FlameEric the Mighty SailorFlame

Written: 2003-11-02

Eric the Mighty Sailor is my sarcastic name for a guy who claimed to have been in the Navy, and came at me with the usual array of insults typical of offended Trekkies. I initially took his claim of a military background at face value, because (in retrospect) I'm more naïve than I thought. But as the exchange goes on, it eventually becomes rather apparent that he's never been anywhere near the military.

Note that several reader feedback entries are placed after this exchange (if you want to skip to them, scroll down until you start seeing large blocks of white text).

He initiated the exchange on August 8, 2003:

Name: Eric
E-Mail: tekcomputers@teknetworks.dhs.org
Comments: United Federation of Planets and Communism...

I read through your article on this, and have concluded that while you may claim to posses a college education, it is definitely not in the areas of government or economics.

You figured out that I'm an engineer, with nothing but my repeated statements of that fact to guide you? What a genius you must be.

The UFP is not a Communistic state, it's both a Republican Democracy, combined with a socialistic economy.

Show me evidence of investment, then. There is no capital without investment, and Marx advocated "simple property", just not CAPITAL, which can be invested and used to generate income.

Your analysis seems to take the road that mankind is incapable of social advancement, and that (as star wars thrives) humanity can not exist apart from simply evolving into more technologically advanced barbarians.... In the ST world people DO own property... the Picards OWN their farm, and had so for MANY generations....

Soviet citizens could "own" an apartment too, since they could live in it for generations. Does this mean that the USSR was not communist? Obviously, the salient point about how INVESTMENT (a concept so foreign to Picard that he didn't even understand the term in "The Neutral Zone") is the crucial defining difference between capitalism and communism.

as for possessions, apart from artistic expressions, the concept of "personal possesion" accumulation becomes a moot point when, especially in the TNG era and later, everyone has access and uses replicator technology... what is the point in buying a complete kitchen set, when you can just ask the replicator to make one for you in seconds? In Star Trek (TNG and Later) their technology level has reached the point where accumulation of goods no longer becomes an advantage.....

Who do you think supplies the raw replicator stores for all of these replicators? Who supplies the electrical power? It just appears via magic? You figure no effort is required because it just happens when you push a button? When you turn on a light switch and light magically appears in the room, do you think that no effort was required in order to make this happen?

Your ignorance of basic industrial theory is particularly astounding for one who started his post by attacking MY competence. All technologies aim for convenience, but that doesn't mean that they eliminate the need for work behind the scenes. Do you honestly think that if a technology has a friendly user interface, there must be no labour required behind the scenes? This goes beyond a mere leap in logic and extends into simple idiot territory.

StarFleet both IS and ISNOT the Federation Military..... they can act as a military force, when needed, but their PRIMARY goal since their foundation is EXPLORATION...

Wow, you know how to spout Trekkie doctrine! Congratulations. Now show me the actual Federation Military, since you claim that Starfleet isn't it. While you're at it, explain why the hypothetical real Federation military isn't out there fighting wars when they happen, since Starfleet always gets that job. Explain why Starfleet ships are equipped to fight the warships of other regional powers if they are not warships. If a nuclear missile-armed submarine came cruising into port and said that they've been out conducting experiments and mapping the sea floor, would you conclude that they're not a military organization despite their armament? What planet do you live on?

Primary purpose is defined by primacy of operational orders. It has been repeatedly observed that in the event of a war, Starfleet Command immediately overrides and nullifies all scientific and exploration imperatives in favour of military ones. Therefore, their primary purpose is clearly military. Get it now?

The UFP is a far cry from any contemporary body you could analyze, it is composed of only member planets who "have learned to resolve their differences"... so appearantly while Federation military and weapons technology do not seem to advance fast enought for you primitive knuckle draggers, the UFP at least is composed of people who are capable of actually honestly getting along and functioning together, as opposed to the "primitive" Star Wars Republic/Empire which is nothing more then a conglomerate of petty thugs wrestling against one another over territory and power.

ie- SW humans are actual human beings, rather than unrealistic cardboard cutouts culled from fantasies of naivete and your astonishing ignorance of the necessity for any sort of industrial support system for a replicator-based economy.

And you, mister hight and mighty I love Star Wars, and Star Trek sucks.... EVERY CLAIM you used against the federation is applicable to the Republic/Empire... so Star Wars is just as communistic, by your own suppositions, with it's "Republic Credits" "black market" (encompassing more then mere ships, but entire planets at that)

Apparently, you were too dense to notice that Tatooine was not part of the Republic, hence Republic currency is not accepted there. Don't worry, I'm sure there are many children out there who missed that on first viewing too.

It's "esteeming of military" which is a PURE military force in it's case and not a Exploratory/Defense force as with StarFleet.

Wow, the Imperial military is a REAL military, as opposed to a shitty one with watered-down goals like the one in the Federation? Gee, that's only the entire point of my website, kiddo. Did you figure that out all by yourself, or did you have help?

