Those who we have chosen to protect have, by their nature, a great potential to walk along the road to enlightenment. They must be closely guided and directed, as they suffer from misconceptions and attitudes that must be pruned on the way. We are all fragments of a whole, and their perspectives will aid us all to step into the future together. However, their limited and faceted nature means that they must be closely supervised on their journey. It is our duty as shepherds and protectors.
The Ascendancy is a civilisation built on fear. Their culture calcified in a period of terror at its own impending doom, and that has never changed. Their entire system is geared towards maintaining control, and extinguishing or hiding that which cannot be controlled. This runs counter to everything that an intelligent being should strive for - the Ascendancy enslaves its people to ignorance, terror and directionless toil. Their subjects should be pitied, and their rulers despised.
It is a surprise that a civilisation so enamoured of imaginary deities has come so far and become a potent force. Their faith/philosophy is interesting, and worthy of study to see how it motivates this driven people, but it is inherently of little worth. The Dominion is strong, but distant from us, and has access to parts of the galaxy we do not. Proper ideas may sway them in time, and their prominent priest class may be open to more correct methods of thinking if given the proper encouragement.
Their intent seems noble, but their methods are too chaotic and unconstrained to achieve much. They serve as a useful foil against the Ascendancy, but the humans who dominate the Free Union are too close-minded to be worth the effort to bring into the fold, at least in their current form. They can be dealt with reasonably, and are worth cultivating connections with.