Thomas More's "Utopia" Essay

1563 words - 6 pages

Is America a modern feudal society?In 1516, Sir Thomas More also known as the patron saint of lawyers book "Utopia" was first published. In Utopia More discusses the European power politics of his day through a novel, which serves as a political discourse spoken from a fictional character by the name of Raphael Hythloday. Hythloday's character is used as a mouthpiece so Thomas More can critically discuss the politics of England, catholic church, war, foreign policy, capital punishment, euthanasia and other controversial issues in Mores day or in contemporary America. More's Utopia reminds one of the philosophical Greek city-states discussed by Socrates in Plato's republic. Utopia is an island similar to England, which leads us to believe that he was in fact discussing public policy through the means of a fictional novel. Moreover, Utopia is a state that puts the community as a whole as the priority amongst its citizens contrary to the egotistical, materialistic driven, self -serving society that is America today. Sir Thomas More exposes the injustices that are abundant in Europe during the end of the feudal system. Mores utopia lacks the Darwinesque survival of the fittest mentality of the corporate world in the 21st century, Utopia is a society without private property, greed, money, class structure, politicians, lawyers, and class oppression based on socioeconomic hierarchies that have been associated with the contemporary United States as well as England of Mores day.In book, I Hytholday is speaking critically of the form of justice that is dealt out to the destitute, unwaged, thieves and the vagabonds of England in the 15th century where the punishment of choice was a noose around ones neck for the minor infraction of social norms, which is theft. William Harrison reported that in the reign of Henry VIII alone 72,000 thieves and vagabonds were hanged. This type of arcane punishment is unproportionate to the actual crime itself, it is unjust for an individual stricken with poverty to lose his life for a mere crust of bread. Hytholday why dinning with a Cardinal in the church addresses this issue."'These are the reasons why I think this punishment is wrong. And I think there is no one who does not understand how absurd and even dangerous it is to society to punish theft and murder in the same way. For when a thief sees that he is in no less danger if he is convicted of theft than if he had also been condemned for murder, that consideration alone will drive him to kill someone whom otherwise he would have robbed. For apart from the fact that there is no more danger if he is caught, murder makes him one more safe and gives him a greater hope of concealing his crime, since the witness to it has been eliminated."Hythloday disentangles the following to the Cardinal "For heavy and horrible punishments are imposed on thieves when it would be much better to make some provision for their livelihood, so that no one should labor under the cruel necessity...

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