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    Concerning Freedoms

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    Chapter 3
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    Section 1.

    Now what sort of question would first occur to two men descending
    upon the planet of a Modern Utopia? Probably grave solicitude about
    their personal freedom. Towards the Stranger, as I have already
    remarked, the Utopias of the past displayed their least amiable
    aspect. Would this new sort of Utopian State, spread to the
    dimensions of a world, be any less forbidding?

    We should take comfort in the thought that universal Toleration is
    certainly a modern idea, and it is upon modern ideas that this World
    State rests. But even suppose we are tolerated and admitted to this
    unavoidable citizenship, there will still remain a wide range of
    possibility.... I think we should try to work the problem out from
    an inquiry into first principles, and that we should follow the
    trend of our time and kind by taking up the question as one of "Man
    versus the State," and discussing the compromise of Liberty.

    The idea of individual liberty is one that has grown in importance
    and grows with every development of modern thought. To the classical
    Utopists freedom was relatively trivial. Clearly they considered
    virtue and happiness as entirely separable from liberty, and as
    being altogether more important things. But the modern view, with
    its deepening insistence upon individuality and upon the
    significance of its uniqueness, steadily intensifies the value of
    freedom, until at last we begin to see liberty as the very substance
    of life, that indeed it is life, and that only the dead things, the
    choiceless things, live in absolute obedience to law. To have free
    play for one's individuality is, in the modern view, the subjective
    triumph of existence, as survival in creative work and offspring is
    its objective triumph. But for all men, since man is a social
    creature, the play of will must fall short of absolute freedom.
    Perfect human liberty is possible only to a despot who is absolutely
    and universally obeyed. Then to will would be to command and
    achieve, and within the limits of natural law we could at any moment
    do exactly as it pleased us to do. All other liberty is a compromise
    between our own freedom of will and the wills of those with whom we
    come in contact. In an organised state each one of us has a more or
    less elaborate code of what he may do to others and to himself, and
    what others may do to him. He limits others by his rights, and is
    limited by the rights of others, and by considerations affecting the
    welfare of the community as a whole.

    Individual liberty in a community is not, as mathematicians would
    say, always of the same sign. To ignore this is the essential
    fallacy of the cult called Individualism. But in truth, a general
    prohibition in a state may increase the sum of liberty, and a
    general permission may diminish it. It does not follow, as these
    people would have us believe, that a man is more free where there is
    least law and more restricted where there is most law. A socialism
    or a communism is not necessarily a slavery, and there is no freedom
    under Anarchy. Consider how much liberty we gain by the loss of the
    common liberty to kill. Thereby one may go to and fro in all the
    ordered parts of the earth, unencumbered by arms or armour, free of
    the fear of playful poison, whimsical barbers, or hotel trap-doors.
    Indeed, it means freedom from a thousand fears and precautions.
    Suppose there existed even the limited freedom to kill in
    vendetta, and think what would happen in our suburbs. Consider the
    inconvenience of two households in a modern suburb estranged and
    provided with modern weapons of precision, the inconvenience not
    only to each other, but to the neutral pedestrian, the practical
    loss of freedoms all about them. The butcher, if he came at all,
    would have to come round in an armoured cart....

    It follows, therefore, in a modern Utopia, which finds the
    final hope of the world in the evolving interplay of unique
    individualities, that the State will have effectually chipped away
    just all those spendthrift liberties that waste liberty, and not
    one liberty more, and so have attained the maximum general freedom.

