The Evolution of Utopia

The word utopia we get from Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia.” The book was published in 1516. He derived the word from Greek which was “ou” for ‘no’ or ‘not’ and “topos” for ‘place.’ So technically, Utopia is “no place,” or no place we’re familiar with, right? The word utopia we use to describe a place of perfection and ideals. Usually, the idealistic setting and structure of a utopia is pronounced in its economic, social, and political structures. The ideals and high standards produce an idyllic backdrop where equality, freedom and justice are ubiquitous. Harmony and tranquility transcend every facet of people’s lives and interactions.

Sir Thomas More was not the first to propose a perfect society. Today, I will look at four Western writers who all proposed a perfect society. People’s idea of what a perfect society is has actually changed over time. Perhaps it’s technology or social values that have changed which allowed for the definition of utopia to change. However, all four of these writers have one thing in common. To achieve their perfect society, they all strove to abolish private property in some form or another. Of course, this is where my Austrian Economists hit the ceiling. According to Austrian Economics, private property is an integral part of Capitalism and therefore necessary. Well, suffice it to say, “I’m no Austrian Economist.”

PLATO

Plato wrote “Republic” around 375 B.C. Within Republic Plato advocates abolishing private property for only certain classes within the society. He suggested that everything could be provided to public servants as a means to fight corruption. Providing Senators their homes, transportation, etc. would mean anything not provided by the state would be suspected of being a bribe. “Where did you get your boat?” Today, American lobbyists openly bribe our congress people because it isn’t illegal. Of course, there are also other ways to gain leverage over politicians, diplomats, and soldiers other than bribes. Lastly, there are indeed other bribes that don’t leave a money trail — like prostitution.

SIR THOMAS MORE

As mentioned above, Sir Thomas More penned “Utopia” and published it in 1516. In essence, he can be said to be the progenitor to Karl Marx. Within More’s Utopia, all people’s needs are provided for by the state. Money has been eliminated because no private ownership is allowed. His vision was one he referred to as true equality. Food, water, housing, etc. were all rationed. However, there is one institution that we’ve abolished today, but he defended — slavery. He endorsed the idea that slaves were a class that couldn’t even claim citizenship. Only free men were citizens. Regardless, whether free or slave — no private property.

KARL MARX

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels coauthored the pamphlet “Communist Manifesto” and published it in 1848. In the pamphlet they summarized all of human history as a class struggle between the Oppressed (the Proletariat) and the Oppressors (the Bourgeoisie) — the Haves and the Have Nots. Within the manifesto they made numerous demands that became predictions: The authors predicted a progressive income tax (progressive here only means graduated); abolition of inheritances (though not the abolition of inheritance, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt gave us the Estate Tax (1910) after his “New Nationalism” speech); abolition of child labor (Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) — as recently as 1900, 18% of America’s labor force was under 16 years old) ; free public education (was actually in America before the manifesto — Massachusetts, 1827); nationalization of the means of transport and communication (perhaps not nationalized, but both transportation and communication are heavily regulated by the federal government in the U.S.); centralization of credit via a national bank (Federal Reserve of 1913); expansion of publicly owned land (again, it was Teddy Roosevelt who expanded publicly owned land dramatically with his Antiquities Act of 1906).

However, one of their demands made was the abolition of private property. If a “community” is a group of people who come together to share resources, then it can be said that Communism is use of government to ration all resources and to regulate the distribution of all resources equitably. Of course, most of us recognize that this is ideal. Being idealistic, can it actually work? Though commendable, as James Madison observed, “If men were angels, there’d be no need for government.” In other words, the reason we have government is to settle disputes between members of the society. Society is comprised of people seeking to fulfill their own self interests. Recognition of individual rights has been with us for millennia; however, Capitalism has taken it to an extreme. The United States and the United Kingdom are absurdly individualistic. They wear their individualism like a badge of honor. The etymology of the word ‘individualism’ appearing in the English language suggests that it was first used pejoratively by the Owenites (that’s the followers of Robert Owen who was a Utopian socialist) in the late 1830’s. We are still within this paradigm constructed by the establishment.