I'll also note from your "Star Trek" engineering comments, that IT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOCK OUT and ENTIRE AIRCRAFT CARRIER with one hit... if you hit it in the right spot... and the Enterprise is no different..... An UGM-84A "Harpoon" in pop-up sent into the center of the flight deck would blow the entire flight deck off the ship, including it's "island" the JP-7 tanks are stored midline under the flight deck......

Your ability to completely miss the point is simply astounding. The E-D can be destroyed by a single hit WHICH DOES LITTLE OR NO STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. It's not the number of hits; it's the fact that you DON'T have to blast your way into the belly of the ship in order to kill it. Get it now? Or would you like pretty pictures drawn with crayon?

[Editor's note: I let him off easy with that retort; there were a lot of other problems with his statement, not least of which is the fact that much larger deck-penetrating explosions in WW2 did not "blow the entire flight deck off the ship" even with poor damage-control measures. But I saved some of that for later]

People with only college degrees as yourself would not know things like this... however I would, seeing as how in addition to all my studies I have also served active duty in a combat systems field....

Navy techs are taught a small fraction of what it takes to be a real engineer, and if you don't believe me, try getting P.Eng certification with only Navy tech certifications to qualify you. This is no secret. Perhaps you believe you can win any argument by citing equipment data which has nothing to do with the point and then blustering that "I was in the military, therefore I know more than any civilian", but all you're doing is wasting your time punching at air.

Needless to say, after viewing you and your competition out there.... I'd have to label you as arrogant, presumptious, and to put it simply, ignorant of fact, and true data.....

You can hurl whatever insulting labels you want, but it's more important to walk the walk than to talk the talk. Your pathetic arguments, hyperkinetic handwaving, and errant shambling attempts to bluff your way to glory speak quite loudly about the value of your judgements, and they have nothing good to say. Go back to the shallow end of the pool; you obviously haven't earned your water wings yet.

And the next exchange, later on the same day:

Show me evidence of investment, then. There is no capital without investment, and Marx advocated "simple property", just not CAPITAL, which can be invested and used to generate income.

There is a difference between Communism and Socialism, Communism is the combination of Socialism and a politburo elite class of overlord.... the UFP possess no "elite" ruling class of "Communists" rather it is simple socialism combined with the nominal Representative/Republican Democratic governmental system It's a body of Planets, each planet deciding it's representation in the Federation Assembly. Over the Assembly is the Federation Council, made up of 5 permanate members [the 5 founding members of the United Federation of Planets, The United Earth States, The Consortium of 61 Cygni {Tellarites}, Vulcan, the Star Empire of Epsilon Indi {Andorians}, and the Planetary Confederation of Alpha Centuri.] and 6 other representatives elected by the Assembly, in addition the Assembly also elects the President of the Council (the system operated much like the UN General Assembly and Security Council model). Representatives are sent to the Council by their respective member governments, either by election or appointment, which is defined by the individual elected governments.

Thank you for quoting extensively from your handy geekbook of Star Trek trivia while glossing over the REAL-WORLD definition of Communism, which is the crux of the dispute. Communism is NOT "the combination of socialism and a politburo elite class of overlord"; it is quite specifically the elimination of private CAPITAL, ie- income-generating property, among several other tenets, all of which I quoted directly from Marx himself when I wrote the page in question. Your homemade definition, on the other hand, is supported only by your say-so and desperate handwaving.

[Editor's note: can you believe he claimed to be an expert on economics when he gave that goofy definition of communism? "the combination of socialism and a politburo elite class of overlord?" I was almost in tears from laughing when I saw that]

So you've reduced economics concepts to be defined on whether "investments" are present or not in a black-n-white it's either capitolism or communism motif? Have you ever considered there are other forms of economics that do not fit in your simple mind?

Nice insult. I suppose you expect that no one will notice how you completely evaded the point, and that your "rebuttal" really said nothing.

There is no "electrical power" in this case, the system startrek uses is "optronic" and EPS based. And power is not a problem in the Federation where pretty much every planet is a utopia, deriving power from solar batteries and fusion reactors....

Have you ever considered stand-up comedy? Because you're hilarious. So Star Trek has completely abandoned elecrical power since their computers are optronic, eh? Not only is this nonsense (we already have optical devices in real life, and they do not obviate the need for power), but it is also a red herring. Regardless of whether power is transmitted by electricity or some other method, it must still be supplied. And your notion that solar power and fusion reactors somehow eliminate the requirement for work or an industrial and logistical infrastructure to deliver the raw replicator stores, maintain equipment, etc. is simply laughable.

You claim to be knowledgeable about economics, yet your entire argument is based upon several laughable assumptions:

  1. You assume that even though a replicator works by converting raw material into some other form, that no one must work to mine, refine, package, transport, or supply this material to all of its end-use points.

  2. You assume that fusion reactors require little or no maintenance effort, thus demonstrating staggering ignorance of nuclear fusion theory (yes, theory; that little thing which is beyond your intellectual capacity, so you simply denigrate it as unimportant and useless). How do you think energy is collected from nuclear fusion reactions? Magic? Star Trek uses gas conduits for transmission, which will obviously suffer a high rate of wear and require periodic replacement (hence the fact that they routinely blow out under high-load conditions). For someone who claims to be a naval tech, you don't know shit about maintenance.

