Utopic dreams lead to brutal regimes

Originally posted by me elsewhere on 07/12/201

Quoting from author and Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa:

Utopia, which has produced the most extraordinary masterworks in art, in literature and philosophy, in social terms has always been the most dangerous incentive, or goal, because each time in history that a society has tried to materialize a kind of utopic vision of a perfect world has produced the most brutal… and criminal of regimes.

Varga Llosa was once a socialist, but as he watched how individuals lost their liberties in socialist regimes, he abandoned his left-leaning ways. In 2002 he founded a Spanish think tanks, the Fundación Internacional para la Libertad (FIL), that’s dedicated to promoting liberty and combating the totalitarianism that is an outgrowth of socialism.

In 2009 FIL held an international conference in Caracas, Venezuela. As the Guardian recounts, Hugo Chávez launched a marathon, propaganda show on TV in which he personally appeared for eight-hour episodes attacking the FIL conference (feeling threatened much?). Amidst his blustering, he even challenged members of the FIL to a debate. Vargas Llosa accepted Chávez’s challenge, but only on the condition that it be a one-on-one debate. Chávez said he would be willing to moderate such a debate, but he refused to personally debate Vargas Llosa, muttering something about Vargas Llosa not being in Chávez’s league. During the episode in which he declined the debate, Chávez promised to return to TV the next day for another eight-hour session of Hugo-flavored propaganda, but surprisingly when viewers tuned in the next day, they learned that the show had been canceled for “technical reasons.”

In the following video, you can listen to the man who strikes fear into the heart of Hugo Chávez.


Interestingly William F. Buckley popularized the phrase, “Don’t Immanentize the Eschaton,” which roughly means “don’t try to create a heaven on earth.” Leftists, enamored by their utopic ideals, do try to create a perfect society on earth, and as Vargas Llosa noted above, such idealism has had an impressive track record of ending in tyranny. At any rate this phrase has become a fun, but “hard-core conservative insider-thing” as Jonah Goldberg explains.