Comments: The Colonel's Tiger

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Not bad, Hube! In fact pretty damn good.

I wasn't quite sure where you were going with this one at first, but quoting Gibbon and Picard in the same piece is pretty awesome the way I see it.

This is especially relevant in light of the demise of Howard Zinn, the marxist revisionist historian.

Regards,
Rob

Posted by Rob Miller at February 4, 2010 09:07 PM

I find it both wholly ironic and loathsome that you use a quote which, hilariously enough, was used not only as a means to promote freedom of speech but basic human rights to claim that those deemed "the enemy" are not subject to "rights."

On top of that, you change the quote completely at the end. For those readers who actually care what the writers of that episode were trying to convey, here's the actual text:

Picard: "We think we've come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, it's all ancient history. And then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly it threatens to start all over again."

Worf: "I believed her... I helped her... I did not see what she was."

Picard: "Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged."

Worf: "I think, after yesterday, people will not be so ready to trust her."

Picard: "Maybe. But she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish. Spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we have to continually pay."

When Picard was speaking of villains who clothe themselves in good deeds, it was not of the terrorists or Mr. Obama who he spoke of... it was of people like you. When he spoke of vigilance, it was not of the enemy he spoke, but vigilance against those who would subvert freedom or due process of law in the name of fighting "the enemy".

Here's a better quote for you from the same episode, Mr. Hube. And since you took the liberty of editing the original quote in your favor I believe I'll do the same - that is, change a few words to reflect the common conservative argument against those who "defend terrorism" by promoting basic human rights:

"How dare you! You who consort with terrorists, invoke my father's name to support your traitorous arguments? It is an offense to everything I hold dear! And to hear those words used to subvert the United States of America! My father was a great man! His name stands for integrity and principle! You dirty his name when you speak it. He loved America! But you, Mr. President, corrupt it! You undermine our very way of life! I will expose you for what you are! I've brought down bigger men than you, Obama!!"

Posted by SadAmerican at March 28, 2010 10:00 PM

Oh, and perhaps, before using Star Trek as a source of quotes to defend your side in the future, you might wish to know that Star Trek was a vision of a completely socialist future in which mankind worked for their mutual benefit rather than the pursuit of wealth. It doesn't really fit well with the rest of your agenda.

If you want to see what the Enterprise crew thought of people who think the way you do (the 20th century mindset), check out episode 126 (The Neutral Zone).

Posted by SadAmerican at March 28, 2010 10:09 PM

Sad: Obviously, you didn't even begin to comprehend what's behind this post. You ascribe "an agenda" to me, when in fact it is you who has an agenda and is merely upset that I supposedly cherry-picked (I didn't) ST quotes for my "own benefit."

First, based on the content of this post, what precisely in Picard's quotes to Worf are not pertinent? BTW, I found the quote(s) on the 'net ... are they inaccurate? (After reading yours above, I suspect some of the terms may be.) If they are not precisely what was in the episode, it was not b/c I edited them. Indeed, I copied and pasted them from a Googled transcript site. Nevertheless, if what you quoted is the actual (accurate) quote, I suggest you read it again ... b/c it doesn't change my point whatsoever!

Second, on what basis do you imply that I am anti-free speech and/or against basic human rights -- basic human rights even for terrorists?

Third, you supposedly "correct me" on my knowledge (or lack thereof) of Trek, yet your claim of ST being "a completely socialist future" shows that you don't know very much about Trek.

Fourth, in "Chain of Command" (where Picard was tortured by the Cardassians), I know of no one -- including myself -- who would attempt to justify those actions by the Cardis (against Picard). But here's the real issue when comparing the Federation and the Cardassian Union to the contemporary West and, say, the Islamic world: Very few folks I know who've seen that episode had a problem with Picard, Worf and Crusher leading that clandestine operation into Cardassian space (y'know, violating their sovereign territory) because the intel concluded that the Cardassians were working on a biogenic weapon, very destructive -- genocidal, even. And not only that, it's because we know the Federation to be inherently peaceful and non-confrontational, and it abides the rule of law, etc., while the Cardassian Union is a military junta predicated on expansion and subjugation.

Now, what would be your reaction to, say, Israel sending in a crack team of commandos to destroy Iran's nuclear capability? Since you seem to know my "agenda," let me invoke similar characteristics towards you: Your reaction, I'd wager, would be one of utter outrage against Israel, not against Iran for constructing the nuke and its continuing genocidal rhetoric against Israel and the West.

Continuing, why in the world does the Federation maintain Section 31? As a result of its existence did not the Utopian Federation [implicitly] condone torture -- and even genocide (against the Founders) -- as a response to [an] extraordinary threat[s]? I am not saying that you condone this group's actions (or even its creation), but it is beyond naive to presume that NO society -- even one as Utopian as the Federation -- would not have such "contingency" plans to preserve itself and/or prevent catastrophic attacks. Or, as the saying goes here in the US, "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

And in conclusion, Admiral Satie's quote can easily be thrust upon the "guardians of virtue" like those Western nations other than the US who do not (unfortunately) have a First Amendment (as was mentioned in the post. Again.).

Posted by Hube at March 29, 2010 03:26 PM

Glad you like "The Colonel's Tiger" but things have moved on a long way since it was published. The third generation of post-contact humans and Kzin have, in a few cases, established co-operation. Of course, TCT was written long before 9/11 though it did try to warn against the perils of an overr-complacent society. Vol XII was published not long ago.
Best wishes,

Hal Colebatch

Posted by Hal colebatch at September 15, 2010 01:05 PM

Many thanks for stopping by, Hal!

I'm a big collector of the Niven-verse, so I am indeed aware of how things stand now between humans and kzinti. While TCT is truly a superb story in this universe, I was, as you could probably tell, quite enamored with its "message."

Posted by Hube at September 15, 2010 03:04 PM