“The Needs of the Many…”

On my way to work today, my wife and I happened across a bit of insight. We’re recently back from an event where Leonard Nimoy was present, and I remembered his famous lines from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:

Captain Spock: Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh…
Kirk: …the needs of the few.
Captain Spock: Or the one. I have been and always shall be your friend. Live long and prosper.

This came up in a conversation about how socialism views the proper place of the individual and the status of the State. Namely, that socialism teaches that individuals are just cogs in the machine in service of the almighty State, and it’s from that State that all rights and responsibilities are derived. I think Spock’s words — I’m sure very unintentionally — jibe well with this outlook. If his words are axiomatic, then it follows that the primary responsibility of the person must be in the service of the community — or in a larger sense, the State. This is dangerous stuff, as seen in places like the Soviet Union and the Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia. Still, it certainly feels right, doesn’t it? I would add this corollary to the above:

The rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the many.

These two moral guidelines, I think, describe a sort of Christian libertarianism. Anyway, interesting.

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