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Thomas More's Utopia

Thomas More: "We should be more like the land of Utopia. In Utopia, they don't execute thieves, nor imprison them. They are still free in their lives, but they simply must work for the public good to repay their debt. "

More: "In Utopia, they don't spend endless tax dollars on engaging in conquest of other lands to increase the glory of their Prince, they spend the money to improve their own country."

Person in crowd: "That sounds pretty good."
Another person: "Yeah..."

More: "The government is chosen by the people based on merit, and governs in the interest of the people, not to enrich themselves."

Person in crowd: "That would be a lot better than our oppressive king."

More: "No one will be able to hoard property, in Utopia, while others starve. Property itself is abolished and everyone takes what they need, as enough is produced for all to share."

More: "They only have to work six hours a day, because the great idle classes in our society, the priests, nobleman, and wealthy, don't exist. Not only that, but everyone who labors on the luxuries of the rich can work instead for the benefit of society as a whole."
Person in crowd: "Wow, six hours a day? That sounds amazing. "

More: "Also there will be no ale houses or taverns, because no one is allowed any vice..."

Person in crowd: "Uh..."
Another person: "...no beer?"

More: "The fashion never alters, everyone wears the same clothes every day, all the same color. People hate looking good, in Utopia."

More: "Also, no one plays dice or does anything fun, they spend all their free time reading, and practicing virtue."

More's adviser: "You are losing the crowd, More, spice it up..."

More: "And uh...also, all the shit work is done by slaves. Everyone has like four slaves each."

Person in crowd: "Wait, what? There still slaves in Utopia?"

More: "yeah uh...people from neighboring countries...uh...volunteer to be slaves, because it's so great..."

Person in crowd: "yeah, but..."

More: "NO FURTHER QUESTIONS!"
Utopian theories only have one small problem, which is that no one ever wants to live there.

Thomas More's Utopia describes his vision of a fictional land that represents the ideal way to organize a society for him. While there were many shocking ideas for the time, like the complete elimination of private property, and democratic rule, which seem to benefit everyone, he couldn't help doing what most Utopian visionaries do as well: imagining that everyone lives drab, moralizing lives. He thought there wouldn't be any ale-houses, fashion, or really any form of vice at all, and people would be perfectly content to spend their time reading philosophy (what is it with philosophers who think the ideal life for everyone is reading philosophy? Have you considered that maybe that's just what you like to do?) Even stranger, slaves were still a large part of the society. Although he envisioned very human criminal justice reforms (at the time thieves could be put to death, a position he argues against), you could still be sentenced to slavery for crimes. Even weirder, he said that people from foreign lands would volunteer to be slaves in Utopia, because it was so great there. Seems unlikely.

Thomas More's Utopia describes his vision of a fictional land that represents the ideal way to organize a society for him. While there were many shocking ideas for the time, like the complete elimination of private property, and democratic rule, which seem to benefit everyone, he couldn't help doing what most Utopian visionaries do as well: imagining that everyone lives drab, moralizing lives. He thought there wouldn't be any ale-houses, fashion, or really any form of vice at all, and people would be perfectly content to spend their time reading philosophy (what is it with philosophers who think the ideal life for everyone is reading philosophy? Have you considered that maybe that's just what you like to do?) Even stranger, slaves were still a large part of the society. Although he envisioned very human criminal justice reforms (at the time thieves could be put to death, a position he argues against), you could still be sentenced to slavery for crimes. Even weirder, he said that people from foreign lands would volunteer to be slaves in Utopia, because it was so great there. Seems unlikely.

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