“Moldbug.” The name sounds like it belongs to a troll who belches from the depths of an Internet rabbit hole. And so it does. (SLTheBaffler) [more inside]
An Accelerated Grimace. Chris Lehmann takes down Clay Shirky's cyber-uptopianism by way of Evgeny Morozov.
The Oneida Community was a Christian commune. Their practices included free love - "complex marriage", eugenics - "stirpiculture", an interesting form of birth control only effective due to their unique social structures - "male continence", and "mutual criticism." They did all this for over 30 years in the middle of the 19th century. The site is now run as a museum / apartments / bed and breakfast, and was visited by a descendant writing for the NY Times. The silverware company Oneida Limited was formed to maintain their productive enterprises after the end of the communal experiment. A former member wrote "A Record of an Attempt to Carry Out the Principles of Christian Unselfishness and Scientific Race-Improvement."
William Pfaff argues against American utopianism in foreign policy--a form of "manifest destiny" not limited to the Bush administration. The Bush administration defends its pursuit of this unlikely goal ["ending tyranny in the world"] by means of internationally illegal, unilateralist, and preemptive attacks on other countries, accompanied by arbitrary imprisonments and the practice of torture, and by making the claim that the United States possesses an exceptional status among nations that confers upon it special international responsibilities, and exceptional privileges in meeting those responsibilities. ... Other American leaders before George Bush have made the same claim in matters of less moment. It is something like a national heresy to suggest that the United States does not have a unique moral status and role to play in the history of nations, and therefore in the affairs of the contemporary world. In fact it does not. Pfaff has been a columnist for the International Herald-Tribune, based in Paris, for the last 25 years. His website includes an archive of past columns. Previously.
Utopian Modernism In London: A Series Of Drifts... is a tour of modernist landmarks, tying architectural practice to politics and movements in art. Author Owen Hatherley also keeps a weblog chiefly concerned with art and utopianism in Weimar Germany and the early Soviet Union. Photographer Ludwig Abache's site contains more architectural imagery, from London and beyond. (via newthings)
The Utopian Nightmare : "What is utopianism? It is promising more than you can deliver. It is seeing an easy and sudden answer to long-standing, complex problems. It is trying to solve everything at once through an administrative apparatus headed by “world leaders.” It places too much faith in altruistic cooperation and underestimates self-seeking behavior and conflict. It is expecting great things from schemes designed at the top, but doing nothing to solve the bigger problems at the bottom." Also, be sure to check out the the 16 ideas, values and institutions that may not be with us 35 years from now written by a variety of interesting people and compiled as part of Foreign Policy's 35th anniversary (although not all are free or available without registration).