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Is the Prime Directive Ethical?

Star Trek's Prime Directive basically states that there can be no interference with internal development of pre-warp or primitive non-interstellar traveling civilizations. This principle may seem altruistic, yet is it ethical?

Think about these scenarios. If someone is dying and you could save them, then it would be ethical to try to save the life of this person. To do otherwise, would be unethical and cold-hearted. Now imagine if an entire primitive civilization is about to be completely annihilated from whatever cause, it would certainly be ethical to try to save this civilization from certain destruction, even if the civilization themselves caused the impending doom. As a result, the Prime Directive can be not ethical for the people that it is intended to restrict. Only the definition of what is ethical is uncertain, yet each person can answer that uncertainty for themselves.

Furthermore, the Prime Directive is not altruistic either. Since non-interference could harm the technologically inferior people.

The Prime Directive's intended consequence is to keep advanced technology out of the hands of people who are not responsible enough by assuming that technological development is an adequate indicator of responsibility. This is wrong in my opinion. Responsibility and maturity does NOT come from technology or experience. Instead, responsibility and maturity comes from thought, empathy, and self-reflection.

by Phil for Humanity
on 04/18/2010

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