In the new Star Trek, Cadet James Tiberius Kirk finds himself standing before the Academy’s review board. During his third attempt at a computer simulation no one had ever passed, Kirk installed a subroutine in the simulator’s programming which allowed him to win. He was accused of this by Spock, the creator of the simulation.
Here’s part of the exchange, starting with Kirk’s justification for his actions:
Kirk: [to Spock] The test itself is a cheat, isn’t it? I mean you program it to be unwinnable.
Spock: Your argument precludes the possibility of a no-win scenario.
Kirk: I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.
This shows a change in Kirk’s belief system. Prior to this, Captain Christopher Pike told Kirk his dad didn’t believe in no-win situations. Kirk replied, “Well, you see how that worked out for him.” Kirk’s father drove his ship into an enemy ship, but his sacrifice allowed others to live, including Kirk and his mother.
Pike replies, “I guess it depends on how you define “winning.”
Captain Kirk then attacked his challenges head on, often risking his own life to achieve victory.
John Galt, the hero in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” looked at his own no-win scenario and took a different approach. With not only his company, but his country, rushing towards collectivism, he felt the total collapse of the nation was inevitable. So he quit. He went on strike.
And he took the best of the best with him. One by one he talked the heads of industry into disappearing, leaving the looters to search for another mine to strip.
It would be like Kirk leaving the Enterprise and taking Spock, McCoy and Scotty.
Galt felt what he was facing could not be stopped. So he chose to speed it along its path and pick up the pieces after it collapsed.
Kirk fights. Galt walks.
There are days I find myself wondering which is the appropriate role to take in today’s America. I look across the Bridge to Dependence and see so many Americans already on the other side, calling for more to join them and wonder if I shouldn’t just let them. Go Galt and get out of the way.
And then there are days where I feel more like Captain Kirk, wanting to confront the ideas of collectivism and Marxism and explain to people that that road leads to the destruction of the individual.
Is America too far gone? Are the Captain Kirks of the conservative and libertarian movement wasting their time? Is there still a chance to win this fight for liberty?
Again, it depends on how you define “winning.” If you simply mean a return to Republican party domination, winning is possible. In fact, the more the Democrats do, the more probable it becomes.
However, Republicans in majority behave badly. Rep. Sam Graves, my Congressman, usually votes with a conservative mind. But when the opportunity came for him to take a stand for fiscal conservatism, he chose to vote for $200 billion in looting.
I can’t see that as winning. Winning has to be a return to the limited government Madison and Jefferson wanted. That goal is far more difficult. It will take decades to educate a majority of Americans about conservative values, if we can get them to care about the state of the nation more than the state of “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s a very difficult goal, but is it no-win?
Galt or Kirk? Where are we and what should we do? Tell me what you think in the comments.