Friday, March 28, 2008

Utopia (Jim Davies)

Jim Davies on the only non-utopian social system:

"Utopia" can be defined as "any visionary system of political or social perfection," but we most often hear it in the derogatory sense of "an impractical, idealistic scheme for social and political reform," and it falls thus from the lips of those walnut-brained idiots to whom we've just earnestly explained our vision of how a free-market society would be both peaceful and prosperous, but whose imaginations cannot grasp it. With a form of cognitive dissonance they therefore try to reflect the blame for their failure back to us, and sneer "sounds great, kiddo, but it would never work"; or if their manners are more refined, the sneer is replaced by a condescending smile. A classic case of intellectual sour grapes.

I like to define the word more exactly as "a social system which, if established, could not survive"--that is, one that would be inherently unstable. Let's see how a few alternative, possible social systems match up to that.

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