History Main / TheNeedsOfTheMany

12th Jul '16 10:27:41 AM Veanne
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In ethical philosophy, this is also known as Utilitarianism, of which UsefulNotes/EthicalHedonism is one of the most common and basic forms.

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In ethical philosophy, this is also known an important tenet of Utilitarianism (known on this wiki as Utilitarianism, of which UsefulNotes/EthicalHedonism UsefulNotes/EthicalHedonism) - if more information is one of the most common and basic forms.
required, please Website/{{Google}} J. S. Mill and/or "trolley problem".



Compare HeroicSacrifice, ColdEquation and SadisticChoice. If some member of a group needs to make the sacrifice, the question of WhoWillBellTheCat arises. If the protagonist is being asked to sacrifice ''themselves'', this is likely to be WhatIsOneMansLifeInComparison. For the more morally gray versions, compare UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans, TotalitarianUtilitarian and AMillionIsAStatistic. A catchphrase of every other HiveMind.

The SmallStepsHero either doesn't believe in this or [[TheParagon finds it inseparable from everyday acts of kindness]]. An IdealHero will TakeAThirdOption. See also FriendOrIdolDecision. When the sacrifice turns out to have been inadequate, or the ''wrong'' people are sacrificed through misunderstanding or inadequate information, "MyGodWhatHaveIDone" is the usual reaction.

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Compare HeroicSacrifice, ColdEquation and SadisticChoice. If some member of a group needs to make the sacrifice, the question of WhoWillBellTheCat arises. If the protagonist is being asked to sacrifice ''themselves'', this is likely to be WhatIsOneMansLifeInComparison. WhatIsOneMansLifeInComparison For the more morally gray versions, compare UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans, TotalitarianUtilitarian and AMillionIsAStatistic. A catchphrase of every other HiveMind.

The SmallStepsHero either doesn't believe in this or [[TheParagon finds it inseparable from everyday acts of kindness]]. An IdealHero will TakeAThirdOption. See also FriendOrIdolDecision. When the sacrifice turns out to have been inadequate, or the ''wrong'' people are sacrificed through misunderstanding or inadequate information, "MyGodWhatHaveIDone" MyGodWhatHaveIDone is the usual reaction.



* Gut-wrenching example in ''Manag/AttackOnTitan''. When Wall Maria is abandoned, there are too many refugees to feed and the food supplies look grim. The government's solution is to draft 250,000 people (20% of the population) to [[BlatantLies reclaim the lost territory from the Titans]]; only a [[CurbStompBattle handful survive]]. Pixis doesn't mince words about this and goes further to say that if Wall Rose falls, this time over ''50%'' of the remaining humans are going to be sent to die.

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* Gut-wrenching example in ''Manag/AttackOnTitan''.''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. When Wall Maria is abandoned, there are too many refugees to feed and the food supplies look grim. The government's solution is to draft 250,000 people (20% of the population) to [[BlatantLies reclaim the lost territory from the Titans]]; only a [[CurbStompBattle handful survive]]. Pixis doesn't mince words about this and goes further to say that if Wall Rose falls, this time over ''50%'' of the remaining humans are going to be sent to die.



* Parodied in ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'', where a villain is trying to justify an attempt to exterminate the entire human race "for the greater good," and quotes the Franchise/StarTrek example as "proof." The heroine is not impressed and says "YoureInsane."

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* Parodied in ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'', where a villain is trying to justify an attempt to exterminate the entire human race "for the greater good," and quotes the Franchise/StarTrek ''Franchise/StarTrek'' example as "proof." The heroine is not impressed and says "YoureInsane."responds with YoureInsane.



* The titular heroine of ''ComicBook/AlbedoErmaFelnaEDF'' face a similar dilemma like [[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann Simon]], except the sacrifice [[UpToEleven was even bigger]]: [[spoiler:in the final part of the first StoryArc, Erma's homeworld is attacked by enemy forces (the ILR), while the ILR are ignoring they were part of a FalseFlagOperation from a member of Erma's own side, in this case her former boyfriend. Erma is forced to save her planet first from being destroyed, while being unable to save her family, and also her actual boyfriend getting killed during the whole conflict, without mention she was exiled from her world after that as a retalation from both her ex and her own corrupt army in an attempt to get rid of her]].

