Utopia pt. 2

“There’s also a rule in the Council that no resolution can be debated on the day that it’s first proposed. All discussion is postponed until the next well-attended meeting. Otherwise someone’s liable to say the first thing that comes into his head, and then start thinking up arguments to justify what he has said, instead of trying to decide what’s best for the community. That type of person is quite prepared to sacrifice the public to his own prestige, just because, absurd as it may sound, he’s ashamed to admit that his first idea might have been wrong – when his first idea should have been to think before he spoke.”

“For they think it unfair to deprive other people of anything that’s useful to them, if one doesn’t need it oneself.”

“For instance, the Utopians fail to understand why anyone should be so fascinated by the dull gleam of a tiny bit of stone, when he has all the stars in the sky to look at – or how anyone can be silly enough to think himself better than other people, because his clothes are made of finer woollen thread than theirs. After all, those fine clothes were once worn by a sheep, and they never turned into anything better than a sheep.”

“…to get through life as comfortably and cheerfully as we can, and help all other members of our species to do so too.”

“They think no one should be regarded as an enemy who hasn’t done you any harm. Human nature constitutes a treaty in itself, and human beings are far more effectively united by kindness than by contracts, by feelings than by words.”

“Elsewhere, people are always talking about the public interest, but all they really care about is private property. In Utopia, where there’s no private property, people take their duty to the public seriously. And both attitudes are perfectly reasonable. In other ‘republics’ practically everyone knows that, if he doesn’t look out for himself, he’ll starve to death, however prosperous his country may be. He’s therefore compelled to give his own interest priority over those of the public; that is, of other people. But in Utopia, where everything’s under public ownership, no one has any fear of going short, as long as the public storehouses are full.”

— Thomas More, “Utopia”.


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