The Needs of the Few and the Paralysis of Perfectionism

“Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” – Leonard Nimoy’s character Spock, Wrath of Khan, 1982

For anyone who has questioned whether or not the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a severe enough threat to justify a soft version of martial law and a possible economic depression, Spock’s classic claim might be inverted. It would go more like this: “The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.”

There is plenty of logic and data supporting the argument that COVID-19 poses a threat sufficiently dire to justify everything that’s being done. It is a poorly understood, highly contagious disease that afflicts people in unpredictable ways, with possible recurrences even in people who have recovered, and so far there is no effective therapy and no vaccine. Fair enough.

But the response to COVID-19, should it be an overreaction, highlights a trend in American society that has grown over the past several decades into an overwhelming problem. Increasingly, we are paralyzing ourselves, losing individual freedoms, and squandering our prosperity as a nation in the pursuit of impossible perfection. Why? Because we have decided the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many.

Before providing examples of this, and they are countless, one must acknowledge the moral arguments in favor of allowing the needs of the few to outweigh the needs of the many. Christian compassion would make the obvious case that the few matter as much as the many, and it […] Read More