  3. You assume that the entire economy is composed of light manufacturing industries which can be replaced with replicator-based manufacturing, thus ignoring the service and heavy manufacturing industries completely.

Precisely where did you study economics? Sally Struthers' international correspondence school?

I never said there was no work behind the scenes to bring that power, but there is not much, neither the fusion reactors nor the solar batteries need alot of oversight apart from casualty situations (as in TSFS).

Justify your claim that nuclear fusion reactors and global power distribution systems (non-electrical, using GAS CONDUITS) would be a low-maintenance operation.

StarFleet ships are and aren't military... their PRIMARY operation is exploration and discovery of space, the purpose they were founded for.... during wartime they convery to military use for defense of the Federation and her protectorates. Yes they are prepared to handle their aggressive neighbors, but they are not primarily a military force, and have not been since their founding before the UFP under the United Earth government.

Of course not. They only fulfill a military mandate, project power, and fight wars. Nothing military about that at all.

Primacy of purpose is never defined as such. I would expect as much from an idiot who claims to be an engineer. Primacy of purpose is defined as to what the primary DESIGN of the ships are for.

Ah, so my status as an engineer makes me incapable of discerning design purpose? Since you are obviously a blustering moron, I will explain this slowly and carefully: design is an engineer's specialty. Yet again, you make an idiot out of yourself. Federation starships are obviously designed as battleships, and their crew recognize this the moment they are deprived of their propagandistic indoctrination (see "Conundrum", when the amnesia-afflicted Enterprise crew looked at the ship's specs and immediately concluded that it was a "battleship").

Federation Vessels could be alot more heavily and well armed then they are, ALOT MORE. (chechout wartime vs. peacetime vessels, the experimental ESDEV like the Prometheus, or the small anti-borg design of the Defiant... where about 100% of the ships design is towards battle... as opposed to a Galaxy or Sovereign class, where only about 5-10% of the ship is actually equiped for warfare, the rest for diplomatic or exploratory goals. that huge 647+ meter long Galaxy is out gunned by a ~200meter long Prometheus) It's primary goal is exploration, because their primary design is exploration, secondary being the defense of theUnited Federation and her protectorates.

Only 5-10% of the ship is equipped for warfare? From which folds of your lower colon did you pull this figure?

You can make up whatever bullshit figures you like, but in reality, anybody can watch the show for himself and see that most of the ship is dominated by its power generation and propulsion systems. The removal of its non-military component (the saucer) hardly reduces the ship to 5-10% of its size, and even that component is not exactly non-military, since Riker felt the ship was actually more combat-capable with the saucer in place (see "Best of Both Worlds").

The UFP is a far cry from any contemporary body you could analyze, it is composed of only member planets who "have learned to resolve their differences"... so appearantly while Federation military and weapons technology do not seem to advance fast enought for you primitive knuckle draggers, the UFP at least is composed of people who are capable of actually honestly getting along and functioning together, as opposed to the "primitive" Star Wars Republic/Empire which is nothing more then a conglomerate of petty thugs wrestling against one another over territory and power.

Oh yes, the Republic only kept the peace for thousands of years until Palpatine destabilized the system. This is sooooo much worse than the Federation, which can't go more than a few decades at a time without a full-scale war.

no, IE SW is made up of super advanced knuckle-draggers who are incapable of advancement at a social level..... cavement with blaster pistols...... Humanity on the other hand, along side technical advancement, shows the ability to advance socially too...

Into a communist utopia. Congratulations, comrade.

That is the idea here, regardless if they were or were not part of the republic, the credits should have been acceptable by YOUR arguments.... so you merely PROVE it's the same case. Regardless of where or not it's part of it, the "Credits" would by worth something outside of it... but they are not.... Thank you for proving me right in your futile attempt to prove it wrong.

You're trying sooooo hard, it's almost cute!

Unfortunately, you're only overextending yourself again with more foolishness. If I present an American Express card to a vendor, he might not necessarily take it. This hardly means that America is communist, or that people routinely buy items and services using precious metals rather than dollars. In the Federation, people buy things using latinum. Cassidy Yates pays her crew in latinum. Gambling is done with latinum. Find me a capitalist country where people routinely use precious metals rather than the native currency.

Yes, the Imperial Military is a REAL military, that operated and runs much like a similar naval force that flew under a hammer and sicle not too long ago ;)

And like every other military too, such as the US military. Your point?

You don't have to blast your way into the center of the carrier, just get a small warhead under center of flight deck.... it will by a small hit at first, but will end up with massive damage....

I see, and this small warhead gets under the flight deck through magic? Oh yeah, it has to punch right through the structure of the ship and explode inside, hence my statement remains true. And does the ship explode like a bomb? No. So your point is wrong on two counts.

