Thursday, January 15, 2009

Time to apply the "prime directive"

As I already said once, American pop-culture is, generally speaking, shallow, but even in such a deluge of banality one can find a philosophy worthy of discussion.

I am going to speak about "Star trek" yet again. For those not acquainted with the series, in this fictional world the main characters, the crew of the starship "Enterprise", are in the service of the intergallactic entity called "United Federation of Planets" which explores space, colonizes uninhabited planets and makes contacts with new, previously unknown species. The main rule that the Federation has set for the contact with other worlds is the so-called "prime directive". Though never quoted in it's entirety, one can deduce some of it's basic points:

  1. prohibition of any kind of contact with a pre-warp civlization(one that has not mastered space travel beyond the speed of light). Even indirectly helping such societities acquire warp technology is strictly forbidden.
  2. prohibition of involvement in conflicts within a civilisation, except in case of a direct demand from all parties involved
  3. prohibition of interference in a civilisation's application of it's laws, customs and contracts or the impediment of those for whatever reason


The objective of the "prime directive" is to enable species and civilisations to develop in a "natural way", to achieve progress on their own merit. In addition to this, events in the past where the Federation, out of the best of intentions, did get involved into the development of other worlds which almost always had disastrous consequences on the planets involved, their population and way of life, influenced the inception of the "prime directive". Naturally, there were cases when the crew of the "Enterprise" were tempted to break this rule in order to do what they saw as a noble deed, as well as those where the literal application of the "prime directive" appeared cruel, even ruthless. The correctness of the "directive's" philosophy is never questioned, nor the will to uphold it to the highest extent possible.

Is it not time to start a similar philosophy on our planet in the 21st century? The past, recent as well as the distant one, shows us that implementation of values and cultural models from the outside and "the above", as well as attempts to forcefully uproot customs that allegedly "enlightened" foreigners consider "barbaric" results in chaos, disintegration and hopelessness in which the country subject to foreign models soon finds itself in. One need not go further then Iraq to see that in practice. Supporters of "democracy spreading" will, of course, quote anecdotal evidence in favour of their thesis how "all people naturally desire freedom and democracy" but the results of behaviour contrary to the "prime directive" are plain to see for all and can not be ignored.

It is necessary to allow the worlds different from ours to achieve our level of development on their own, providing they want to. This in no way precludes the defense of our civilisation, quite the opposite. A civilisation confident of itself and aware of it's achievemens and how it reached them , will as a natural reflex have it's self-preservation and will react to all potential threats without the political and ideological burdens in the form of it's supposed enlightening mission and alleged obligation to share it's achievements with everyone, one way or the other.

The creators of "Star trek" are of the opinion that humanity will evolve in a positive way, not just technologically, but spritually as well. The "prime directive" is an integral part of such an evolution. Supporters of "global democratization", which are inevitably included in the legions of fans of the series worldwide, should bear this in mind.

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