Home / Op-Ed / Only in a utopia

Only in a utopia

Absolutely knock-out literature.
Absolutely knock-out literature.

War to achieve utopia?

Article: Eman Bare – News Writer

The construction of a Utopian society where all man is equal has been harbored by dreamers and communists alike for generations, but is Utopia at all attainable? Although a world free of wars, where each and every individual has access to the same opportunities sounds pleasant, is it possible?

In Letters to a Young Contrarian, Christopher Hitchens argues that man does not strive for perfect society, because perfection within a society prevents development and growth. His argument compares conflict to heat and the truth to light. As physics explains, heat is the greatest light source. Using that logic, is it possible to reach enlightenment without conflict?

In historical terms, it is near impossible to argue whether conflict is beneficial for societies but it can be said that without conflict, civilizations would remain stagnant, or at least would not have a catalyst for change.

The Great War was meant to be the war that ended all wars. This in itself is Utopian thinking; to believe that one major conflict would rid the world and individual societies of all its troubles.

Perhaps the greatest lesson that war teaches to societies is the power of conflict.

If war teaches anything to humankind, it teaches both sides the power of war. Perhaps this is the reason that world peace and Utopian societies free of war are unattainable; as humans we desire power and struggle to achieve it in all aspects of our lives.

Take for example, the prestige and respect associated with those in high-ranking careers. They are revered in society, more than someone with a more “average” job would be. Those with high grades in their post-secondary education and seen as intelligent and pushed into fields where they will earn large salaries and be in authoritative ranks. When an intelligent person chooses to not follow the wave, and fall into the trap of societal pressure they are seen as settling, not being ambitious enough and as failing.

Often times, happiness is replaced by the need to be powerful and successful. This can be understood on a grander scale by comparing the importance of success to revolutions.

From a human justice perspective, is the outcome of war worth the cost of war? A child in Syria right now would hardly agree. In order to see war as beneficial, the situation in itself must be dehumanized. As an academic and as an optimist, one could argue that the conflict in Syria is necessary to over throw the current regime. But, is the rest of the world enabling the Revolutionist in Syria to reach that level of success or are countries like Russia that are flying in weapons to Assad prolonging the war and hindering peace?

Bashar Al-Assad has made it clear that he does not value human life. He is guilty of using chemical weapons on the Syrian population and carrying out crimes against humanity, and yet no one seems to be inclined to intervene. Had the global community taken this approach to the Great Wars, I do not believe we could argue that war is beneficial.

Additionally, on the note of society being success driven – Bashar has shown that he values continuing as the leader of Syria to be more important than the peoples trust in him and the very prosperity and existence of his country and fellow countrymen. In the case of Syria, we see how the human desire for success is the biggest threat to civilization.

The human race has surpassed the era of noble wars. Now, the only take away from war is broken societies, lack of trust in the government, displaced population and continued conflict. Although Hitchens argument of wars being necessary for societal change, the revolutions and wars of yesterday no longer exist. Instead, wars are now fought for success and self-interest. Therefore, the argument of war being necessary for light is no longer applicable.

Image: Farron Ager

About Our Contributors

The University of Regina's thriving community fuels our content at the Carillon! If you've got a story worth sharing or are interested in contributing please let us know! Send an email to editor@carillonregina.com and subscribe to our pitch list!