July 26, 2007

Trek star ignores Prime Directive

What would Starfeet Command say?

Star Trek actor Walter Koenig yesterday urged fans of the iconic sci-fi series to turn their wrath on Burma's military junta, an earthly "outpost of tyranny".

Koenig, who battled alien Klingons and Romulans as an original member of the Starship Enterprise crew, said he hoped to mobilise Trekkies to join a campaign against the ruling generals blamed for human rights abuses in Burma, renamed Myanmar by the junta. (Link.)

Three things: One, Koenig played "Chekov" in case you were unaware. Two, Chekov was not an original member of the Enterprise crew. He joined the cast in the second season. Third, the point of this post -- don't Koenig's proposed actions violate that holiest of holy Federation laws, the Prime Directive?

The Prime Directive dictates that there can be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations. In many respects, then, the prime directive can be considered the galactic analogue of Westphalian sovereignty. It has special implications, however, for civilizations still at a 'primitive' stage of development, since no primitive culture can be given or exposed to any information regarding advanced technology or the existence of extraplanetary civilizations, lest this exposure alter the natural development of the civilization. In addition to exposure, purposeful efforts to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret, are prohibited.

My emphasis. Sure sounds like it, eh? Sort of like George Bush in Iraq ... ?

(h/t: Taranto.)

Posted by Hube at July 26, 2007 10:35 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

*Dusts of Geek Credentials*

Doesn't the Prime Directive mostly apply to civilizations that are pre-warp?

Obviously, neither us nor the Burmans(?) have faster than light transportation, so your point is still valid.

That could be extended to not messing around with cultures that aren't developed, but what a benchmark for that would be, I don't know.

Myanmar is in the UN (I assume), and the Federation doesn't seem to mind messing around with its own.

*Adjusts glasses*

Posted by: Ryan S. at July 26, 2007 11:39 AM

I have not heard that clarification before. In which episode does it say the prime directive is only for use on pre warp civilizations?

It makes sense from the story line, but is there ever a clarification as such that is spoken?

Posted by: kavips at July 26, 2007 11:51 PM

kavips: I believe it was established in an episode of TNG, possibly in the excellent episode "First Contact."

Posted by: Hube at July 27, 2007 11:14 AM

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