Patterns of Force: The Sound and The Fuehrer

10 times out of 10, if anyone mentions the prime directive, the prime directive has been or is about to be violated. What this means for this episode is that somebody re-created Nazi-fascism on a planet and everyone’s favorite crew was put in charge of putting the breaks on the ‘final solution’.

It goes as you expect with rebels not knowing everyone in their organization and a handful of rebels being high in the ranks of the unfortunately uniformed. What’s tricky, though, is the end.

The Federation guy who was stranded on the planet had only been looking to Earth history for the most efficient way to bring a large group of people together. Nazi Germany was his logical conclusion, but he had planned of coming short of Hitler’s tipping point; the point when a dangerous leader sees the unity of the people and decides to use them to carry out some obscene objective.

So how did he fail to do avoid the tipping point? He forgot he wasn’t the only one high enough in the ranks to see the potential of a united people. His second-in-command drugged him and used him as a puppet for his own ends. (A fact glossed over in the end-of-episode discussion about absolute power corrupting absolutely.)

What I find most interesting is that when our stranded fellow chose Nazi Germany to get the ball rolling on peace and posterity he also chose to keep the swastika; this was itself a symbol of peace and posterity for many cultures for more than a thousand years before the Nazi’s adopted it. Had our stranded fellow been successful in his original goal, he might have also revived the more pleasant reputation of the swastika.

These hands can harm, these hands can heal;
these hands can go right to the edge
and make for any breach a seal
so long as they just skirt the ledge.
Yet for every kind of action
is an opposite reaction
that stands in equal measuring
beside the path worth treasuring.
How might we all keep to the right
when all we see is what went wrong
as cumbersome becomes the throng?
How might we all keep to the right
when what was left weighs so against
that naught but woe could be incensed?