Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DREAM (01/02/20)
TITLE: Paradises Lost
By David Butler
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The convener looked round at nodding heads everywhere.
There were experts, influencers and scientists, all gathering together to try and end the constant fighting happening world-wide.
‘There have been endless debates – indeed, terrible blood-letting – throughout the ages about which politico/economic system can bring about this utopia. We are agreed, are we not, that it is not rationality that drives warring factions among us? It is passion, folks! Ideologies, driven by our dreams of how the world should look. Occasionally, balanced rationality has had a look in, but in the end, ideology wins.’
As he expanded on this theme, many delegates bowed their heads hopelessly.
‘This is a conference to examine all the ideologies of the world. If we try to resolve it with human rationality here, we will inevitably start yet another war. Right?’
A depressed silence was the only answer.
But this was the moment he was waiting for. He pressed a button on his lectern and a great curtain opened behind him, revealing a large screen and a large mainframe computer.
‘Folks,’ he declared proudly, ‘We at the World Ideology Research Centre have not been idle. Let me introduce the “Dream Machine”. It has gathered massive amounts of data from past and present conflicts and political régimes. It has examined all the major ideologies operating today and their track-record. It will show us the benefits and evils each of these have had upon our civilization. It will give us a rational appraisal on that ideology, and whether it has any hope of achieving the utopia we are striving for. Data – not opinions, folks! Are we ready for this?’
The delegates leaned forward in eager anticipation. Some looked apprehensive. There would be some sacred cows kicked over, here.
The convener took a deep breath and pressed “Play”.
The screen lit up, announcing “A Review of Capitalism. Largest socio-economic system.”
After a brief, chequered history, it introduced its benefits, using facts, figures, and multimedia:
"New, worthwhile, amazing inventions and social benefits. Technological advancement."
"Large advances in improving quality of life, health, comfort and enjoyment."
"Motivated people, lifting themselves out of poverty to a healthier and happier life."
But just as the billionaires in the audience were beginning to swell with pride, the screen revealed “Evils of Capitalism”:
"Exploitation of many disadvantaged. Slavery was an extreme example."
"Opportunities for corruption and abuse of financial power."
"Frequently, unequal, inequitable distribution of wealth among those who worked in capitalist systems."
“Barriers to the Utopian Dream” included the inevitable tendency of humans to become greedy and self-centred.
The conclusion: “Utopia cannot be guaranteed here.”
Socialist delegates sneered at the deflated billionaires, until the screen then announced: “Review of Socialism.”
The history resembled a war movie.
"Sporadic relief to oppressed classes."
"Temporary sense of hope and dignity for working classes."
"Some measure of social justice to the disadvantaged e.g. unions."
Before the socialists could protest the seeming inadequate benefits listed, their horrified gazes were met with the “Evils..”:
"Disincentives to work outweighed incentives."
"Totalitarian governments with a history of tyranny, cruelty, and record bloodshed."
"Widespread corruption and abuse of power."
"Strong repression of dissidents."
"Less accountability and transparency."
"Historically, socialist nations had failed or turned to capitalism."
“Barriers to this Utopian Dream”: the inevitable tendency of humans to become greedy and self-centred.
Conclusion: “Utopia unlikely here.”
Most socialists stormed out.
“Review of Democracy” fared better, underlining “Stability through consensus” etc, but the “inefficiencies of limited governing power” and “self-interest” disqualified it from utopian status also.
This made its advocates fume.
Attention then turned to religion, including Atheistic Naturalism. A few of these delegates felt threatened by this. They loudly refused to watch such “biased” information, and left.
Embarrassing facts of history emerged which revealed why they didn’t appreciate such scrutiny.
Many who represented organised religions squirmed in their seats or also left.
Surprisingly, the presentation turned to “Biblical Christianity.”
Many facts were totally new to many in the audience, and not always welcome.
The positive impacts of biblical revivals were quite dramatic on the communities that experienced them. There was some reference to the “undergirding of civilised society by strengthening relationships” and “equitable morés based on selfless relationships”.
It cautioned about those who were inconsistent, but concluded that this was “closest to achieving world utopia possible for imperfect humanity.”
This was greeted by cries of “NO!!” from many, but loud cheers by some.
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