“You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”
~Stalin (a paraphrase of Robespierre)
According to Merriman-Webster Dictionary, utopia and dystopia are defined thus: Utopia, A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. Dystopia, A dystopia is a community or society, usually fictional, that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of autopia. … Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments,environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.
The idea of utopia isn’t new. It goes back to the earliest origins of mankind. The book of Genesis chronicles the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark and the first empire, Nimrod’s “Tower of Babel,” which all were utopias. All of them failed with consequences still plaguing the world to this day.
The infamous saying by Stalin I cite in the above quote is indicative of a utopia. Yet, it almost sounds benign and unremarkable; a statement that chef Martha Stewart or Paula Deen would say on one of their cooking TV shows. We now have almost 100 years of Soviet communist history to deduce exactly what Stalin meant by those seemingly innocuous words: “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” Stalin wasn’t referring to cooking, but to utopia and genocide. Stalin meant that in order to launch an internationalist, communist revolution, millions upon millions of people will have to die. We now have the numbers on democide (murder of any person or people by government). Political science professor R.J. Rummel has written that in the 20th century alone communism (including Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, socialism) was responsible for the evil genocide of over 260 million people.
Plato’s “Republic,” one the first recorded utopias in the Western canon, used Socratic dialogue, fictional depiction and politics to create a strict citizen class structure of “golden,” “silver,” “bronze” and “iron” socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a severe 50-year-long educational program to be benevolent oligarchs, or as Plato called them, “philosopher-kings.” The knowledge of these rulers would in theory eradicate poverty and deficiency through a pre-Marxist form of redistribution of wealth, albeit the specifics of how to achieve this are vague. The education for philosopher-kings is the fundamental paradigm of Plato’s utopia.
In the introduction to “The Faber Book of Utopias,” edited by John Carey, the author writes, “Utopia means nowhere or no-place. It has often been taken to mean good place, through confusion of its first syllable with the Greek eu as in euphemism or eulogy. As a result of this mix-up, another word, dystopia, has been invented, to mean bad place. But, strictly speaking, imaginary good places and imaginary bad places are all utopias, or nowheres.”
To count as a utopia, a fictional place must be a manifestation of desire. To count as a dystopia, it must be a manifestation of fear. Because they develop from desire and fear, utopias require sympathy and attention, however unreasonable or improbable they may seem. Statists, who concoct utopias, build on that universal human longing – the absence of poverty, suffering, injustice, pain, war. Yet, history repeatedly demonstrates that what potential good utopias create is ultimately destroyed by its own potential for deconstructing societies, often leading to the mass genocide of nations.
A final conflict in utopian idealism is between human-centered systems and systems that reduce or abolish mankind (C.S. Lewis, “The Abolition of Man,” 1943). In John Carey’s anthology, these polarities are represented by physicist John Freeman Dyson and naturalist Richard Jefferies. Dyson imagines humanity traveling through the solar system and ultimately filling the universe with himself and his innovations (J.D. Bernal Lectures, 1972). This is a common setting in science fiction, frequently accompanied by destructive warfare in conquering a foreign land or a barbaric people. Dyson’s space-aliens are akin to the neocons of the Republican Party today.
Richard Jefferies conversely imagines humanity essentially becoming extinct and the world returning to a natural utopia of nature and greenness (“After London,” 1885). Within these two strains of utopia there are profound differences. To the Green Party, analogous to the Democratic Party or Progressives, the space-invader lobby seems puerile, elitist and outrageously unaware of the final, inescapable death of our species. To the space-invaders, the Green Party appears defeatist and regressive. War between the two sides transforms the idyllic utopia into a bleak, hopeless, dehumanizing dystopia. At its severest level the separation is between those who accept man’s God-given superiority over nature and those who view humanity as a virus on the face of the earth. As the planet becomes increasingly overcrowded, and other species fall prey to Darwin’s survival of the fittest, this war of utopias must collapse upon the weight of its own immorality. If utopias are any sign of history, it is likely to devolve into one of the decisive World Wars of the 21st century.
In an column I wrote last year, “Is Obama a Marxist?” I cited some of the major utopia/dystopia policies in recent American political history from Theodore Roosevelt to Obama:
History has borne out … Marx’s diabolical ideas in American history. Pick any grand, utopian, liberal, humanist, progressive, or socialist policy over the past 112 years – Theodore Roosevelt’s “Square Deal,” Woodrow Wilson’s “Statolatry” (state worship), FDR’s “New Deal” and welfare-state policies of the 1930s and ’40s, Truman’s “Fair Deal,” LBJ’s “Great Society,” Nixon’s EPA, Carter’s Department of Education, Clinton’s failed attempt at universal health care, or President Obama’s neo-socialist, Keynesian policies contained in Obamacare today. In other words, these progressive presidents followed Mussolini’s famous fascist slogan of 1923 – Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.
All of these utopian programs made big, bold, unquantifiable promises and cost taxpayers trillions upon trillions – yet have these progressive/socialist schemes given America utopia? Indeed it has been quite the opposite – war, crime, hunger, disease, tyranny, liberal fascism, Islamism, controlled chaos and dystopia have been the watch words that have given today’s society an existential angst, an unrelenting disquietness that we had better enjoy our todays because our tomorrows will be both fewer in number and increasingly devoid of hope.
Leftist utopias (collective innocence, desire) always devolve into dystopia (collective guilt, fear), societal deconstruction and genocide. In the world of the evolution atheist, the world of the socialist, liberal and progressive utopian, as in the world of Robespierre, there are no crimes, only criminals.