    There are two distinct and contrasting methods of limiting liberty;
    the first is Prohibition, "thou shalt not," and the second Command,
    "thou shalt." There is, however, a sort of prohibition that takes
    the form of a conditional command, and this one needs to bear in
    mind. It says if you do so-and-so, you must also do so-and-so; if,
    for example, you go to sea with men you employ, you must go in a
    seaworthy vessel. But the pure command is unconditional; it says,
    whatever you have done or are doing or want to do, you are to
    do this, as when the social system, working through the base
    necessities of base parents and bad laws, sends a child of thirteen
    into a factory. Prohibition takes one definite thing from the
    indefinite liberty of a man, but it still leaves him an unbounded
    choice of actions. He remains free, and you have merely taken a
    bucketful from the sea of his freedom. But compulsion destroys
    freedom altogether. In this Utopia of ours there may be many
    prohibitions, but no indirect compulsions--if one may so contrive
    it--and few or no commands. As far as I see it now, in this present
    discussion, I think, indeed, there should be no positive compulsions
    at all in Utopia, at any rate for the adult Utopian--unless they
    fall upon him as penalties incurred.


    Section 2.

    What prohibitions should we be under, we two Uitlanders in this
    Utopian world? We should certainly not be free to kill, assault, or
    threaten anyone we met, and in that we earth-trained men would not
    be likely to offend. And until we knew more exactly the Utopian
    idea of property we should be very chary of touching anything that
    might conceivably be appropriated. If it was not the property of
    individuals it might be the property of the State. But beyond that
    we might have our doubts. Are we right in wearing the strange
    costumes we do, in choosing the path that pleases us athwart this
    rock and turf, in coming striding with unfumigated rucksacks and
    snow-wet hobnails into what is conceivably an extremely neat and
    orderly world? We have passed our first Utopian now, with an
    answered vague gesture, and have noted, with secret satisfaction,
    there is no access of dismay; we have rounded a bend, and down the
    valley in the distance we get a glimpse of what appears to be a
    singularly well-kept road....

    I submit that to the modern minded man it can be no sort of Utopia
    worth desiring that does not give the utmost freedom of going to and
    fro. Free movement is to many people one of the greatest of life's
    privileges--to go wherever the spirit moves them, to wander and
    see--and though they have every comfort, every security, every
    virtuous discipline, they will still be unhappy if that is denied
    them. Short of damage to things cherished and made, the Utopians
    will surely have this right, so we may expect no unclimbable walls
    and fences, nor the discovery of any laws we may transgress in
    coming down these mountain places.

    And yet, just as civil liberty itself is a compromise defended by
    prohibitions, so this particular sort of liberty must also have its
    qualifications. Carried to the absolute pitch the right of free
    movement ceases to be distinguishable from the right of free
    intrusion. We have already, in a comment on More's Utopia, hinted at
    an agreement with Aristotle's argument against communism, that it
    flings people into an intolerable continuity of contact.
    Schopenhauer carried out Aristotle in the vein of his own bitterness
    and with the truest of images when he likened human society to
    hedgehogs clustering for warmth, and unhappy when either too closely
    packed or too widely separated. Empedocles found no significance in
    life whatever except as an unsteady play of love and hate, of
    attraction and repulsion, of assimilation and the assertion of
    difference. So long as we ignore difference, so long as we ignore
    individuality, and that I hold has been the common sin of all
    Utopias hitherto, we can make absolute statements, prescribe
    communisms or individualisms, and all sorts of hard theoretic
    arrangements. But in the world of reality, which--to modernise
    Heraclitus and Empedocles--is nothing more nor less than the world
    of individuality, there are no absolute rights and wrongs, there are
    no qualitative questions at all, but only quantitative adjustments.
    Equally strong in the normal civilised man is the desire for freedom
    of movement and the desire for a certain privacy, for a corner
    definitely his, and we have to consider where the line of
    reconciliation comes.

