Essay Preview: Utopia Problems
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Social problems require utopian analysis. We must resolve the dispute into its underlying ideals, and their consequences. If a solution can be found, it will be a “utopian” change to the laws, institutions, or traditions of that community. “Utopian” does not mean “impossible,” or “unrealistic,” or “planned;” it just means “deliberate.” Utopians want to improve society with a deliberate and conscious change. A society is utopian if some parts of it have been consciously created according to true ideals, even if it sometimes fails to live up to its ideals. Thus, the Netherlands, the US, the UK and France are all utopian societies, as are all societies which succeed in emulating one or another of these utopias. The USSR was a dystopia, not a utopia, because it was based on the false ideals of socialism and authoritarianism, which in turn reflects the failure of Karl Marx to create a true science of civilization. Marx thought he had found a science of history. He was wrong about that, and wrong about everything else as well.
Those in favor of execution are applying the scales of Lady Justice. Nothing balances a life but a life. The problem is in the practical application. In the US, since the development of DNA technology, dozens of people on Death Row have been found innocent and released. We must call a moratorium on executions until our justice system has developed to the point where it does not make mistakesif that is possible.
In the Middle East there are fanatic mullahs teaching the masses to reject and destroy the secular modern world. How can we create a global community that can encompass such wild eyed lunacy? We cant. We must make secular democracy more inviting by opening society to the new sciences and the new spirituality with its new aesthetics. Fanatic sectarianism cannot be defeated by reductionist materialism.
In the US, we pledge allegiance to “liberty and justice for all.” We sing of “sweet land of liberty” with no sense of irony. Whenever we memorialize a fallen hero, we say “he gave his life to preserve our liberties.” True enough. But the liberties we enjoyed in the US in the 19th Century were lost at the ballot box in the 20th Century. Neither the Supreme Court nor our political leaders recognized this.
Liberty may be defined as “full citizens doing whatever they like in private, whatever the risk, so long as no one else is put at involuntary risk.” Prohibition was a violation of the ideal of liberty, as well as a disastrous political experiment, since it resulted in gangs, drive-by shootings, robbery-killings by desparate addicts, and the corruption of police and public officials. It should not be surprising that we have the same result from the War-On-Drugs. Utopian analysis should allow us to learn from our mistakes and be able to counter religious fanaticism (the root of all evil).
Like every act of tyranny, the War-On-Drugs is supposed to be for our own good. It isnt. Every person must make her own discoveries about what is good for her and worth the risk, the trouble, the expense and the time for her. It is not simply a matter of