The Great Utopian Delusion by Paul Cleveland
Individual freedom and liberty are fundamental principles upon which a good society is based. Regrettably, those principles have been under attack for over one hundred years around the globe. The notion that paradise on earth can be achieved by coercive means has led to the spread of tyranny and despotism. Dr. Clarence B. Carson originally explained this truth in his 1978 book, The World in the Grip of an Idea.
Proponents of the idea often argue that freedom promotes the worst kind of human behavior and, therefore, must be rejected if moral human action is to prevail. They argue that liberty in general and free enterprise in particular promote jealousy, envy, and greed. In their opinion, life on this planet would be better served if we substituted government control over individual human action. The assumption is that such a collectivization of life would promote the highest level of virtuous living amongst us. But, this assessment is simply wrong. In a 1996 article reflecting on his book, Carson observed:
The notion that government is responsible for the material and intellectual well-‐being of populaces has great appeal, especially when it is accompanied by actual payments and subsidies from government. Many people become dependent upon government handouts, and even those who are not particularly dependent may lose confidence in their ability to provide for themselves. These feelings, attitudes, and practices are residues from the better part of a century of socialism in its several varieties. They have produced vastly overgrown governments and the politicalization of life. Governments and politicians are the problem, not the solution.
Sturdy individuals, stable families, vital communities, limited government, and faith in a transcendent God who provides for us through the natural order and the bounties of nature—these alone can break the grip of the idea.
— Clarence B. Carson, “The World in the Grip of an Idea Revisited,” The Freeman, May, 1996.
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essential reading for this generation
About The Great Utopian Delusion: A decade ago, I would have described this book to my students as in interesting, accessible primer on the dangers of socialism (and other statist political and economic philosophies), particularly as seen through the lens of biblical worldview thinking, and I think many of them would have understood what I meant. Times have changed. When I used this book in my course two years ago, half of my students had no knowledge or historical memory of socialism and the dangers thereof. They didn’t even know what the word meant. This book upset them in that they recognized that they had been duped by government education and an intellectually bankrupt culture. Read it, and while you’re at it send a copy to your elected officials.
I wish every American could read this book
This was a very educating book to read, and I definitely feel informed about the woes of socialism. It is easy to notice the example of socialist ideas attacking the family, norms, and individuality in the United States today.
Because I wasn’t very knowledgeable about this topic prior to this, I was unaware about what similarities I have now realized the US has with socialism. I wish every American could read this book.
I loved that the authors touched on how we have a soul and a mind and body. Socialism seems to want to control every aspect of people until they are solely reliant on the government for life. This is no way for humanity to flourish, let alone be creative or unique.
It is interesting that the people who follow this idea are also the ones supporting individualism and creativity, when the very idea prohibits it. That makes you think how much is really understood about it in general. I think the evolutionary way can be more damaging, in some cases, because this way changes the opinions of the people along with it. I would say it maybe closely resembles brainwashing? Whereas revolutionary outright puts fear into the people, so they know its bad from the start. Revolutionary socialism isn’t usually welcomed, while evolutionary seems to be, especially today.
A Must Read
An awesome book and a must read. Well written. Would be great if our leaders had even the basics of this understanding.
In his latest book, Dr. Cleveland clearly explains the motives behind so many of the destructive policies that are affecting our nation and world today. After reading this book you will have a better understanding of why national and international leaders are making the decisions they make and how it will affect all of us. I am hopeful that his next book will help us understand what steps we can take, as individuals, communities, and a nation, to avoid the disasters in store for us.
Every American Should Read It
Paul Cleveland is a brilliant professor, but in this book he explains the big idea behind so much of what affects our culture and society today in terms that those of us with simpler minds can clearly grasp. I really enjoyed reading this and appreciate the clear and straightforward presentation of truth. I strongly recommend that every serious American should read it.