Can We Get Utopia Right?

Salon interviews author J.C. Hallman about his new book "In Utopia," which explores modern-day utopian projects and how they differ from those of the past.
August 21, 2010, 5am PDT | Michael Dudley
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In his new book "In Utopia" author J.C. Hallman observes that, while utopias may have failed in the past, and the ideology of their various proponents debunked, the utopian impulse is difficult to resist because "it keeps you moving forward." In this interview with Salon, Hallman shares more of this thoughts:

"Fascinated by the decline in utopian thinking over the past century, and inspired by his own suburban upbringing, Hallman wanted to look at far-fetched ideas that are pushing the boundaries of our social imagination -- and, to varying extents, succeeding. Among other places, he visits The World, a cruise ship co-op with a permanent population made up of millionaires; Twin Oaks, a commune in the Virginia woods that supports itself by making hammocks; and the soon-to-be-built Front Sight, a town centered around universal gun ownership that bills itself as 'the safest community in America.'"

When asked why most utopian communities fail, Hallman notes,

"The vision doesn't always live up to its promise. Sometimes utopias don't fully account for the frailty of human psychology, and a lot of utopias are actively attempting to change human psychology to adjust for that very problem. I think that utopias fail for the same reason that a lot of plans can potentially fail, simply because you don't always get it right the first time."

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Published on Monday, August 16, 2010 in
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