I under stand the difference between technician and engineer, the biggest difference is engineers are incompetent which in comes to real world operation (though good in design) a Naval NEC technical rating has no problem translating into civilian technical ratings... the Engineer who designed the AN/UYK-43 computer set which is the core of the AN/BSY-1 CC/A set would be useless in operation roles, or even maintenance.... as he has no real world experience with the AN/UYK-43's operation in the AN/BSY-1 Combat Control system.

Wow, you know acronyms! I guess that means your ability to analyze fictional sci-fi universes must be superior to mine, then. Or not, since you're basically talking out of your ass and not really saying anything. A technician is to an engineer as an auto mechanic is to an automotive designer. An automotive engineer does not necessarily know how to balance a wheel, but that doesn't mean that the auto mechanic is going to be better at analyzing hypothetical scenarios involving automotive technologies, dumb-ass.

Your contempt for theory is particularly amusing when we are debating about fictional sci-fi universes, in which EVERYTHING is theory. Or perhaps you have a service manual for a Federation replicator and experience in its operation? Practical experience is a useful addition to theory, however, it does not represent a blanket excuse to dismiss theory. The technologies you were trained to use were DESIGNED BY ENGINEERS, and you lack the knowledge to do what they did. Period.

The arguments are well founded, and well defined.... And while your arguements may seem plausible to the ignorant crowd of supporters out there.... to anyone with a lick of sense they are quite moronic... I can determine this

1) You do not know what defines communism, nor truely what even defines capitolism... but merely set it on your self determined definition of "capitol investment" in a black-n-white super-structure where there are no grey areas or anything outside of "the box".

So you say repeatedly. Unfortunately, you have provided no evidence to support your claims of what communism really is, while I have quoted directly from Marx himself. Your method has been to simply assume that the USSR defines any and all forms of Communism; quite typical of someone whose knowledge of economics was derived from watching movies.

2) You have no more then a shallow understanding of the operation of the United Federation of Planets. As defined throughout the Star Trek universe.

Only in your mind. I prefer to quote from episodes and use specific incidents as evidence rather than simply stating my opinions as if they were facts, the way you do.

3) You have a glancing understanding of defining the operational primacy of an organization ( I would suggest researching and studying the concept of the U.S. Coast Guard, as to defining what pertains in the definition of primacy). By your definition the Coast Guard is "primarily" a military force (when they are actually by charter and operation primarily a coastal police force under the Department of Transportation, and not the Department of Defense).

If the Coast Guard routinely got deployed to Iraq or any other foreign military operation, then it would indeed be primarily a military force. However, it does not, so your "point" is nothing but a laughably weak false analogy.

[Editior's note: it turned out that he was indeed bullshitting, but not in the manner that I thought. As a Canadian, I didn't know enough about the US military to realize that the US Coast Guard actually is part of the armed forces, and I naïvely took his claims of military background at face value. But I had a gut feeling about this, so after I hit "send", I went and checked the US Coast Guard's website. Sure enough, they are part of the American armed forces, and they do have ships in the Persian Gulf. So my logic was correct (if it's participating in the Gulf, it's military), but I should not have taken his claims about the US coast guard at face value; oh well, nobody's perfect]

4) You seem incapable of thinking outside of theory, "outside the box" into the concept of real world application... (something most techs are forced to do constantly)

And your idea of "real-world application" is to dismiss all manner of real-world complications in order to assume (among other things) that light manufacturing is the entire economy and that fusion reactors and global plasma-based power transmission systems shouldn't require much in the way of maintenance. You also fail to learn from direct observation of incidents in the show which directly contradict your theories, and then you have the gall to accuse ME of being overly theoretical.

Your argument is essentially a dressed-up ad-hominem, in the sense that you dismiss my theories because I'm an engineer, while YOUR theories about Star Trek are somehow valid because you do NOT know any theory, and instead have experience maintaining technologies that engineers conveniently designed for you.

In one case I was forced to figure out why something WAS working correctly when a problem had been engineered into the system that should not have made it work..... Which has also worked in other examples where engineering manuals could not explain why something was happeneing that should not have, like in the case of the double redundant steering and diving hydraulics of a sub, where the MM(a) had to figure out why a system "burped" hydraulic fluid out of an open pipe when the designs and manuals defined it as closed off...

Engineers are fine designers, but rarely do they actually understand what they have designed....

Bullshit. Their inability to predict anything and everything that might go wrong in a complex system does not mean they don't understand how it works. It is a hell of a lot harder to design something from the ground up than to look at a finished design and use the power of hindsight to say "hmm, that could have been done better". Try it sometime. There's a reason technicians aren't allowed to design technologies upon which public safety depends; they simply don't have the necessary skills.

Whereas the technicians who actively use their design have a complete working knowledge of it... Not any fault of their own, their own concepts do not necessitate them really understanding how the thing will work out completely in real world use.... if they could, there would be no need for "technicians"...

And if technicians could design anything, there would be no need for engineers. Your point?

We are discussing hypothetical aspects of a sci-fi universe. You have no more practical experience in that regard than I do, yet you claim that your "real world experience" somehow makes you more knowledgeable about a hypothetical subject. If you weren't so insistent about this, it would be quite funny rather than being quite sad.

