levels - every major Admiral, so many top Captains. The cream of the brass, compromised, infiltrated.

Immediately, Starfleet starts grasping at whatever it can get its hands on to protect itself. Very early in season 2, we see the Federation willing to trample on the rights of one of their own officers - Data - if it means they might get an edge. Fortunately the case in Measure of a Man came out in Data’s favour, but it could have easily gone the other way.

Things are so tense that even a seasoned diplomat like Picard is willing, by the end of season 2, to engage in war games (Peak Performance).

By early season 3, the Romulans have sensed Starfleet is weak. They risk an incursion into Federation space by sending people to Galorndon Core (The Enemy). The Federation’s reputation is so bad that in the very next episode, the Barzan decide not to partner with the Federation in developing their worm hole. That episode - The Price - plays like sour grapes, saying that the worm hole was not stable anyway, so no big deal. But the fact remains that the Federation is not the default preferred partners they might think they are.

Again the Romulans fuck with the Federation in The Defector. Picard only gets out with his ship intact thanks to help from the Klingons.

Indeed season 3 does something very sneaky with Yesterday’s Enterprise. It posits an alternative timeline where the Federation is at war with the Klingons. And truth be told, even this more militaristic and muscular Starfleet has only about 6 months to go before it will fall.

And then Starfleet again comes after Data’s rights, this time with his daughter. I think if Offspring was after BOBW, the result would be different. 9/11 changed everything.

Then in Tin Man, if you remember, the Romulans beat the Enterprise to the prize. Romulans reach Tin Man first because they want it more - they are willing to accept a one way trip if it means they get there first.

And so at the end of Season 3/ beginning of Season 4, when the Borg destroy 39 ships and kill 11,000 Starfleet personnel, one can safely say that this may truly have broken the back of the Federation. After 3 years of a string of loses, this was a body blow on par with 9/11 or Covid-19.

What does the Federation do now? It starts to withdraw.

Early in season 4, Picard backs down from a fight with the Talarians (Suddenly Human), and turns an Admiral’s grandson - her only living descendant and the last of her family - Picard turns this kid over to the Talarian captain. He finds some fig leaf for the decision, sure, but it is clear that the Enterprise is deep in Talarian space, and this is no time for a fight.

And what else does the Federation do? It starts to meddle in the internal affairs of its neighbours.

Specifically, in Reunion, a Starfleet captain ensures that a Klingon who might ally the Empire with the Romulans is prevented from ascending to the Chancellorship. That candidate is literally killed by a starfleet officer - Worf. Where’s your Prime Directive now?

And so when at the midpoint of season 4, the flagship of the Federation delivers a Romulan spy back to her people (Data’s Day), can we say this great United Federation of Planets is anything more than a paper tiger?

Quickly the Federation makes peace with its bloodthirsty neighbours, the Cardassians. Even though some of their best captains know the Cardi’s are arming the boarder and are not to be trusted (The Wounded). But the Federation simply cannot afford war any longer.

And like the Burzon, and their worm hole, even cultures that know nothing of the vast civilisations in space tell Picard they want nothing to do with his Federation (First Contact).

That is the background, those are the stumbles Starfleet has suffered - on every boarder (Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Talarians), and even at the very heart of the Federation (Conspiracy, BOBW) in just the 3 years leading up to The Drumhead.

There is a great quote from Captain Sheridan in Babylon 5. He says:

"See, in the last few years, we've stumbled. We stumbled at the death of the President, the war, and on and on. And when you stumble a lot, you start looking at your feet. Well, we have to make people lift their eyes back to the horizon, and see the line of ancestors behind us, saying, 'Make my life have meaning.' And to our inheritors before us, saying, 'Create the world we will live in.' I mean, we're not just holding jobs and having dinners. We are in the process of building the future.”

By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation gets to Season 4’s Drumhead, the Federation has stumbled severely and repeatedly. That is the environment in which people like Admiral Satee thrive.

Witch hunt! Inquisition! Independent Counsel! Drumhead trial.
https://youtu.be/8Lu-qINOds8

Three years of stumbles leaves everyone in a very precarious position. All this has happened before. All this will happen again.

So say we all.
Peter G.
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -5)
@ Mal,

I find it dubious that you're comparing the Federation (a) being tested by Romulans, (b) being unable to compete against the Klingons in an alternate reality, (c) the presence of the odd asshole like Cdr Maddox, to the Federation losing at Wolf 359. This latter event is much more likely than anything else to explain Federation paranoia, but even then your S4 examples seem to be an example of preferring peace and justice over expedient warlike behavior; hardly questionable by their own standards. Sheridan in B5 was specifically referring to Earth turning to totalitarian fascism and assassination, and then screwing over all of their neighbors for their own power. That seems to be precisely the opposite of what you're suggesting the Federation here has done.

I kind of get that your general point is that a series of failures can make people like Satie scared, but I don't think you need to try to concoct an analysis of TNG where the Federation is failing repeatedly to explain why certain people in it might be paranoid: it's because some people *want a war* even in peace, and want a fight even when there's nothing to fight about. But even putting that aside, Q's main point in Q WHo was that the universe is a dangerous place; so yeah, simply existing is dangerous and could potentially stress out a paranoid person. You don't even need to cite specific stressors for this to be true, but if you wanted to then Wolf 359 would be enough by itself.
Rahul
Sat, Apr 4, 2020, 10:47am (UTC -5)
@Mal,

Entertaining read I must say -- but I think you are like 7-of-9 in "The Voyager Conspiracy". In some cases you've got some "interesting" interpretation of events to sew together your tale.

For example, regarding "Reunion" - Worf kills Duras in revenge for killing K'Ehleyr. He's acting very much on his own here, even if it does set in motion Gowron's ascent. This episode is not a PD issue. Picard never wanted to oblige K'Mpec in finding out who is killing the Klingon leader and who gets to be the one. Picard realized that is an internal Klingon affair, but he gets quasi-blackmailed into getting involved.

I do believe the Federation, through the lens of Picard's Enterprise, suffers some blows but I don't think it's quite as stark as you make it seem. Some of the episodes you mention "Measure of a Man" and "Suddenly Human" just to mention 2 -- I really don't believe they are meant to show a teetering Federation in the context of Alpha/Beta quadrant geopolitics.
Mal
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
@Rahul,

Go back an re-watch the closing minutes of “Reunion”

Picard does the standard dress down followed by, “yeah but” he has perfected over the years (e.g., in Legacy, after Riker goes out of his way to save Tasha’s sister, PICARD: That's an emotional response, Will. We can't afford it. RIKER: Understood, Captain. PICARD: Commander. Well done.).

Similarly in Reunion:

PICARD: I had hoped you would not throw away a promising career. I understand your loss, We all admired K'Ehleyr. A reprimand will appear on your record. Dismissed.

https://youtu.be/jQoMIg4WqP0

And then the “yeah but”

Picard immediately goes on without skipping a beat:

"Mister Worf, isn't it time for the truth about your father's innocence to be told? After all, you only accepted this dishonour to protect the name of Duras and hold the Empire together. Now that he has died in disgrace, what is gained by further silence?"

So let’s be clear, Picard knew exactly what he was doing. Bringing Worf into the mix when he was serving as arbiter of succession had clear purpose: to sow chaos and cause delay.


@Peter G., you me reminded of

https://youtu.be/O8FoZO_0qk0?t=140

Babylon 5 was so much clearer about the “why” of what was happening, whereas Star Trek was so much stronger on the procedure - the “how” - a procedure that often served only to obscure the true underlying causes.

About the only exception is “Ensign Ro” where of course we got to see exactly how Ro made it onto the Enterprise, and we get to know the Admiral who pulled the strings. We saw a little more of that in DS9, where Admiral Layton tries to bring Sisco to Earth, thinking Sisco would be “his guy” after seeing first-hand the threat the Dominion posed. And of course Admiral Quinn tries the same thing with Picard in “Coming of Age”, offering him the headship of Starfleet Academy in the run up to “Conspiracy”. But by and large these machinations were hidden in TNG. That doesn't mean they weren’t happening.

If TNG had been as blatant as Babylon 5, Commander Maddox would have been operating under protection of some high ranking Senator (TNG uses Admirals, where B5 used Senators, but same difference). Think of the negotiator in B5’s "By Any Means Necessary” - he had similar cover. But of course this being early TNG, Maddox was simply introduced by an Admiral of the week (who then disappeared), and then Maddox quoted “orders” for the rest of the hour.

By the time we got to “Offspring” in mid-season 3, TNG had matured a little (and maybe Starfleet command was a bit weary of having lost the last battle of wills to Picard in Measure of a Man), and so the relevant Admiral came out to get Data’s daughter himself -

I AM STARFLEET!
https://youtu.be/mbVKLfmCDxg?t=60

That’s the kind of machination that Admiral Saatie pulled in “Drumhead” by having Admiral Thomas Henry of Starfleet Security personally attend the hearing. That is almost Babylon 5 “Eyes” level politics. Almost.

@ Peter & @ Rahul,

Q is right. The universe is a dangerous place. And TNG tried to paint a thick veneer of normalcy over all of it. But underneath all the captain’s logs and holodeck adventures, you see with the Klingons, Romulans, Talarians and Cadassians - and the Maquis & Ro - not to mention the Borg, and whatever those bugs in “Conspiracy” were called, some chinks in that cool surface begin to peak through. “The Drumhead” was perhaps the place where that veneer pealed away just enough for us to actually see underneath as to what Starfleet really was all about during the TNG years. And no doubt that’s why Picard stayed in the Captain’s chair so long, keeping himself light-years away from Earth by putting off that coveted promotion to Admiral. Politics was just not his game.

Go back and re-watch TNG now, knowing what we now know. It is … fascinating :)
Peter G.
Tue, Apr 7, 2020, 10:47pm (UTC -5)
@ Mal,

I do agree with you on the one point that TNG was trying to paint over humanity's weaknesses as "solved", which does ring a bell from B5's 'ministry of peace' where they had solved all problems by 're-defining' them. I could see how, in the far future in a post-scarcity society, we might arrogantly paint the elimination of physical lack as having overcome our struggle with our own nature. That type of materialistic evaluation would not surprise me *at all*, especially if the ruling power was in the business of selling its own success as a PR move which the Federation does seem like it's in the business of doing. TOS was much more clear that for all its accomplishments the Federation was still in the business of competing with its neighbors and acting as a cold war power even in times of peace. To the extent that TOS was critical of this fact the show was therefore aware of how hard it will be to get away from one type of strife or another, more so than TNG was. Gene wanted TNG to be 'the next chapter' in Earth's advances but actually in some ways it plays out as a regression from TOS - little more accomplished, but also less aware of the reality. In TOS our weakness, which is very hard to face up to, was at the core of many episodes. So that in TNG when we get a Nora Satie she strikes us in the end as a loony, whereas in TOS terms I think it would be more like, yeah, that's what you expect when one person has a lot of power and no way to channel it productively, just like Captain Garth. The question is always what to do with war heroes in times of peace (a problem also with Captain Maxwell) and crusaders in times where a crusade is not needed (Satie). Do you just put them out to pasture? And more generally the question is about where these impulses come from, and can we do something with them prior to them causing a spirited person from imploding on their own energies. TNG seemed rather to simply view these people as nutty and try to pretend that it's just a blip in paradise. I tend more to see it as a sign that peace is difficult to achieve when people want drama and garbage fires (a la B5) and especially when even though material wealth is off the table there are other powers out there for those types of people to pursue. Eternal vigilance, and all that.
James G
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 4:01pm (UTC -5)
The third episode in a row that I hadn't seen before. I must have a think about what I was distracted by in the early '90s when these were shown on the BBC. Anyway - brilliant. Impossible to believe that the wise, thoughtful and determined Picard in this story is the same Picard I saw 24 hours earlier, swinging through a castle window in a Robin Hood costume to rescue Maid Marian.

Really a splendid moral message about prejudice, suspicion, paranoia, justice and ethics. Patrick Stewart is really in his element here.

Surprised to see Jean Simmons in this; her performance reminds me a bit of Judi Dench. Not completely natural early on but by the time she's losing it at the climax she's acting out of her skin. Bravo.

Loved it.
Robert H
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
This episode eerily captures the current political situation in the world, today in July 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement started as a quest for righteousness, but as time went on it morphed into a witchhunt, brutally sniffing out racism under every rock and greatly stirring up division. Even the race theme of this episode (the Romulan grandfather) mirror's today's ultraracial categories of "white supremacy" and that it is racist to say that "all lives matter". How sad that an episode like this could never be made today, tv producers would run a million miles from it, it cuts too close to the bone, it is not politically correct. Accusations are the order of the day - they are telling us we should accuse more, more, MORE, not less! J'Accuse!!

It is a stark and sober revelation that our society was stronger and more advanced thirty years ago than today. We could tackle these issues squarely then my friends, but we cannot today.
Robert H
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 4:15pm (UTC -5)
Thinking about it some more, there is another powerful similarity between this episode and political events now in July 2020. In the final scene, Picard quotes a noble statement from Satie's father, which infuriates her and causes her to melt down. This is much like the radical leftists today, who, when confronted with the words of their noble spiritual father Martin Luther King, that one should "judge a man not by the colour of his skin but by the content of his character", also have a melt down, in a similar way to Satie.
Nolan
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
Mmmmeeeeerrr....

This episode could, and also has, been seen from the opposite side as well.

I think a lot of the black/all lives matter issues could be dealt with if they simply amended a "too" on the end. Black Lives Matter Too. Now, I've come to see the "too" as implied, that the movement was never saying one life matter MORE... just that those lives are the subject of the debate that is wanting to be discussed.

But I think it's also wordier and wasn't put in to be snappier and more eye-catching. More of a branding issue than a ideological one. Now that the movement has gained prominance, perhaps it would be better to add the implied "too" back in, making it explicit to better foster more constructive discourse. It would allow those with issues against BLM to feel more heard, and remind supporters of the ultimate goal of the movement: equality in racial power dynamics.
James White
Fri, Jul 24, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Robert H - you get it.
Glen Bradley
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Wow, if Captain Picard’s soliloquy to close this episode doesn’t speak to cancel culture then I don’t know what.

This episode could have been written today and been even more relevant than when it first aired.

This one truly stands the test of time, the mark of high art.
Focksbot
Mon, Aug 10, 2020, 7:38pm (UTC -5)
@RobertH "This is much like the radical leftists today, who, when confronted with the words of their noble spiritual father Martin Luther King ..."

This is a scenario that takes place entirely in your imagination. The more uncomfortable reality for people claiming to be 'moderate' in their politics today is that they would have hated Martin Luther King as much as they hate 'radical leftists' if they'd been around in his time. King was seen as a dangerous extremist - so much so that he was assassinated.

This lesson is repeated all over history - mainstream thinking only accepts that political activism was necessary once a battle has been won.

And Picard is far too intelligent a character to equate collective, non-violent action by powerless groups with acts of persecution by those in power. It's a fundamental plank of this episode that Satie is a figure of authority with a formidable reputation, while Tarses is a lowly crewman. Star Trek repeatedly and rightly leans more to the side of people trying to bring eminent figures to justice for past crimes.

Heck, Picard even 'cancels' Wesley and his fellow cadets.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:09am (UTC -5)
Well-said Fockspot. Always a hoot when people invoke MLK to shame current-day activism.

And forgive me for potentially pushing this thread into a full political debate but I just have to push back on Robert H's lament that it can be considered racist to claim "all lives matter." This is true, but context is needed.

Let's say there's ten people sitting down at a table for dinner. Everyone is served food except for Bob. Bob says "Hey I didn't get any food. Bob needs food!" The other guests look up from their meal and say "everyone needs food" and then continue eating. Now it's true that everyone needs food, but that wasn't the issue being raised, was it? It's that Bob still doesn't have any food!

So when people hear "black lives matter" and respond with "all lives matter" they're sidestepping the issue in a transparently disingenuous way. Of course all lives matter; that's why it's so messed up that black people need to point out that theirs do too! Nobody ever said "only black lives matter". It's not a call for black supremacy, and you damn well know that. The slogan is in response to structural racism in society that regularly demeans, disadvantages and even murders people of color. To ignore this and claim "well ALL lives matter" is an attempt to obfuscate, nothing more. See also: the response to the Colin Kapernick protests.

I don't think it's true that The Drumhead couldn't be made today; why not? It has more parallels to MCarthyism than "cancel culture", and it's worth noting that many of the loudest voices that speak out against cancel culture do so from massive public platforms in prestigious publications. Some of these people even had a hand in pushing the United States to the fraudulent invasion of Iraq and they still have gigs as high-tier opinion columnists and talking heads on major news networks. These people are somehow never cancelled, and they have a lot more in common with Satie's character than any unruly Twitter mob.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 2:22am (UTC -5)
The problem is that the republican party because of strategic decisions during the last 20 years cannot win federal elections anymore. They willfully antagonized right wing Latinos, conservative blacks and a majority of women. Without the electoral college the republican party would have won only one presidential election since 1992, the one in 2004 and that was mostly because of a war bonus. So what do you do if you cannot win? You become more extreme, so that at least anybody of your dwindling base votes for you. You create boogeyman after boogeyman which they did with MLK back then. Black Lives Matter is marxist, a leftist murderolution is imminent, blacks out of the suburbs, the democratic party is super leftist(which to Europeans is laughable, in Europe the Democrats would be a centrist party, Bernie Sanders would be center left/social democrat). The only group where Trump still has a majority are white men without a college education. Problem with going extreme is a) that it is hard to achieve compromise after that and b) that normal conservatives are really not that extreme, so sooner or later the riled up electorate wants the real deal and that was Trump, kind of. Plus cancel culture was always a thing but in the US, especially in the south, it came mostly from the right. Try to open an abortion clinic in Alabama or make jokes about Jesus in certain parts of Texas or hold hands as a gay couple in rural Kentucky and if you are unlucky your life will be cancelled.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:35am (UTC -5)
@Nolan
"This episode could, and also has, been seen from the opposite side as well."

