This week in my Western Civilization class for the Ron Paul Curriculum, I was taught about the Eutopians and their ideas. I now have been asked by my instructor, Dr. Tom Woods, to answer this question:
“What kinds of ideas were the “eutopians” promoting? Why is it perhaps not a coincidence that this desire to rethink the organization of society emerged in the sixteenth century in particular?”
In 16th Century Europe, there were a group of people that believed in the idea of a “eutopian” society. No, I did not spell eutopia incorrectly and you can read what utopia/eutopia really means here and what the ‘eu’ in eutopia means here. the end result is that the word utopia, which means ‘no place’ can now mean ‘good place’ because of the ‘eu’ placed in front of it. People believed that a ‘utopia’ could not exist, but that a ‘eutopia’ could because it meant a ‘good place.’
These people believed that we needed to create a eutopia, a place where all the problems that the world has don’t exist. It was a perfect society, but not a society that allowed you your agency and your freedom. You couldn’t have private property, you had to follow government rule without complaining and you probably wouldn’t have trade with any other countries. These are just a few of the concepts, theories and ideas that many eutopian followers believed in. Here are some others:
- A money free society and economy
- Belief that marriage and alcohol were reasons why we didn’t have a eutopia
- They believed everyone needed to work
- They wanted a self-sufficient economy
But, what made these ideas so intriguing in the 16th Century? Why were these ideas all of sudden just now being talked and heard of? The answer is, in fact, the timing. During the 16th Century, Europe was expanding it’s horizons. New things were being explored, and studied. New countries, continents, sciences and philosophies. Europe was finally beginning to understand that people on the other side of the world had a way, a system, on how things were run and they flourished. They began to realize that they didn’t have to do the same as they always had.
Even though this eutopian philosophy was not very successful and may not ever be used, the new way the people in Europe now looked at things was a step in the right direction to becoming a new country as a whole.