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* The titular heroine of ''ComicBook/AlbedoErmaFelnaEDF'' face a similar dilemma like [[Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann Simon]], except the sacrifice [[UpToEleven was even bigger]]: [[spoiler:in the final part of the first StoryArc, Erma's homeworld is attacked by enemy forces (the ILR), while the ILR are ignoring they were part of a FalseFlagOperation from a member of Erma's own side, in this case her former boyfriend. Erma is forced to save her planet first from being destroyed, while being unable to save her family, and also her actual boyfriend getting killed during the whole conflict, without mention she was exiled from her world after that as a retalation retaliation from both her ex and her own corrupt army in an attempt to get rid of her]].



* ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen''. As the damaged Nautilus is sinking to the bottom of the ocean, Captain Nemo must make a decision.

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* ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen''. As ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' - as the damaged Nautilus is sinking to the bottom of the ocean, Captain Nemo must make a decision.



* The Polish short film ''Most'' (which means "Bridge"), in which a man ends up sacrificing his son by lowering a drawbridge to prevent a train crash.

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* The Polish [[PolishMedia Polish]] short film ''Most'' (which means "Bridge"), ''Most''[[labelnote:translation]] "Bridge"[[/labelnote]], in which a man ends up sacrificing his son by lowering a drawbridge to prevent a train crash.



* Spoken word for word by Sentinel Prime in ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon''. [[spoiler: This time, though, it's in a much more sinister context. Essentially, Sentinel uses this as justification for enslaving mankind to rebuild Cybertron (by "the many" he means all Cybertronians; he couldn't care less about humanity).]] Doubles also as an ActorAllusion, as Sentinel is voiced by Leonard Nimoy.
* Part of [[spoiler:HYDRA's]] doctrine in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', culminating in a plan to institute world peace at the barrel of a gun...with twenty million lives as the first cost.

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* Spoken word for word by Sentinel Prime in ''Film/TransformersDarkOfTheMoon''. [[spoiler: This time, though, it's in a much more sinister context. Essentially, Sentinel uses this as justification for enslaving mankind to rebuild Cybertron (by "the many" he means all Cybertronians; he couldn't care less about humanity).]] Doubles also as an ActorAllusion, as since Sentinel is voiced by Leonard Nimoy.
Creator/LeonardNimoy.
* Part of [[spoiler:HYDRA's]] doctrine in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', culminating in a plan to institute world peace at the barrel of a gun... with twenty million lives as the first cost.



* ''Film/ANewHope'': Princess Leia plays this game with Grand Moff Tarkin, when faced with the Death Star destroyin Alderaan, naming the planet Dantooine as the site of the hidden rebel base, knowing full well Tarkin would order the planet destroyed. The Star Wars Expanded Universe later confirms that Dantooine is an inhabited world, meaning Leia is willing to trade the inhabitants of that planet with the (presumably greater in number) residents of her homeworld. The effort turns out to be moff, er, moot.

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* ''Film/ANewHope'': Princess Leia plays this game with Grand Moff Tarkin, when faced with the Death Star destroyin destroying Alderaan, naming the planet Dantooine as the site of the hidden rebel base, knowing full well Tarkin would order the planet destroyed. The Star Wars Expanded Universe later confirms that Dantooine is an inhabited world, meaning Leia is willing to trade the inhabitants of that planet with the (presumably greater in number) residents of her homeworld. The effort turns out to be moff, er, moot.



* [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] in ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'', due to Creator/AynRand's AuthorTract. Examples of altruistic ideals turning into spectacular failures abound, but a special mention goes to the 20th Century Motor Company of Starnesville. After the company passed from the founder to his children and they reorganized the plant to a pay system of "from each according to ability, to each according to need," it turned into a nightmare trainwreck for the employees before collapsing in on itself. This inspired [[spoiler:John Galt]] to abandon his revolutionary electro-static motor and [[spoiler:begin his quest to spur "the men of the mind" all over the world to strike and bring the end of the world ruled by altruist, Collectivist morality.]]