True. Indeed, it was originally inspired by McCarthyism. So?

How does this invalidate Robert's comment? Two wrongs do not make a right, you know. And he is factually right: for a long time now, BLM is neither about diversity or equality. They are full of hate and paranoia, quite violent, and (the irony of ironies) extremely racist.

The worst part is: Nearly nobody has the guts to say this. Anybody daring to say this bit of common sense, is shunned as a "racist" and probably fired from their jobs.

@Focksbot
"Picard is far too intelligent a character to equate collective, non-violent action by powerless groups with acts of persecution by those in power."

Picard is also far too intelligent to equate riots, taking cities hostage, beating up people, destroying public property, spreading hateful propaganda, and firing people for random remarks (many of which aren't even racist) with "non-violent actions".

Let me tell you something:

As a person who always took equal rights as a basic axiom of life (even when the idea wasn't popular) and as a member of a minority myself, I'm scared to death by what these "peaceful powerless groups" (as you call them) are doing.

What scares me even more, is how easy it is for these guys to rally people who are otherwise good and intelligent. Seriously, how could anybody who always cherished TNG's message of diversity and tolerance, defend these crazies? What's the matter with you, people? Have you no sense of decency?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 5:27am (UTC -5)
@Sen-Sors
"It's not a call for black supremacy, and you damn well know that. "

it's not a call for equality, either.

See, I don't judge this group by their three-world slogan. I judge them by their actions, their published views, and their demands. It is their behavior that makes their stance clear:

They want a free reign to do whatever they please, even if it is criminal. They want their needs to be treated as sacred, yet they show zero consideration for the needs of other groups. They actively campaign for a view where being hateful against whites is not racism since "whites are the majority".

In short:

While interpreting "Black Lives Matter" as "Black Lives Matter Too" is a perfectly reasonable interpretation, it doesn't jive with the way BLM themselves are behaving. They clearly don't believe the "too" part. So those who say "All Lives Matter" aren't missing the point at all. On the contrary: They are getting straight to the heart of the matter (which is doubly important in a society that's doing everything it can to cloud even the simplest truths).

Also, to those who want to equate these guys with MLK, here is a short reminder of what MLK was all about:

"There is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."

And also this:
"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' "

That's MLK.

Maybe If more people - of all races - took MLK's words to heart, America wouldn't be in this terrific mess it's currently in.

(I just read MLK's entire speech. That's some great Trek worthy material, right there)
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 5:34am (UTC -5)
"The problem is that the republican party because of strategic decisions during the last 20 years cannot win federal elections anymore."

Well not to be overly factual but they actually have won quite a few Federal elections in the past 20 years. Yes, under fictional rules not in force they would have lost. But then I doubt either the mainstream political parties or the voters would be behaving the same way under different rules, would they? Kind of a cockamamie point.

And correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Trump also carried a majority (or at least a plurality) of white women?
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 5:45am (UTC -5)
Regarding BLM I remember a few years back the police used to march in the Toronto Pride parade. Then the local BLM chapter blockaded it and refused to allow it to proceed until it agreed to a list of demands, including expelling the police and a bunch of other nutty stuff. The craven heads of local Pride surrendered, kissed BLM's boots and still ended up resigning in shame as I recall.

Anyway, the head of the local chapter who orchestrated this was interviewed several times and suffice it to say the woman is certifiable. Absolutely batshit bonkers. Chairman Mao and Jo Stalin would tell this woman to take a chill pill. Fanatic doesn't do her justice.

Not sure if she is representative of the other chapters but damn - let me say that just because a group has a good point doesn't mean they deserve support if the rest of their agenda is insane.

You can smell crazy on BLM.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 5:58am (UTC -5)
@Jason

I gotta admit that I've never even heard of them until 2-3 months ago. I'm not American, but still...

It's positively scary, how they've transformed from a relatively unknown organization to an unstoppable force that managed to get the entire nation to their knees (literally as well as figuratively). And it's even scarier that so many people think this is a good thing, and can't see the obvious truth even when it stares them in the face.

Where's Martin Luther King when you need him?
Sen-Sors
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 6:28am (UTC -5)
"It's not a call for equality, either."

It absolutely is. It's "black lives matter", not "black lives matter more".

Look, if you guys wanna sit here and pretend that the main priority of a theoretically-still-alive MLK JR would be the protection of private property, then you go ahead. I would recommend you read the "Other America" speech for his take on riots and "Letters From A Birmingham Jail" for his views on the white moderate but mostly I think it would be good if you stopped using the man as a political cudgel.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 6:35am (UTC -5)
My point about McCarthyism and The Drumhead invalidates Robert's point because The Drumhead is about figures with authority punching down in McCarthyist fashion, not the frenzied proles overwhelming society via tweets.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -5)
@Sen-sor I don't particularly care what BLM's apologists say about their supposed real goals in some sanitized forum. Their actions are all I care about.

And I agree it's useless to speculate what someone like MLK would think - he's irrelevent. You may as well speculate what Jesus would want. And frankly he's on the precipice of cancellation anyway with these fanatics so I doubt most of them would even care what he thinks even if he were still around.

Bottom line while BLM's original raison d'etre might have been stopping police violence against innocent black people the train derailed almost immediately and is headed off a cliff. Now it's finding a racist under every rock and a crusade to root out "systemic racism" which is just code for non stop witch hunt.

Seriously, these guys are unhinged. You wonder where a group like ISIL comes from? Give BLM and its fellow travellers guns and I guarantee you'll find out.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 7:16am (UTC -5)
Every country in the world, apart from the USA, that is considered democratic counts only the votes and the party with the most votes chooses the government, certainly in every majority and basically always in a plurality system (the US is a plurality system). In proportional systems it can be different. Two smaller parties more often form a coalition, so there having the most votes does not automatically mean choosing the government.
Is that really that contentious, that the side with more votes from the actual people should choose the government?

"But then I doubt either the mainstream political parties or the voters would be behaving the same way under different rules, would they?"
Surely. In western democracies federal election normally draw between 70-80% in the USA it is around 50%. So there are quite a few problems with the US system.

"And correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Trump also carried a majority (or at least a plurality) of white women?"
Yes, a plurality because of the low turnout in federal elections the last president that probably came close to an actual majority of the population was William Mckinley.

And to the point about women. Yes, Trump in 2016 had a majority in whites in every demographic. Actually the Republicans always won the whites (they sometimes lost college educated or white women vote) since that was researched specifically in 1976 (Bill Clinton came close once). I was talking about current polling. That is what I meant with the strategic problem of the republican party. They are the party of whites. The democrats still get around 40% of the white vote and often 70-80 % or more of all the other demographics.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 7:25am (UTC -5)
@Booming no disagreement that the Republican party has a demographic problem. Not convinced, mind you, that this means the Democrats will win forever - more likely the Republican Party will just reinvent itself. That was my point about how if the rules changed obviously so would the political parties and the voters.

"Every country in the world, apart from the USA, that is considered democratic counts only the votes and the party with the most votes chooses the government, certainly in every majority and basically always in a plurality system (the US is a plurality system)."

Not sure precisely what you mean by this but here in Canada most so-called "majority" governments receive fewer than half of the votes. I think it's usually around 40% sometimes less. But then we have more than two parties.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 8:00am (UTC -5)
@Jason
Good point. I like to mention that Canada is a plurality system, not a majoritarian system. The current government is an oddity. A minority government. These are fairly rare even in proportional systems because of their instability. They don't last that long. A plurality system normally creates a two party system or at least strongly favors it like in the USA. Why the Canadian system looks like that I don't know (apart from the Quebec party, that is the classic regional party).

"no disagreement that the Republican party has a demographic problem. Not convinced, mind you, that this means the Democrats will win forever - more likely the Republican Party will just reinvent itself."
Yeah the republican establishment or now former republican establishment tried that several times, I think. The reps probably have to lose at least two or three federal elections before that can happen because of all the Trumpians. But I agree sooner or later a calmed down republican or a new conservative party(could be that the republicans have now become too toxic) will try a more reasonable approach.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 8:08am (UTC -5)
@Sen-Sors

Just for the record:

I'm all for stopping police violence.

I'm also all for fighting racism, which (contrary to what many people claim) is still a serious problem in both the USA and elsewhere.

Neither statement has anything to do with supporting the current craziness that's going on, allegedly in the name of these worthy goals.

I do *not* support vandals, hooligans or bullies of any kind.

I do *not* support control freaks who terrorize innocent people until they get what they want, and then pretend they are just "politely asking for understanding".

I do *not* support calls for censorship and threats of retribution against anyone who refuses to comply.

I do *not* support the organized spread of hate propaganda.

I do *not* support people who accusing every person who says something they don't like of racism.

I do *not* support the notion that people who speak up about this madness should be terrorized, ridiculed, threatened or silenced.

And I most certainly do not support the current trend of letting such horrible actions slide, and the various rhetoric tactics that people use to try and trivialize the extent and the seriousness of this problem.

Hopefully, I've made myself clear.
Yanks
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Politics... good episode to talk some politics/rights I guess.

The Democrats are Socialists wanting to be Communists. Most of the Republicans aren't that.

BLM was created on a lie (Ferguson) and is a Marxist organization. George Floyd was high as a kite when arrested and resisted arrest. I'd lay odds that the drugs killed him. The factual numbers concerning police brutality against blacks do not justify the protests. "The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably" ... ANTIFA/BLM and the leftists are the fascists of today. Everything they are doing now was done by the Nazi's in the 30's.

Trump wins in November because Biden doesn't know what state he's in.

I don't need to justify anything to condemn these thugs and the Democratic leaders that enable them.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -5)
"BLM was created on a lie (Ferguson) and is a Marxist organization."

My memory of the before (COVID) times is hazy but I could have sworn BLM came out of the Michael Brown case.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:21am (UTC -5)
Uggh disregard - I read "Floyd" in place of "Ferguson".
Jonathan Swift
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Amen, brothers.

An episode named after one of the British Empire's practices, and about old Federation establishment figures falling prey to bigotry and suspecting a Klington and a quarter-blood Romulan of terrorism, in a franchise started by a guy whose wife literally said he was a communist and partial to Chinese-style Maoism (https://mix979fm.com/ten-things-you-didnt-know-star-trek-creator-gene-roddenberry/), is totally about our current historical moment, where innocent whites are persecuted by the powerful Black Lives Matters Hegemon, which uses its tremendous military might and political strength to destroy the lives of innocent whites who are accused of no crime greater than wrong-thought.

Judging from the reliable sources where I get my news (objective news, free from data mining, and the social media brainwashing algorithms employed by radical left corporations), it is clear to me that we are on a slippery slope toward the criminalization of free thinkers - perhaps even the white race itself - if we don't trod too carefully.

Indeed, though many today are preoccupied with issues like coronavirus (which statistically primarily affects white workers), it is clear that 2020's key issue is cancel culture, and how it is employed - genocidally employed, some might say - by powerful black leaders to silence innocent whites. And so we must be vigilant. We must be vigilant and keep our eyes peeled for the blacks, commies and powerful radicals. For as Martin Niemöller said decades ago: "first they came for the whites, and I did not speak. And then they came for more whites, and again I didn't speak. Because they didn't let me speak...because of cancel culture."

Make no mistake. We have given these devilish BLM-types all they have asked for. Despite their inherent racism (only a fool would read "Black Lives Matter" as anything but a racist slogan), and despite the fact that society is fairer now than its ever been, we have bent to their will and en-acted countless political policies and structural changes which have dramatically changed society. And yet they continue to persecute the innocent white man, who wants nothing more than to live in peace without fear of slander or violence.

And it is not a rational violence, of the type we see and celebrate when practiced by our protesting white brothers in the streets today in France, or Lebanon or Beijing, or Belarus. No, it is an irrational, disorganized violence. The unthinking violence of the jungle. Of the animal.

I know MLK sympathized with rioters and called violence the language of the unheard, and said “Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man.”

But were he alive today, MLK would be aghast at what civil rights discourse has become. Roddenberry himself would no doubt insert a BLM alien into Trek, for he would recognize that there is no greater threat to the Federation than a black man taking the knee.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Well finally somebody called BLM Nazis. That really shows were the right in the US exists. I always think of that BBC interview with Shapiro-Neil.
The only question I have: Is that still brain damage?
Peter G.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:08pm (UTC -5)
@ Jonathan Swift,

Funny enough I was just reading about Jonathan Swift the other day, and your post reads like Gulliver's Travels (i.e. a lampoon). But even more funny, around half of your post can read clearly as a lampoon of what you're saying, while the other half sounds like a bona fide statement that people would actually made unironically. Maybe you're just taking the piss out of reality itself, or in the words of John Carpenter - "THIS IS NOT REALITY!"
Focksbot
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:21pm (UTC -5)
@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi "What scares me even more, is how easy it is for these guys to rally people who are otherwise good and intelligent. Seriously, how could anybody who always cherished TNG's message of diversity and tolerance, defend these crazies? What's the matter with you, people? Have you no sense of decency?"

The scariest thing here is that this paragraph isn't intended as a joke. You have, I'm sorry to say, an extremely twisted idea of what diversity and tolerance means if your issue is with 'crazies'.

I have a sense of decency. That sense is deeply offended by the way power is hoarded and used to crush the aspirations - and the lives - of minority groups (and, in a way, of all of us who're not rich). I am not remotely surprised that they choose to fight against that power, in ways that demand bystanders pay attention.

Star Trek repeatedly tells stories of oppressed groups using much more extreme methods against their oppressors than are presently being used by BLM protestors. In every case, it promotes some degree of sympathy to their cause, even if it questions their methods. DS9's Major Kira is directly responsible for the deaths of Cardassian civilians, women and children. Nobody here is saying, "Yeah! Right on! We love the destruction of property and the disruption of civil order!" But we sympathise with the position of those who have been left with no other way to assert their right to equal treatment. We *hope* that we can all work together to initiate the kind of deep institutional changes that will do away with the impetus for rioting.

Those of us who actually pay attention to history know how this plays out - the groups demanding change have to make an almighty fuss to get even a slither of a concession. That concession eventually becomes widely accepted as 'normal', and people forget that it took huge amounts of energy and disruption to win that battle.

@JasonR "You can smell crazy on BLM."

I smell more crazy on you, tbh, particularly when you come out with screaming nonsense like "frankly [Jesus is] on the precipice of cancellation anyway with these fanatics".

Get a grip, for goodness' sake.

"And I agree it's useless to speculate what someone like MLK would think - he's irrelevent. You may as well speculate what Jesus would want."

You were the one who brought up MLK as a way to own an imagninary liberal. Now you want to put him away again, I suspect because you didn't realise that he was on record as sympathising with rioters.

Guys, we've had this conversation. We had it when it was the Suffragettes fighting for women's rights. We've had it when it was the Chartists fighting for universal suffrage. We had it around the time of the Stonewall riots, and the civil rights movement, and on many other occasions. We know what happens. You lot all stand there shaking your fists, and saying "They've gone too far this time". People are injured, people are criminalised - often wrongly. There is mayhem. And then, eventually, a little bit of progress is made.

If only our leaders could learn to lead from the front, and march us toward equality, then we might at some point be able to avoid the need for the period of rage.
Focksbot
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:24pm (UTC -5)
@PeterG "Funny enough I was just reading about Jonathan Swift the other day, and your post reads like Gulliver's Travels (i.e. a lampoon)."

Pretty sure that's the idea. ;-)
William B
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
@Peter, I was thinking something very similar.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:38pm (UTC -5)
And about systemic racism. Just one example. Every country does it's own kind of this study. In the US if you sent a CV (or whatever you mail in to get a job interview) with a white mans name and picture to a bunch of employers and then the same CV with a black mans name and picture the chance to be invited for a job interview is twice as high for the white man. That study was from 2006, I think. In Germany we do this with german and muslim names. It is one of those easy to do studies to show racism.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
"I smell more crazy on you, tbh, particularly when you come out with screaming nonsense like "frankly [Jesus is] on the precipice of cancellation anyway with these fanatics".

Get a grip, for goodness' sake."

I said MLK not Jesus. And I'm calling it as about a 50/50 chance in the next 5-10 years. Laugh all you want - MLK has some serious skeletons in his closet. Guaranteed his status is going to at least be revisited.

"You were the one who brought up MLK as a way to own an imagninary liberal. Now you want to put him away again, I suspect because you didn't realise that he was on record as sympathising with rioters."

No I wasn't. You confused me with another poster.

"Guys, we've had this conversation. We had it when it was the Suffragettes fighting for women's rights. We've had it when it was the Chartists fighting for universal suffrage. We had it around the time of the Stonewall riots, and the civil rights movement, and on many other occasions. We know what happens. You lot all stand there shaking your fists, and saying "They've gone too far this time". People are injured, people are criminalised - often wrongly. There is mayhem. And then, eventually, a little bit of progress is made."

It could come out that way for sure. I'm not a prophet.

But yeah, BLM are certifiable from what I have observed. They're the ideological equivalent of a pandemic flu waiting for the right moment to go global. Probably won't happen (it rarely does) but with the right environment, say if Trump wins again and if a strong leader comes up through the ranks...

Anyway, if you call yourself a liberal you're a fool to support these guys.
Jonathan Swift
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 12:54pm (UTC -5)
James said: "Regarding BLM I remember a few years back the police used to march in the Toronto Pride parade. Then the local BLM chapter blockaded it and refused to allow it to proceed until it agreed to a list of demands, including expelling the police and a bunch of other nutty stuff. The craven heads of local Pride surrendered, kissed BLM's boots and still ended up resigning in shame as I recall."

Amen brother. Black Lives Matter Toronto unleashed a horrendously unacceptable 25 minute sit-in (almost a full, arduous 30 minutes!), which thankfully the reputable news networks covered fairly and were careful not to sensationalize.

