Political officer


The Lion of Baton Rouge
Dec 19, 2005
Baton Rouge, La
:cool: A police state is a totalitarian state regulated by secret police; the
police exercise power on behalf of the executive and the conduct of
the police cannot be effectively challenged.
So what are the real indications that the TNG Federation corresponds
to the police state model? I can think of a few; most notably Deanna
Troi. Now societies that aren't police states might easily have
shrinks on their large ships to provide for the mental health needs of
their crew. There's nothing all that sinister about that. But...why
is it a bridge position? Why is she seated right there with the two
commanding officers of the ship, a position that indicates she is
second only to the captain and equal in the pecking order to the first
officer? She hardly needs to be there to do that job.
The original answer when they were conceptualising the series was that
Troi wasn't just supposed to be the ship's shrink but she was also
supposed to be the Captain's conscience, his "good angel". Riker
would be the "bad angel" and propose some kind of cowboyish course of
action and Troi would then point out risks and countervailing
regulations. The concept got watered down in execution so that Troi's
advisor status ended up amounting to nothing more than contributing
remarkably uninsightful assessments of the alien of the week, because
after all Picard had little need of a good angel.
So what do you call a staff officer, not really part of the service
itself but attached to it, second only to the Captain, whose job is to
monitor the captain and crew for unreliability and talk those who are
becoming unreliable back into a well adjusted dedication to duty?
Yes, that's a "political officer". Deanna does her job with a much
lighter touch than her equivalents under Stalin or Mao, but then, they
didn't have the benefit of telepathy or hundreds of years of
advancement in the study of psychology and psychiatry. Stalin tried
to use psychiatry to eradicate disloyalty. He just wasn't as good at
it. :cool:

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