Friday, September 30, 2011

The problem of political utopias

'Political utopias are a form of nostalgia for an imagined past projected on to the future as a wish . . . No matter that Greek democracy was built upon the institution of slavery; no matter that the Italian city-states were feuding and unequal oligarchies. Utopias never have to make their excuses to history; like all dreams they have a timeless immunity to disappointment in real life'.

Michael Ignatieff, The Needs of Strangers. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984): 107.

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