Those monstrous BLMers felt that People of Color within the gay community were not being represented. They felt that that police officers joining the parades in plainclothes, costumes or policing from the sidelines was absolutely okay, but not big police floats, police cruisers and not uniformed officers in the marches themselves. They felt this, they said, because Pride is about inclusivity and community, yet many older LGBT members, because of violent attacks in the past by more homophobic police forces, continue to feel actively threatened / worried when they see an officer. On behalf of those people, BLM unfairly wished that on this one special day a year, a safe, welcoming environment could be created.

BLM Toronto also issued 8 other outrageous, monomaniacal demands. These asked for more inclusive hiring of black transgender people, indigenous Native Indian folks and other vulnerable communities, as well as community support, increased space and more funding for Pride events run by LGBT communities. These are devilish, civilization-toppling demands that should rightfully be shot down by any sensible-thinking person.

Unfortunately Toronto Pride caved in to these satanic demands, and the following year held a democratic vote on these demands and agreed to uphold them! Ghastly! What a perversion of the electoral system!

The Toronto Police - unsurprisingly headed by a black chief - even agreed to these demands himself. Making a choice evocative of that tyrant Jean Luc Picard, he kowtowed to these terrorist demands, explicitly citing his belief that withdrawing from the Parade and giving things a year or two to breathe, would help faster foster better relations between the police and minorities, would demonstrate a more positive relationship between the gay and black community and the police, and would bring the groups together in the near future. Like that idiot Picard, this chief believed he was taking a humble, long view, when in actuality he was demonstrating weakness and softness before the petulant horde.

I know some say the founder of Pride, Gary Kinsman, famously said that in this incident, “The Black Lives Matter contingent carried with it the spirit of Stonewall and the activist roots of Pride,” but he is clearly an idiot.

Others will claim that black protest has historically always been unfairly viewed as antagonistic, angry, hostile and anti-institutional. That when black people assert either rights or wishes, these simple requests quickly become deemed an inconvenient and militant attack by "uppity", "whiny", "complainers". But these are different times. People of all races and backgrounds will surely, rightfully, come to the conclusion that only a mentally deranged black homosexual would feel ill at ease when in a Pride March alongside rolling police cars and loomed over by big police floats. And why would should we take policy demands from the mentally deranged?
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 1:08pm (UTC -5)
Hear, hear MR. Swift!
If we are not careful then we will all end up in black Auschwitz!
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
@Jonathan Swift

Sure, the founder of the Toronto chapter is on record as stating:

"White people are recessive genetic defects. This is factual.

White ppl need white supremacy as a mechanism to protect their survival as a people because all they can do is produce themselves. Black ppl simply through their dominant Gene's can literally wipe out the white race if we have the power to..."

But yes, you got me, she hasn't committed mass murder, genocide or any other crimes against humanity to date that I know of.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 1:17pm (UTC -5)
Just as an aside to those who don't know, Toronto is the 4th largest City in NA, bigger than Chicago. It's black population is just shy of 500,000. And the co-founder of the local BLM chapter is a brazen black supremacist whose views on race are basically inverse Nazi.

I seriously wasn't exaggerating with you guys when I said she was batshit crazy.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 2:26pm (UTC -5)
Interesting.

Guy comes from nowhere and does nothing but ridicules the fans of Classic Trek. Booming's reaction: "He's an obvious fake. Gotta be a shill, not worthy of our time to respond to. Next!"

Guy comes from nowhere and does nothing but ridicule people who are concerned by the current dangerous trends (without providing the tiniest reasoning for why this ridicule is justified). Booming's reaction: "Good one, sir! You've really shown them! Be careful not to find yourself in Black Auschwitz!"

Apparently, people who come here for the sole purpose of furthering an agenda is cool, as long as it's an agenda you agree with...

Also, it is clear that some people are so blinded by political rivalry, that they are genuinely unable to see the disaster that is brewing right under their noses.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 2:39pm (UTC -5)
I looked it up. Wikipedia says that there 240.000 black people in Toronto and why is that relevant? Do you think they will follow that black lady to commit genocide? There are actually more Chinese in Toronto than black people. IOnly 3.5% of Canada's population is black. How many white people were killed by black racists during the last five years in Canada?

And is she a leader of some sort? I could not find any official position that she has. Apart from founding that chapter she seems to be just one person.

I also want to clear some things up. The actual Nazis didn't hide that they were racist. You didn't need to dig up year old posts Hitler wrote on a message board at a Bavarian beer hall. He stated that clearly and often. The Nazi Party had clearly racist policy goals.

Is there any racist policy goal of Black lives matter as an organization?
From their guiding principles:"We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people."

Another is:"We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities." or"We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another."

That really does not sound like Nazis.
Peter G.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 2:50pm (UTC -5)
@ Jonathan Swift,

Aw, come on man, you're losing your ambiguous edge with that last post. It came across as clearly incendiary and sarcastic, losing the charm and incongruity of your first, more interesting post. If I don't have to scratch my head figuring out what you're saying then what's the point?
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Omicron am I that fascinating to you?
Everything you accuse others of you do five times more often and worse.

I just try to ignore you at his point.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
"And is she a leader of some sort?"

She's the leader of Black Lives Matter's Toronto chapter. Toronto being a major City and not a backwater.

She was front and centre and widely interviewed at the time BLM blockaded Pride. It was national news in Canada.

Walking this back a bit, the original question was why anyone would take issue with BLM. The answer (at least for me) was that their leadership, in my observation was batshit crazy.

Anything further?
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 3:24pm (UTC -5)
Booming just as an aside the population figure I mentioned was regarding the greater Toronto area. 442k total.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 3:33pm (UTC -5)
@Booming

The only reason I mentioned you by name, is that you were the only person who responded to two obvious shills in two completely different ways.

It was nothing personal, and I'm not targeting you specifically. If you weren't so amazingly self-centered, you would have realized that.

@Yanks
"The factual numbers concerning police brutality against blacks do not justify the protests."

I'm curious... What numbers would justify these so-called "protests" in your view? What numbers would justify taking entire counties hostage, bullying innocents and terrorizing an entire nation?

On the other hand:

Even a single incident like the case of George Floyd is one incident too many.

And it's not a single incident. I remember similar events happening in the past years. The cops were often never charged, and nobody really cared about it or done anything about it.

So if these "protesters" had taken this incident as a trigger to start a genuine fight against police burtality, or against racism, or for a better just world, I would have supported them completely.

The problem is that this isn't what happened. What happened is that a bunch of militant groups decided to cynically use the Floyd incident to further their own agendas.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
@Jason R.

You should be aware that BLM in general is not as crazy as this woman.

They have many problems, but "being outright Nazis" is not one of them. Maybe the Toronto branch is an exception. I don't know. But in general, they are not *that* extreme.

The problem is that right now they are goaded by far more radical groups, which *are* pretty close to being fascists.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
I don't think that she is the leader and in what way does BLM even have leaders?

"Anything further?"
What do you think about their guiding principles? Do you think that a significant part of BLM is planning white genocide or something else secretly in contrast to their stated principles?

To quote from congressman Steve King:"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" That's from 2019.
Does that bother you? Do you think that the republicans are crazy?
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 3:57pm (UTC -5)
@ Jason
It is still only 7% of the population of that area. Why mention that number?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:12pm (UTC -5)
There's no need for exposing any conspiratory "secret plans", when their open actions speak for themselves.

Are you claiming that all the bad things I've mentioned don't actually happen? Or that BLM doesn't support doing them? I don't particularly care about their official manifesto or any of their supposed "hidden agendas". I care about what they actually do, what kind of action they advocate, and what kind of people they regard as their enemy.

And nice job trying to change the subject to the crazies on the other side. Yes, there are also republicans who are crazy bigots. Nobody is claiming otherwise. And we *do* remember that "The Drumhead" was originally inspired by McCarthyism, which was a conservative thing.

So? How is that relevant to the issue at hand? Is there a rule that I'm not aware of, which states that only one side of the political spectrum can do evil?
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
"It is still only 7% of the population of that area. Why mention that number?"

I thought it was relevant in establishing that this wasn't a backwater but a significant BLM outpost.
Booming
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:16pm (UTC -5)
I see and what about BLM's guiding principles?
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 4:52pm (UTC -5)
I've already answered that.

Oh, I forgot... You're "ignoring" me, aren't you? Not sure who you are punishing here, with your refusal to address actual counter-arguments on personal grounds, but whatever rocks your boat.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 5:43pm (UTC -5)
"I see and what about BLM's guiding principles?"

What about them? Most organizations from the Republican Party to the Chinese Communist Party to BLM have great sounding principles on paper.

I am sure BLM has some good people and good policies it pursues like any organization.
Sen-Sors
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
I'm just gonna ignore the vile crap about Ferguson being "a lie"(???) and the insinuation that George Floyd's sobriety or lack thereof justified a cop taking a knee on his throat until he died. And throwing out the term "thugs" like that's not a known racial dogwhistle. Some of you need some serious introspection, to put it mildly.

The vast majority of BLM protests were (and still are) peaceful, unless you're getting your news from Fox, who have taken to photoshopping scary men with guns into their coverage of protestors.

Since you guys seem really concerned about extremists, I wonder if you have any concern over the Department of Homeland Security agents in full camo whisking people off the streets into unmarked vans? Doing so without identifying themselves, without informing people why they're being arrested, holding them indefinitely without legal recourse? All done in the service of bolstering the re-election of a man who has failed to condemn Nazis even when they kill? I mean, you guys seem really concerned about Nazis; doesn't that sound a little jackboot-y to you? Maybe even more of a problem than broken windows and tagged buildings? Maybe?

OTDP, you made yourself quite clear. You cherry-pick incidents of violence and the most fringe sentiments of one of the largest protest movements in American history while ignoring the underlying causes of that movement, as well as the grossly disproportionate violence of the government response. All while claiming the mantle of anti-racism for yourself. Nice!

Anyway, you guys carry on with your reactionary laments, they are as ridiculous as the idea of citing The Drumhead to claim victimhood from cancel culture.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
"Anyway, you guys carry on with your reactionary laments, they are as ridiculous as the idea of citing The Drumhead to claim victimhood from cancel culture."

Fair enough comrade. Let us know in 5 years what you and your BLM friends have achieved. I look forward to a progress report. That'll be the best revenge for us reactionaries. We won't win but I'm betting you will lose.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Aug 11, 2020, 7:56pm (UTC -5)
@Sen-Sors

"...the insinuation that George Floyd's sobriety or lack thereof justified a cop taking a knee on his throat until he died"

I'm actually with you on this one.

"...And throwing out the term "thugs" like that's not a known racial dogwhistle."

What the heck are you talking about?

Just to be certain, I've looked it up on urbandictionary.com. Nothing. IF the word "thug" can be used as a racial slur, it most certainly isn't a "known" one.

It is, however, a very common english word which can be found in any dictionary. The fact that you're ready to accuse people of being racist on such flimsy grounds is a perfect example of the phenomenon I've been talking about.

"The vast majority of BLM protests were (and still are) peaceful, unless you're getting your news from Fox, who have taken to photoshopping scary men with guns into their coverage of protestors."

I'm getting my news from a variety of sources, and make a true effort to get a balanced view.

And sure, many protests are peaceful. So? Does having 10 peaceful protests for every violent one, makes the violent protests okay?

I also wonder what you'd call "peaceful". Is the removal of statues who are public property "peaceful"? Is vandalism "peaceful" if nobody gets hurt directly? Is blocking entire sections of a city and turning it into an "autonomous zone" peaceful, if nobody is physically being harmed (even though thousands of local residents are effectively taken hostage)?

"Since you guys seem really concerned about extremists, I wonder if you have any concern over the Department of Homeland Security agents in full camo whisking people off the streets into unmarked vans? Doing so without identifying themselves, without informing people why they're being arrested, holding them indefinitely without legal recourse? All done in the service of bolstering the re-election of a man who has failed to condemn Nazis even when they kill?"

If any of that were true, then yes, it would bother me.

But since I've never heard about any of this, and since I've been open to a variety of news sources from all over the world, I'm having serious trouble believing what you just said.

I mean, it *sounds* like you've just accused Trump of sending secret agents to imprison people for the sole "crime" of politically opposing him. As much as I dislike the guy, I find that very hard to believe.

Then again, I'm always open to change my views and take new evidence into account. Do you have such evidence? Forgive me if I don't just take your own word for it.

"You cherry-pick incidents of violence and the most fringe sentiments of one of the largest protest movements in American history..."

I didn't cherry-pick anything. I may be honestly mistaken, but I haven't deliberately misrepresented the situation. Feel free to point out my errors. Just remember: You're going to do need actual sources to do so.

Especially if you want me to believe in people being arbitrarily arrested by agents in black vans... As one great scientist once said: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

"...while ignoring the underlying causes of that movement"

How can you say that I'm ignoring the underlying causes, when I've stated those causes right at the beginning of the comment you're replying to?

I've even stated that I would happily support an honest protest against police brutality and/or racism. Yet, you still made that very odd remark.

Do you realize that when you do this kind of thing, you're just proving my point?

"...grossly disproportionate violence of the government response"

Again, I must ask you for evidence.

What grossly disproportionate violence of the government you are referring to?

And speaking of "grossly disproportionate violence", what would you call the sacking of university professors over innocent remarks that were interpreted as "racist"? What would you call the ridiculous demands of censorship and the bullying of innocent bystanders?

What are all these things, if not "grossly disproportionate violence"?

Perhaps you think that just because it isn't the government that's doing the bullying, it's okay. Well, it isn't. Evil is evil, regardless of who is doing it.

"All while claiming the mantle of anti-racism for yourself."

What "mantle" exactly? Not being a bigot? That's just basic human decency.

Which means, by the way, that every time you falsely accuse someone of racism, you are stripping them of their humanity. Think about that, will you?

"Anyway, you guys carry on with your reactionary laments, they are as ridiculous as the idea of citing The Drumhead to claim victimhood from cancel culture."

Ah. Finally, we get back to discussing the actual episode. I was wondering when we'll reach that point.

So,

Tell me, *why* do you think it is ridiculous, to connect the themes of this TNG episode with cancel culture? Saying that stuff is "ridiculous" is easy. Backing that statement with an actual argument is a bit more challenging.
Sen-Sors
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 1:06am (UTC -5)
Oh man. Well, you did say you're not from America...

Here's a link to an NPR story detailing how unidentifiable federal agents are using unmarked vans to snatch people off the streets. https://www.npr.org/2020/07/17/892277592/federal-officers-use-unmarked-vehicles-to-grab-protesters-in-portland

Who is to stop any right-wing American militia (of which there are plenty) from renting a van and doing the same thing? How could you tell the difference?

Here's a link to the leaked government documents detailing how the DHS and Border Patrol are cooperating to carry out this "operation". https://www.thenation.com/article/society/border-patrol-portland-arrest/

The memo makes it clear that this is happening under the executive order of Trump in order to protect monuments and statues, which are apparently more important than upholding the rights of actual flesh-and-blood citizens. Many of the people released by these snatch-and-grabs are being forced to sign papers promising they won't attend another protest, the legality of which is dubious at best.

Here is a link to a story about a Portland protestor who was shot in the eye by a police rubber bullet. https://www.thedailybeast.com/portland-protester-shot-in-face-with-rubber-bullet

Here's a link to a story about a Utah woman who may get life in prison for buying red paint that was used in a protest. https://globalnews.ca/news/7257388/protester-paint-life-prison-black-lives-matter/

Does any of this concern you?

Look, I live in one of the cities cited in that DHS document. This summer I learned what tear gas feels like just walking home from work. My city is one where they took down a statue. The statue was a Union general who died fighting the Confederacy in the Civil War, not exactly a symbol of white supremacy. It wasn't a good look for the protests. In fact, it was dumb. And I don't agree with all the protest methods. But I can tell you this, because I saw it with my own eyes: the vast majority of BLM protestors were peaceful, they were local people who were out there washing out people's eyes after they were gassed, providing medical aid and actively discouraging people who were looting and starting fires.

Yes, riots are bad. No one disputes that. But as good ol' Dr. King said, "riots are the language of the unheard". It's what happens when people are pushed and pushed and pushed. To tut-tut rioters and ignore the circumstances that brought it about is willful ignorance. The police in this country require deep, systemic reform. I think it's very clarifying what people choose to focus on; do you spend your time griping about the protestors methods, or do you keep your focus on the underlying issues that caused the unrest? Is your support for a righteous protest movement withdrawn after mere broken windows and mean tweets? Are those worse injustices than all the intimidation, lying and murder that brought about the movement?

Also after the n-word fell out of style in public use the term "thug" is what replaced it. It's a thing in America.

Finally, I think it's ridiculous to connect this episode to cancel culture for reasons I've largely already explained: The Drumhead is about figures with authority punching down in McCarthyist fashion for personal gain, not the frenzied proles overwhelming society via tweets. Cancel culture is (at best) about ordinary people holding powerful people accountable. It can descend into mob action that turns out to be wrong or misguided, but what we see in this episode is not that. We see powerful authority figures attempting to persecute ordinary people for political gain with dubious accusations that prey on our fear of The Other.

Those who participate in "cancel culture" do not hold the status and reputation that Satie does in this episode, and this episode is not about whether or not someone's past words or actions are worthy of forgiveness vs being "cancelled". It's about baseless accusations of consorting with the enemy, based on fear and paranoia. That's McCarthyism, not cancel culture.
James
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 1:14am (UTC -5)
I don't really care about the vandalism of statues, nor would I call them violence. They're an unpleasant (for some) side-effect of a reaction against violence that has been occurring for many centuries. And they're a good thing, unless we want that violence to continue (and many do, whether consciously or not).

