Teton Valley Tea Party

The Bee Or The Hive?
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hive.jpg - 18406 BytesA philosophical question - What's More Important, The Bee or The Hive???

(Please don't skip this section because of it's apparent silliness. It really is one of the binding questions upon which all of this conservative-liberal stuff hangs.)

At one point in the Star Trek movie, The Wrath Of Khan, the Enterprise has been totally disabled. There is no way of fixing the relatively simple problem because Engineering is so full of radiation it would kill a human in just a couple of seconds. Time is of the essence as the ship is about to be destroyed by Khan, killing everyone. Spock, whose Vulcan body can withstand more radiation than a human, enters the chamber and fixes the problem. Moments later the ship is out of harm's way. Cpt. Kirk runs to Engineering and sees Spock's skin begin to disintegrate through a thick radiation proof window. In a pleading voice Kirk cries, "Spock, why did you do it?" Spock's last words are, "Because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one." He gives the Vulcan sign and dies. His body is sent to a nearby planet that had just been blasted with the "Genesis Bomb." Now, jump forward with me to the next Star Trek Movie, "The Search For Spock." To make a long story short, the genesis bomb brings new life, and this includes Spock. Cpt. Kirk and the Enterprise rescue Spock at great peril to themselves and the ship. After the rescue, Spock asks, "Jim, why did you do it?" Cpt. Kirk answers, "Because the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many."

So, moving away from the Star Trek movies, let me ask the same question again in a different way: Which is it, "the needs of the one" or "the needs of the many?"

Now lets see... lets argue both sides here.

Lets start by defending the hive or the needs of the many... Surely, if we are going to be a viable community or society we need to be working towards a common goal. Take WWII for example. This was a max participation effort. Not only did a huge number of people enter the military but because of a shortage of men, a huge number of women worked at jobs supporting the war effort. Women were found in every industry - it didn't matter if they were making tanks or bombers. The nation collectively sacrificed. There was rationing of sugar, coffee, rubber tires, and gasoline as well as many other items. If it wasn't rationed it was often in short supply or unobtainable. More than one person cut an old tire up, cutting horizontally across the old tire every few inches, then wired these pieces around their good, bald tires. This helped them last a little longer. It made a heck of a noise as the car went down the road. But the greatest thing that was sacrificed was our 418,500 young men who didn't come home. [I remember, as a kid, looking at a plaque outside the county court house listing the names of those who died in the county during WWII. There were around 11 names as I recall. That's about one third of people that were in my whole county high school class. That's Huge!]

Before the war there was lots of dissent. However, during the war, speaking out against it was at a minimum. There were no big demonstrations. It wouldn't have been tolerated by the government or the people. The country was truly unified. Everyone worked toward a common cause - the winning of the war.

Vietnam was a different story. Many people think the constant, massive dissent was what lost the war for us. Not only did it destroy the morale of our troops but it must have also emboldened our enemies who had no concept of 'free speech in a free society.' (I'd guess that the presidents of the US during the Vietnam war would have liked to lock up the rioters like Woodrow Wilson did during WWI.)

Gee, wouldn't it be great if we could just be one big national family, working towards common goals! We could be so happy. There would be no dissent. No one would go hungry or without a job. No one would ever have to fail. Everyone would be happy with their place in life. Everyone would be taken care of! It would be Great!!! At least, it sounds great. But it's not so great if you have to live it.

Now, looking at the other side of the story, the bee... the needs of the one.

Lets see... Everybody's doing their own thing working towards their own advantage. They are concerned about their neighbor, but what really drives them is what will be to their own best interest. Chad thinks he can make a lot of money, plumbing. That's because he's heard of several construction contractors who can't get their building projects plumbed in a timely manner because there's a shortage of plumbers. This is in spite of the fact they are paying top dollar. (Over simplifying things just a tad bit as Chad has no plumbing licence...) So Chad decides to get into plumbing to cash in on the good wages. The contractors are now happier as their plumbing is getting done and Chad is delighted with his new business. This simple story is repeated a million times over with people making things, providing services and really, just being quite selfish in trying to make a buck. There are others that are doing things simply because they love what they are doing and it ends up paying the bills. There are still others that just can't seem to make as much money as they'd like, so they get into businesses and grow them and grow them until they are multi-millionaires. Man, are these guys ever selfish and ambitious! (They also create a lot of jobs.) The important thing here is everybody is "doing their own thing" without outside interference.

So, how can a society exist like this? Doesn't it sound like anarchy in a way? You would think that everything would totally fall apart. "H E Double Toothpicks," you might say, "There's nobody in charge here. There's no central planning!!! Everything is so left up to chance."

Yet, life seems to tick by just fine for everyone. When a need is identified, seeing an opportunity, someone is bound to fill it. Then, there are those with rare insight... What if Sam made this thing and showed everyone how cool it was. Even though they don't need this thing "now," pretty soon everyone will want one when they find out how great it is. So Sam spends, maybe years, developing his little project. Then, very selfishly, he goes to the Patent Office and gets a patent so no one else can make money off his idea. "I'll make millions when this thing takes off," Sam says.

Now, multiply Sam by a few thousand people and things really start to happen. As great as the horse and buggy was, now we're driving cars on beautifully engineered roads, flying in planes and riding on trains. We have electricity and hot and cold running water in our homes, carpets on the floors, drywall on the walls, beautiful paint, light fixtures with electric lights, televisions, computers, microwaves, electric ovens, telephones and cell phones... ...well, as you know, the list is endless. Say, this, 'the bee is more important,' thing is really working out. And it's because someone believed they could get ahead by doing it. If the central planners were in charge they would probably have said, "You know, Sam is really nuts. That horse and buggy is good enough. It gets people around just fine. We can't afford to develop Sam's idea."

So, which is right? The needs of the one or the needs of the many?

Here's my take on it. I do see there is a time during national emergencies such as war that the hive needs to be in the top spot. However, if the hive always stays most important, then the survival of the hive becomes the only important thing. The bee becomes expendable (as he certainly does in war). I understand that the communist playbook says that when implementing communism, around 10% of the populace, the ones who won't tolerate what's going on, will have to go. Hey, it's a necessary sacrifice! When the hive is the most important thing there is a tendency towards central planning. This means the bee gets his life organized for him by the collective in the hive.

So, what's to protect the existence of the hive if the bee is most important? All the jobs get done by natural selection. It all gets done and the hive survives quite nicely. In my opinion, the hive survives far better than if the hive was the most important thing.

It's my understanding the founding fathers intended to set up a government that would protect the liberty of the people and then stay the heck out of the way. Think of the way things are now, here in the United States. We have the freedom to come and go as we want, doing what we think will bring us the richest, most fulfilling life. That's the needs of the one. The Soviet Union was not like that.

The hive mentality is reflected by a leftist, totalitarian government. The individual bee mentality is reflected more by a right of centrist government. Look at the totalitarian forms of governments today and the governments that are more on the right side of the politician spectrum. It's not hard to see which hives are thriving and which are not. Prosperity is found where liberty reigns.

The needs of the many=tyranny
The needs of the one=freedom

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Freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth, but that every individual life is infinitely precious, that every one of us put in this world has been put there for a reason and has something to offer. Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

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sidney-hook.jpg - 1768 BytesI was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature. Sidney Hook [Mr. Hook started life as far left on the political spectrum as you could get but ended his life as a conservative.] (1902-1989)

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