Utopia, a book written about that a perfect society. Sadly, 500 years into the future, we are still far from achieving such a thing. The world is still full of the same war, poverty, hatred and tiranny that Thomas More observed in 16th century England. Since More´s Utopia is based on the non-existence of money and the sharing of goods (socialist ideals) many of his proposal´s are irrelevant in the capitalist world of today. I will thus focus on:
Those Utopian proposals that are applicable in a capitalistic society. (some will shock you… trust me)
1. Catholic clerical marriage: Thomas More, a deeply religious catholic himself, believed marriage should be a option available to priests. A priest´s wive is encouraged, not required, to lead a life of commuity help. That way, a motherly figure is made available to give advice about children/family values, should someone seek it. (such measure should also help solve the Catholic Church´s current pedophilia scandal)
2. Few laws and no lawyers: the more simple and clear the law is, the more just it is considered. The fewer the number of laws the better. In order to avoid lawyer´s attempt at circumventing laws and blurring the truth (a practice QUITE common in today´s legal system): everyone over the age 18 will have the obligation represent himself in court.
3. Pleasure as the only and principal source of human happiness: be this pleasure of a spiritual or mundane nature. This pleasure should never come at the expense of suffering (own/another´s), produce excesive fatigue or be followed withdrawal symptoms. Maintaining a healthly, physical and mental balance is considered the greatest of all pleasures.
4. Yes to Euthanasia: Eutasiania is acceptable as long as it´s voluntary and only when the patient is no longer able to carry out his vital functions. Not only is it viable alternative, but it´s considered an honorable death for those seeking to avoid living a life of torment for themselves and their loved ones.
5. Seven Supreme Rulers: elections are to be held anually and two of the ¨rulers¨ are local gobernors, who switch every week. (Instead of two changing rulers, I propose two ¨rulers¨ of a racial minority). This reduction of the political system would truly help reduce the burocratic/political bickering that dominates the politics of today. There are still of course regional elections and governors in charge of the need of their locality.
6. Pre-Marriage ¨Peep Show¨ and Age Limit: Thomas More states that the age limit for marriage should be 18 for women and 21 for men. This might seem rash, but taking into account the actual high porcentage of divorces; establishing a 21 year uni-sex marriage limit might be good idea after all. Also, More proposes that before the wedding is pronounced, couples should be allowed to see each other nude during a brief one minute ceremony. This is done in order to avoid traps or unpleasant after-marriage revelations. So sex or no sex, one should at least get a preview of your companion´s nude body before the wedding.
7. Forced Social Labor for Criminals: Thomas More proposes death for grave crimes (first-degree murder/rape…), and enslavement (forced social service) for the rest of crimes. Forced social service in which ¨slaves¨ that present good conduct and behavior are rewarded back with their freedom and those ¨slaves¨ that commit another crime or escape while serving time are killed. I propose replacing the ¨killing¨ part with perpetual arrest. Such measures will greatly discourage ANY kind of crime.
8. Religious tolerance: the belief that in the end we all worship or seek to obtain closer access to the same God. The religious beliefs of all others are to be respected. (atheists included, More said, even if he himself found their logic irrational/despicable). Those who incite violence through religion, and can´t be dissuaded, are arrested as criminals.
9. New Type of Confession: of all the catholic sacraments this is the one whose fundations on the Scriptures is the most shaky and dubious. Thomas More proposes that a real, pure confession should be made by kneeling in front of the person wronged and pleading for the forgiveness of the sin commited.
10. Future Buildings with a minimun three floor height: the future is in building up, not sideways. This way we help to better preserve our natural resources, drainage areas and ecosystems (forests, prairies…)
Without a doubt, Thomas More was a visionary man with ideas way ahead of his time. He believed that nature invited all mortals to mutually help one another in the search of a happier life. Humans should be able to look at each other as brothers and be able to put aside all religious, political or social differences. (More himself didn´t believe money should exist)
I quote from his book: What shall I think of the rich men who exploit the poor daily? In reality they get away with it, not through their own squemes, but through the protection of our own laws. [… ] I see the sprouting republics of today – God forgive me – like a group of rich people who seek, in the shadows and in the name of the republic, only their own benefit. [ … ] When the rich manage set these social traps in the name of all, their own and that of the poor people, they pass on to become respectable laws.
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