When people read about or see on the news around the world about statues being toppled, it brings awareness to the idolization of figures who haven't had the best interest of the masses at heart, contrary to what we've been taught. People start to question why. We need to start questioning everything we've been taught in school, because we were taught very badly. If that has to start with tearing down statues, then so be it. Call it vandalism if you like, but they're public property so it's the public who apparently has something to lose, and from my point of view we've been losing the whole time we idolize these historical figures.
Booming
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 2:03am (UTC -5)
I disagree. I think, for example statues, should be removed through a lawful protest, like in Virginia. Why any country would allow statues for traitors who literally tried to destroy the country they are standing in is mystifying. Talk about rewriting history.

Here is a nice nugget. Three officers were fired. One of them accidentally activated his body cam. I have read the entire police report (pdf in the text). Imagine how often this stuff happens when no camera is accidentally switched on.
https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/06/three-cops-fired-after-accidental-dashcam-activation-captures-racist-rants/
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 4:29am (UTC -5)
"Does any of this concern you?"

Does it concern you that the protests, peaceful or violent, seem to be accomplishing exactly 0 as far as reforming the police? We have been here before with Ferguson.

I am serious here - you and others talk about how toppling statues is some strike against "violence" but I see no rational connection here. Especially when we are rapidly losing the plot going after statues that don't even connect with the subject matter and sinking in the muck of social justice warrior sloganeering.

We seem to have two different things going on here. We have a legitimate problem of police brutality. And yes we have some riots and looting- which I get by the way - in response.

But I hear nothing resembling a solution being proposed by BLM et al. "Defund the police" is not a solution it's a slogan. At best it's some kind of rhetorical trick, like saying oh we will get rid of those nasty racist police and replace them with... something, or nothing? I have heard no credible ideas in this regard from BLM. They interviewed the nice black supremacist I mentioned earlier and her ideas for police reform was literally abolition of the police - I kid you not.

Meanwhile mixed into all this we have this radical left social justice witch hunt stuff which crowds out any reference to police brutality and takes over everything. So instead of talking about rational ways to reform policing we are into the swamp of "systemic" racism which is apparently like the Force or some mystical original sin that needs to be exorcised with statue toppling and Twitter mobbing random people who say the wrong thing.

I realize you think this sort of thing is trivial because it's "punching up" or whatever grievance studies lingo you choose to use, but do you not at least see how this loses the plot and provokes the opposite reaction needed?

I mean if you want to talk to me about reforming policing I will happily have that conversation. I agree 100% policing is broken on many levels. But that hasn't even been mentioned once, not once, on this thread. That is consistent with the overall narrative I have experienced.

And yeah "your silence is violence" - the poster I see all over my town? That doesn't sound like a rational call for dialogue to reform policing. That sounds like a threat.
Booming
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 5:39am (UTC -5)
I don't see silence is violence as a threat. In Germany that is not that an unusual statement because of the Holocaust where many Germans just were silent when their Jewish neighbors started to disappear. If you see serious injustice and do nothing about it then you are basically saying that you time is to valuable to do literally anything. You are not meant by this statement even though you are scared by this movement you obviously acknowledge the problem and push for reform at least in this public forum.

As I said. I'm against bringing down statues unlawfully. And to complete that. I also don't think people like Jefferson should have their statues toppled. Their deeds for their country outweigh certain sometimes serious personal flaws.

Here take an hour to watch this, or don't.
It explains systemic racism in the US.
And it was made by a German. :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Bd_H8Cyago
James
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 6:56am (UTC -5)
@Jason R "Does it concern you that the protests, peaceful or violent, seem to be accomplishing exactly 0 as far as reforming the police? "

Maybe that means the protests aren't violent enough. Here's something to think about: In Trek lore, it took the biggest, most devastating world war to change things for the better.

My problem is I don't envisage any kind of future built on the foundations we have now as a good future, or even a realistic one. At some stage there's going to have to be huge demolition going on of what isn't working (which is an awful lot), there's going to be a lot of resistance, and it's not going to be pretty. Star Trek in some ways agrees with that, with a World War 3 and a number of other revolutions. The warp drive doesn't come from a university scholar but from the ashes of a war, and I love that Cochrane, an outsider not a ivory tower scholar, even rejects the idea of a statue of him.

If people are willing to accept Jefferson and co idolized for the good they did despite their 'minor flaws' like owning slaves, isn't it hypocrisy to say that you're unwilling to accept any amount of violence that might put an end to a violent system?
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 7:15am (UTC -5)
"I don't see silence is violence as a threat. In Germany that is not that an unusual statement because of the Holocaust where many Germans just were silent when their Jewish neighbors started to disappear."

I went to parochial Jewish school where the holocaust was basically its own module in almost every class. We might have learned more holocaust than math (ok maybe that is an exaggeration...)

Yes we learned the parable of the man who failed to speak up when they came for x, then y etc... So I understand where the sentiment comes from that a person who fails to speak up is morally culpable on some level in evil deeds.

Yet I can recall not one lesson, not one instance, where a teacher told us that a German who did nothing to help Jews was committing "violence" on them.

Enough is enough with this Orwellian language butchering BS.

You want to know why it's a threat? Because if saying nothing is "violent" then that means by saying nothing I am literally *attacking* someone.

And what is the one universally accepted response to an attack? A counter-attack. Self-defence.

Forgive me for seeing the obvious threat behind that statement. It is a message that says you can't be a bystander, you are either on our side or you're our enemy and will get what is coming to you. It's basically Anakin's Sith logic in a social justice slogan. It's a barely veiled threat against any person who reads the poster and hasn't declared himself in agreement with whatever it is the poster wants.

And what exactly am I supposed to be in agreement with? We again get back to the 800 lbs gorilla in the room - what *policy* are these people actually pursuing? You say that taking down statues isn't a big deal and it's akin to mere "vandalism". Well it sure seems like it means something more than petty vandalism to them. If I break my "violent" silence and say "YES" what precisely am I saying yes to?

Please be exceedingly specific.
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 7:26am (UTC -5)
"Maybe that means the protests aren't violent enough. "

Bingo. I salute your honesty.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:21am (UTC -5)
@Sen-Sors

"Here's a link to an NPR story detailing how unidentifiable federal agents are using unmarked vans to snatch people off the streets. https://www.npr.org/2020/07/17/892277592/federal-officers-use-unmarked-vehicles-to-grab-protesters-in-portland"

How on earth did you get from that article to "the government is snatching people of the streets just to get trump re-elected"?

Also, Portland. Isn't that the place where the protesters tried to repeat the "autonomous zone" crap that happened in Seattle?

Don't remember the exact date, so I'm going to check...

Yup. Just as I thought. July 15. It's the exact same event. A very extreme, very ugly event.

So forgive my french, but what the **** does this example has to do with your claim?

I'm sorry, but your trustworthiness has just shot completely out the window.

"Who is to stop any right-wing American militia (of which there are plenty) from renting a van and doing the same thing? How could you tell the difference?"

Now that's just wild speculation, which makes absolutely no sense.

If members of a right-wing militia wanted to perform murders, they wouldn't go into the heart of a practical war zone in order to do so. They have far easier targets.

Alternatively, if they wanted simply to join into the mess and fight back, they wouldn't use unmarked vans. They would march in openly and start fighting (as - indeed - happened in other cities, later).

These arguments do get me to understand one thing, though: Why people like you are so scared of conservatives. You see "Killing Nazis" (your own words) everywhere.

"Here's a link to the leaked government documents detailing how the DHS and Border Patrol are cooperating to carry out this 'operation' "

Ah. Finally some actual undisputed facts.

"The memo makes it clear that this is happening under the executive order of Trump in order to protect monuments and statues, which are apparently more important than upholding the rights of actual flesh-and-blood citizens."

Please point to any call of violation of rights in these documents.

Because I can't find any. And I'm inviting everybody here to read them for themselves and make their own minds.

Seriously, this is the second time in a row that you've grossly distorted the truth in order to make it seem like the evil evil government is just looking to to bully some innocent victims.

"But as good ol' Dr. King said, 'riots are the language of the unheard'."

If that's so, why is this madness continuing?

Claiming that the voice of the protestors is "unheard" is laughable.

Not only it is heard, but the entire nation has gone completely bananas trying to appease them. And the more people bend over (sometimes even literally), the more violent the protestors become.

"To tut-tut rioters and ignore the circumstances that brought it about is willful ignorance."

You're mixing two completely unrelated issues here:

1. The police should be reformed and racism should be faught.
2. Criminal behavior should not be tolerated, doubly so when it goes on for months on end.

I'll also add that the kind of lies you've spread earlier are not helping. Spreading rumors of "political arrests by unmarked vans" and "official documents that call for the violation of civil rights" is just adding fuel to an already very hot fire.

Makes me wonder, what percentage of the protests are about this kind of nonexistent evils...
Omicron
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:32am (UTC -5)
@James
"When people read about or see on the news around the world about statues being toppled, it brings awareness to the idolization of figures who haven't had the best interest of the masses at heart, contrary to what we've been taught."

You mean like George Washington, the founder of the United States?

Or Ulysses Grant, who actually fought *against* the confederates in the civil war?

Sure. That's what the world needs to see.
Booming
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:34am (UTC -5)
"Yet I can recall not one lesson, not one instance, where a teacher told us that a German who did nothing to help Jews was committing "violence" on them."
There were more than enough European Jews who said that everybody in Germany who didn't help when they were literally annihilated was guilty.

"You say that taking down statues isn't a big deal and it's akin to mere "vandalism"."
I did not say that. I think that these Confederate statues should not have been erected in the first place and I'm not that rattled when they are brought down illegally but think that it should be done in a lawful way, for various reasons. Vandalism can be a misdemeanor offense or a felony, depending on the damage. so the people doing it illegally will probably be persecuted. Most of the stuff was filmed so that shouldn't be a problem.

" We again get back to the 800 lbs gorilla in the room - what *policy* are these people actually pursuing?"
Look up their internet page or maybe meet a few and talk about how for example that sign made you feel. Have you ever had an actual calm conversation with a BLM supporter?
Maybe do that first before you definitely conclude that these people want to harm you.

"Enough is enough with this Orwellian language butchering BS."
That sign really rattled you. A less emotional response seems appropriate.

"It is a message that says you can't be a bystander, you are either on our side or you're our enemy and will get what is coming to you."
you mean like this. And her it is not a few students holding up signs. Here it is a little more explicit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qdvm6h8WKg

I think we have gotten as far as possible. Meet these people, get first hand info or live in fear. Your choice.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:56am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

Let me help to explain one point Jason R is making (if I may):

"That sign really rattled you. A less emotional response seems appropriate."

It's only appropriate if the message is innocuous or benevolent.

But here is that Jason R said:

"You want to know why it's a threat? Because if saying nothing is "violent" then that means by saying nothing I am literally *attacking* someone."

You might want to ask why the sign said "silence is VIOLENCE" rather than something more agreeable like "silence keeps things the same" or "silence helps the wrong side." But no, it is 'violence'. You need to be tone deaf not to realize this type of phrasing is related to the language used on certain university campuses, where you hear talk of feeling "threatened" by something (e.g. a teacher stating a conservative opinion) and that this threat is reported as making the environment "unsafe", which results in a firing for 'endangering' the students. If you think the word "violence" in the poster is just an accident or a metaphor, you are mistaken; they mean it when they say they consider it as violence. I can see Jason R's POV to take that poster as basically meaning "either you're with us, or else whatever happens you to - you had it coming." And you do see semblances of that in both cancel culture and in internet mobbing/doxxing.

While I can see merit to both sides of the discussion on the protests and so forth, there's no need to play the motte and bailey game about plain language to try to say it means something even though it clearly wants you to understand it another way. These types of arguments tend to discredit even the good points the left makes, which is why they should dissociate themselves with these 'allies' asap.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 10:02am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Context is everything.

Yes, generally speaking, a sign saying "silence is violence" isn't necessarily a bad thing.

But we are currently living in crazy times, where protestors all over the country are in the habit of bullying others into surrendering to their every whim, and viewing any other response as "racism".

We've seen this played out a gazillion times in the past two months.

So yes, when *this* specific crowd is holding a sign that says "silence is violence" that's a form of bullying.

And they are not stupid. They know perfectly well that this is the effect they are creating. They *want* the local population to fear them. That's the whole point of the entire endeavor.

So you want us to have a chat with these guys? No problem. If they put down those deliberately provocative signs and stop trying use intimidation as their only mode of communication, I'm sure Jason would be happy to invite them for a nice cup of coffee.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 10:12am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
"These types of arguments tend to discredit even the good points the left makes, which is why they should dissociate themselves with these 'allies' asap."

Booming's comparison of these protesters to the victims of the ****-ing holocaust isn't doing their cause any favors either.
Booming
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
As somebody who was in a few dozen brawls and was trained in personal combat by the military my fear of middle class university students is fairly limited. :)

Most of these people were never in a fight. I'm also fairly certain that not a single white person was killed by a BLM supporter in Canada. The threat assessment based on this sign seems excessive. Also when you go back in US history then you will see that speculating that black rights protest are actually about murdering white people, is very old and so far during the last 160 years never came true.

"You might want to ask why the sign said "silence is VIOLENCE" rather than something more agreeable like "silence keeps things the same" or "silence helps the wrong side.""
Oh, the left often has a unique talent to choose stupid phrases. Defund the police is another one. In actuality they mean:" End over-policing of certain areas and use the bloated police budgets for stuff that actually improves the situation of these areas which then decreases crime." but I guess that wasn't as catchy. Instead they choose "Defund the police" which makes achieving their goals a lot harder. So yeah, not a good choice.
Peter G.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 10:31am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

You are not completely in touch with the spread of common beliefs among protesters and BLM in particular if you think "defund the police" is a mis-statement of "reallocate funds appropriately". For some it means that, for others it means what it sounds like: no more funds for the police, and no more police (that entire infrastructure presumably to be replaced by something else).

As for fistfights, you also have to be utterly tone deaf to think that the main threat coming to someone dissenting at this point in time is a physical assault. There are plenty of other ways to ruin someone, and the tools of the trade seem to include being cancelled, fired, doxxed, ostracized, etc etc. Death threats are a thing endemic all over the place right now so that's not unique to this, but probably happens also.
Jason R.
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 10:57am (UTC -5)
"Have you ever had an actual calm conversation with a BLM supporter?"

No and I never will because if I said the wrong thing, I could be harrassed doxxed or fired from my job. But I do read plenty of newspapers where I get exposure to these viewpoints pretty regularly. There are no shortage of newspapers in Canada willing to give BLM a megaphone for its views.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I just find it funny, that a guy who supports signs that say "silence is violence" and lectures others to "put aside their fears" and "engage in conversation", is in the habit of giving commenters he doesn't like the silence treatment.

I also think there's a direct parallel between this silly situation here and the more serious issues we are talking about.

Because that's always the way with these guys, isn't it? Anything they don't like, and this can be for the silliest and pettiest of reasons, they strive to erase from existence. Whether it's a national monument, a professor with an unpopular opinion, or anything else.

All in the name of tolerance, diversity and social justice, of course.
Booming
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Omicron let's make this clear once and for all.
I stopped talking to you a while back because you insulted me, then I stopped doing that. Now you have insulted me again repeatedly during the last seven days. So yeah I choose to no longer interact with you because I consider it a waste of time.
But you are right, not talking to you is like a Human rights violation and clearly shows my murderous convictions.

I hope you can live with this horrible injustice.

Or here is another spin. I, after you behaved poorly, made a choice to no longer talk to you and informed you about that. Instead of respecting that, you write post after post further insulting me. What are you? A 12 year old?
Trent
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 8:01pm (UTC -5)
lol, Booming why are you always getting everyone angry?

Regarding the conversation above, IMO we've seen this all before, countless times.

Civil rights movements tend to be tiny, and made up a very small percentage of your population. The majority of your population is usually indifferent to the movement, with conservative factions manically opposing it, and liberal types paying it lipservice.

The movement starts out peaceful and cool, it grows, and it absorbs lots of different factions. Because progressivism in general is all about unknown, uncertain and competing futures, you quickly get lots of different factions pulling in different directions. Because the system rarely concedes anything, these factions are typically ineffectual.

Gradually, for various reasons, the movement becomes more radical and more violent. Everyone starts hating the group. This animosity goes on for years until some generations pass and suddenly everyone seems to magically agree with the movement. Nobody knows when this agreement happened or why.

Consider the way the Suffragette movement is positively portrayed today, despite the fact that they were outright terrorists.

In the early 1900s, during what was dubbed "the Suffragette Outrages", there was a nationwide bombing and arson campaign. Suffragettes even violently attacked a young Winston Churchill with whips. Others disguised themselves and attacked members of Parliament, and even the Prime Minister, tossing a hatchet which cut off the ear of a man nearby. Some tried to burn down the Royal Theater, using canisters of gunpowder. Others attacked museums and defaced artwork. Displays at the British Museum were destroyed and bombs planted in St Paul's Cathedral. They cut telegraph wires, set mail boxes on fire, and were jailed by the hundreds.

All of this behavior was deemed irrational, stupid and counterproductive. It was deemed tactless, thoughtless, extreme, obscene and violent. And the purveyors of these "bad tactics" were deemed crazy, sexist, hate-filled zealots bent on destroying the social order.

But what do you expect? Imagine the conditions necessary to provoke someone into becoming a Suffragette. Imagine the psychology of such a person. If you're a Suffragette who views the system as obscene, and all your countrymen as being blind to these obscenities, why are you going to care what the rest of humanity has to say about your actions? You don't. You throw gasoline at a postbox and try to whip Churchill.

This just seems to be a natural part of societies and social movements. Violence and unrest has itself preceded most major systemic changes over the past couple of hundred years. A psycho gunning down folk in New Zealand recently led immediately to gun bans. In the UK, decades ago, a single spree shooting quickly led to similar massive gun bans. The Women's Suffrage movement, Abolition of Slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBT rights movement, all included large violent protests which were ridiculed but which resulted in changes which would not have been achieved anywhere close to as quickly without the violence. It took the church bombing of 4 little black girls to spur the 1964 civil rights act. It took King's murder - he had a 70+ percent disapproval rating when he died - and mass riots to finally sign the Civil Rights Act of 68.

