The Doctor Who episode ‘Thin Ice’ is an allegory for slavery
Liam Hogan
321

Haven’t seen this one as gave up on Moffat-Who a couple of years ago but your summary also suggests a nod to William James and Ursula Le Guin.

James suggested that as a test for utilitarianism we whether it would be acceptable if the greater good of not just greatest number but of the whole human race were somehow served by the suffering of just one of its members.

Le Guin’s short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas is an acknowledged visualisation of that scenario —all the happiness and prosperity of the fantasy city of Omelas rests upon the sufferings of just one child — and not on its torture but just on its systematic neglect and a life of low level misery which as the child has been locked away and brought up to know nothing else he can hardly even understand as suffering.

Plus I am no Who scholar but I can remember this theme being recycled multiple times even just in New Who — off top of my head there was the one with the spaceship powered by the torture of some sort of space whale, the one with the Ood slaving away in a factory, the one with the people extracting chemicals from dopplegangers…

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