More\'s Utopia

In Thomas More\'s book Utopia, there is a great deal of irony in the way the
people of this mystical place live and prosper. Much of what the people of today\'s
society assume to be universal truths of life are completely opposite from the

Utopian perspective of the way things should be done. Some of these differences
include the way they protect themselves from other nations, their economy, their
system of land rights, and the nature of their relationships and marriages. In
all of these areas Utopians differ greatly from the norm of western society.

These differences serve as a commentary on the world which westerns take for
granted. In the book Utopia, More uses irony to demonstrate some of the positive
and negative aspects of western society. In comparison with the ways of the
western world where vast amounts of the tax money is spent on the protection of
the nations in terms of weapons and training of armies, the Utopians have a much
different system of nation protection. Rather than fight themselves, they hire
mercenaries to do their battling for them. It is a very strange policy to adopt,
and history has shown that this is not the most effective way to protect a
nation. Their stand on the issue is that these soldiers are all out for money,
and since the gold and silver which they possess in vast amounts is available,
they have nothing to worry about. This is truly an ideal way of life, but the
reality is that no mercenary will fight as hard as a man who is protection his
homeland. Any person would agree that paying someone else to go to war for them
would be great, but this is not the way life works, and More is making this
observation in his book. Another area where the people of Utopia differ greatly
form the way of the western world is the way in which the land rights are
controlled. The basic ideas of property ownership are unheard of to the people
of Utopia. All of the land is owned jointly, and the entire community works the
land in shifts. This prevents any man from having more than his neighbor which
supposedly eliminates jealousy and competition between citizens. Even though it
is clear that there can be no elimination of the innate competition between
people or the human instinct to acquire personal wealth, More is commenting the
greedy nature of the people of the western world. More\'s description of their
methods shows them to be perfect, but the underlying suggestion is that they are
far from perfect, and that there is no possible way a system like this could
prosper. Another major difference between the European world and the Utopians is
the system of relationships, and marriage. There is what seems to be a very
cynical view of marriages. It is almost as thought they exist only because of
sex, and the idea of love is not even a factor. They suppose few people would
join in marital love-with comfinment to a single partner and all the petty
annoyances that married life involves-unless they were strictly restrained from
promiscuity.(452) This quote implies that the members of this society would
most likely have no desire to commit themselves to one person if they had the
freedom to be involved sexually with other people. In other words if not for the
conjugal right marriages would not exist. This is a very cynical view of
relationships, and much different from that of the western world. There are no
strict punishments for adulterers in this society, as in Utopia and people are
free to act as they see fit. There is an underlying element of control in this
society of Utopia that resembles something close to hell for a person who likes
to do his own thinking and decision making. Many people do not want a higher
power telling them how to live, and this is the very point that More is making
in this book. The most significant difference that More presents in the Utopian
society is their economy. These people have absolutely no system of money. They
pay their mercenaries with the gold and silver which they have mined strictly
for that purpose, and there is an element of disgust for these metals among the
citizens the nation. They are living in a communal fashion. They produce an
excess of goods in order to trade with their neighbors, and the citizens share
all of the necessities of life in order to survive. Of course this