Agriculture, Cities, and Government

Summary Agriculture, Cities, and Government

Utopian politics seems a strange mixture of freedom and repression. Utopia employs a democratic government, its people represented by two layers of elected public officials, the higher level selected by the lower level. However, the rule abolishing on pain of death any discussion of politics outside of the political arena seems incredibly repressive. This repression, though, is a fair repression in the sense that all citizens of Utopia are equally bound by it. This is a very different repression than those in place in Europe, where the poor and weak were repressed by the rich and powerful. Utopia is operating under a rule of law, with all citizens subject to that law, even if the law itself strikes modern readers as excessive.

Hythloday trumpets the lack of private space as a wonderful idea promoting friendship and stifling pettiness and gossip. Again, though, in the loss of private space is a correspondent loss of privacy and autonomy. Utopia is a society in which everyone watches everyone else, much as everyone does in George Orwell's nightmare world of ##1984##. There is often little differentiating one man's Utopia from another's dystopia.

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