Utopiosis: How to prevent this dangerous disease from infecting you and your loved ones
By Don Kilmer | Published March 27, 2020 9:30 PM PT
If you’re still with me, Dear Reader, you may remember that my essay three weeks ago introduced the concept of Utopiosis. This is the unfortunate malady arising when people impose their visions of Utopia on others at the point of a gun. The disease attacks two human functions: the mind and the morals of the infected.
The mind becomes infected with the false premise that Utopia is possible. Youth are particularly susceptible. Those who succumb find their intellect compromised, especially in the areas of the frontal lobe responsible for history and logic. They yearn for a John Lennon-esque world where everyone enjoys plenty of housing, food, healthcare, and we’ll all live in peace together while sharing in the delights of our earthly Utopia.
This earthly Utopia will arise, this belief holds, when each of us contributes to the needs of society by sharing our unique gifts. You know the drill: “From each according to ability, to each according to need.” All that’s needed is an all-wise organizer to direct talent to the right places where the needs arise. The leader will be benign, kindly, and non-threatening who shares the Utopian vision. This chieftain will do what’s necessary to make the abstract real—including pointing the government’s guns at the right people for society’s benefit. You and I know how this ends.
Sadly, there’s no permanent cure for this affliction of the mind. There’s only preventative medicine in the form of a good mental diet and exercise. This consists of hard cerebral work and the rigorous exertion of the intellect necessary to understand history’s implacable logic. Youth’s energy and enthusiasm for a better world should be channeled into a reaffirmation that capitalism, free markets, property rights, and limited government are the lifeblood of a healthy civil society.
We need to remember what it means to live in a healthy society. This means embracing the generational transmission of the logic of liberty. We must teach our children and college students that the stasis of Utopia is a cesspool that necessarily ends in tyranny. We must teach them that Utopia is an elusive lie, an ethereal abstraction, an impossible perfection. “We cannot make a heaven on earth, though we may make a hell.”
Utopiosis also afflicts the intellect’s moral functioning. The moral component of human existence gives us the ability to choose between what is right and wrong, good and evil, righteous and wicked. Utopiosis contaminates that process by providing a “higher” value than a single human life. The collective good of the state, nation, race, or class becomes more important than individuals. Their rights, property, and even lives can inconveniently obstruct the Utopian vision.
If a political system is in the early stages of a Utopian infection, the word “No” can be a powerful anti-viral treatment. No, I will not be silenced. No, you can’t take my rights. No, you can’t have my earnings. No, you can’t take my property. No, you can’t raise my taxes. No, I will not get on the train. No, I will not enter the camps. No, I will not submit.
The treatment does not always work. If the inoculation fails, and Utopiosis enters its terminal stages, the only remedy remaining is violence. This is the violence of revolution, civil unrest, civil war, martial law, and the final static violence of dictatorship.
It turns out that John Lennon, with the help of Paul McCartney, had something to say about this too:
You say you want a revolution [...] We all want to change the world But when you talk about destruction Don't you know that you can count me out [...] You say you'll change the Constitution Well, you know We all want to change your head You tell me it's the institution Well, you know You better free your mind instead [...] Don't you know it's gonna be All right, all right, all right
Lennon conveyed, as only an artist can, the thesis and apotheosis of the dilemma. We all want a better world (“Imagine”). But we should strive for that better world through peaceful means (“Revolution”).
The one idea that all human beings should unanimously hold, even the incurable Utopians, is that using violence or threat of violence is never “all right, all right, all right.”