Blog

A 19th Century Socialist on the Food Police

As I indicated a few days ago, I've been reading Looking Backward written by Edward Bellamy in 1887.  Bellamy's book describer a socialist utopia that he imagines to exist in the year 2000.  Here is a revealing passage from one of the modern socialists telling the main character what was wrong with the political system of his day (in the 1800s):

A government, or a majority, which should undertake to tell the people, or a minority, what they were to eat, drink, or wear, as I believe governments in America did in your day, would be regarded as a curious anachronism indeed.  Possibly you had reasons for tolerating these infringements of personal independence, but we should not think them endurable.

In many ways, Bellamy's utopia is a totalitarian state; yet even he finds it abhorrent for the government "tell the people . . . what they were to eat, drink, or wear."