Utopia ALWAYS leads to Dystopia
Utopia was created by Thomas More five centuries ago as an island society in the Atlantic Ocean. It was created as an example of a perfectly ordered society of equals.
However, More's Utopia:
- was a slave state
- punished out of marital sex with enforced celibacy or slavery
- restricted freedom of movement
- destroyed the freedom of privacy
More's Utopia was a critique of the evils of contemporary governance in Europe, but the image of the perfect society has inspired many people to attempt to create such in reality rather than fiction. Although such attempts have been made under the banners of religions and political ideologies, let's boil these vision of perfection down to the politics of left and right on this axis - statism versus freedom.
Any form of leftism is based upon Utopian ideals. The first being that a perfectly rational and ordered society can be achieved, ad the second is the economic failure of socialism as an idea that can succeed, despite having failed repeatedly.
Pure anarchism is based upon Utopian ideals (no, syndicated and other socialist versions of "anarchy" are NOT anarchy...as soon as a system is developed to control how others create and use their own wealth, you have jumped ship to leftism). The Utopian failure of pure anarchy lies in the idea that all men act the same, and would treat each other fairly without government.
Starting on the left, the idea that man can be governed on a rationally ordered basis ignores how many different factors effect the way that we behave. Governments that seek to corral all that chaos into a pre-approved and unrealistic behavior pattern will fail.
Venkatesh Rao, A Big Little Idea Called Legibility, has given us the most apt description of the cycle of the rationally ordered society:
- Look at a complex and confusing reality, such as the social dynamics of an old city
- Fail to understand all the subtleties of how the complex reality works
- Attribute that failure to the irrationality of what you are looking at, rather than your own limitations
- Come up with an idealized blank-slate vision of what that reality ought to look like
- Argue that the relative simplicity and platonic orderliness of the vision represents rationality
- Use authoritarian power to impose that vision, by demolishing the old reality if necessary
- Watch your rational Utopia fail horribly
Digression - Fans of The Office (American version) should check out Rao's The Gervais Principle as well. This series of essays captures the human dynamics in organizations that readily translates into effects on governance.
The next failure in leftist thought is the economic aspect of the previous concept. Capitalism is not an economic system, capitalism is the way that economies work. Trying to make a 5 year plan work when you have prevented the laws of supply and demand from operating is like arguing gravity with a boulder that is going to fall on your head. See Mises' Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis.
This is the end result of leftism. It always has been and always will be. See Venezuela now. See the Holodomor then
By none (Государственный архив Казахстана) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Moving on to pure anarchy, the assumption that other people will act like you will is projection bias. Small communities where everyone does think the same can succeed, as social control can replace the need for governance to a large extant.
For the most part, humans do not live in small communities. People have children they can not reasonably expect to support, overpopulate, and cluster. Specialization of industry drives clustering. (Most) people are just plain social, and want to be around other people.
In theory, anarchy is much more attractive than leftism, due to the commitment to individual freedom. Expecting other people to behave as you do, to have the same motivations and backgrounds, is simply not realistic. One of the many factors that guide human behavior is aggression. According to Grossman (On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society), only a small portion of any population is biologically aggressive. But the biological causes of aggression do cause human problems; see Raines' The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime.
“Why no one on our side had even thought of firing a gun, because when you came right down to it, we didn’t like guns and did not believe in them”, Adam Cooper - April Morning, by Howard Fast
Even worse is that humans have a tendency to want to place their own lives in the hands of others. The fact is that Americans support the Drug War, however stupid it actually is, because it relieves them of the responsibility of controlling themselves and of teaching that responsibility to their children.
But we relied on our common humanity with those guys attacking us. I don't understand what happened!
This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.
Author: Cheselden, William, 1688-1752.
Unless pure anarchists go on a conquering crusade, human nature dictates that they will be a minority in the ways that humans choose to govern themselves.
Since there has not been a large scale anarchy in history to judge success or failure, it is unfair of me to say that anarchy leads to dystopia. However, what I will argue is that the tendency of anarchists (real anarchists, not leftists hiding behind anarchist terminology) to engage in Utopian idealism in participating in politics as they stand at the moment often leads to victories by statists, corruptocrats, and leftists. The road to hell is paved with good intentions
*For an overview on the concept of dystopia, see the Wiki entry.