[Editor's note: two days later, he tried again. He started to hurl increasingly inflammatory insults toward my real-life professional competence and even the entire engineering profession, and that's where I decided to draw the line and deliver the full Imperial Smackdown. It's one thing to argue with me about Star Trek, which is ultimately an entertaining diversion but has little meaning in the real world, but insulting my profession is taking it to a whole different level. This turned out to be the final exchange; after this hammer-blow, he never responded again]

You are still massively incompetent, it's amazing your employer has not fired you yet....

In any case... your statement of supposed "facts" is useless, you've already demonstrated you're appearant inability to handle facts and in fact proven your own competition's remarks about your self-deception correct....

It's quite fascinating how you type a lot of words yet say nothing. You DO realize that insults carry a lot more weight when you can back them up rather than just spewing them randomly, right?

I got bad news for you, had you actually EVER watched "Conundrum" or if you had, could have accurately recalled the facts involved (wow and engineer who can't process facts correctly... nothing new there....)

Your insulting attitude toward my profession is both irritating and tiresome, particularly since I strongly suspect that you're bullshitting. So as long as you're attacking the value of my credentials as an engineer, try to put your money where your overworked mouth is. State your own qualifications, including:

  1. The type of navy tech certification you received

  2. The ship on which you served

  3. The year(s) in which you served

  4. The name of your commanding officer

  5. The university at which you claim to have further augmented your education to its current lofty levels

  6. The degree you obtained

  7. Your graduating year

  8. Your name for verification purposes

Assuming you're not full of shit, of course. After all, you seem to think that a navy tech is somehow comparable to an engineer even though navy tech training lasts for a period of weeks while engineer training lasts for a period of years, which leads me to strongly suspect that you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You also claimed to have superior knowledge of economics while claiming that "Communism is the combination of Socialism and a politburo elite class of overlord", hence defying both the dictionary definition and Karl Marx's original definition.

Then you claimed to be a navy technician but you also claimed that "an UGM-84A Harpoon in pop-up sent into the center of the flight deck would blow the entire flight deck off the ship", when a Harpoon only carries a ~500lb warhead, and multiple hits from 1000lb bombs did not blow flight decks off WW2 carriers with a small fraction of the size of a modern supercarrier, even when combined with massive fuel explosions. Your ignorance of basic mechanics is showing (it's much easier to blow a hole through a flight deck than it is to rip the whole thing off and throw it into the sea) and you appear to believe that damage-control methods and technologies today are actually inferior to those used half a century ago. If you were really in the Navy, it's quite clear that you didn't learn shit, and that your training amounted to nothing more than a handful of operating procedures.

[Editor's note: I suspect that the challenge above (not to mention the dissection of his bullshit claims about modern aircraft carriers) was the reason he never responded]

They did not "automatically assume" it was a battleship.... the Computer records (altered by the same aliens that blocked the memories of the crew) inserted that data in the computer, along with the false records of the "war" and the personel file of the "Executive Officer" (alien)... and they accepted this AFTER viewing the computer.... it was the factors of the "enemies" weak power and the presence of other things on the ship... like massive science labs, families, etc. that made them doubt, then outright question this information later...

Bullshit. From the script:

WORF: I have completed a survey of our tactical systems. We are equipped with ten phaser banks, 275 photon torpedoes, and a high capacity shield grid.

MACDUFF: We're a battleship.

WORF: It appears so.

They made their conclusions upon inspection of the ship's capabilities, not its history banks. It appears you are now resorting to outright lies in order to prop up your claims.

I might also inform you there are several "corporations" in the Federation, including the Daystrom Institute (which is not governmentally run) as well as the Tellerite Mining Consortium, Yokohama Fleet Yards (Andor), SanFrancisco FleetYards (Earth)..... the only StarFleet run fleetyards are Utopia Planetia (Mars) and that is only because Utopia Planetia is the research arm where experimental vessels are constructed... after that they are contracted out to other fleetyards...

You make me laugh. What do you think the Mikoyan-Gurevich (what do you think MiG stood for?) and Sukhoi aircraft design bureaus in the Soviet Union were? Simply pointing out that a particular institute has a name hardly makes it a private, profitable capitalistic corporation.

in addition there are also private colleges (Yale, Oxford and Harvard all still exist and are all still private)

Provide evidence for this claim.

and there are publishing corporations....

Ummmm, you DO know that there were publishers in the Soviet Union too, right? Mr. Economics Expert?

almost all freight captains work in indepedant consortium's or for themselves....

And in the case of Kasidy Yates, the only observed specimen of such a creature in the TNG era, she paid her crew in latinum, not Federation credits. Quite telling, isn't it?

That the UFP's economy is closely modeled to is not capitalism or communism (the mere belief on your part of nothing beyond but two different extreams shows in inability or lack of imagination to see outside of your little box)...

