When we think about a dystopia we think no room to think for oneself, constant surveillance, oppressing government, no sense of civilian equality, and major poverty. As we read last week from Umberto Eco’s “Ur-Fascism,” there are fourteen features that could consider a government system Ur-Fascist, which I believe is the most dystopian form of government. The other forms of government that I felt Eco describes in some form or fashion was communism, dictatorship, totalitarianism, and fascist government systems. These all had one of more or more of the described features and aligned with a dystopian society, whether it was the lack of modernism, emphasis of traditionalism, fear of diversity, or elitism. So, when we begin to think about what form of government is the least dystopian, which characteristics do we focus on?
Well in order to do that, I think it’s important to first describe a dystopia’s polar opposite: utopia. Utopian societies emphasize peaceful government systems, employment and health benefits for all, equality for its citizens, and an overall safe environment to live. When putting all these characteristics into account the first and only system that comes to mind is a direct democracy. With direct democracies they are advertised to give their citizens full autonomy and the ability to decide on laws and policies directly by the citizen’s vote without there being any intermediate representative. There aren’t many examples of this system in today’s society except Switzerland, and it once existed in ancient Athens, Greece. In these societies, the citizens have more power than they would in the United States for example which is a representative democracy. While direct democracies sound good in theory, there is always going to be downfalls with any governing system. With most decisions being in the hands of the people, there may never be a consensus on a decisions because most time is spent voting. When a decision is finally made will every individual agree? Will those who do not agree simply accept that their decision was not chosen?