It's always the same story. BLM will get bashed. Extinction Rebellion will get bashed. Those Pussy Riot chicks in Russia will get bashed. But your grandkids will love them! They'll be taught in school about the weirdos who thought "Black Lives Matter" is racist, about the scientific literature behind the willfully misunderstood "Defund the Police" slogan...then they will probably jump on their hover-boards and go out and lynch some poor cyborgs.

IMO social systems are like living organisms. The hardiest and most intractable survive, and they survive as they are because the conditions which would make them otherwise don't exist. The cybernetician Gregory Bateson, whose work intersected with biology, said hardy systems (he was speaking of capitalism as a legal framework) also only allow false binaries and false choices which don't threaten the system. The avenues the system offer you tend to be dead ends. To rupture something so bent on survival, needs massive levels of wacky and often violent crap.
Sen-Sors
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Jason R, if police reform isn't happening it's surely not for lack of trying on behalf the populace. Why would you blame the inaction of politicians (who often takes tons of money from police unions) on the protestors? Also Cori Bush was just elected to Congress on a BLM platform. They're working on it.

As for actual solutions to police reform, you say BLM has offered no solutions. This is not true. "Defund the police" is not an empty slogan, nor is it the same as "abolish the police". It means we should reduce the bloated budgets of many police departments and put that money towards social services that will alleviate crime and poverty without armed officers being solution to every problem. It means more money for social workers, shelters, schools, low-income housing and work programs.

Other concrete police reforms include reducing all the surplus military equipment they have, civilian oversight boards so that the police are not the ones investigating their own misconduct, and ending qualified immunity for police officers. These policy solutions have been voices many times, but you don't seem to be listening.

ODTP, are you for real? According to people who actually live there, Portland protests averaged around 100 demonstraters per night and only in the downtown area. It was in no way a "war zone" outside the fever-dream coverage of right wing media. These demonstrator numbers exploded once Trump sent in his DHS and Border Patrol goons in in a blatant attempt to bolster his "law and order" campaign for re-election. If you can't see the connection between his re-election campaign, his repeated calls for a military crackdown in US cities and his executive order sending unmarked officers into cities to throw people into unmarked vans without a warrant than you probably shouldn't be talking US politics. I gave you the links. Where's the lie?

Here's a link to an on-the-ground perspective from Portland: https://www.wired.com/story/portland-protests-online/

"Please point to any call of violation of rights in these documents."

Oh damn, dude. You got me. If the official government documents don't explicitly call for the violation of citizens rights in the text, then that means everything is on the level! You're good at this!

Oh wait, there's that thing called the Fourth Amendment, you probably haven't heard of it so I'll post it here:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This is why it's a problem for unmarked federal agents in camo to pull you off the street into an unmarked van without telling you why, offering no warrant and holding you indefinitely. If you're breaking the law in public, there's no reason a clearly labeled policeman can't arrest you properly. But again, this is about Trump looking tough and using the Border Patrol and DHS to do it. The DHS memo speaks of how they want to expand this operation into other cities, which will only further inflame the protests and lead to more violence which is, of course, the point. Trump gets to point to the crazy protestors and how America needs the military to crack down. Intimidation and violence. Apparently you're fine with it.

And yea, any yahoo can rent a van, buy some surplus camo gear and go pulling people they don't like off the street if that's what the unmarked Feds are doing. Who could tell the difference? You seriously don't see that as an issue?

Also that whooshing you heard is my point about riots going right over your head.

"Makes me wonder, what percentage of the protests are about this kind of nonexistent evils..."

Ah, there it is. Yeah, you're really set on fighting racism but this whole "police brutality" things sounds like a lot of hoopla amirite?

I think you're very uninformed about the most basic aspects of US law as well as current events. It's funny that Jason R says that BLM hasn't done anything substantial and then you claim that society has bent over backwards to accommodate it. Well, which is it?
Trent
Wed, Aug 12, 2020, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
Omicron said: "Anything they don't like, and this can be for the silliest and pettiest of reasons, they strive to erase from existence. Whether it's a national monument..."

The "national monuments" were overwhelmingly erected in the south as part of the "Lost Cause Movement". Stuff like the Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and PGT Beauregard statues were not erected just to honor these men, but to assert the values of the Confederacy, open and unrepentant white supremacy and total disregard for the humanity of black people.

And most of the statues were put up in the 20th century, when Civil Rights Movements were pushing for desegregation. They are not "old" statues. They're new monuments put up in the thousands by some pretty disgusting organizations to troll, send a message about white supremacy, and to sentimentalize people who had actively fought to preserve slavery.

That some "innocent statues" get caught in the crossfire of attacks on Confederate statues is surely small potatoes.

People also need to let go of the idea of "polite", "perfect soul" protest movements. There are no saints. And when violence determines the central questions of political life - statehood, territoriality, power and property - and when the "nice society" you live in is the result of centuries of brutal culling, its naive to expect major protest movements to be pious.

Speaking of cancel culture, the FBI says white supremacists were responsible for 78 percent of extremist murders last year (a 31 percent increase in hate crimes from 2014). In response, the government has recently disbanded the Homeland Security department dedicated to domestic terrorism and right-wing extremists.

SenSors said: "Yeah, you're really set on fighting racism but this whole "police brutality" things sounds like a lot of hoopla amirite?"

The conservative tends to see police violence as necessary, or an understandable accident. "Certain races" commit more crime, are genetically or culturally predisposed to commit more crime, and so get shot more, deservedly or accidentally. To solve crime, they advocate more cops, more gear, harsher sentences.

Lefties, meanwhile, tend to think holistically. The science says poverty overwhelmingly causes crime, and overwhelmingly causes social conditions which cause health problems or forms of social alienation which in turn tends to lead to crime. Address poverty and you address crime and you address racist cops.

Of course the conservative then says poverty is itself a product of "improper culture", "personal choices" or even "bad genetics". It must be, because the system the individual finds itself in is inherently meritocratic, fair, equal and makes sense. And so racist cops are justified because the system works.

The lefty, of course, says the opposite. The system is inherently unfair, unequal, hard free will is a myth, and capitalism is inherently exclusionary, breeds a paristized underclass, a permanently unemployed class, an indebted class, and so the conditions of crime, and so racist cops.

And so you get your impasse. How you view the BLM movement will probably be determined by your own class, position on the political spectrum and religious beliefs. Some studies, for example, show that Christians, or those who believe in Just World Theory, instinctively tilt toward supporting cops more. A demonic-heathen sociologist like Booming will probably do the opposite, instinctively sympathizing with BLM folk.
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 1:36am (UTC -5)
Here is a nice one which shows how to be racist without saying black:"The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me, they want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.”
Trump stopped the "invasion of their neighborhoods" from "low income" people.

That was a program that tried to mix in low income black people into more wealthy suburbs because studies show that the whites don't lose anything and the new black neighbors prosper significantly.

Here the more legal definition:"It requires cities and towns which receive Federal money for any housing or urban development related purpose to examine whether there are any barriers to fair housing, housing patterns or practices that promote bias based on any protected class under the Fair Housing Act, and to create a plan for rectifying fair housing barriers."
(yeah it only applied if you wanted federal money for housing projects)

Good that Trump saved the "suburban housewife" from being "invaded" by "low income" people.
OmicromThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:38am (UTC -5)
@Trent

Sen-Sors wrote that reply to me, and I'm not a conservative.

Until recently, I always voted for the left in my country. And I will vote for them again, once the current madness (which isn't limited to the USA) stops.

Just because I'm scared to death of what's going on (and the protests are really just the tip of iceberg. The Orwellian censorship and cancel culture are the really scary thing here), does not make me a conservative.

And I'll tell you something else, this:

"The conservative tends to see police violence as necessary, or an understandable accident. "Certain races" commit more crime, are genetically or culturally predisposed to commit more crime, and so get shot more, deservedly or accidentally. To solve crime, they advocate more cops, more gear, harsher sentences."

Jesus... you've just painted 50% of the population as inhumane monsters.

Actually, it's more then 50%, because you label everybody who doesn't agree with the current craziness "conservative".

Is this how you guys convince yourselves that what's going on right now is okay? By demonizing everybody who doesn't agree with you?

How liberal and progressive of you.

@Sen-Sors
"Yeah, you're really set on fighting racism but this whole 'police brutality' things sounds like a lot of hoopla amirite?"

That's deliberately twisting my words to fit your own agenda.

I've specifically stated that police brutality is a problem which should be faught. I've said it more than once.

You know that... yet you chose to ignore that and try to paint me as some kind of racist. Me, and everybody else who dares to speak against the current madness.

And it's not the first time you've done that.

I see no point in continuing this "debate" any further. You're just like Admiral Satie: You see boogeymen everywhere, and are determined to "expose" them by any means necessary.

I do thank you though. You have done more to prove my points, than the most eloquent argument I could have written.
Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 4:17am (UTC -5)
@Trent I think I made it clear earlier that some rioting and looting is to be expected, particularly in the aftermath of an event like the Floyd murder. I don't consider that a big deal.

The violence in this case, particularly aimed at Federal buildings, appears to be coordinated, not spontaneous.

In any event, no answer on the police reform question I see. More racism original sin finger wagging.

Get back to me in 5 years and let me know what BLM did to reform the police and end police brutality.
Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 4:26am (UTC -5)
By the way on the side issue of statues you guys are deaf, blind and stupid if you think this sort of thing is limited to lost cause era confederate monuments. This kind of thing has been going on for years and it's involved people from Lord Cornwalis to Abe Lincoln to Winston Churchill.

I know I know who cares if someone wants to tear down a statue - just petty "vandalism". How come dastardly racist conservatives care more about statues than human lives?

That's the playbook - shriek and yell and tell us the statues must come down because they being there is an intolerable act of "violence" against whoever and simultaneously tell us how we are making such a drama over just a few statues and who cares so much about them? Hardee har they're just some little ol' statues why get so worked up?
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 4:42am (UTC -5)
Jason that is just a strawman argument. Always look at the most extreme voices and paint them as representative of the entire movement. And then use that imagined view as a jump off point for even more scaremongering.

Or hey show me a poll of BLM members who want to bring down Lincoln statues or Churchill?? You are all very certain without actual evidence. All you have is feelings.

Besides if a majority of the populace wants a statue gone then you are against that?
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:06am (UTC -5)
And because Jason and his peers like to use singular voices as representative of the entire left everywhere, lets bring in a right wing voice.
That is from one those North carolina detectives: Piner told Moore he feels a civil war is coming and that he is ready. Piner said he was going to buy a new assault rifle, and soon "we are just going to go out and start slaughtering them (expletive)" blacks. "I can't wait. God, I can't wait."

I guess that means all on the right are racist and very eager to start a genocide.

Case closed.

And with these soothing words I'm out of the madness pit.
OmicromThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"Omicron let's make this clear once and for all.

I stopped talking to you a while back because you insulted me."

That's exactly the problem:

You have this tendency to write broad overconfident statements, and when people call out your BS, you see it as an insult.

Now, I wouldn't have even bothered to bring this up here, if it was just about you and me. Nobody cares about that. I'm bringing it up because this is very common behavior, which hinders the ability to have an actual open honest discussion.

And it's not like the people who do this hold any of their punches, either. Come on, Booming, you never hold your punches either, when you spot somebody else talking bullsh*t.

"But you are right, not talking to you is like a Human rights violation and clearly shows my murderous convictions."

Don't be ridiculous. I myself called the situation "silly".

But it's a silly example of a much bigger problem, which - at times - can cause great harm.

And I do see direct parallels between this and cancel culture. People don't like something, so the follow a two-step process:

(1) Frame that "something" as offensive (insulting, racist, etc)
(2) Use step #1 to rationalize a boycott of that unpleasant thing.

Of-course, sometimes these claims are true. Sometimes forum members are out to troll you and/or derail the discussion. Sometimes a twit really is racist. Sometimes the person you're firing really is a scumbag you shouldn't want to be in your organization.

But these days, many people don't even care whether it's "true" or not. They make these decisions by a gut feeling at best, and some kind of political agenda at worst.

"I, after you behaved poorly, made a choice to no longer talk to you and informed you about that. Instead of respecting that..."

Listen to yourself.

You speak about punishing a fellow commenter for "poor behavior" and expect them to respect that? Seriously?

And here again, there are parallels between this silly little incident and what's going in the world. The way some people feel so entitled is simply mind-boggling. What's next? You're going to demand that I kiss your shoes and apologize?

Sorry, but I'm not going to "respect" any of this sh*t.

(though I'm not actively looking for ways to insult you, either. I'm simply refusing to cooperate with childish demands)
OmicromThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:31am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"And because Jason and his peers like to use singular voices as representative of the entire left everywhere..."

There are plenty of sane leftists out there. There are plenty of leftists who didn't forget what the words "liberal" and "progressive" used to mean.

See, it isn't "Jason and his peers" who refuses to accept their existence. It is you guys. It is the extreme left who insists on rejecting any person who doesn't accept the extreme craziness you call "the left" from your own lines.
Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:50am (UTC -5)
@Booming I am going to try to focus on the important point and stop permitting myself to be distracted by side issues. Here is how I see things. Feel free to disagree with any point in partiular:

1. George Floyd is murdered (or at least man slaughtered or whatnot) by a police officer;

2. Something is wrong with police and policing in North America;

3. While police brutality is not confined to black people it does appear to hit black people harder;

4. We agree that racist predilections or attitudes among the police likely contribute to black people being hit harder by the problem;

5. Black Lives Matter wants to do *something* to solve this problem.

Here is where I lose the plot because I honestly can't go any further. And apparently no one on this board can either because no one can provide an answer to the question: "how do we make the police less brutal?"

These are by and large Democrat run cities some with black mayors so blaming Trump is a cop-out as he has nothing to do with policing at a local level. We went through this 6 years ago with Michael Brown and Ferguson and apparently nothing changed.

Why did nothing change? And what policy do you think will change things? Be specific. You are the sociologist. I implore you - tell us what needs to be done to eliminate George Floyd style policing *without* rolling back to the bad old days of Bernard Goetz era NYC.

Out of curiosity, how are the police in Germany? Are they better? If not, which country do you think has the best police and why?
OmicromThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -5)
@Jason
"That's the playbook - shriek and yell and tell us the statues must come down because they being there is an intolerable act of "violence" against whoever and simultaneously tell us how we are making such a drama over just a few statues and who cares so much about them? Hardee har they're just some little ol' statues why get so worked up?"

That's exactly the playbook, and it's not just the statues.

If something offends their side, they are entitled to a free pass to do whatever they want about it, including breaking the law.

If something they do offends someone else... well, tough luck.

And the really scary thing is that so many people are falling for it. Otherwise, it wouldn't have had any impact.

See, these people know a thing or two about psychology. They know that if you frame it as "a protest against police brutality" and "systematic racism" then millions will give you a free pass to do whatever you want. Never mind that 99% of their actions have absolutely nothing to do with these goals. People don't care, once the psychological connection was made.

No doubt, this situation is going to go down as classing warning tale in the history books. The story of how a few militant groups managed to manipulate a strong democracy into committing suicide... by cynically manipulating the good heart of its people.
Cody B
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:01am (UTC -5)
@Booming

BLM and a Churchill statue you say? Here’s that proof you asked for. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1311392/Black-lives-matter-Winston-Churchill-Treasury-room-Westminster-Whitehall/amp

They went after Gandhi to. Know you have quoted Gandhi before so BLM going after him might be conflict of interests for you. Also BLM is not one thing. It can mean simply and literally “Black Lives Matter”, which should be obvious but I suppose it needs reiterated and put in the face of some people, or it can also mean a phony political agenda or scam fundraising.
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:12am (UTC -5)
I have a degree in that field but my focus is not policing or questions of social control. I also cannot answer questions about which police force is the best + police is only one element of a complex system. In other words maybe sweden has the lowest amount of police brutality but that could be because of numerous reasons. So if you cut out the swedish system and put it into the American (or Canadian) one then it might have different effects.

Watch that video I posted. It is very statistic and fact heavy (links to sources are often below the video) That is also about the split between committed crime (goes down for decades now) and incarceration which are 8x higher than in Germany.

And again I would advice you to meet these people in person.
Get first hand information.
Apart from that I really want to get back to just write and read about Trek here.
Sen-Sors
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:18am (UTC -5)
"Jesus... you've just painted 50% of the population as inhumane monsters."

50% is your number that you pulled out of nowhere. And I'm not hearing any actual argument here; there are clearly a substantial number of humans that fit this description. Again, where's the lie?

So you guys saw a poster that said "silence is violence"? Oh you poor boo-boo. Why don't you look up the midnight no-knock warrant killing of Breonna Taylor? Do you think that's maybe worse? I'll post this person's story because ODTP probably hasn't heard of it. https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/23/us/breonna-taylor-police-shooting-invs/index.html

The changing of society for the better has always come at great cost to the most vulnerable communities; it comes from the people who put themselves out in the streets, and it sure as hell never comes from the comfortable moderates.

And yeah, this has gone on long enough. It's gotten pretty far away from Star Trek. I've said my piece in this thread and I promise I won't say anything more, and I apologize for taking part in this massive derail.
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:21am (UTC -5)
@Cody
uff, ok one last time. People committing vandalism.

There is nothing in the article about BLM wanting the statue removed. It was vandalized during a BLM protest.

And even if they would try removing the statue, Winston Churchill is the most popular historical figure in Britain.

