Is Spock a Commie?

Is Star Trek's Mr. Spock a commie?

I have often stressed how the totalitarian left is so callous to individuals. The attitude is common among socialism's intellectual supporters, that for example Stalinism or Maoism is somehow less reprehensible than Nazism, because at least it had a "worthy goal".

See for example this book by a sobering Martin Amis:
Not quite a memoir, this book sandwiches a lengthy treatise on the horror of life in Leninist and Stalinist Russia between Amis's brief personal takes on his gradually dawning awareness of Soviet atrocities. In his first and final pages, he deals with three generations of dupes who supported Soviet rule: that of H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw; that of novelist Kingsley Amis, the writer's father and member of the Communist Party in the 1940s; and that of leftist contemporaries of Martin Amis himself, notably the writer Christopher Hitchens. Throughout, Amis snipes at Hitchens in particular ( What about the famine?' I once asked him. There wasn't a famine,' he said, smiling slightly and lowering his gaze. There may have been occasional shortages....' ) Alexander Solzhenitsyn tried to tell the West about Stalinism in the '70s, but this grim patriarch had no appeal for the New Left, a generation interested only in revolution as play, Amis says.
"Revolution as play" describes well the motivation of the Greenpeace agitators in my previous blog entry.

And never mind the "worthy goal" is ludicrously unworkable, being the elimination of wealth differences via the destruction of capitalism, which means everyone equally starves. Some utopia, that!

Devoid of an external spirituality, the leftist is driven to produce a heaven on Earth, and thus anyone who stands in the way of their grandiose social engineering vision can be destroyed without a twinge of conscience, for it serves their fantasy of a Greater Good.

Any individual can be gleefully disposed of, for the good of the whole.

These are the kinds of people who will likely agree with the statement, "I love mankind; it's [individual] people I can't stand."

So what are we to make of Star Trek's Mr. Spock?

The Star Trek movies II-IV, in a neat self-contained story arc, revolve around two opposite themes.

SPOILER ALERT! I'm sure you all know the story, but in case you don't and want to see the movie, I'm going to reveal a plot point or two. BE WARNED!

At the end of The Wrath of Khan, Spock sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise and everyone else on board, stating that he was driven by pure logic, because "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

Then Kirk and his small band of loyal officers break all sorts of laws and get themselves into a great deal of trouble and difficulty, to essentially resurrect Spock. Wondering what logic could have compelled them to do so, it is explained to Spock by Kirk that they took those risks because "The needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many."

Both statements, stripped of context, neatly sum up the opposite philosophies of the Left and Right.

But does that make Spock a left-winger?

No, not at all! There's a key difference. Spock made the decision that his individual needs were outweighted by "society's" for himself alone.

That's the difference.

That makes Spock's actions truly noble and praiseworthy. As far as the Star Trek canon goes, there's no evidence Spock ever attemtped to impose onto others, the disciplines he subjected to himself.

Your typical lefty, however, believes the Cause is so important, that they can make the decision for individual sacrifice for someone else.


And that's the Root of the Evil of Leftism.

Now, can we see Kirk's philosophy as a simple blueprint for a society that upholds the Rights of individuals against any majority, no matter how large? Is it not problematic though for society, that it must take costs onto itself, to defend the individual's rights, because that cost is in effect borne ultimately by a group of individuals? Doesn't that make it just as useless as Leftism, in the final analysis?

No, not at all -- the situations are not symmetric!

To believe the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one at first glance bring benefit to the largest group, and thus a Utilitarian may find this attractive. However, if you're the "one" whose needs are outweighed, guess what, you're absolutely crushed! So if that turns out to be YOU, well, it's rather disastrous! And whatever "benefit" accrues, being spread out over a large group, may be diluted to meaninglessness: imagine for example by punitive taxation we soak the "rich" of all their excess cash and hand it out equally to everyone. Wow, everyone gets a few bucks, which hardly makes any difference, but now the luxury industries whose goods could only be bought with marginal, disposable cash are all out of business, along with everyone they employed...

And furthermore, since society as a whole is nothing but the sum of individuals, all of whom can be crushed, then society itself as a whole is destroyed ultimately by Leftism.

And this fact is supported time and again by the historical record!

But in the other case, let us recall that those who bore the risk with Kirk to serve the Needs of the One were volunteers -- like those serving in our Armed Forces. And whatever cost is to be borne by society to protect the individual gets diluted over many. And since society is nothing but a sum of individuals, all of whom have protected Rights, then society as a whole is ultimately protected.

The only way to be sure of serving the Greater Good is to be like Spock, and decide for yourself -- and for yourself alone! -- when the Needs of the Many outweigh the Needs of the One.

In other words, people should be inspired to follow Spock's example, but government should adhere to Kirk's!

So hmmm, let's see, that would make McCoy...
Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a metaphor!