I've always been interested in utopias left, right, centre, green.
I dont think they are a vice per se but they can become a vice, it depends what (maybe even who) you are willing to sacrifice to realise utopia. Would you agree?
This leads me on to another aspect, is utopia simply fantasy? If so is fantasy political, is that a good or bad thing? Should people be more or less discriminating between the fantasy and possible reality when making political choices?
I'm interested in this because I've read really mixed responses to this, Eric Fromm suggested that capitalism and authoritarianism relied upon fantasies to succeed and reproduce itself, without illusions individuals would not support either.
Some of the arguments in libidinal economy (dont recall the author right now) suggested that capitalism prospered (in more than a straight economic abundance sense) while alternatives failed, immediately or eventually, was a result of capitalism being able to appeal to the Id rather than Ego, the fantasy rather than reality or rational, to promise, even if it didnt deliver and also to appeal to more visceral, instinctual, animal or impulsive drives.
Some of the arguments in the same vein which I've heard articulated (ironically or perhaps logically by advocates and detractors alike of capitalism) have reinforced that but also suggested that markets and privacy permit satisfaction of personal vices, including fantasies, stabilising society in a way that other systems particularly central plan or totalitarian ones could not.
Stephen Duncombe has argued that the lack of a fantasy is what has inhibited the spread of liberalism or alternatives to conservative, capitalist status quos.
Conversely I've also read material produced by Hayek on socialism and intellectuals attacking capitalists for their lack of utopianism, suggesting that moderation is a vice in politics because it doesnt motivate and that aiming for greater intangible goals such as vaguely defined personal freedom would appeal were a moderate cut in income tax wouldnt.
So like I say there's mixed opinions and of course the arguments about emotive as opposed to rational choices is something which can be levelled at anti-capitalism as much as capitalism, Mise described it as a fatal conceit. Opinions?
I'd like to point out too that when I use the word capitalism I dont mean free markets or the ideology per se, neither exist in fact, instead I mean what is, which is something which doesnt and isnt ever likely to conform to the theory.