Again guys strawman.
Please spare me more British right wing tabloid articles.
Cody B
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:26am (UTC -5)
@Omicron

I agree with you. As I’ve said before I’m slightly more left classically but am being forced more by the day to side with the right more and more. Everything from the left seems phony or just plain bad. Everything about it is screaming “this is a bad road to be going down”. The constituents have never been crazier and the politicians have never been so transparent and pandering and fake.
Cody B
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:30am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Oh okay since they didn’t get the opportunity to absolutely tear the statue down, only severely deface it, it just doesn’t count. Gotcha. And how about how they demand the treasury name be changed? I don’t know what it’s going to take for people like yourself to admit what you already know. These people are wackos and will never be satisfied.
Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:39am (UTC -5)
"And again I would advice you to meet these people in person.
Get first hand information."

You study right wing extremism in the USA don't you? I'm curious, do you personally interview US white supremacists?

If an intellectual like yourself has 0 idea how to reform the police you expect a random protester I pull off the street to have the answers?

That's ironic coming from you.
Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:42am (UTC -5)
I am just going to say it again and keep saying it - what precisely is the policy endgame here? If the police are broken how do we fix them so that we are not back in the same place in another six years?
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 7:02am (UTC -5)
@Cody
https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/1/590x/Churchill-1311392.webp?r=1595169471746
I wouldn't call that severely defaced.
And who is they. In the article it just says:"According to the Mail on Sunday a number of junior Treasury officials have complained they “do not feel comfortable” with the name of the Churchill Room."
So one right wing tabloid quoting an article of another right wing tabloid about a number of junior officials not feeling comfortable with the name of a room."
It seems like you are more on the outlook for gotcha stuff.

"These people are wackos and will never be satisfied."
Yawn. Myself and the overwhelming majority would be against bringing down a statue of Churchill or comparable. Yes he was a racist and did a lot of horrible stuff (war crimes and all) but that is all hugely overshadowed by what he did towards the Nazis and that is why he has those statues. He didn't get them for advocating using chemical weapons against indigenous people.

"You study right wing extremism in the USA don't you? I'm curious, do you personally interview US white supremacists?"
I mostly research German right wing populism (international comparisons are useful though) and related phenomenons . So yes I have probably talked with dozens if not more.

"If an intellectual like yourself has 0 idea how to reform the police you expect a random protester I pull off the street to have the answers?"
The matter doesn't interest me that much. Not more than the average citizen probably.

About meeting someone. Doesn't have to be a random protestor. They will have spokespeople. Just ask if they can provide you with material for what they want in detail or if you could meet somebody that could explain that. Just get the info without really detailing your position if you think that this could lead to repercussions.

And now I'm really done. It is not meant as an insult if I do not react, ok see you back in Trek. :)
OmicromThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
@Jason R.
"And apparently no one on this board can either because no one can provide an answer to the question: 'how do we make the police less brutal?' "

Well, I'll say the first step is to return some semblance of normality to the lives of the ordinary citizens, so that this reform could take safely place.

I think the big protests that occured right after the Floyd murder were a good thing. The truth is, back then, nobody cared. Such incidents happened fairly frequently, and nobody ****-ing cared. The cops also walked scot-free afterwords, in many cases.

So it's good that - finally - somebody decided to say "enough!" and made a huge fuss about the whole thing. Now the topic is at the center of discussion all over the world, WHICH IS GREAT.

But now the situation is different. The protests have been heard. And it doesn't take a genius to realize that a country which is plagued with rioters and bullies and vandals is in no position to make huge changes to its police system.

I also fail to see how their current actions are combating racism. Gee, what a wonderful idea! So many people regard us as a race of subhuman criminals, so let's actually behave like subhuman criminals. That will teach them!

In short: Either these guys are very very stupid (which I doubt) or they have some other goal in mind, besides police reforms or actual social justice.
Peter G.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
I would like to draw a parallel between the discussion here and Admiral Satie's tactics. At first glance Satie is the diametric opposite of a BLM protester - she is 'punching down' from power, as it were; she's using authoritarian tactics to find supposed traitors; she will pick on someone for their race. BLM would seem to be against all these things, and on the surface that distinction holds. However more interesting than those surface details are the mentality behind them. Why does she do these things? How does she view others in the course of her crusade?

One thing we've seen here in this discussion in a very quick reduction to black vs white thinking: it's those 'on the other side' who are the problem. We want to paint wildly, describing disagreement as implying some kind of group membership with the enemy. Satie may have been in a position of entitled power in this episode, but fundamentally I think what's going on isn't that she's abusing power to maintain hegemony; I think she honestly believes the things she's saying, despite being (IMO) mistaken. What is more telling to me is that she is keen to see any sign of being different from her as a sign of treason. Simon Tarses is 1/4 Romulan (iirc) and that brands him as being 'one of them'. Yes, this can come off as racist; and yet I have a hard time believing she is actually racist in some generic way, since she no doubt works alongside various species and has no problem with them. Her problem with Simon would seem to be that he shows some signs of "maybe" being part of the wrong group, the group that is EVIL. Likewise, when she all but calls Picard a traitor, I don't think it's because she always disagreed with his politics or because he didn't think Simon was a Romulan agent; I think it was because he stood up to her and her 'moral' crusade. And there is, of course, nothing so pernicious as telling a moralizing crusader that you think they're wrong about something, that's a clear sign that you are Part of the Problem (TM).

Another interesting thing to note is her approach: Satie ultimately has the grace of a steamroller, feeling it justified and even laudable to publicly and crudely make a big show of getting stuff done. Throughout this process, if someone gets hurt or something doesn't check out, it's ok because the cause justifies it. This particular mentality can easily be seen to reflect on both sides of the BLM issue; on the one side "don't cry about small misdeeds when it's HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS on the table!" and on the other side "hey the police need to do their job, and that means breaking some eggs."

To me what Satie's character illustrates isn't so much that if you're an admiral you can abuse your power, and in fact the episode practically doesn't address the fact that it's an admiral doing all this. Rather the focus seems to be that when a person like her feels she has a righteous cause rooting out evildoers that she will feel entitled and emboldened to do anything she likes, and will defend it by saying it's to fight evil, to which most people (who are not Picard) will keep their heads down and feel they have to let it go on. We've seen this all too often in history, and it's not just tyrants and oligarchs who do it; it seems to be a recurrent ugly side of our nature. Arthur Miller's The Crucible is all about this sort of thing, and in that play it's not the powers that be who are responsible for the hysteria but rather the ordinary townsfolk.

Let'e try to heed this episode's message, that vilifying and smoking out 'the traitors' is probably a good way to divide people and create more strife than it purports to solve. Let's keep in mind that noticing someone may show signs of 'maybe' having something in common with 'the enemy' doesn't mean they should be lumped into some box like Simon was. Sure, he had some Romulan in him; for all we know he even had some sympathy for Romulans. But that didn't mean he was against the Federation or guilty of anything other than not being as pure of blood as Satie was. Nor should we consider those who do not agree or even show some sign of perhaps sympathizing with other points of view as being part of the enemy camp. Non-conformity has increasingly become intolerable to people, and this is not a TNG message.
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Good points.
I thought that Satie was driven by insecurity which came from the wide shadow of her father and I never saw her argument as racist, that seems like a silly notion, considering the make up of the federation. I saw it more as "nationalistic" that word is not a good fit but she has a we (Federation/good) vs the others (Klingon, Romulan/bad). She also seems to be paranoid which can happen if you hunt down criminals and whatnot all your life. Soon er or later anybody becomes suspicious.
So for me it was always a combination of the believe that anybody could be guilty merged with the need to be right because of her insecurities.
Peter G.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 11:12am (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"the need to be right because of her insecurities."

On some level everyone is insecure so it's hard to argue that a person's problems may likely stem from insecurities. But in Satie's case I don't think the problem is that she's insecure; on the contrary her problem is that she's *too secure*. She is so sure she is correct, and so sure that she is superior, that anyone taking sides against her (and disagreement would count as taking sides) is essentially the devil. I suppose you could argue that someone so self-assured must deep down be un-self assured, and I guess that rabbit hole goes far down, and about which subconscious motives could be below other motives, and so on. But as far as we can see her problem is she doesn't even recognize that it's possible for someone to disagree with her and not be a traitor; no less the possibility that she's just plain wrong. It's this *certainty*, which borders on religious zealotry, that creates this all-or-nothing steamroller effect. Anyone that sure of anything is already probably losing touch.
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Yeah as you rightly point out being insecure and portraying a very self assured outward persona often goes hand in hand. I made the connection to her father because of what leads to her meltdown which is Picard using a quote from her father. Her father is also mentioned by her, I believe, several times and always in a revered way.
Trent
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
Omicron said: "if something offends their side, they are entitled to a free pass to do whatever they want about it, including breaking the law."

There's nothing special or sacrosanct about laws. It's all just made up stuff, usually to benefit a narrow view. Segments of BLM have torn down some statues, burnt some businesses, wrecked some property and maybe spat on some cops. Is this what's upsetting you? Because the laws allowing those statues, businesses, and properties, and the cops which defend them, are largely silly, arbitrary, and have a bevy of socially harmful knock-on effects.

Nobody has any kind of divine right to a racist statue, or even a cozy mom-and-pop business. You win that right through power, and a range of messy historical forces, and it is contested via the same.


Omicron said: "See, these people know a thing or two about psychology. They know that if you frame it as "a protest against police brutality" and "systematic racism" then millions will give you a free pass to do whatever you want..."

Who are "these people"? What is "it"? What is being incorrectly "framed as a protest against police"?


Omicron said: "No doubt, this situation is going to go down as a warning tale in the history books. The story of how a few militant groups managed to manipulate a strong democracy into committing suicide... by cynically manipulating the good heart of its people."

Look at the language you're using. You're employing the same silppery-slope fallacy we've seen time and time again throughout history when these issues arise (it's like a fear-mongering William Buckly or Jordan Peterson speech).

It's the paranoid belief that "a few manipulative radicals" constitute a "monolithic entity" with a "secret agenda" and that their "disrespect for the law" will "corrupt the children" and the "good people" and "pervert democracy" causing it to "collapse" and "commit suicide". It's a disturbing thing to say.

Thankfully, Peter mentions Arthur Miller. I've always regarded his play as a specific influence upon "Drumhead" (The 1996 filmed version of the play, "The Crucible", is excellent to watch as well).

Where Miller takes Puritan fears of Satanism and uses it to critique US fears of Stalinism, "Drumhead" takes Federation fears of the Other to critique contemporary racism. In this regard, the episode likens its Klingons and Romulans to "roaches", and regurgitates the "one drop" mode of racism common in the US less than a century ago which targed mixed-race folk and Jews ("It is Romulan blood you carry and so a Romulan heritage that you honour!”).

And remember, Miller's tale of a witchhunt was specifically critiquing the anti-communist hysterias of the 1950s, and to a lesser extent a growing anti-Beatnik sentiment. Aligning such a tale to "cancel culture" and BLM seems fundamentally dishonest to me, ignores historical precedent, and all kinds of power imbalances.

It also ignores how the episode is consciously about non-whites. The arrested Klingon says he's only being charged because he's a Klingon, to which Troi smugly points out that their chief of security is Klingon, the scene taking aim at those "well-meaning, accidental racists" who "couldn’t possibly be racist when they have non-white friends".

And note that Satie becomes increasingly fascistic as the episode unfolds. She believes the Federation was once the most remarkable institution ever conceived. She wants to restore or preserve its greatness by rooting out conspirators who "consort" with Romulans.

That "Drumhead" gets re-read as being "also about reverse racism", BLM and the modern "cancelling of whites" seems silly to me.

Interestingly, we have lots of scientific studies showing that while blacks overwhelmingly believe discrimination against blacks has declined, whites believe that discrimination against whites is bigger than discrimination against blacks. The reason, scientists say, is because they see discrimination as a zero-sum game. Other studies show that if you remind whites that the American population is becoming more diverse and that whites will soon be less that half of the population, their concern about anti-white discrimination increases. Whites tend to view increasing diversity as anti-white bias, and more equality (for them) as paradoxically leading to inequality (for us). Here, you thus see a kind of unconscious admittance that they view liberal democracy, and markets, as a kind of game of musical chairs, with more butts than seats, and that this is all fine, so long as they're not the ones left standing.
Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
"There's nothing special or sacrosanct about laws. It's all just made up stuff, usually to benefit a narrow view. Segments of BLM have torn down some statues, burnt some businesses, wrecked some property and maybe spat on some cops. Is this what's upsetting you? Because the laws allowing those statues, businesses, and properties, and the cops which defend them, are largely silly, arbitrary, and have a bevy of socially harmful knock-on effects."

So why should I care if George Floyd got killed by a cop? What do I care about laws against police brutality? For that matter, if someone, say burns down your house - should I care about that more than you care about someone burning down a business?
wolfstar
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
"That 'Drumhead' gets re-read as being 'also about reverse racism', BLM and the modern 'cancelling of whites' seems silly to me."

It seems to me that the cancel culture debate is almost like the "what is/isn't Star Trek" debate in that the term and concept are too loosely defined for people to ever be able to agree on what constitutes it and whether it's good or bad, right or wrong.

But the thing about a good parable is that it can be applied to multiple situations, people in different contexts and decades can see themselves and their own experiences in it. And I wouldn't be hasty to reduce the counterargument here to being about the "cancelling of whites". I have seen black people who dared to side with the wrong person or voice even mild disagreement with aspects and methods of current progressive politics face torrents of abuse denouncing them as "Uncle Toms", "coconuts", "coons", "house negro" etc. by other black people on social media, even here in the UK. It's absolutely repellent and extremely ugly. We've created a situation where *within minority groups*, people feel entitled to abuse and shun anyone who doesn't display the right fealties. In the past when I have been "cancelled" or targeted on social media for wrongthink, it was almost always other gay guys doing it - and I've never voted for a right-wing party in my life. The left eats it own, and social media has gamified and depersonalized this to the extent it's almost become a sport. Look at the incredible hostility and often really nasty personal invective directed towards Pete Buttigieg during his campaign - not from the right, but by "progressives"/the hard left, particularly gay American millennials to his left. (On top of being terrible conduct, all of this is also just an incredibly dumb strategy because it pushes people away from the left and further towards the right - it's the last way to behave if you want to convince someone or win them over to your side.) I'm really sick of this "wrong type of minority" culture that's taking hold more and more where if you're black, gay, female, trans, etc. etc. but you don't hold the opinions and allegiances that your identity group is supposed to hold, you get viciously attacked by your own peers and those who are supposed to be on your own side, and essentially branded as a collaborator or pariah. The U.S. has an incredibly deeply rooted cluster of problems around ingrained racism that spans areas like police brutality, the carceral state, gun culture etc. - it's extreme and quite unique in a way that I think can be hard for people in other countries to appreciate. But current progressive politics has empowered bullies *within* minority groups who will think nothing of abusing and trampling over supposed allies and members of their own minority group if it furthers their own profile and self-interest, and a lot of well-meaning people in the center who genuinely want to help minority rights are giving these people a voice and status. There are Winns, Alixuses and Saties within every progressive activist campaign, because being able to cloak yourself in a benevolent cause is like catnip to certain types of extremely dangerous toxic people with various cluster-B personality disorders, as it's the perfect shield - I wish there weren't, but I've met them. I'm still left but more center-left these days. I encourage anyone who wants to see what cancel culture looks like in practice in the real world to read Freddie deBoer:

"I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19-year-old white woman—smart, well-meaning, passionate—literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word “disabled.” Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20-year-old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn’t a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20-year-olds from rural South Carolina aren’t born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33-year-old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22-year-old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to “man up” and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don’t know how metaphorical language works or else we’re bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself."
Yanks
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Wow... this thread has taken off :-)

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

@Yanks
"The factual numbers concerning police brutality against blacks do not justify the protests."

I'm curious... What numbers would justify these so-called "protests" in your view? What numbers would justify taking entire counties hostage, bullying innocents and terrorizing an entire nation?"

Here is a good article.
www.citizensjournal.us/youre-more-likely-to-be-struck-by-lightning-than-killed-by-a-police-officer/

Anyone protesting getting struck by lightning?

"On the other hand:

Even a single incident like the case of George Floyd is one incident too many."

Of course it is and you saying it doesn't make you special. We don't live in a perfect world. Now that an additional video has been leaked, we see Mr Floyd wasn't such an angel; he resisited arrest the entire way. He was so high, I'm beginning to question the second autopsy results paid for by the family. It seems he might have been saying what everyone wanted to hear. Mr Floyd could just as easily slammed off the high and died. Now that said, he had cuffs on so the knee pinning him to the ground was excessive IMO... but does anyone now think the officers will be convicted for murder after watching that video?

"And it's not a single incident. I remember similar events happening in the past years. The cops were often never charged, and nobody really cared about it or done anything about it."

If you are refering to Ferguson, the officer was completely justified. The whole "hands up shot in the back" was made up crap. More often than not cops shouldn't have been charged. Does it happen? Sure, but walk a day in their shoes before passing judgement. They don't pay these public servents enough.

"So if these "protesters" had taken this incident as a trigger to start a genuine fight against police burtality, or against racism, or for a better just world, I would have supported them completely."

They initially had probably 99 percent of America (and the world) behind them.

"The problem is that this isn't what happened. What happened is that a bunch of militant groups decided to cynically use the Floyd incident to further their own agendas."

True, but BLM should know that. If they truly are benevalant they should stop their "peacefull protests" because they are taken over. But they don't, because they are funded by Soros... who also funds ANTIFA. It's their own parties leftest agenda that is their worst enemy... now the "defund the police" loonacy hurts their case even more.

Of course, Mt Floyd is memorialized... a guy with a criminal record longer than my arm to include pointing a loaded gun at a pregnant womans unborn baby.

And then, what makes this worse, is the Democrat leadership in these cities just let the riots happen.

But all that said, the best way to not get into a life threatening situation with police is to DO WHAT THEY SAY!!! ... and if you've been wronged, take it to court.

