In the book “News from Nowhere” by William Morris, a particular kind of utopia is presented. Written in 1912, the story portrays England having changed from a capitalistic society, with all its so-called “negative” characteristics finally having been overcome, to an idyllic place where nature was foremost, and also a place in which governments and all the things associated with a political system were eradicated.
The environment is prominent in this utopia as that society became a “partner” with nature in a way, and formed an existence in which everyone was left to themselves to “be who they really were” without some outside pressure forcing conformity to someone else’s image. The story does present the people as having discovered their own potential, everyone is portrayed as having pursued the things they really enjoyed, whether it was some particular job skill, something from the arts, agriculture pursuits, metal-working, etc. Everyone also helps out his neighbor and everyone has their “place” and all things work efficiently! No activity was viewed as being unimportant or looked down upon, since that society allowed everyone to do what they wanted and so everyone pursued their own satisfactory life and left everyone else alone.
The transition to that utopia stage had to go through revolution and the overthrow of capitalism. The two main pillars of capitalistic thought in this particular story were property and wealth and a thorough discussion follows as to how those things were overcome. Property and wealth were important because that maintained the rich/poor distinction and created the exploitative practices which maintained that duality. Eliminating those two things brought everyone on a kind of “equal” footing. Government, which tended to work on behalf of the rich, was rendered useless and so disappeared. The utopian society soon followed.
We don’t really hear the word “utopia” mentioned much but it’s shadow is still cast upon the thinking of the minds of many people, and I have in mind now liberals, and, with the political season upon us, Bernie Sanders tops that list, especially with his negative ideas of wealth. The ideas of Sanders and other liberals concerning the redistribution of wealth is tantamount to the destruction of wealth and would fundamentally change our capitalistic society as wealth would somehow in a sense be “punishable” by having it taken away. That destruction would provide for many programs, a particular one in this political season being free education from kindergarten through college. This would definitely create a kind of equality, much like in this book. After all, class, sex, race, poverty, etc., none of these things would be an advantage or disadvantage anymore, everyone could be free to pursue what they wanted. But would it really work? I don’t hear much on why this type of wealth redistribution is bad. We should! Utopian thinking is definitely a part of this election cycle!
From the book, the utopians of William Morris’s day must have been somewhat disappointed in society’s inertia to utopian thought. One of the beginning lines has a character unhappily say this in reference to a utopia:
“If I could but see a day of it,” he said to himself; “if I could but see it!”
Utopias are easy to put down on paper, near impossible to put into practice, even for a day. In this story, in which the main character seems to have been transported in a dream to this utopia, the author, a Socialist, shows some doubt about utopias. At the end that character finally shows up back in his own time, not really clear of what went on. As he analyzes the experience he comes to the conclusion that it is a dream, but then rethinks it and then exclaims that if “others can see it as I have seen it, then it may be called a vision rather than a dream.”
That is the scary part about those who think they can remake society into some idyllic place, a dream is different than a vision! A dream is our perceptions, constructed in our minds, but a vision can be considered something “otherworldly”, some kind of special insight obtained about the future. Do liberals especially those who want to really confiscate and redistribute wealth have a vision? I wonder! Should we resist them at all costs? For sure!
Many liberals have pursued redistribution for a long time, among other anti-capitalist ideas. Books like “News from Nowhere” spin some nice yarns such as the idea that eliminating property and wealth would just open up societal possibilities as if we would have a heaven on earth! Easy to create a story with that outcome! That is a reason that liberals need to be constantly challenged!
But “caveat emptor”—“Let the buyer beware!” Utopian thinking leaves out one important component required for success, human nature must be basically good! It is not! It is unsupported by history and experience, namely, that man on his own and in some natural state will act ‘good”. If all government and societal restraint was all of a sudden eliminated, evil would overcome good in no time at all! There are even nations today, which, following the breakdown of their governments, are in constant turmoil and strife. Utopias are not natural!
Utopia stories should be read, though, definitely so. They should be read so that everyone can be reminded what an unrealistic world they portray—and they should be read to remind yourself that much of liberal thinking is a form of utopian thought! So then what should scare us especially about many liberals? It is the fact that much of their thinking does align with utopian ideas, which themselves are based on totally flawed ideas of human nature. If liberals keep winning, America keeps losing!