We want a spot in Eric Yam’s utopian space colony. Yesterday, the seventeen year old beat out nine hundred other students from around the world in NASA sponsored competition to design a space station that will orbit the earth fifty years from now. We’re a little suspicious that NASA knows something we don’t and is using high school brain power to rescue us from the end of the world or something, but that’s a conspiracy theory for another time…
Clearly a sensible kid, Yam wooed the judges by making the thing as practical as possible. Among the amenities, are space hotels with views of the moon, meat grown in test tubes and nationalized health care. Not bad, even if it is loosely modeled on (gulp) Canada. One thing it was missing though, was the crackpot idealism that normally characterizes utopias. Where was the mistrust of microwaves and antibiotics, the free love and the assumption that human beings are intrinsically good? Below, find our top five favorite utopias of all time. Feel free to chime in with your idea of paradise in the comments.
1. The Original– Sir Thomas Moore deserves a nod for coming up with the whole idea in the first place.
2. Oneida– The upstate New York utopia founded in the early 1900s is almost as famous for its flatware production as it was for its promotion of promiscuous sex.
3. Logan’s Run– Fine. It’s a total dystopia. But, the leotards in the film adaptation? 100 percent utopian.
4. The Farm– Started by a caravan of hippies in brightly colored schoolbuses during the ’60’s, this farm was governed by rules like “no man made hallucinogens.” Sure, there were snags along the way — like the realization that no one actually knew how to farm. But decades later they’re all still living blithely off the grid, avoiding birth control, talking about vibes and enjoying naturally occurring hallucinogens
5. Communism– We saved the best for last. If utopia literally means “city that does not exist”, then communism is the paradigm. For some reason, we just can’t make it work. No matter how valiantly everyone tried, Che Guevara’s face ended up on boxer shorts and China became the most aggressively capitalist country in the world. Viva la Revolucion.