    The desire for absolute personal privacy is perhaps never a very
    strong or persistent craving. In the great majority of human beings,
    the gregarious instinct is sufficiently powerful to render any but
    the most temporary isolations not simply disagreeable, but painful.
    The savage has all the privacy he needs within the compass of his
    skull; like dogs and timid women, he prefers ill-treatment to
    desertion, and it is only a scarce and complex modern type that
    finds comfort and refreshment in quite lonely places and quite
    solitary occupations. Yet such there are, men who can neither sleep
    well nor think well, nor attain to a full perception of beautiful
    objects, who do not savour the best of existence until they are
    securely alone, and for the sake of these even it would be
    reasonable to draw some limits to the general right of free
    movement. But their particular need is only a special and
    exceptional aspect of an almost universal claim to privacy among
    modern people, not so much for the sake of isolation as for
    congenial companionship. We want to go apart from the great crowd,
    not so much to be alone as to be with those who appeal to us
    particularly and to whom we particularly appeal; we want to form
    households and societies with them, to give our individualities play
    in intercourse with them, and in the appointments and furnishings
    of that intercourse. We want gardens and enclosures and exclusive
    freedoms for our like and our choice, just as spacious as we can get
    them--and it is only the multitudinous uncongenial, anxious also for
    similar developments in some opposite direction, that checks this
    expansive movement of personal selection and necessitates a
    compromise on privacy.

    Glancing back from our Utopian mountain side down which this
    discourse marches, to the confusions of old earth, we may remark
    that the need and desire for privacies there is exceptionally great
    at the present time, that it was less in the past, that in the
    future it may be less again, and that under the Utopian conditions
    to which we shall come when presently we strike yonder road, it may
    be reduced to quite manageable dimensions. But this is to be
    effected not by the suppression of individualities to some common
    pattern, [Footnote: More's Utopia. "Whoso will may go in, for there
    is nothing within the houses that is private or anie man's owne."]
    but by the broadening of public charity and the general amelioration
    of mind and manners. It is not by assimilation, that is to say, but
    by understanding that the modern Utopia achieves itself. The ideal
    community of man's past was one with a common belief, with common
    customs and common ceremonies, common manners and common formulae;
    men of the same society dressed in the same fashion, each according
    to his defined and understood grade, behaved in the same fashion,
    loved, worshipped, and died in the same fashion. They did or felt
    little that did not find a sympathetic publicity. The natural
    disposition of all peoples, white, black, or brown, a natural
    disposition that education seeks to destroy, is to insist upon
    uniformity, to make publicity extremely unsympathetic to even the
    most harmless departures from the code. To be dressed "odd," to
    behave "oddly," to eat in a different manner or of different food,
    to commit, indeed, any breach of the established convention is to
    give offence and to incur hostility among unsophisticated men. But
    the disposition of the more original and enterprising minds at all
    times has been to make such innovations.

    This is particularly in evidence in this present age. The almost
    cataclysmal development of new machinery, the discovery of new
    materials, and the appearance of new social possibilities through
    the organised pursuit of material science, has given enormous and
    unprecedented facilities to the spirit of innovation. The old local
    order has been broken up or is now being broken up all over the
    earth, and everywhere societies deliquesce, everywhere men are
    afloat amidst the wreckage of their flooded conventions, and still
    tremendously unaware of the thing that has happened. The old local
    orthodoxies of behaviour, of precedence, the old accepted amusements
    and employments, the old ritual of conduct in the important small
    things of the daily life and the old ritual of thought in the
    things that make discussion, are smashed up and scattered and mixed
    discordantly together, one use with another, and no world-wide
    culture of toleration, no courteous admission of differences, no
    wider understanding has yet replaced them. And so publicity in the
    modern earth has become confusedly unsympathetic for everyone.
    Classes are intolerable to classes and sets to sets, contact
    provokes aggressions, comparisons, persecutions and discomforts,
    and the subtler people are excessively tormented by a sense of
    observation, unsympathetic always and often hostile. To live without
    some sort of segregation from the general mass is impossible in
    exact proportion to one's individual distinction.

