We had to respond to the threat of the core fragment, didn't we?
Of course we did. But in the end, we may have proved just as dangerous to that colony as any core fragment could ever have been.
Very flawed reasoning.
1) That society was doomed from the start. If not the core fragment, then some other disaster, alien invasion,or other external force would have struck it, and struck it hard. The attempt was to create a static society, unchanging and unaffected by external influences. This inevitably left it with limited capacity to adapt to changing conditions, and life in this universe is all about constant, unending change.
time anything alive is unchanging
is when it is dead.
That society was already dead
. Sooner or later, something was going to come along and knock it over
2) Related to the above is the fact that it was slower to develop. The reason science developed in the Federation so much faster than their society was because it had a much larger pool of ideas and people able to test those ideas. By limiting their pool of idea-makers and idea-provers, they limited their speed of development.
Further, the insular, static nature of their society also suggests that there are ideas which would be discouraged, because of their blatantly likely disruptive influence. Why would anyone work on warp drive improvements, when that would require that one seek to leave the society? Yet, clearly, one of the reasons why the Enterprise was able to help solve the situation was that they needed the higher energy states to operate the warp drive.
The solutions to one problem led to solutions for another. This is one of the beauties of science and technology -- Laser technology leads to LED technology leads to LCD technology leads to LCD light sources, which helps reduce power consumption when compared to incandescent and fluorescent lighting. Yet it's pretty certain that no one doing work on lasers early on was thinking about more efficient household lighting. Technology is amazingly interlocking, and this is the reason why doom-and-gloom resource-depletion scenarios never pan out -- because human ingenuity, in the form of technology, can almost always find alternatives to a depleted resource, or to any problems which develop. Instead of listening to always-wrong fools like Paul Ehrlich, people should be studying the late Julian Simon
3) Picard's final comment is also blatantly inaccurate in that the stellar fragment would certainly have killed a large number of people, even if it did not completely destroy them. If the society would have such a difficult time dealing with the imbalance of people leaving voluntarily, then how could it possibly have withstood the loss of a large number of people from the stellar fragment? At the worst, the presence of the Enterprise and the contact with the Federation made the inherent and serious design flaw in the society clear (its inflexibility in the face of disaster, a thing which is inevitable in this universe), yet gave them at least some time to adapt and develop some systems for dealing with the matter. On another level, the stellar core fragment also would have flat out killed a lot of people, whereas contact with the Enterprise at worst represented a deathblow to the society
(and, as above, such a deathblow, from some
source, was inevitable
), not to the people
Q.E.D. -- in all ways, and on all levels, the concerns, guilts, and doubts Picard expresses are wrong.