This forum is pretty heady... I'd love to hear what folks here think about "qualified immunity".
Booming
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Wolfstar, you are gay. What do you think about that a third of Poland has declared itself LGBT free?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_ideology-free_zone
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
@Trent

"There's nothing special or sacrosanct about laws. It's all just made up stuff, usually to benefit a narrow view. Segments of BLM have torn down some statues, burnt some businesses, wrecked some property and maybe spat on some cops. Is this what's upsetting you? Because the laws allowing those statues, businesses, and properties, and the cops which defend them, are largely silly, arbitrary, and have a bevy of socially harmful knock-on effects."

That's your defense? Saying that the laws which prevent the burning of businesses and wrecking of property are "silly and arbitrary"?

Well, thanks for proving my points so effectively!

"It's the paranoid belief that ... 'monolithic entity with a secret agenda' ... "

Stop being an ass. I've never said anything of the sort.

And I just love it how you called my comment "paranoid" and "fear-mongering", right after you declared that the laws which protect our basic human rights are silly. Man, I gotta admire your gall.

"Interestingly, we have lots of scientific studies showing that while blacks overwhelmingly believe discrimination against blacks has declined, whites believe that discrimination against whites is bigger than discrimination against blacks. The reason, scientists say, is because they see discrimination as a zero-sum game."

So, what do you propose we do about it?

We have two choices:

We can strive to educate people and help them see things the Trekkian way, where diversity and acceptance makes everybody's lives better. A good start would be to remind them of things like the US constitution and the UN bill of rights, and explain how protecting everybody's basic rights makes everyone safer and happier.

Or we can throw all that away. Say "f**k it" to 250 years of slow and steady progress, declare that human-made rules are stupid, and let this "zero-sum game" run its course until we have a winner.

What future do you prefer? Which of these two options is worth spending your time and energy to fight for?

Think about it.
James
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
Damn, you're right... property laws are wonderful. Where would we be if some bastard who finds an apple tree and puts a fence around it, saying "this is mine, the rest of you f*ckers can all go hungry" couldn't get the backup of powerful laws and forces. Where would we be if we were obliged to share instead of keeping things we deem "ours" for ourselves?
Trent
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 12:21am (UTC -5)
Omicron said: "That's your defense? Saying that the laws which prevent the burning of businesses and wrecking of property are "silly and arbitrary"?"

They're what English philosopher Jeremy Bentham called "nonsense resting upon stilts".

Property laws have almost always been insane and massively violent, from the days when serfs leased from lords, to the forced expulsions of the Enclosure Movements, to the purging of indigenous peoples, to the modern rentier economy etc etc.

You are arguing that BLM protestors who set fires and tear down statues are "breaking the law" and "pushing us toward civilizational collapse", when it is precisely our system of laws which are dehumanizing, violent and causing the conditions (poverty, exclusion, crime etc) which foster protest movements like BLM and/or racist cops.

The laws which govern our contemporary property regime, and the endogenous, debt-based currencies which mediate all transactions within it, are not "natural", or "sane" or even "democratically decided". They're as arbitrary, imposed, irrational and harmful as the codified frameworks buttressing past epochs (feudalism, theocracies, monarchies etc). Most only think they're "normal" because they've been born under them.

There's a reason economists defending current notions of property had to finally resort to utilitarian arguments, most indifferent to questions of individual rights and distributive justice, the hallmarks of a moral perspective.

And so it's silly to fret about the legality of tearing down a statue, or the burning of a shop, when the very same system of laws leads to greater violence, exclusion and dispossession elsewhere (black land and home ownership going down every year etc).

Omicron said: "Stop being an ass. I've never said anything of the sort."

You did. Rather than a disparate group with varying goals and opinions, you treat all of BLM as a monolithic entity with a shared goal. You view them as anti-white racists. You call them an "obviously scary" and "unstoppable force" that has brought "the entire nation to its knees", and nobody else sees this because "they've been clouded from the truth". You think BLM "behave like subhumans" and "criminals" and think they're "terrorizing an entire nation" and "taking entire counties hostage". You wonder if they have "some other goal in mind". What do they really want, you wonder? They are "obviously scary" and a "militant group", and yet "everyone's falling for it". The "history books" will remember "our stupidity", because they're leading the nation, a once "strong democracy", toward "suicide". Using a combination of "psychological tricks" and "cynical manipulation" they have conned "the good heart of its people".

These are all your words, and its all weird fear-mongering and slippery-sloping. And posted on an episode about a paranoid witch-hunt no less.

Omicron said: "So, what do you propose we do about it?"

Start by laughing at people who bash groups like BLM, who think BLM constitutes an existential threat, who fail to see the similarities between their reactions and the reactions to past protest movements, who exalt the US Constitution, who can't see how property rights eventually violate numerous articles on the UN human rights declaration, and how "natural rights" are oft little more than philosophical dressing on existing class relations ("Hey homeless dude! Why you angry? The UN says you and hedge fund managers both have a right to property!").

Booming said: "Wolfstar, you are gay. What do you think about that a third of Poland has declared itself LGBT free?"

The last time I saw a "cancel culture" discussion here, it coincided with the US trying to pass some more anti gay legislation. Today the President openly admits to engaging in voter suppression and trying to cancel votes in the upcoming elections.

But look over there, some statues are being pulled down! You got 80 percent of the planet living on less than 10 dollars a day, about 45 percent living on less than 1.25, you got the global majority baked into inescapable poverty for centuries, and the growth rates needed to prevent them slipping further being ecocidal and biocidal anyway, and you're gonna complain about uppity protestors acting with less decorum than one would ideally expect? lol, IMO it's just so ridiculous. It's like those papers the Brits would print about Gandhi sleeping with teens or Mandela being a terrorist. Okay, sure, but why are you really printing this?
Booming
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 1:18am (UTC -5)
Ok people maybe BLM and liberal arts students will murder us all and bring about a terrible dictatorship where everybody has to say differently abled or else!
Maybe not. My money is on not.

Stand up to bullies and don't forget every 20 year old fiery college student sooner or later has to find a job, and then get a dose of reality and then get quite a bit of money and then a child and so forth. As I often say. With 21 you reach peak idiot. After that you notice that life is a little bit more complex.

And Trent to you. Have you not noticed that most people don't function on rational debate for their world view but on emotional benefit? Maybe factor that in a little more. If you want people to give up something that brings emotional benefit like property or in group favoritism then you have to provide an equal amount of emotional benefit. Humans like having things, Humans like thinking that they are better than others. Just telling people that having property is bad is in effect just telling people that they should feel bad about something that makes them feel good.

Peter and I were really on our way back to an actual discussion about Trek.
He said something thoughtful, I said something thoughtful.
Can we not just do that?
Jason R.
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 5:41am (UTC -5)
"Damn, you're right... property laws are wonderful. Where would we be if some bastard who finds an apple tree and puts a fence around it, saying "this is mine, the rest of you f*ckers can all go hungry" couldn't get the backup of powerful laws and forces. Where would we be if we were obliged to share instead of keeping things we deem "ours" for ourselves?"

Ask Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Jo Stalin and the ghosts of about 65M people.

@Trent

I've already said that looting and rioting is understandable in the MLK sense of being a predictable consequence of injustice, like a force of nature. But understandable or not, when peoples' livelihoods get destroyed, that's a pretty big deal to them.

I understand regretting that a riot had to happen like a brush fire or a hurricane; I don't understand claiming that laws against burning down someone's business are "silly and trivial".

Did you really mean to say that in your original post? Cause that is what you said. Maybe you misworded it??
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 8:21am (UTC -5)
@James
"Damn, you're right... property laws are wonderful."

Most of them are, indeed, wonderful. A few of them aren't (and we should fight to change them).

Without property laws, there is nothing to stop a person to come into your house, take your stuff and force you out to live in the streets.

And you'll have nobody to turn to. No police. No courts. Nothing.

Paradise, eh?

"Where would we be if we were obliged to share instead of keeping things we deem 'ours' for ourselves?"

We'd probably be in a world that takes vandalism, looting for personal gain, and burning shops far more seriously.

@Trent
"You are arguing that BLM protestors who set fires and tear down statues are 'breaking the law' and 'pushing us toward civilizational collapse' "

Nope.

I'm arguing that disregarding basic fundamental human rights is pushing us toward civilizational collapse.

Whether it's a cop misusing their power to kill a helpless cuffed guy on the ground, or "protestors" who misuse the sympathy they are getting to vandalize, bully and terrorize the innocent.

I couldn't care less whether these violent actions are "breaking the law". I only care whether they are harmful - which they are.

@Booming
"Trent, have you not noticed that most people don't function on rational debate for their world view but on emotional benefit?"

I most certainly have noticed it.

I have no other explanation for the fact that so many people here, including yourself, are sacrificing their morals and basic humanity for reasons that obviously have nothing to do with logic.

"Ok people maybe BLM and liberal arts students will murder us all and bring about a terrible dictatorship where everybody has to say differently abled or else!"

Not a dictatorship.

A mob rule, like in that Orville Episode, "Majority Rule".

And BLM is not the problem. Can't blame them for being more skillful and successful then others in this ugly game of fighting-for-absolute-power-by-swaying-public-opinion.

The real problem is that this vicious game has become the new normal. People are behaving like ruthless animals, and the public just accepts it as okay. This is downright terrifying.

"Humans like having things, Humans like thinking that they are better than others. Just telling people that having property is bad is in effect just telling people that they should feel bad about something that makes them feel good."

Cut the bullshit, will you?

Having a debate about alternative economic systems is one thing.

Endorsing actual actions in the present-day world which harm other people - is quite another.

This isn't a game. Nor is this some scholarly exercise. We are talking about actual people who are being harmed in the real world, right now.

"Peter and I were really on our way back to an actual discussion about Trek.
He said something thoughtful, I said something thoughtful.
Can we not just do that?"

Apparently, you can't.

As for me, I'm happy to flow with whatever direction the conversation here takes.
wolfstar
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
"Ok people maybe [...] liberal arts students will murder us all and bring about a terrible dictatorship [...]. Maybe not. My money is on not."

The Khmer Rouge, which ended up killing a quarter of Cambodia's population in a very short interval of just 4 years, grew out of a Paris student group - they were the children of the Cambodian landowning elite who'd been sent to study abroad.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_Rouge#Paris_student_group

Apropos Peter's excellent post (and his observation that "Satie ultimately has the grace of a steamroller"), one thing that really works about the episode is how Picard clearly understands that the best way to defeat Satie is to give her enough rope to hang herself. He can see what's going on and the underlying dynamics at play, but it's not yet clear to everyone else (including her superiors), so to expose her, rather than going directly on the attack, he allows her to get carried away with her paranoid witch-hunt (at professional risk to himself) until she overreaches badly and the true nature of proceedings is made apparent to all. Spencer Garrett is also really excellent as Tarses in quite a difficult role.
Jason R.
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 9:50am (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar an additional point is that while Booming's claim that current radicals are unlikely to murder anyone is true, it would also apply equally to virtually any movement in history. Back in 1918 it would have been equally laughable to suggest that the Nazi movement was going to engulf the world in war.

Any time millions of people get slaughtered by fanatics, it's almost invariably a "lightning in a bottle" scenario. Like with flu pandemics, any one given movement or "virus" is unlikely to go on a global rampage but we can certainly look at certain kinds of movements with certain characteristics and say whoa, this is dangerous stuff, maybe we should pay it some attention.
Booming
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -5)
@wolfstar
To be fair Cambodia is not the UK. The US unseated the ruler (who tried to stay neutral in the cold war and was fairly popular) and installed a brutal right wing military dictatorship that quickly ruined the country. This regime was dependent on US money and collapsed when that money stopped coming. The Khmer Rouge also had substantial aide from Maoist China.
Also noteworthy, it was the Vietnamese socialists who attacked an finally overthrew the Khmer Rouge.
So kind of Apples and Lychees comparison.

@Jason R.
Well, there were no Nazis in 1918 and without the huge support of war veterans the Nazis would have never achieved what they did. The Versailles treaty deserves a mention. Actually lots of people expected Germany to seek revenge for world war I. One might also mention that democracies are basically never toppled by left wing forces but almost always by right wing coups.

STAR TREK!!! :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 10:41am (UTC -5)
@Wolfstar
"One thing that really works about the episode is how Picard clearly understands that the best way to defeat Satie is to give her enough rope to hang herself. He can see what's going on and the underlying dynamics at play, but it's not yet clear to everyone else (including her superiors), so to expose her, rather than going directly on the attack, he allows her to get carried away with her paranoid witch-hunt (at professional risk to himself) until she overreaches badly and the true nature of proceedings is made apparent to all."

It's amazing how often this gets the job done.

And of-course, any resemblance to a certain discussion that is currently going on at a certain Trek websites that starts with "J", is purely coincidental. ;-)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 11:04am (UTC -5)
@Booming
"One might also mention that democracies are basically never toppled by left wing forces but almost always by right wing coups."

One might also mention that the left is traditionally associated with defending the absoluteness of basic human rights, advocating tolerance and diversity, and generally being in line with Trekkian values.

Yet here we are. ;-)

So forgive me if I don't find the statistic you just quoted to be re-assuring.
Trent
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Booming said: "Ok people maybe BLM and liberal arts students will murder us all and bring about a terrible dictatorship where everybody has to say differently abled or else!"

The funny thing is, those who benefit most from promoting the "cancel culture meme", actively push for more corporate autonomy, and the weakening of worker rights and corporate regulations. If workers were being unfairly dismissed or deplatformed in droves by BLM or MeToo or whatever, the solution would be fairly simple; provide greater protections for workers.

But the key bogus word in "cancel culture" is "culture". Nobody argues that people aren't "cancelled", but to prove that this is different from cultures of the past, then you're going to need studies producing data showing that incidences of folk being canceled or fired in response to public backlash have in fact dramatically increased in recent years.

But what data we have shows the opposite. Over the last decade in the US, workplace sexual harassment suits have gone down, racial discrimination suits have gone down, and general harassment suits have gone down.

And of course if you're unfairly cancelled by a twitter mob, you're in a sense lucky anyway. You've got yourself an unfair dismissal and defamation law suit which, if you win, will net you huge cash.

IMO reactionary politics has always relied on whipping people up into a paranoid frenzy and making bogeymen out of little things (The Gay Agenda!, Climate Hoaxes!, They want your Guns!). What's changed is that social media now fuels hysterias and counter hysterias. And though twitter mobs occasionally get things wrong, it's still a worthy price to pay for celebs no longer getting away with child abuse, underage groupies, gender equality, consent, body cams, increasing racial justice etc etc.

Booming said: "If you want people to give up something that brings emotional benefit like property or in group favoritism then you have to provide an equal amount of emotional benefit..."

Nice try. I've seen the so-called emotional benefits of your after-midnight Sociology Department Orgies.

I'm also not optimistic enough to expect humans to meaningfully alter capitalism within the next few centuries. We still haven't dethroned monarchs and Sky Gods; expecting faith in the Invisible Hand to fade is a bit premature.

It's probably more worthwhile promoting simpler things like better healthcare, birthright or UBI policies. But with rates of return on capital historically outpacing growth, and things like homeownership rates falling, and property pooling in smaller and smaller pockets, humanity will eventually be pushed to reform things (or perhaps some kind of climate disaster will reset markets and cull lots of humans).

Omicron said: "Without property laws, there is nothing to stop a person to come into your house, take your stuff and force you out to live in the streets."

Which is precisely how "capitalism" acquired property at inception. Massive levels of forced expulsion, pushing people from their homes, and the taking of stuff. From the wiping out of indigenous peoples in America, to the Raj reforms in India, to various genocides, to the purges of the West Indies, to the pushing of the peasantry from the commons in England.

Accepting that as bad, one then has to convince themselves that it was necessary, deceive themselves that it doesn't still happen, convince themselves that monopolies of land and credit don't perpetuate poverty, dispossession and indebtedness today, and ignore countless contradictions (if property begets property, and so increasingly forestalls the majority from acquiring property, and if property is emancipatory and equated with freedom, then property is the chief cause of people being unfree etc).

Now you can reform property laws and make things more fair (the opposite of contemporary property laws is not anarchy), but that's not happening. The major right wing think tanks have already started equating home and private land ownership as being worse for the economy. Bosses prefer a more flexible, less house-bound workforce. Outside of ex communist countries, empirical findings reveal a steady decline in access to home ownership and increasing inequalities in concentrations of housing/land wealth. And so you have a regime exalting private property which actively pushes people from ownership. The trends show long mortgages giving way to a permanent rent economy, the majority forced to perpetually lease something (land) that others acquired by dint of mere historical circumstance, or due to monopolistic cartels (the private commercial banks that "rent" money out at interest).
Booming
Fri, Aug 14, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
@Trent
"Nice try. I've seen the so-called emotional benefits of your after-midnight Sociology Department Orgies."
Who told you?! Was it one of the liberal arts students??
Trent
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Omicron said: "defending the absoluteness of basic human rights, advocating tolerance and diversity, and generally being in line with Trekkian values."

You are appealing to the UN and US Constitution/Bill of Rights for your standard of "basic human rights". A constitution whose chief architect, James Madison, said when preparing it: "In all civilized countries the people fall into different classes with a difference of interests. There will be creditors & debtors, farmers, merchants & manufacturers. There will be particularly the distinction of rich & poor. [...] An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, & sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in in this country, but symptoms, of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarters to give notice of the future danger. How is this danger to be guarded against on republican principles? How is the danger in all cases of interested coalitions to oppress the minority to be guarded against.? Among other means by the establishment of a constitutional body [...] to aid on such emergences, by throwing its weight into that scale. [...] The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of our government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to counter and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability."

Under a similar logic, white immigrants were able to claim US land at free, low or regulated prices throughout the 1800s. Congress deemed this a natural right, and voted 37 to 1 to ban Black Americans from the same.