    Of course things will be very different in Utopia. Utopia will
    be saturated with consideration. To us, clad as we are in
    mountain-soiled tweeds and with no money but British bank-notes
    negotiable only at a practically infinite distance, this must needs
    be a reassuring induction. And Utopian manners will not only be
    tolerant, but almost universally tolerable. Endless things will be
    understood perfectly and universally that on earth are understood
    only by a scattered few; baseness of bearing, grossness of manner,
    will be the distinctive mark of no section of the community
    whatever. The coarser reasons for privacy, therefore, will not exist
    here. And that savage sort of shyness, too, that makes so many
    half-educated people on earth recluse and defensive, that too the
    Utopians will have escaped by their more liberal breeding. In the
    cultivated State we are assuming it will be ever so much easier for
    people to eat in public, rest and amuse themselves in public, and
    even work in public. Our present need for privacy in many things
    marks, indeed, a phase of transition from an ease in public in the
    past due to homogeneity, to an ease in public in the future due to
    intelligence and good breeding, and in Utopia that transition will
    be complete. We must bear that in mind throughout the consideration
    of this question.

    Yet, after this allowance has been made, there still remains a
    considerable claim for privacy in Utopia. The room, or apartments,
    or home, or mansion, whatever it may be a man or woman maintains,
    must be private, and under his or her complete dominion; it seems
    harsh and intrusive to forbid a central garden plot or peristyle,
    such as one sees in Pompeii, within the house walls, and it is
    almost as difficult to deny a little private territory beyond the
    house. Yet if we concede that, it is clear that without some further
    provision we concede the possibility that the poorer townsman (if
    there are to be rich and poor in the world) will be forced to walk
    through endless miles of high fenced villa gardens before he may
    expand in his little scrap of reserved open country. Such is already
    the poor Londoner's miserable fate.... Our Utopia will have, of
    course, faultless roads and beautifully arranged inter-urban
    communications, swift trains or motor services or what not, to
    diffuse its population, and without some anticipatory provisions,
    the prospect of the residential areas becoming a vast area of
    defensively walled villa Edens is all too possible.

    This is a quantitative question, be it remembered, and not to be
    dismissed by any statement of principle. Our Utopians will meet it,
    I presume, by detailed regulations, very probably varying locally
    with local conditions. Privacy beyond the house might be made a
    privilege to be paid for in proportion to the area occupied, and the
    tax on these licences of privacy might increase as the square of the
    area affected. A maximum fraction of private enclosure for each
    urban and suburban square mile could be fixed. A distinction could
    be drawn between an absolutely private garden and a garden private
    and closed only for a day or a couple of days a week, and at other
    times open to the well-behaved public. Who, in a really civilised
    community, would grudge that measure of invasion? Walls could be
    taxed by height and length, and the enclosure of really natural
    beauties, of rapids, cascades, gorges, viewpoints, and so forth
    made impossible. So a reasonable compromise between the vital and
    conflicting claims of the freedom of movement and the freedom of
    seclusion might be attained....

    And as we argue thus we draw nearer and nearer to the road that goes
    up and over the Gotthard crest and down the Val Tremola towards

    What sort of road would that be?


    Section 3.

    Freedom of movement in a Utopia planned under modern conditions must
    involve something more than unrestricted pedestrian wanderings, and
    the very proposition of a world-state speaking one common tongue
    carries with it the idea of a world population travelled and
    travelling to an extent quite beyond anything our native earth has
    seen. It is now our terrestrial experience that whenever economic
    and political developments set a class free to travel, that class at
    once begins to travel; in England, for example, above the five or
    six hundred pounds a year level, it is hard to find anyone who is
    not habitually migratory, who has not been frequently, as people
    say, "abroad." In the Modern Utopia travel must be in the common
    texture of life. To go into fresh climates and fresh scenery, to
    meet a different complexion of humanity and a different type of home
    and food and apparatus, to mark unfamiliar trees and plants and
    flowers and beasts, to climb mountains, to see the snowy night of
    the North and the blaze of the tropical midday, to follow great
    rivers, to taste loneliness in desert places, to traverse the gloom
    of tropical forests and to cross the high seas, will be an essential
    part of the reward and adventure of life, even for the commonest
    people.... This is a bright and pleasant particular in which a
    modern Utopia must differ again, and differ diametrically, from its

