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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Is Spock a Socialist or a Libertarian?

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few.” Pure Vulcan logic. Unquestionable in its merits. So we must instead try understanding precisely what he meant by it.

Many have jumped to the conclusion that Spock is promoting a socialist outlook with this maxim. But, I would argue just the opposite. Whenever a new piece of legislation arises before Congress, it is almost always about defeating a supposed “injustice” of a few, by spreading the cost over the many.

Steel tariffs: Helping the few (steelworkers) at the cost of the many (people who buy things made of steel). Aspects of healthcare reform: Really helping the minority (those with inheritable diseases that insurance agencies wouldn’t cover) at the cost of the majority (those without these diseases). Speech limitations. Subsidies. All benefiting the few at the cost of the many.

Now, the reason Spock’s libertarian-leaning views might not be obvious is because, on a macro level, socialist policies seems to help everyone. And perhaps if we have enough of them, they’ll overlap everyone at some point. But, each individual piece of legislation focuses on the needs of the few rather than the needs of the many.

And if we want to live long and prosper, we better follow Spock more closely.

By: Eric Olsen, Regular Columnist
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