Give this "think outside the box" bullshit a rest. It's nothing more than vapid business jargon, right up there with "mission statements" and "paradigms". "Thinking outside of the box" only makes sense when the "box" is traditionalism or some other restrictive social behaviour, but it's a moronic idea when the "box" is logic and observation.

it's closest model is Parceon, Participitory Economics.... the striving in the economic model of the Federation is not in the accumulation of material goods, but joy and pride in work... in the Federation people do not do things for money, or gain (there is no monetary gain in anything) it's the striving for bettering oneself and suceeding in your work and desires for life..... The Federation exists as a pure socialist economy, combined with a democratic governmental form...... this is not communism.... To quote...


a. A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.

b. the Marxist-Leninist version of Communist doctrine that advocates the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat."

(American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Addition)

Nice use of selective quoting. Let me quote the FULL definition, from the same dictionary, as cited on dictionary.com:


1. A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.

2. Communism

1. A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.

2. The Marxist-Leninist version of Communist doctrine that advocates the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat.

Hmmmm, looks like YOU SNIPPED OUT DEFINITION NUMBER ONE. And why did you do that? Because definition number one happens to fit the Federation, and you're a dishonest little weasel. Your own dictionary source backs me up, once it is quoted IN FULL. It also contradicts your laughable homemade definition of "Socialism and a politburo elite class of overlord".

and the same dictionary defines socialism, "Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy."

The Federation has not entered the arena of Communism, as even Marx would state...he defines socialism as "intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved."

Except that the Federation DOES have collective ownership of the economy. And it IS run by the proletariat; do you see any rich people running around influencing the Federation government?

The presence of Corporations within the social order, that operate apart from the any dictation by the federation government, indicate that they, by Marx's own concept, could not be communist.

Yet again, I must educate the self-proclaimed economics expert. A corporation is a legal construct designed to assign a form of "artificial personhood" to an organization for legal and accounting purposes. A corporation is not necessarily intended to generate profit, and even CHARITIES can get incorporated. Moreover, none of these "Institutes" were ever stated to be incorporated anyway. Care to try again?

(note Voyager Season 7, Ep. 20, "Author Author"..... if the federation were communist, then StarFleet would have been capable of forceably removing the "holonovel" or securing it's distribution... yet they were not capable of that)...

Yes, yes, the Doctor talked to a publisher about publishing a holo-novel. Did they discuss ROYALTIES for this service? If not, then why do you believe that the "Broht & Forrester" publishers are any more of a private corporation than the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich aircraft design institute? I remind you once again that the Soviet Union did have publishers, and the fact that a Starfleet captain in the Delta Quadrant can't stop someone from publishing something on Earth hardly proves much of anything. If Starfleet Command deemed it important enough to get involved directly and were still unable to stop this publisher, then you might have a point.

What you're operating on, if the false premise, you are right, there are no "capital-investments" in the economic model of the Federation... which means, and I will grant, the Federation is not a capitalist economy.... however, being NOT capitalist, does not mean by default, communist... which you consistently fail to realize...

the federation lacks both a system of "capital investment" and a "dictatorship of the economy by the proletariat" which means by strict definition exists in the quasi state between capitalism and communism in a state of pure democratic socialism....

Simply because the Federation matches some aspects of Marxist communism, does not mean they are communist... other aspects outright contradict Marxism......

Prove your claim that the Federation is not run by the working class.

Unlike theories, we are dealing with solidified facts here.... we have a definition of operation of hte UFP and it's economics, and we have the raw, hard definitions of economic theories here... if the facts do not completely match the theory, then the theory does not work...

Stop confusing your personal definitions of the UFP with our direct observations from onscreen events and dialogue.

the definition of Marxism does not completely match all aspects of federation economics, therefore it is not Marxism.... What it does seem to match is the large quasi area of socialism, and as I stated before Participatory Economics... which is a flavor of socialism it matches the closest.

There may very well be other obscure unrealistic models proposed by various economic theorists which fit the Federation even more closely than communism does. So what? If we must choose a well-known model, Communism is the best fit for the Federation. Besides, I have seen no evidence whatsoever of the producer and consumer councils required as a primary tenet of ParEcon.

By the way, I notice you quietly dropped your various claims about replicators having no industrial back-end, optronics eliminating the need for power, fusion-based planetary power grids not requiring maintenance, the light manufacturing industry being the entire economy, gas conduit-based power transmission not producing any wear or requiring maintenance, only 5-10% of a GCS being used for military purposes, etc. Are you willing to concede those points, or were you just hoping that your mistakes would be quietly forgotten if you didn't mention them?

PS. After you mentioned the Coast Guard as an example of a non-military service with armed vessels, I thought it might be interesting to check their webpage. Lo and behold, it says quite clearly at http://www.uscg.mil/overview/ that "The United States Coast Guard is a military, multimission, maritime service and one of the nation's five Armed Services. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests - in the nation's ports and waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security". So much for your claim that the Coast Guard is not military. Just how long did you plan on trying to bluff your way to glory?

