Utopia V. Dystopia Essay, Research Paper
Utopia vs. Dystopia
What is utopia? According to The Random House Dictionary, utopia is a place or state of political or social perfection based on the novel Utopia by Thomas More (Random House 976). Most people can not picture this definition because the real world is not as perfect as Thomas More describes in Utopia. We live in a society not only containing freedom, wealth, and happiness, but also having, disease, crime, and poverty. This ?dystopian? society may not share the all glory of Utopia, yet it does portray a more realistic view of society.
?Perhaps, the most civilized nation in the world? is how Thomas More described Utopia (More 70). He goes on to describe a society run completely by the government. In Utopia all aspects of life are run by the state, from the location a citizen lives to what clothes they wear and when they sleep. This leads me to wonder, how utopian is Utopia? Utopia lacks the most important aspect of any perfect society?Freedom. Without freedom it is easy to maintain social control over a society. Perhaps that is why our society will never reach the type of utopian society described by Thomas More.
Dystopia is defined as ?an ill or bad social or political state? (Random House 282). Dystopia and utopia are total opposites. Where Detroit as a city falls is quite easy to see. The ?riots, and white flight, plant closings and industrial collapse, murders and carjackings, assaults, arson, and drug wars? all are signs of Detroit?s dystopian side (Herron 46). Detroit, like almost every major city in the country is plagued by major social problems, for which there are few quick and easy solutions. Where many see dystopia I see a utopia. Detroit may have its fair share of problems but one thing Detroit has is freedom. Freedom to pursue one?s goals and dreams, freedom to succeed. Niki?s Window: Detroit and the Humiliation of History by Jerry Herron describes one mans success through life from a poor dishwasher to a successful businessman. Detroit provided the seeds for Dennis Kefallinos success. One might ask themselves, if Detroit is such an ?ill place? how can success be achieved? Everyone makes choices on a daily basis, weather it is as simply as choosing what outfit to wear that morning, or as complex as deciding were to invest ones money, our ability to chose is constantly there. Now imagine a place where the mayor stated from here on out all people must dress in uniform and work at jobs provided by the government. We no longer would be living in a democratic-capitalist society it would be a totally communist one. Our freedom
would be removed. Personally I would take the risk of being carjacked, or losing my business, or even being murdered, knowing that I have the freedom to voice my opinion, decide what to do with my life, and chose my own path. Utopia stops being utopian the second freedom is removed. Detroit is far from utopia, with high crime, poor educational facilities, and little public service. Detroit is slowly moving closer to utopia, hiring more police officers to protect the public, diverting money into the public school system, and increasing basic services, are only a few steps towards utopia yet there is still a long way to go. The community as a whole must take pride in the city that they live in and not forget what they, their parents, and grandparents fought for. From the civil rights leaders protesting in the streets of Detroit, to the National Guardsmen keeping the rioters from burning down Detroit, they all fought and some died, protecting ?dystopia,? I think not. If those men and women thought Detroit was not a good city then they wouldn?t risk their lives to protect it. Detroit will continue to strive for utopia and drift away from the negitive stereotype ?dystopia.?
More, Thomas. Utopia.
The Random House Dictionary. Copyright 1980