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Utopia for Everyone is not Exist

Updated December 28, 2021
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Utopia for Everyone is not Exist essay

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“The End justifies the Means.” Someone said that a long time ago during a period when wars were waged by the many at the will of the few over farmyards—if they were lucky. In a society where peace is all but forgotten, and is ruled through fear of the self, with a certain level of empathy and perspective it can be understandable why one would be willing to do whatever it takes to make the fighting between neighbors simply stop and some sense of communal relations could be restored without the threat of being stung up by the bootstraps in the middle of Main Street.

Indeed, it could be argued that any morally questionable action committed to attain this state of nature is one of self-defense performed with the benefits of the society in mind which, before the End is reached, would be self-preservation. With that in mind, social, political, and even moral reformations is therefore open war between any and all belligerents until that preferred “Utopia” is reached at the end of the long road, and peace is fully guaranteed in its destination. But the question is never asked by those at the helm of the ship what to do with it after the fact.

The individual may have a general idea in mind, but a collective opinion can never be reached, for each person is their own individual. And everyone has their own Utopia in mind. Instead, those who are willing to let the End justify the Means in their own stead should ask themselves “What would be a Utopia everyone could claim as their own?”

The truth of the matter is instead of getting people to agree what is right in a society, they are more amiable in their discussion in what is wrong with it. That’s why there’s so much works of fiction centered around the idea of the “Dystopia” (that is, the “Anti-Utopia”) in the mainstream instead of its source material. In fact, some of the more “successful” dystopian works are those that attempt to play the melody of the Utopia perfectly straight without any subversion at all. Through the narrative, the society (as they are most usually in the antagonist position) would find the threads of their undoing take root at the matter itself—making the argument that the end of Utopia would be Utopia itself.

When the concept of Utopia is approached directly at the onset, it is usually from a specific, individually defined direction, and often mirrors the author’s own personal biases against any society that serves as the counterpoint. A capitalist therefore would have a capitalistic utopia, a communist with their communistic utopia, Christian with their Christian, and so on, so forth. Often, those who can reasonably lay claim to their forged society as a Utopia are a select few imposing their beliefs on the rest. Which, considering what may have been before, may as well be what the common citizen considers “ideal.” For a while. Eventually, when their mind and body has rested, the individual self within wakes up to find itself in a gilded cage. That’s why looking from the outside into a Utopia appears to be paradise, whereas looking from the inside out gives off an image more along the lines of a prison.

The entrapment starts with Sir Thomas More, the author of Utopia himself. Looking back with modern optics aided by historical precedence, it can be garnered that the More’s characters definition of the perfect society is wholly and sincerely communistic in nature. On the island of Utopia, nothing is owned by the individual, for that would give them an edge over others. No privacy is had, and no secrets as a result. The basic standards of living are provided by the government, since doing otherwise would be contradictory to the formation of civilization. Everyone does their fair share of the work, because doing otherwise wouldn’t make a good neighbor.

“For what justice is there in this, that a nobleman, a goldsmith, a banker, or any other man, that either does nothing at all, or at best is employed in things that are of no use to the public, should live in great luxury and splendor, upon what is so ill acquired; and a mean man, a carter, a smith, or a ploughman, that works harder even than the beasts themselves, and is employed in labors so necessary, that no commonwealth could hold out a year without them, can only earn so poor a livelihood, and must lead so miserable a life, that the condition of the beasts is much better than theirs? (More, Bk. 2, Pg.107-108)

And that sounds fair enough, until pause is given, and a brief reflection is had. Anything that is considered “no use to the public” is considered an injustice. As it is known, what one may consider trash is another’s treasure. Would they, therefore, be at peace in this Utopia? Would they be willing to give up a piece of their identity to be accepted by this society, or would they be inspired to find residence elsewhere? If they choose the latter, then how can it be said that Utopia is the ideal place to live if some willingly leave it?

