An ideal society is at best a pipe dream. Utopian visions tend to neglect the realities of humanity. The world contains too many people with too many divergent ideas about what is good or moral or proper. What may appear to be ideal to a citizen of Bucyrus, Kansas would be foreign to a citizen of Agartala, India. The same ideal could be an anathema to a radical Islamic. Why this difficulty? C.S. Lewis (christian apologist, chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge) shows in “Illustrations of the Tao” that there is a Natural Law that seems to be common to all civilizations. (Lewis, 1965)
To establish what I consider an ideal society I must first lay some ground rules, some axioms that pertain to any society. Firstly, the role of government. Let us turn to John Locke. “According to Lockeans, a political morality is rights-based and the proper role of the legitimate state is to protect rights and address rights violations.” (Hinman, 2006, p219) There is no distinction between races, ethnic groups, or religions. A society that bases its laws on the total or partial exclusion of any of these groups can in no way be considered ideal. What makes them correct? Secondly, the role of citizens. An ideal citizen must consider the rights of others. No crying movie in a crowded firehouse just to express your freedom of speech. (Do they show movies in crowded firehouses?) Can we do that? Of course the question arises, where do these ideals for our future society come from? It depends on whether there are any “universal” rules. To quote a famous Shakespeare line from Hamlet, “Aye, there’s the rub”. By adhering to these common laws, which basically fall back to the Golden Rule of Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, and Confucianism among others, my ideal society would respect and appreciate the rights of others, would work together for the common good and actively seek justice. In seems as though all examples in the text deal almost exclusively with questions of race, reparations and reconciliation. Now these are important in themselves but are not an issue in my ideal society because the nature of its members renders the questions of race, gender, etc as non-existent. Can we achieve this goal? Now, there is one big problem, human nature. To achieve an ideal society one needs to change the human nature of all but saints. I am not holding my breath.
Hinman, Lawrence M. Contemporary Moral Issues. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice- Hall, 2006. 219. Print.
Lewis, Clive S. The Abolition of Man. 7th ed. New York, NY: Macmillan, 1965. 95-121. Print.