Paving the road toward ‘Dystopia’


Founding Member
Dystopia for me is when 'things' no longer work. Law and order breaks down. Government loses the ability to govern. Society turns on itself.


Founding Member
Utopia is an imagined perfect society, but its original meaning in ancient Greek writing that first used the term is "a place that doesn't exist." Based on the prefixes, dystopia would be the opposite of utopia in that it SHOULD be a perfectly imperfect society. But it, too, cannot exist. (After all, nobody's perfect, in a good way or a bad way.)

The rise in dystopian novels is in a way just an exploration of the ancient Greek basic "Man against Society" storyline (one of the classics of Greek literature) in which the antagonist (impersonal society) becomes more formidable than normal. For instance, "The Hunger Games" and "1984" and "Brave New World" are all speculations on a world gone wrong based on different kinds of sometimes well-meaning but imperfectly managed government. If we are paving a road to dystopia, it is that road of "good intentions."

I think that to reach a truly dystopian society, we must face a clash of ideals, a balancing act that inevitiably becomes overbalanced. Man against Self (another classic Greek storyline) deals with the inherent weaknesses in a protagonist who is also his own antagonist. And sadly, we know of many cases where we are our own worst enemies. If we consider a dystopian society where individual rights are even just slightly stronger than societal safeguards, we end up with futures such as "Blade Runner" or "Soylent Green" or "Planet of the Apes." That is because we can't put the brakes on our headlong rush into self-oblivion.

I don't think you can blame lawmakers. First, they are human and therefore inherently their own worst enemies. Second, we elected them, so rather obviously we thought that was a good idea at the time. Guess we were exposing our imperfections in the ballot box?
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Staff member
We have local law, and distributed law. Local law is how you decide to operate within your immediate environment. We can create our own self-imposed dystopia based on our limiting beliefs (or religious doctrine). See Doc's post about this here:

Then we have distributed law, the law of the land. We operate within that context, but may not obey all of its rules at our peril.

So, should we not question both sets of lawmakers: the government and ourselves? Dystopia starts in the mind...


Founding Member
The utopian dream of perfectly representative government is necessarily the origin of a dystopia where we elect lawmakers who can't say NO. And if they do refuse us, we oust them and elect someone else who will give us what we incorrectly think we want. We put the government in place when we voted for it or our ancestors voted for whatever they wanted and we inherited it - and accepted what we inherited without questioning it. Not questioning the lawmakers. In a representative society, they are us. We should be questioning the laws and societal "norms" (whatever that means). We should question ourselves and why we don't wipe out ugly laws.

I'm a known radical in some ways, but I think EVERY law should have a sunset clause. Every law should be treated as though it was a time-limited experiment. And we should up the ante for renewal. Maybe if it passed by a 55/45 margin the first time, its first renewal needs to pass by 60/40, then by a 65/35 margin for second renewal, and so on, until it becomes totally unpassable at 105/-5 and would then have to be rewritten from the ground up in order to restart the passage proportions. Just a crazy idea, but since we are talking about inspecting and altering our government, that is a reform I might offer.