[Editor's note: after facing an open challenge to back up his claims of a military background and explain his many errors on matters of economic theory and military knowledge, he quietly disappeared. I never heard from him again. What a shock]

Reader Feedback #1

The following was sent by Stuart Slade on November 5, 2003:

I was reading the Eric the Mighty Sailor exchange and something leapt to my eye. To whit, his statement

"I'll also note from your "Star Trek" engineering comments, that IT IS POSSIBLE TO KNOCK OUT and ENTIRE AIRCRAFT CARRIER with one hit... if you hit it in the right spot... and the Enterprise is no different..... An UGM-84A "Harpoon" in pop-up sent into the center of the flight deck would blow the entire flight deck off the ship, including it's "island" the JP-7 tanks are stored mid-line under the flight deck"

No it BLOODY wouldn't. Firstly, the fuel tanks are NOT where he says they are. They are actually at the sides of the hull and form part of the torpedo defense system and secondly JP-7 does NOT explode when hit in the way described (which is why it is part of the torpedo defense system).

"You don't have to blast your way into the center of the carrier, just get a small warhead under center of flight-deck ... it will by a small hit at first, but will end up with massive damage."

Lets see; if it gets through the 2.5 inches of STS steel that makes up the flight deck it'll be in the uhhhhh - gallery deck. Which is crew quarters, briefing rooms and the such. Under that is the hangar deck. Which has firefighting capacity exceeding that of a small town. Then another 2.5 inches of armor.  Then - nothing of any importance.

Incidentally, there's something weird about the way the guy uses designations. Anybody on ships doesn't call the AN/BSY-1 that, its Busy-One. They call the AN/UYK-43 the YUCK-43. It's just like he read them from a reference book....

He followed up with some more info a few days later:

I suspect what this guy may have been thinking about is the magazines that are center-lined (primarily to get them away from a torpedo threat to the sides) but they are at the bottom of the ship and protected by a highly sophisticated protection system that is designed to break up anything penetrating that far.

There is, of course, no JP-7 held in the magazines.

(Another oddity by the way; this guy tried to imply that he was a submariner - yet every bubble-head I've ever known has hated the Harpoon and worshiped his torpedoes - and a single torpedo can hurt a carrier quite badly. I think this guy plays a game like Harpoon and assumes its realistic).

Good sources on the structure of US aircraft carriers are "US Aircraft carriers, an Illustrated Design history" by Dr. Norman Friedman and "Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet" by Norman Polmar. I've attached a cross-section of a carrier with the fuel storage areas highlighted in red.

By the way, something I've noted is that, as far as I can determine there is no case of a warship being lost through a fuel or machinery explosion resulting from war damage. This applies whether the ships were coal or oil powered, Oil fuel, whether the old bunker oil or the modern DIESO simply does not explode. Even making it burn is quite difficult; it needs hard work and special conditions to make it light. Rather surprisingly, even coal doesn't seem to have caused explosions even though coal dust is viciously explosive (hence the mine disasters of the 19th and early 20th centuries). Magazine explosions are, of course, available in plenty but fuel explosions are conspicuous by their absence.

Reader Feedback #2

The following was sent by David Klaus on November 14, 2003:

With regard to your correspondence with "Eric the Mighty Sailor", you may be interested to know that the U. S. Coast Guard had vessels in Vietnam, as well, in the Mekong River Delta for example.

Originally organized to capture smugglers and collect custom duties, the Coast Guard was part of the Treasury Dept. (the ships were known as "revenue cutters"!) until 1967 when, in recognition of its expanded inland waterway safety mission, it was moved into the newly created Transportation Dept., the last item being the one thing he got right.  It's organized (as you undoubtedly have noticed) in parallel to the Navy with similar enlisted/NCO ratings and identical officer ranks, as well as having its own service academy.

Because it was never part of the Navy or Defense Departments, the Coast Guard has always been the red-headed bastard child of the U. S. military, looked down upon by "real sailors" in the Navy, but you're correct in considering it part of the military as a practical matter.

Reader Feedback #3

The following was sent by Paul Flocken on March 12, 2004:

I was in the Navy from 1990 to 1996, in the aviation field, and served on carriers for over half that time.  Hardly salty by most standards but enough to know horse-feathers from propeller blades(an important thing when working the flight-deck).

A carrier is laid out this way.  The flight deck is labeled the "04".  The deck underneath is the "03" and is contiguous throughout the ship.  Underneath that are the "02" and "01".  They had cutouts in the center where the hangar deck space intruded into them.  All four were pronounced as 'oh' four, three, two, one, though the flight deck was never really called 'oh four' it was simply the "flight deck".

The hangar deck was the main deck of the ship and as such was numbered 1 and could also be referred to as the first deck.  The rest of the decks are numbered down from there.

I tell you this so you will have reference points.

Eric the mighty sailor would not have been much of a sailor.

