We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Prime Directive?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseTour is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseTour, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The prime directive is a term used much in the Star Trek franchise to describe a social and political attitude toward other civilizations. The prime directive is present in the first Star Trek series, and has often been the subject of debate among Star Trek fans.

The prime directive is a set of laws decided on by the United Federation of Planets. It lays down guidelines for exploring other worlds without interfering in the cultural development of such worlds. This is particularly the case when these civilizations lack the advancements that make a culture a candidate planet for Federation inclusion.

Additionally, the prime directive forbids taking part in wars between civilizations not belonging to the Federation. It does not allow for the introduction of technology to less advanced civilizations, nor for providing weapons of any kind to a civilization at war. The only interference possible is when the warring civilizations are members of the Federation. Such wars may affect continued membership in the Federation.

The prime directive is the most important law in the Federation’s stance. Violations are treated with severe punishment, as they rip at the very fabric of the Federation’s political ideals. That being said, the captain and crew in numerous Star Trek episodes either deliberately or accidentally violate the prime directive. In fact many episodes address ways in which the prime directive can be obeyed in the face of difficult situations.

These episodes are often interesting to watch from a political standpoint. All the Star Trek series explored current day issues through their presentation in a fictionalized sense. Thus one early episode from the first series, A Private Little War is in strict violation of the prime directive. In this episode, Captain Kirk decides to give primitive weapons to a previously peaceful tribe to defend themselves against another tribe who has been provided with weapons by the Klingons, a race not a part of the Federation.

The episode aired in 1968 and was considered an interesting commentary on US and Soviet involvement in Vietnam. According to strict prime directive protocol, Kirk had no right to introduce weapons to a culture still using bows and arrows. Yet because part of another rival culture had been given weapons by an advanced race, Kirk justifies breaking the prime directive.

In actuality, a more strict interpretation of the prime directive could in no way interfere on this planet. Additionally, the culture having knowledge that Kirk has access to greater advancements is a violation itself. In the Next Generation series, rules for contact with “primitive” civilizations are more clearly defined.

A Private Little War represents just one of many breakages of the prime directive, which are too numerous to list. One can perhaps best understand the prime directive by comparing it to either animal behaviorist studies or cultural anthropology. Both strive toward observation that in no way changes a culture by an observer’s presence. However, we now know that even the quietest observation always has some affect on a culture or animal set being observed. Thus in its strictest form, the prime directive can never be truly adhered to.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseTour contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

By anon15519 — On Jul 14, 2008

Wasn't it The Voyage home and it all about trying to communicate with whales that were killed off by humans?

By pokey — On Jun 16, 2007

in one star track move where a probe had been sent out that lost it prime directive do you know the name of that movie and what was the orignal prime directive of that probe?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseTour contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.