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* [[{{Deconstruction}} Deconstructed]] in ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'', due to Creator/AynRand's AuthorTract. Examples of altruistic ideals turning into spectacular failures abound, but a special mention goes to the 20th Century Motor Company of Starnesville. After the company passed from the founder to his children and they reorganized the plant to a pay system of "from each according to ability, to each according to need," it turned into a nightmare trainwreck train wreck for the employees before collapsing in on itself. This inspired [[spoiler:John Galt]] to abandon his revolutionary electro-static motor and [[spoiler:begin his quest to spur "the men of the mind" all over the world to strike and bring the end of the world ruled by altruist, Collectivist morality.]]



* ''Literature/TheOnesWhoWalkAwayFromOmelas'' almost poses this as a question: If you lived in a {{Utopia}} that bought the happiness of the Many with the [[PoweredByAForsakenChild utter suffering of one child]], [[WasItReallyWorthIt would you accept it, or walk away]]?

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* ''Literature/TheOnesWhoWalkAwayFromOmelas'' almost (?) poses this as a question: If you lived in a {{Utopia}} that bought the happiness of the Many with the [[PoweredByAForsakenChild utter suffering of one child]], [[WasItReallyWorthIt would you accept it, or walk away]]?away]]? The story has been used in at least one ethics class.



* A very dramatic version in "''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "In The Pale Moonlight", when Sisko enlists Garak in coming up with a scheme to draw the Romulans into the Dominion War on the side of the Federation. Garak succeeds, but has to assassinate a Romulan official in the process, along with the criminal who forged the recording they are using to fool the Romulans into thinking the Dominion was planning to attack them. When Sisko confronts him over this, Garak points out that they might have just secured a Federation victory in the war, saving not only the Federation, but the Klingons, and eventually the Romulans and the rest of the Alpha quadrant from Dominion domination -- "and all it cost was the life of one Romulan Senator, one criminal, and the [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone self-respect of one Starfleet officer]]. I don't know about you, [[NecessarilyEvil but I'd call that a bargain.]]" At the end of the episode, Sisko admits to himself that it was [[IDidWhatIHadToDo a sacrifice worth making]] and that he'd do it again if he had to.

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* A very dramatic version in "''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "In The Pale Moonlight", when Sisko enlists Garak in coming up with a scheme to draw the Romulans into the Dominion War on the side of the Federation. Garak succeeds, but has to assassinate a Romulan official in the process, along with the criminal who forged the recording they are using to fool the Romulans into thinking the Dominion was planning to attack them. When Sisko confronts him over this, Garak points out that they might have just secured a Federation victory in the war, saving not only the Federation, but the Klingons, and eventually the Romulans and the rest of the Alpha quadrant from Dominion domination -- "and all it cost was the life of one Romulan Senator, one criminal, and the [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone self-respect of one Starfleet officer]]. I don't know about you, [[NecessarilyEvil but I'd call that a bargain.]]" At the end of the episode, Sisko admits to himself that it was [[IDidWhatIHadToDo a sacrifice worth making]] and that he'd do it again if he had to.



** Imperium of Man: Sacrifice plenty of Imperial Guard to win back a planet or successfully defending one. In some cases sacrifice the planet for the millions of other planets...ok lets just say sacrifice [[AMillionIsAStatistic a few billion]] for even more trillions.

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** Imperium of Man: Sacrifice plenty of Imperial Guard to win back a planet or successfully defending one. In some cases sacrifice the planet for the millions of other planets...ok ok, lets just say sacrifice [[AMillionIsAStatistic a few billion]] for even more trillions.



** Tyranids: Subvert this by a longshot, lose billions but in the end they win and eat the planet dead and all. And those they lose? They just eat their corpses and recycle the biomass.

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** Tyranids: Subvert this by a longshot, long shot, lose billions but in the end they win and eat the planet dead and all. And those they lose? They just eat their corpses and recycle the biomass.



* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Dinah Alcott, the third most powerful precognitive in the world, begins to embody this trope after her captivity by Coil. She knows that the world is going to end in two years, and can give [[LudicrousPrecision the exact numbers down to the fourth decimal place.]] Therefore, she begins to orchestrate events to reduce the number of casualties-even if it means [[spoiler:[[TheUnfettered betraying the person who saved her from captivity.]]]] Keep in mind that she's ''nine years old.''

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* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Dinah Alcott, the third most powerful precognitive in the world, begins to embody this trope after following her captivity by Coil. She knows that the world is going to end in two years, and can give [[LudicrousPrecision the exact numbers down to the fourth decimal place.]] Therefore, she begins to orchestrate events to reduce the number of casualties-even if it means [[spoiler:[[TheUnfettered betraying the person who saved her from captivity.]]]] Keep in mind that she's ''nine years old.''
26th Jun '16 8:52:19 PM nombretomado
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* ''TheDresdenFiles'' gives us at least three subversions where the main protagonist refuses to put the many ahead of the few. First in ''Grave Peril'' Harry [[spoiler: rescues Susan from Red Court vampires,]] even knowing that his actions will trigger a war with the Red Court. A second time is in ''Dead Beat'' when [[spoiler:Wardens of the White Council stop their attack to prevent a necromancer from setting off a powerful ritual to get trick-or-treating children to safety]] despite knowing the dire consequences of failure. Harry does it again in ''Changes'' when [[spoiler:his daughter is kidnapped by the Red Court during a cease-fire.]] This time around someone directly asks him to consider the needs of the many, but Harry makes it clear he'll let the entire world burn before letting [[spoiler:the vamps hurt his daughter.]]

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* ''TheDresdenFiles'' ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' gives us at least three subversions where the main protagonist refuses to put the many ahead of the few. few.
**
First in ''Grave Peril'' ''Literature/GravePeril'' Harry [[spoiler: rescues Susan from Red Court vampires,]] even knowing that his actions will trigger a war with the Red Court. Court.
**
A second time is in ''Dead Beat'' ''Literature/DeadBeat'' when [[spoiler:Wardens of the White Council stop their attack to prevent a necromancer from setting off a powerful ritual to get trick-or-treating children to safety]] despite knowing the dire consequences of failure. failure.
**
Harry does it again in ''Changes'' ''{{Literature/Changes}}'' when [[spoiler:his daughter is kidnapped by the Red Court during a cease-fire.]] This time around someone directly asks him to consider the needs of the many, but Harry makes it clear he'll let the entire world burn before letting [[spoiler:the vamps hurt his daughter.]]
11th Jun '16 7:56:50 PM DarkPaladinX
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* Zigzagged with the communist ideology. At first, it is seem to be easily interpreted that the massive wealth and goods of the upper class (the capitalists) should be taken away and redistributed among the working class majority [[note]]A large majority of Europeans at that time period were lower class laborers working and textile mills and factories[[/note]], something that UsefulNotes/KarlMarx himself advocated. Ironically enough, Karl Marx himself ''opposed'' utilitarianism (at least Bentham's version of it), stating that human nature is too dynamic to be limited to a ''single'' utility and noted that Bentham and other utilitarians fails to take into account of the changing character of people. Instead, the communist ideology is more closely related to Immanuel Kant and deontology instead of utilitarianism.

to:

* Zigzagged with the communist ideology. At first, it is seem to be easily interpreted that the massive wealth and goods of the upper class (the capitalists) should be taken away and redistributed among the working class majority [[note]]A large majority of Europeans at that time period were lower class laborers working and at textile mills and factories[[/note]], something that UsefulNotes/KarlMarx himself advocated. Ironically enough, Karl Marx himself ''opposed'' utilitarianism (at least Bentham's version of it), stating that human nature is too dynamic to be limited to a ''single'' utility and noted that Bentham and other utilitarians fails to take into account of the changing character of people. Instead, the communist ideology is more closely related to Immanuel Kant and deontology instead of utilitarianism.
4th May '16 5:58:56 AM TheOneWhoTropes
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* In ''GurrenLagann'' using this trope as a mantra is why [[spoiler: Simon is happy with the series ending despite the heart-rendingly painful price he had to pay to save the universe. It perfectly shows how strong and heroic Simon has become.]] It's also extremely Japanese.