Appealing to "property rights" and "freedom of speech laws" and "human rights" to denounce segments BLM who trash property and cancel dudes on twitter, is to miss the point entirely. A past barring from these "rights" influences contemporary issues of race and poverty, and these rights are incapable of meaningfully addressing poverty, racism and inequality anyway. 75 percent of the world's superpower doesn't live paycheck to paycheck because "tolerance", "diversity" and "human rights" are lacking.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
"A past barring from these "rights" influences contemporary issues of race and poverty, and these rights are incapable of meaningfully addressing poverty, racism and inequality anyway."

So what's your solution? Please be specific.
Peter G.
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 12:39pm (UTC -5)
@ Trent,

The quote you provided and your previous argument about laws just being arbitrary seems to be off-topic with what Omicron is saying. The Madison quote (and I am not Madison expert) seems to be addressing an issue that's been well known going back to Ancient Greece, which is that when politics is a power struggle what will happen in a *pure democracy* is that each power interest will just try to grab away from the others, creating instability. In the case Madison outlines, it would seem to be landowners at risk long-term because the natural instability of tenants 'voting out' their landlords through legislation favoring the tenants will cause an imbalance of power, especially if the two classes are not equal in numbers over time. This is actually pretty obvious, and doesn't really say much about whether laws are just arbitrary and should not be considered as important. You seem to be trying to argue that the laws (in this case, how the U.S. senate was constituted) are just another expression of self-interest, so why take them seriously. But if that's what you're saying then I think you're misunderstanding Madison, as he was point towards essentially a law of physics of how representative democracy would work long-term, and which methods may be useful in balancing the shifting tides in power so that people don't find themselves up-ended every four years and have everything taken away from them. This isn't some paper fantasy concocted by lawmakers, it's an actual fact that *no one* wants to have themselves voted out of relevance every four years. More broadly, most regular people don't want the daily sentiment to totally upend years of established business; sentiment which may pass quickly but while it's in vogue could do damage without any care for the future.

Linking this to The Drumhead, I think PIcard is actually the force of conservatism in the episode, or shall we say classical liberalism (which can have commonalities). He is the one upholding the cherished Federation values of being fair, decent, and honest; and he is the one deeply suspicious of a sudden movement looking to overturn the established understanding of how things on the Enterprise work. Could it be that there's a Romulan spy on the Enterprise? Maybe. But could it be that everything Picard thought was true may not be, and that everyone is under suspicion? Picard seems to say that, no, he is not going to accept a departure from the established order just because a strong faction (Satie, in this case) is clamoring for crackdowns and restructuring. Now we may well ask "what is Satie had been right? what is Picard was being naive and changes really were needed?" That's an important question to ask, but as with Madison, part of what needs addressing is which elements of the operation of the ship need to allow for change but without huge turmoil and strife. Picard might well have had to deal with a Romulan spy now and again, but the system he has in place - his command style, involving humanistic values and fairness - also serves as a stopgap against reckless security precautions. We frequently see Picard shoot down Worf's predictably aggressive security suggestions. It's good that they are part of the conversation, but they need to only be a part of it, not the brunt of it. With someone like Satie in command no one would ever feel secure about anything, and everyone would live in fear all the time. So Picard's 'laws' aren't just arbitrary or made-up to serve his agenda: they serve a real human interest and are based not just on self-serving pragmatism but also on serving as barriers to chaos and misery.

The real issue to me is how to put up barriers to chaos while also not calcifying into a stale order that enables corruption and can't change even when it's required. To the extent that the protests are about a corrupt hegemony in certain police quarters I think this is a valid objection. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater and invoking the Marxist notion that everything established must be overturned and is part of the corruption is IMO Satie's territory, where the only unchangeable truth is that everyone must go along with what she says. That's the equal and opposite of a stale and corrupt system, but potentially more damaging.
Trent
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Peter said: "doesn't really say much about whether laws are just arbitrary and should not be considered as important."

My point, regarding Madison, is that the Constitution cared little about issues of economic inequality, poverty and injustice, especially with regard to the nature of productive land and property. Its drafters foresaw that wealth would pool, and were concerned about protecting these blocs of landowners against a dispossessed majority. Now at first this was no big problem - the Indians were dead, blacks were slaves, and whites had plentiful, bountiful land! - but by the time the mid 1800s hit, America was mirroring the feudalism it sought to escape in Europe (the top 1 percent controlled one third of all land incomes). The more egalitarian Founding Fathers were ignored, there were no explicit laws and property legislation (like land taxes, or more stronger Georgist policies) to combat how markets work, and so inequality kept shooting up.

Peter said: "most regular people don't want the daily sentiment to totally upend years of established business; sentiment which may pass quickly but while it's in vogue could do damage without any care for the future."

Firstly, "most regular people" eventually did, when they began pushing for a second Bill of Rights. Secondly, worrying about "disrupting established practices" is silly when living a dehumanized existence is itself a form of "disruption" (what's really being said is that the disruptions of certain lives matter less when stacked up with The Way Things Are, either because of their race, or because they're outnumbered, or because they've been atomized and successfully neutered).

Thirdly, if you appeal to the feelings of "most people", you can dismiss anything. Many thought the anti-abolitionist movements were but a trendy phase. Feminism was dismissed as being in "vogue" (and naively unconcerned about the future or how the foundations of the family would be affected). Things like civil rights, gay rights etc etc are similarly always dismissed as "upending" everything from the rights of business owners, to the institutions of marriage. Because...

Peter said: "The real issue to me is how to put up barriers to chaos while also not calcifying into a stale order"

...Power always portrays its opposite as either lawless chaos or stagnation, whilst portraying its own order as vibrant (and this perceived vibrancy sanctions Power; after all, in a vibrant, thriving system, only the true and the worthy survives).

Peter said: "Linking this to The Drumhead, I think PIcard is actually the force of conservatism in the episode"

Sure, but Picard's conserving a near-utopia in the face of a knee-jerk racist. He's not defending contemporary America against BLM activists protesting racism while occasionally bashing whites or burning property. Would Picard diss the Bell Rioters because they killed or looted, or would he look at their behavior as the product of things way outside their control? I think the latter, though via episodes like "High Ground", one can argue otherwise.

Peter said: "So Picard's 'laws' aren't just arbitrary or made-up to serve his agenda: they serve a real human interest"

Because he lives in a post-scarcity, post-capitalist utopia. Satie dissing minorities and Picard "standing up for their rights" isn't the same thing as Nelson Mandela being a hypocrite for laughing at your lectures on "reverse racism", "free speech" and "property".


Jason R said: "So what's your solution? Please be specific."

I would listen to various papers commissioned by the UN, groups like the New Economics Foundation, and eco-economists like Herman Daly and Georgesu Roegan.

And so start by passing legislation giving workers a 10 percent stake in big firms (with a view of increasing this over decades), implementing a land value tax, and create a Citizen's Dividend paid by the former. Then take money creation out of the hand of private commercial banks (new money is arbitrarily whisked into existence when banks make loans), and create a transparent and accountable new body to handle money creation (now debt free and non-repayable).

Rename bank saving accounts to investment accounts, and democratize finance by giving individuals control over how their money is invested (most bank spending doesn't go into the real economy, and most loans go into covertly paying back interest to those with a monopoly on land or credit, which in both cases are now largely private commercial banks). To lend money, banks will then need to find customers who are willing to give up access to their money for a certain period of time. In order to ensure risk and reward are aligned, have these accounts not be guaranteed by the government in any way (customers who wish to keep their money completely free of risk can put their money into Transaction Accounts).

Various governments are already floating the above proposals or commissioning think tanks who advise such things. Maybe in a hundred years you'll get them. To prevent the worst of climate change, though, you'd need to transition away from grow-or-die capitalism and toward a steady state economy fairly rapidly, maybe some kind of hypothetical Guild Socialism, but that won't happen anytime soon. The world will get hotter, and the global pool of poor larger, before serious changes happen.
Jason R.
Tue, Aug 18, 2020, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Trent have any of your proposals been tried in any advanced nations?

And interestingly, the original topic was racism, yet your proposals do not mention race. Do your proposed reforms have nothing to do with that?
dlpb
Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Been warning you all as to what the Left has become for a long time. And now we're seeing the full level of crazy end where it always wanted to... violence and totalitarianism.

Also, a white kid was shot at point blank range by a black person the other day... hardly a peep on mainstream media. No riots by "far right" white people. Hmmmmmmmm.
Cody B
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
@ dlpb

It’s actually even worse than you’re saying. If you’re referring to that 5 year old boy name Cannon, there’s been a gofundme to raise bail for the murderer. There are rumors it’s a troll account BUT the people commenting and donating are some of the sickest things I’ve read in a long time. People laughing saying the boys dad brought it on by naming the boy Cannon because he wanted him shot, people saying the murderer is a political prisoner, people saying he was set up or antagonized into it (by a five year old???) with no rhyme or reason for coming up with the conspiracy. I only hope there’s some way to bring charges against people who tried to give money and public support to a child murderer. I don’t think there is though.
Booming
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 5:09am (UTC -5)
Guys, there is no issue here. No sane person is for child murder. Only Psychos who love to mess with normal people aka you.

Parents and police do not believe that the crime was racially motivated. It was also covered by several national news outlets and only when it started to blow up on social media Carlson and Ingram jumped on it.

I will withhold my judgement on dlpb's motives. We all had the misfortune to read his other posts.

Star Trek, guys!
Cody B
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 6:00am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Booming there absolutely is an issue here. I’ll try to find the exact news source to link that I read but this video covers it pretty well. Instead of doing your usually MO of trying to magically discredit something by calling it “right wing”, try to focus on the facts if this video showing multiple people by name and showing exactly what they said. These are the wackos I’ve referred to in the past that you try to dismiss. They exist.

https://youtu.be/IXxa22USmsY
Booming
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 6:42am (UTC -5)
You are disrespecting Jammer's wish to keep this about Star Trek. If people like you continue this little quest of yours, Ahab, then Jammer will shut this site down. He said as much a while back.

I have a lot to do right now and no time to go off the deep end and watch vids that use phrases like "self hating white soyboy;pro BLM anti cop psycho who also hates white kids". and other great reporting from memology101.

Post this stuff somewhere else. NOT ON A STAR TREK SIDE!!!
Cody B
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 7:24am (UTC -5)
@Booming

Oh please Booming. You insert yourself into any discussion there is, leave multi paragraph diatribes, and then end it with “Star Trek please” as your insurance policy. You do it almost daily. So don’t try to lecture me okay? Your criticism in this case is self criticism. You don’t speak for Jammer anyway so stop posturing like you have any power. Don’t tell me who I am or am not disrespecting you don’t speak for me. Make sure you STRICTLY stick to Star Trek on this site from here on out since you want to be the authority. Typing “Star Trek please” after you type a novel on politics or just one of the random arguments you get into isn’t going to be good enough anymore.
DLPB
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Booming is a far left wing hate monger and exactly the type of person I am referring to.
Elliott
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 9:38am (UTC -5)
@ Peter G

"I think PIcard is actually the force of conservatism in the episode, or shall we say classical liberalism (which can have commonalities). He is the one upholding the cherished Federation values of being fair, decent, and honest; and he is the one deeply suspicious of a sudden movement looking to overturn the established understanding of how things on the Enterprise work."

I think you make a fair point here, but Picard also suggested that he should rethink his whole practice regarding how he uses Troi in diplomatic situations. He wasn't committed to tradition or to radical change; he wanted to conserve those practices which upheld liberty and autonomy and change those which inadvertently curtailed such rights.

I'm not going to say much in response to the conspiratorial garbage being thrown around by DLPB and co., but I think the best way to evaluate so-called Cancel Culture is through a utilitarian lens. As Trent eloquently alluded to above, if the systemically marginalised (bluntly, the poor and working class) were being de-platformed somehow, then a constitution of workers' rights would be necessary to correct this unintended injustice. But that's not what's happening. The only people who are de-platformed wield enormous power and wealth to begin with, actors, political power-brokers and their puppets, media moguls, celebrity artists, internet personalities, etc. Until that changes, we aren't dealing with an issue which is in any way allegorised by this episode.

Simon Tarses is intentionally written to be a small, quiet person being parried about by these gigantic figures on the Enterprise. What I wish had been addressed by the episode is whether Worf's racism is emblematic of the post-W359 Federation at large or isolated to a few fringe people. If Tarses is correct in his assumption that his career and livelihood would be damaged by a public admission of his ancestry, then THAT is a serious problem that should concern Picard. That would be totally unacceptable. The episode is written ambiguously on this point, leaving the possibility that Tarses is unnecessarily paranoid, that that paranoia caused him to panic and lie, and that his lies at least should be held to account.
Peter G.
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
@ Elliott,

The fact is that Simon lied about being part Romulan on his application, and I think the episode implies that it wasn't for no reason. However it also doesn't imply that if he hadn't lied Starfleet would have outright discriminated against him on this basis. It could be that due to Romulan spy tactics Starfleet security would have had to vet Tarses carefully before admitting him, and maybe he didn't want that kind of embarrassment or scrutiny precisely because he's a quiet guy. It's sort of clear he did have a reason to lie, but not clear what the result of not lying would have been.
Booming
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
@Cody
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSvJaYxRoB4
Maybe write something about the actual episode for a change.
Here I'll show you.

@Elliot
" The episode is written ambiguously on this point, leaving the possibility that Tarses is unnecessarily paranoid, that that paranoia caused him to panic and lie, and that his lies at least should be held to account. "
That is an interesting point. If there is no intolerance in the Federation why would Tarses even be worried? It is a pretty serious blind spot of the episode. You also mention Worf, his own intolerance notwithstanding, he seems to be a sign for people not being discriminated. He later even commands a ship. Did we ever have anybody in any of the shows being worried about discrimination because of their ancestry?
Booming
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 10:17am (UTC -5)
@Peter G.
" It could be that due to Romulan spy tactics Starfleet security would have had to vet Tarses carefully before admitting him,..."
But wouldn't that already be discrimination?? That Starfleet vets you more carefully because of one romulan grandfather?!
Jason R.
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
"The only people who are de-platformed wield enormous power and wealth to begin with, actors, political power-brokers and their puppets, media moguls, celebrity artists, internet personalities, etc. "

Not true but even if it were, it would not make it less vile. In this episode Picard ends up the target of the witch hunt and I don't think we are meant to think it is harmless merely because it is targeting powerful, prominent individuals like the Captain of the Federation flagship.
Peter G.
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -5)
@ Booming,

"But wouldn't that already be discrimination?? That Starfleet vets you more carefully because of one romulan grandfather?!"

It's not discrimination to do background checks on people, and if the issue here is 'racial profiling' then it needs to be mentioned that although we may think of the Federation members as being analogues for the different peoples of Earth, within the show they are literally different species with different biologies that come from different worlds that really do pose a threat. That Starfleet should be informed and take due measures doesn't mean that they are anti-Romulan as a race. A better analogy in our times would be if a Russian industrialist wanted to apply to a job in American government, I'd assume they'd run special checks on that person to make sure there are no connections to Russian government. Not because he's a white person, but because of the political structure of the place he's from. Now Simon isn't actually 'from' Romulus, but maybe their family structure is such that one could expect values to pass between generations more systematically than on some other planet.

The point is that the episode paints a witch-hunt that takes a small misdeed and tries to balloon it into treason. The analogue in The Crucible is John Proctor's infidelity to his wife, and how that guilt is used against him to finally condemn him as a 'conspirator' on a ridiculous scale. For that story to work he really does have to be guilty of the lesser offense, and likewise here if we don't understand that Simon really has done something wrong then the accusations against him would ring far more hollow. I don't see it as all that relevant to nitpick on exactly what precisely it is Starfleet would have been so concerned about.
Booming
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 2:56pm (UTC -5)
@ Peter G.
I had some contacts with military intelligence and underwent fairly intense background checks. It just sounds strange that one would have to undergo a more intense version of vetting because of one grandpa.

I guess it is speculation and not that relevant to what the episode tries to convey. Maybe he was just afraid for no reason. Still would have been nice if they had made a little comment about it afterwards.

As an aside. I personally witnessed a case that was a little like that (A guy was fired from my university because he was in the eastern German intelligence service when he was 17 almost 40 year ago. He was only technically in that unit and only for three month, never actually went but lied about it on his application. That was odd.)
Booming
Sat, Aug 22, 2020, 3:11pm (UTC -5)
And to give you a little something
German military intelligence or militärischer Abschirmdienst is shortened to

MAD :)
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 11:17am (UTC -5)
@DLPB
"Been warning you all as to what the Left has become for a long time. And now we're seeing the full level of crazy end where it always wanted to... violence and totalitarianism."

Heh.

Gotta tell you, when paranoid extreme right-wing propaganda starts to sound sane in the light of current events, you know that there's something seriously wrong with the situation.
OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 3:17pm (UTC -5)
@Trent
"Appealing to 'property rights' and 'freedom of speech laws' and 'human rights' to denounce segments BLM who trash property and cancel dudes on twitter, is to miss the point entirely."

Sorry but no.

When basic human rights are being violated, then saying "basic human rights are being violated" is hardly missing the point.

Also, two wrongs do not make a right.

"75 percent of the world's superpower doesn't live paycheck to paycheck because 'tolerance', 'diversity' and 'human rights' are lacking. "

That may well be.

But I don't see how throwing human rights down the tube is going to make anybody's situation better.

I also doubt you're going to find many BLM supporters who'd take this stance either. They are protesting against racism, aren't they? That's the whole f***-ing point of their protests and riots and god-knows-what. It's like... the only issue that exists in the entire universe, according to their views.

So don't try to pretend that their riots about the economy or anything else. Because they aren't.

Besides, if you think human rights don't matter, what are we even talking about here? What's all this lofty talk of "economic equality and justice" when you are okay with people destroying the livelihood of other people? How would you have liked it, if somebody did that to *you*?

Submit a comment





◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2020 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.