Even More concludes that: “though many things occurred to me, both concerning the manners and laws of that people, that seemed very absurd, as well in their way of making war, as in their notions of religion and divine matters; together with several other particulars, but chiefly what seemed the foundation of all the rest, their living in common, without the use of money, by which all nobility, magnificence, splendor, and majesty, which, according to the common opinion, are the true ornaments of a nation, would be quite taken away.” (More, Bk.2, Pg.110)

Considering the political climate at the time of his writing, it cannot state with confidence that Utopia is More’s own interpretation of a perfect society, or his snide derision parodying those who truly believe that feat can be achieved. Whatever the case, More’s own society he found himself living in believes at the very least identity is defined by the person’s personal finance.

Adam Smith comes in to rectify this by giving the power of the purse back in the hands of the people instead of the government. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith central theory around the free market stems from his advocating for an “invisible hand” that would guide the market—that is, one that belongs to the system itself than any individual or group thereof. It’s an institution that isn’t visible (hence the name), though the effects are felt far and wide. Any attempt to physically alter the market Smith sees as “unnecessary, I imagine, to observe, how contrary such regulations are to the boasted liberty of the subject, of which we affect to be so very jealous; but which, in this case, is so plainly sacrificed to the futile interests of our merchants and manufacturers. (Smith, Bk. 4, Ch. 8, Pg. 6)

He understood that the tyranny of the minority would relinquish any gain for themselves and subsequently do away with the individuality of the masses in order to keep them in check. Without direct intervention in order of business, the market would naturally grow to involve everyone within the society it encapsulates to give them their material desires that would surely give them their sense of national identity. But what Smith doesn’t consider is the extent of human greed and their ability to game any system in the pursuit of their self-interest—and that’s assuming the individual is content with their bread & circus.

Karl Marx presents this dilemma in his paper on Estranged Labor, and how the tyrannical, elite minority that is the bourgeoise exploit the oppressed, destitute masses of the proletariat. They do this through the act of the producer taking away what the worker created and calling it their own, and not the individual’s. They in return give them meager wages to placate and “congratulate” them for a job well done. Though Marx would like to think that people can see through this, saying:

“We also understand, therefore, that wages and private property are identical. Indeed, where the product, as the object of labor, pays for labor itself, there the wage is but a necessary consequence of labor’s estrangement. Likewise, in the wage of labor, labor does not appear as an end in itself but as the servant of the wage.” (Marx, Pg. 81)

The few have effective enslaved the many in this endeavor and has draped a veil over their eyes to dissuade them from thinking there’s another way to live—another life outside of utopia. These “wage slaves” form the bulk of the community, and their “rat race” distracts them from the real pressing issues that fester within society like bacteria in the walls. The only way to break free from this illusion would be to revolt against the oppressors and to cast off their yolk and prepare for the inevitable violent struggle that would come of it.

It is said that dreams are something to aspire towards. The perfect society is one that is inherently tempting, as it is one without conflict, discord, and fault. Yet alongside that, when people say to make dreams a reality, it should also be advising to not make the reality a dream. History has shown again and again that a society where absolutely everyone can coexist together as a community will eventually fall out of favor (how “exciting” that breakup is varies, of course). That’s not to say that everyone “failure” of society would always end with violent conflict. Recent trends that conventional warfare has also fallen out of style, and people are willing to let bygone be bygones. With the rise of the UN, the international community has come together to show that the nations of the world don’t seek out competition, but rather cooperation with each other.

The future—be as uncertain as it may be—appears to be one of relative peace, rather than war. Though the trials and tribulations they’ve endured to reach this point have not only begged the question if “it was worth it”, but also, “Is it deserved?” They should look to the past not as an indication of the future, but as lessons learned to not fall into the same pitfalls, they’ve proven capable of clambering out of themselves. Whatever they may think of the position they find themselves in, no one can deny the fact they’re better off than they were at the start of written history. As for the ending, although the destination of utopia may always be just out of grasp, the future of cooperation instead of competition proves that the act attempting to get to that perfect society via civil discourse makes society a better state than it was before.

Works Cited

  1. Marx, Karl. Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. Progress Publishers, 1974.
  2. More, Saint Thomas. Utopia. ALMA CLASSICS, 2017.
  3. Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Seven Treasures Publications, 2009.
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