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* In ''GurrenLagann'' ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' using this trope as a mantra is why [[spoiler: Simon is happy with the series ending despite the heart-rendingly painful price he had to pay to save the universe. It perfectly shows how strong and heroic Simon has become.]] It's also extremely Japanese.
26th Feb '16 8:59:58 AM StClair
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* This was Aang's final dilemma in the last episodes of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', when Aang was distraught over the thought of having to kill Fire Lord Ozai [[ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne in order to save the world]], even though his upbringing as an Air Nomad and monk taught him [[ThouShaltNotKill to hold all life as sacred]], [[TurnTheOtherCheek even the lives of people who might be morally evil.]] His friends try to brace him for this as best they can, while his past incarnations either agree with them or just say he'll have to stop agonizing and make ''a'' decision no matter what. [[spoiler: He might have gone through with it if there was NO other choice, but the Lion Turtle gave him a third option.]]

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* This was Aang's final dilemma in the last episodes of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', when Aang was distraught over the thought of having to kill Fire Lord Ozai [[ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne in order to save the world]], even though his upbringing as an Air Nomad and monk taught him [[ThouShaltNotKill to hold all life as sacred]], [[TurnTheOtherCheek even the lives of people who might be morally evil.]] His friends try to brace him for this as best they can, while his past incarnations either agree with them or just say he'll have to stop agonizing and make ''a'' decision no matter what. [[spoiler: He might have gone through with it if there was NO other choice, but the Lion Turtle gave him [[TakeAThirdOption a third option.option]].]]
14th Feb '16 2:23:03 PM DarkPaladinX
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Added DiffLines:

* Zigzagged with the communist ideology. At first, it is seem to be easily interpreted that the massive wealth and goods of the upper class (the capitalists) should be taken away and redistributed among the working class majority [[note]]A large majority of Europeans at that time period were lower class laborers working and textile mills and factories[[/note]], something that UsefulNotes/KarlMarx himself advocated. Ironically enough, Karl Marx himself ''opposed'' utilitarianism (at least Bentham's version of it), stating that human nature is too dynamic to be limited to a ''single'' utility and noted that Bentham and other utilitarians fails to take into account of the changing character of people. Instead, the communist ideology is more closely related to Immanuel Kant and deontology instead of utilitarianism.
9th Jan '16 7:07:39 PM XISCifi
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* In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', [[spoiler: Jack (under emotional stress) agrees to sacrifice his grandson to save the 10% of Earth's children who would be subject to a FateWorseThanDeath otherwise.]] This is especially jarring as the entire season leading up to that point had portrayed sacrificing even a few lives to save the entire world as unacceptable.

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* In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', [[spoiler: Jack (under emotional stress) agrees to sacrifice his grandson to save the 10% of Earth's children who would be subject to a FateWorseThanDeath otherwise.]] This is especially jarring as the entire season leading up to that point had portrayed sacrificing even a few lives to save the entire world many as unacceptable.an unacceptable evil that the protagonists were willing to do anything to prevent.
9th Jan '16 7:02:40 PM XISCifi
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* In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', [[spoiler: Jack (under emotional stress) agrees to sacrifice his grandson to save the 10% of Earth's children who would be subject to a FateWorseThanDeath otherwise.]]

to:

* In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', [[spoiler: Jack (under emotional stress) agrees to sacrifice his grandson to save the 10% of Earth's children who would be subject to a FateWorseThanDeath otherwise.]]]] This is especially jarring as the entire season leading up to that point had portrayed sacrificing even a few lives to save the entire world as unacceptable.
21st Nov '15 12:57:10 PM intastiel
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* Taxes.
* 'Progressive' taxes.
* 'Excess profit' taxes on companies.
* Food rationing.
* Conscription.
* Eugenic sterilization, or so the argument goes.



* This trope is the rationale behind most, if not all, HeroicSacrifices.
11th Nov '15 3:50:52 PM R1ck
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->'''Image of G'Kar's Father:''' ''[to G'Kar]'' Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved. Because, if we fail in this, then ''none'' of us will be saved.
-->--''Series/BabylonFive'', "Dust to Dust"
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