March 15, 2023


William Golding and the curse of the dreamWe must resist the lure of utopianism (Samuel Mace, 3/15/23, The Critic)

As Anna Neima writes in The Utopians:

Utopias are a kind of social dreaming. To invent a "perfect" world-in a novel, a manifesto or a living community, is to lay bare what is wrong with the real one.

The desire of utopianism to create something brand new is often paradoxically led by those stating their own humility. Does utopianism really provide humility in guiding mankind towards its destined and natural path? Whilst some such as Isiah Berlin have argued utopianism assumes that man has a fixed, unalterable, common goal that binds us together, that is perhaps not quite true. Utopianism is a story about the way mankind should be, and all stories need a good "villain". Movements seeking to create paradise on earth, especially those denouncing the world as it is, often find "enemies" within and outside the movement. Those "enemies" deny mankind the chance to fulfil its true nature by challenging the eternal truth that would free us all. 

When utopian ideas are put into practice, they are liable to descend into chaos through a desire for perfection. The drive of perfection threatens not just the progress already made, but also leads to its leaders forgetting themselves. As they breed radicalism, initially innocent and even beautiful ideas turn in on themselves and create something dangerous and ugly.

The Anglospheric rejection of Reason helped insulate us from Utopianism.
Posted by at March 15, 2023 12:00 AM