We laugh at them, but we all want what the ladies in the Miss America contest are fighting for, “World Peace!” Who doesn't want a better world? If we could all just learn to live and let live, we could do it. For years European & American writers, philosophers and social engineers have been in search of establishing a man-made Utopia on earth, “A place where there is mutual harmony, people are self governed, authority structures are dismantled, and people are free to be who they want to be.” Many novels have been written to try to dream of a world where war would end and people would flourish. One such book was Walden 2 written by B. F. Skinner where he imagined a community where “the members are happy, productive, and creative; happiness derives from the promotion of rich social relationships and family life, free affection, the creation of art, music, and literature, opportunity for games of chess and tennis, and ample rest, food, and sleep. The community is self-governed; lack of any institutionalized government, religion, or economic system.”
Wow, could this ever happen? Many communities over the years tried to actually live utopia out, hoping to allow everyone to “live in happiness in the way that they see fit.” One such experiment was called “The Home Colony” (or just Home) established in 1901. It was 217 acres of land divided into 2 acre parcels with a cabin to anyone who wanted to join, just as long as they agreed upon on its individual anarchist ideals and to pay for their lot.There would be an "...absence of all laws, rules or regulations." In such a society, the only requirements of residents would be that they follow "...their own line of action no matter how much it may differ from the custom of the past or present." In turn, the members of the community would not condemn or ostracize any of their fellow neighbors.
The first four years of Home went by with relative success, but soon individualist lifestyles became impossible to live with. The community became a refuge for convicts who were fleeing past crimes, constant quarrels and bickering became the normal behavior of neighbors, and the final straw that broke the back of the community was a disagreement about nude bathing at the beach. The town newspaper called The Agitator entitled an article called "The Nudes and the Prudes." The writer protested against the "prudes" in the colony because they were attempting to suppress freedom. Tensions continued to mount, disagreements grew so one by one people began to move out and join normal society once again. Utopia was not to realized! But can it ever be?
If we just got the right people together, we could do it, couldn't we? Well G. K. Chesterton made a brilliant observation about all forms of Utopia and Political Idealism, “The weakness of all utopias is this: that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share…”
In other words, mankind’s biggest problem is his own sinful selfishness. If you don’t account for that, nothing else will work. That is why we need law, justice, jails and the proper use of force. It is naive to think people are basically nice and intrinsically good - - because the truth is, the more you give to someone the more they will want. Human selfishness is like grass, the more you water it, the more it grows. Niceness and limitless compassion actually make matters worse, not better.
Just ask Prime Minister Chamberlain if Adolph was as fine a fellow as he originally thought? And let me ask you, how do you like the bare-chested Putin these days? He really is a nice guy, isn't he?