GENE RODDENBERRY

In the 20th Century, we were blessed with an excess of ideas. Many of the ideas were disseminated by a new genre of writing referred to colloquially as “Science Fiction.” Gene Roddenberry was only one of many prolific writers of the era (i.e. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and numerous others). They spun stories of fanciful worlds, startling discoveries, and amazing technology. The American franchise “Star Trek” is Roddenberry’s legacy.

Gene Roddenberry also gave us a version of Utopia, but his was a future utopia. His utopia did away with slavery and relegated automatons (i.e. robots) to the menial tasks of day to day life. If all labor is relegated to machines, then no humans would be required to work for a salary. Sure, there are chores that people do around the house that are unpaid, but even during the midst of our hyper-Capitalist paradigm, we never resolved how to properly compensate “housewives” for their labor. There is one references to money, but when confronted people within Roddenberry’s paradigm gave responses that money in our world isn’t exactly what you think of today as money or that money doesn’t exist because the accumulation of wealth is no longer a driving force within society of the 23rd or 24th centuries. Could this be a digital currency or e-currency? Did they supposedly demonetize the entire society? If not, is there a Universal Basic Income (UBI)?

THIS IS NO FRIVOLOUS EXERCISE IN ACADEMIA

Can we all agree that the American Civil War was a substantial blow to the institution of slavery? The United States and Brazil were two of the last three states in the New World which abolished slavery.

THOMAS PAINE

Thomas Paine was pivotal in inciting and instigating the American Revolution against the King of England. As a political philosopher, Thomas Paine is among one of the most influential in history. He is the father of Social Evolutionism. In “Common Sense” he articulated a natural progression from Anarchy — every man for himself; to Direct Democracy — every citizen has a voice; to Representative Democracy/Republic — every citizen has representation. In “Agrarian Justice” (one of his lesser-known pamphlets from 1797) he advocated something today many have called “welfare” or a “Universal Basic Income (UBI).” He knew that the roles of government could be expanded. He articulated very concisely that government was created because of our vices. In other words, government’s main function was as arbiter and mediator to help resolve disputes between two members of society. Governments are essentially the rule keepers or the referees.

However, with this revelation that Paine actually advocated a UBI, he can also be said to be the original Utopian Socialist. Why then did James Madison and Thomas Jefferson so eagerly endorse a Republic as the model for the United States? They were intellectuals. Even if these men could count themselves among the Illuminati, there was probably not consensus among its members about which direction to take. So, it’s irrelevant whether they were actually Illuminati or not. See, we Americans should all recognize that America is an experiment. The founding fathers were not sure if this constitution they wrote could work.

British utopian socialist Robert Owen gave speeches to the U.S. Congress on February 25 and March 7, 1825. In these speeches he outlined his socialist beliefs and his plans for utopian communities in Indiana and Ohio. It is important to note that neither Ohio nor Indiana had slavery. They were both originally part of the Northwest Territory. His audience included former U.S. presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison; additionally, outgoing U.S. president James Monroe and president-elect John Quincy Adams were also present.

As a Southerner, I’d love to tell you that the Civil War was mostly about States’ Rights, but it wasn’t. The plantation owners in the South were Elitists… or worse — Monarchists. The Illuminati members who endorsed slavery did so because they backed Sir Thomas More’s paradigm for Utopia. Most of the Americans thought Utopia should be pursued without slavery.

Mind you, he said this on the Senate floor of the United States. The Mudsill Theory was still being openly debated in 1858. A lawyer who argued against the Mudsill Theory was none other than Abraham Lincoln. He made a speech at the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in 1859.

Using this ideology or perhaps — using this perspective — it can even be argued that Karl Marx was attempting to continue Thomas Paine’s work. Thomas Paine died in 1809. Karl Marx cowrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848. The Communist Manifesto is an attempt to predict the likely outcome of Social Evolutionism.

A WARNING

Time is running out. They now know that automation is their future. The establishment talks overpopulation due to labor being replaced by machines. The DARPA Robotics Challenge seeks to construct an automated firefighter. They seek a robot that can open existing doors and windows, climb ladders and stairs and can carry a human to safety — like a firefighter — all you would need do is mount a few weapons on the platform and you’d have George Lucas’ Droid Army.

DARPA’s Robotic Challenge 2.0