Wednesday, April 25, 2018

10 Failed Utopias and How They Got That Way


Anonymous said...

One of the more spectacular "utopias" of history is almost completely forgotten: Canudos in northern Brazil in the late 19th century.

That colony was actually successful, at least as long as it lasted, peaking at a population of over 30,000. The Brazilian government went to war against the settlement for squatting and refusing to pay taxes. The settlers staged a heroic resistance repulsing the government forces on multiple occasions.

Eventually might prevailed and the colony fell. Virtually every member of the community was massacred. Picture the Branch Davidians on a massive scale.

Pastorius said...

Are you a fan of Canudos?

Anonymous said...

Canudos was a reaction to circumstances of time and place and its destruction was a counter reaction by a government that viewed it as a threat. The story is fascinating to me but I doubt I would be happy in a religious commune.

Nonetheless, a "utopian" community can be successful on its own terms if participation is voluntary, values are shared, and rule is reasonable. Cristiania in Denmark could be citied as a modern example but that enclave has had its problems with drugs and gangs and survives only because of the tolerance of the national government.

Monasteries and Convents thrived for centuries in Europe and elsewhere (eg Shaolin Temple). But these examples make one struggle to define utopia. In essence it comes down to a question of whether one is happier inside than outside the walls.

As for a perfect society where everyone is happy and nobody experiences pain and suffering: forget it.

Pastorius said...

Thanks for clarifying.

I wasn't sure where you were coming from.

Cohesion requires morality in a benevolent anarchy which is what a Commune is. The early Christians lived in a Communal way.

But at a certain point, even they had to say, "He who doesn't work, doesn't eat."