All radical and swift changes imposed on society began as Utopian dreams and descended into Dystopian horror. Need it always be so?
The term utopia was coined from by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia and has since become embedded firmly into our language and our psyche. Utopianism is idealism and we have to believe that idealism is always well motivated but perhaps it was never thus.
Real world Utopias have been imposed on the unfortunate many times in history and inevitably with horrific, disastrous consequences.
We must surely believe that 19th Century radical Karl Marx had mankind’s best interests at heart but can a man ever in all decency believe that violence and force can change the world for the better?
Can violence and killing ever be justified, let alone promoted by people who claim to want a better world?
Would Karl Marx have been proud of the endless dystopias which flowed from his teachings? Would he have condoned the gulags? The eradication of intellectuals? The horrors which his legacy spawned in the years following his death?
Let me be clear: capitalism as practiced today is not a model which I favour. I can not see that it is just or right that such vast disparities in wealth have been allowed to exist in our world.
Oxfam’s 2017 report says the top eight billionaires have as much wealth as the bottom half of the global population, and that rising inequality is suppressing wages, as businesses are focused on delivering higher returns to wealthy owners and executives. In 2018, the Oxfam report said that the wealth gap continued to widen in 2017, with 82% of global wealth generated going to the wealthiest 1%.
Change has to occur. It is true that incentive must remain or innovation and growth will presumably cease to occur. But change should not happen all of a sudden and certainly not by violent revolution.
The creation of the Soviet and Chinese “utopias” was an unmitigated disaster leading to death and misery for untold millions.
Drastic change should not be swift. Radical “improvement” should not occur at the behest of madmen – since it will inevitably result in dystopia.
It boils down to changing our minds, slowly and carefully. Coming up with change bit by bit. Improving education. Reducing poverty and hunger. Not by giant upheaval but step by painful step. People must be brought to change by gentle persuasion – they must come to see the injustices for themselves. They must become believers.
To drag the rich in chains through the streets, to murder those who oppose us can never be right. And it may well not be their “fault” anyway. Humanity has evolved from the beast and must evolve away from the beast.
Evolution does not happen in the blink of an eye.