The Unvarnished Truth of Utopian Societiesor
Why Utopian Societies Should Scare Youa short informal essay

As a sci-fi reader and viewer, I've had plenty of exposure to both utopia and dystopia, and I've always found the dystopian stuff easier to swallow. It's more believable, and shockingly, less sinister.

In dystopia, it's clear as day that something went wrong somewhere. People struggle, knowingly or otherwise, in a society that's just plain off-kilter. Okay, I'm sure everyone can buy that - we live in dystopia, or something like it, every day.

In utopia, everything, at its surface, appears good. Everyone's happy. Everyone's got everything they need. It sounds peachy, doesn't it?

Almost invariably the history of a utopia is glossed over in its introduction. You don't get the whole picture, and most of us accept the facts as presented, and move on with the story.

But... utopia cannot develop in a vacuum, and when we don't get to see how the utopia developed, we overlook a terrible truth.

What is this terrible truth?

The group somehow got rid of all dissenting opinions, so that everyone utilizes the same group-think, got rid of all those who do not fit a physical ideal so that everyone who remained could be equal.

What happened to those who didn't fit the utopian ideal? Were they cast out? Sterilized so they couldn't propagate? Silenced? Drugged into compliance? Killed?

Utopias are in fact well-established dystopias, those that have had time to get rid of all dissenters, and to create, in some way, a uniform culture.

Utopia takes on a creepy new light when you look at it that way. I can't look at any utopian society without that niggling thought that behind that shining facade is an unvarnished truth: a utopia is built on the backs of those who were sacrificed for the cause.