A harpoon is an excellent missile for the job it was designed to do, but it would be completely inadequate to the task of "blowing the top off a carrier. While it has more explosive content than a 1,000 lb Mk83 dumb bomb it is only a subsonic missile and even that speed would be lost in the pop-up that would be needed to come down on the flight deck from above.  The velocity of the weapon is far more important for penetration of armored ships than for non-armored ones.  The explosive is only important after the weapon has penetrated the ship.  Any sailor who has ever transited from the flight deck to the 03 knows the flight deck is over a foot thick.  While I can't do the math to know what could get through this, I do know that prior to the ascension of aircraft carriers battleship shells had to weigh thousands of pounds to be able to penetrate thicknesses of armor on this scale.  It is unknown to me if such shells were supersonic in flight.  Modern warship's, with the exception of super-carriers, are not armored and hence are extremely vulnerable to weapons that have such low explosive content and low speed that armored ships would simply shrug them off.  The Exocet missile has a laughably small warhead but it was enough to sink several British ships and severely damage several more in the Falklands, all small, unarmored ships.

More on the Harpoon later.

Eric the mighty sailor mentions something called JP-7.  The grades of fuel that the Navy uses and that I can identify for you are JP-5, and DFM.  I will also bring up AvGas and JP-4.  To begin I will state what I can remember of their volatility (thermal stability?  It has been eight years since I had to know this stuff.) learned in fire fighting school.  AvGas, JP-4, JP-5, and DFM.  AvGas is just high octane gasoline.  The Navy ceased using it in the early seventies when the last of the Skyraiders were removed from carrier service.  It was extremely unpopular because of its volatility.  JP-4 is what the Air Force uses for its jets and is comparable to kerosene in volatility.  I believe it is also what modern airliners use in which case it is called Jet A or Jet B, I never could keep those two straight.  The Air Force was phasing JP-4 out but that was years ago so I don't know if that is complete or not.

(A side note here, automotive diesel should fit in here between JP-4 and JP-5).

Next is good ol' JP-5.  Stings like fire ants and always seemed to have infiltrated the water.  Eventually breakfast just didn't taste right without that JP-5 Tang.  ALL Navy aircraft that go to sea aboard carriers use JP-5.  It's low volatility is what made it the Navy's choice.  In FF school we watched instructors put out lit matches in buckets of JP-5.  It is also used in the emergency electrical power 'diesel' engines of the carriers.  Big honking in-line 9 cylinder engines the size of a VW micro bus from the sixties.  I never did get to see one running, but they were impressive.  Next is DFM or diesel fuel marine.  It was for the ships engines(I served on the Independence, CV62, one of the non-nuclear ships).

Now, if you notice, nowhere did I mention JP-7.  JP-7 is a curiosity.  It was specially developed for the YF-12 program and only ever used in the SR-71. Supposedly it has such high thermal stability that it can be used to put out fires.  The fuel is so stable it could only be ignited electrically.  This sounds like a 'duh', since all fuel in internal combustion engines is ignited by electrically arcing sparks, but it isn't really.  If electrical sparking did not exist prior to the development of this fuel (e.g. some other means was used inside engines) it would have been necessary to invent it.  This stability was sought to use as a heat sink in the wings of the Blackbird to help them maintain cooler temps and to protect against premature detonation of the fuel in the event of oxygen intrusion in to the fuel system.  The Navy never used JP-7 for any purpose.  I highly doubt Eric the mighty sailor was ever near an aircraft.  I sometimes can't keep -4 and -5 straight in my own mind.  I fueled a lot of airplanes in the Navy ashore, at sea, on Navy bases and on Air Force bases, so I was always doing different things, but I KNOW I never saw a  single ounce of -7 anywhere on several ships or on many bases.

OK.  As for the destructive possibilities of the Harpoon.  The "03" deck of the carriers is dominated by several things.  At the front are the catapult rams, steam, for cat's 1 and 2.  Amidships are the various warfare control centers, though in terms of volume they don't really occupy much.  Also amidships, slightly back of the CIC's, are the second set of catapult rams, for cat's 3 and 4.  Aft are the arresting wire rams, hydraulic.  Tucked into all the remaining spaces are the berthing and staterooms of the officers(including pilots) of the air-wing's squadrons.  There are also a various workshops for the squadrons.  In terms of volume these last two are the biggest but they are not systematically inserted into the deck because of the requirements of the others, it is more random, because after all a person can sleep anywhere.

Now, did I mention fuel anywhere?  No.  That must be because there is no fuel stored on the '03'.  Fuel is run up from many decks down, below the waterline of the ship, in pipes that run just under the outer skin of the ship.  All refueling stations on the carrier are on the outer deck edge of the flight and hangar decks, not in the middle.  This makes it safer as a hazard for damage and does not interfere with stability, after all, tanks of fuel are not hollow and would raise the C.G. of the ship.  The location of the fuel is a no-brainer lesson from WWII, because bombs do penetrate flight decks and having fuel right under them would therefore not be good.  The best way for a Harpoon to attack a carrier is the terminal sea skimming mode.  That would get the missile into the vital spaces below the first deck where it would be much more likely to encounter large quantities of fuel and explosives.  Additionally, though the flight deck is armored, the skin of the ship on the sides is only about 1/2 inch thick, not enough to keep out even a subsonic missile.

That is all for now.  As I read more from Eric the mighty liar I will write again.

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