Trekathon 305: Homeward (TNG)

March 6th, 2012

Oh, hey, the Prime Directive.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t see the episode for the trees here, as I spent the entire hour thinking about the morality and ethics of the prime directive. At one point Crusher is overwhelmed by the thought of making a decision that will ‘affect the future of a species’. But not doing anything to save them before is just as much a choice as intervening. The Prime Directive makes an ethical choice that its better to leave things as they are, which just doesn’t feel as ‘right’ as they make it out to be. It’s a ‘Trolley Problem‘ writ large.

The other problem is the that the Prime Directive is privileged above even saving lives. What is the point in preserving a culture into death? At what point is it right to stop worrying about creating cargo cults and start worrying about saving lives and doing right? Much sooner than they normally do here, I think.

I just recently completed a ‘introduction to legal rules’ course as part of a Masters. One of the points discussed there is that rules are only effective in so far as they are founded on the ethics and values of the society. It seems to me that the prime directive isn’t, and that explains why it is so frequently violated. I strongly suggest the Federation Council consider an inquiry.

305 down, 432 to go.