    We may conclude from what has been done in places upon our earth
    that the whole Utopian world will be open and accessible and as safe
    for the wayfarer as France or England is to-day. The peace of the
    world will be established for ever, and everywhere, except in remote
    and desolate places, there will be convenient inns, at least as
    convenient and trustworthy as those of Switzerland to-day; the
    touring clubs and hotel associations that have tariffed that country
    and France so effectually will have had their fine Utopian
    equivalents, and the whole world will be habituated to the coming
    and going of strangers. The greater part of the world will be as
    secure and cheaply and easily accessible to everyone as is Zermatt
    or Lucerne to a Western European of the middle-class at the present

    On this account alone no places will be so congested as these two
    are now on earth. With freedom to go everywhere, with easy access
    everywhere, with no dread of difficulties about language, coinage,
    custom, or law, why should everyone continue to go to just a few
    special places? Such congestions are merely the measure of the
    general inaccessibility and insecurity and costliness of
    contemporary life, an awkward transitory phase in the first
    beginnings of the travel age of mankind.

    No doubt the Utopian will travel in many ways. It is unlikely there
    will be any smoke-disgorging steam railway trains in Utopia, they
    are already doomed on earth, already threatened with that
    obsolescence that will endear them to the Ruskins of to-morrow, but
    a thin spider's web of inconspicuous special routes will cover the
    land of the world, pierce the mountain masses and tunnel under the
    seas. These may be double railways or monorails or what not--we are
    no engineers to judge between such devices--but by means of them the
    Utopian will travel about the earth from one chief point to another
    at a speed of two or three hundred miles or more an hour. That
    will abolish the greater distances.... One figures these main
    communications as something after the manner of corridor trains,
    smooth-running and roomy, open from end to end, with cars in which
    one may sit and read, cars in which one may take refreshment, cars
    into which the news of the day comes printing itself from the wires
    beside the track; cars in which one may have privacy and sleep if
    one is so disposed, bath-room cars, library cars; a train as
    comfortable as a good club. There will be no distinctions of class
    in such a train, because in a civilised world there would be no
    offence between one kind of man and another, and for the good of the
    whole world such travelling will be as cheap as it can be, and well
    within the reach of any but the almost criminally poor.

    Such great tramways as this will be used when the Utopians wish to
    travel fast and far; thereby you will glide all over the land
    surface of the planet; and feeding them and distributing from them,
    innumerable minor systems, clean little electric tramways I picture
    them, will spread out over the land in finer reticulations, growing
    close and dense in the urban regions and thinning as the population
    thins. And running beside these lighter railways, and spreading
    beyond their range, will be the smooth minor high roads such as this
    one we now approach, upon which independent vehicles, motor cars,
    cycles, and what not, will go. I doubt if we shall see any horses
    upon this fine, smooth, clean road; I doubt if there will be many
    horses on the high roads of Utopia, and, indeed, if they will use
    draught horses at all upon that planet. Why should they? Where the
    world gives turf or sand, or along special tracts, the horse will
    perhaps be ridden for exercise and pleasure, but that will be all
    the use for him; and as for the other beasts of burthen, on the
    remoter mountain tracks the mule will no doubt still be a
    picturesque survival, in the desert men will still find a use for
    the camel, and the elephant may linger to play a part in the pageant
    of the East. But the burthen of the minor traffic, if not the whole
    of it, will certainly be mechanical. This is what we shall see even
    while the road is still remote, swift and shapely motor-cars going
    past, cyclists, and in these agreeable mountain regions there will
    also be pedestrians upon their way. Cycle tracks will abound in
    Utopia, sometimes following beside the great high roads, but oftener
    taking their own more agreeable line amidst woods and crops and
    pastures; and there will be a rich variety of footpaths and minor
    ways. There will be many footpaths in Utopia. There will be pleasant
    ways over the scented needles of the mountain pinewoods,
    primrose-strewn tracks amidst the budding thickets of the lower
    country, paths running beside rushing streams, paths across the wide
    spaces of the corn land, and, above all, paths through the flowery
    garden spaces amidst which the houses in the towns will stand. And
    everywhere about the world, on road and path, by sea and land, the
    happy holiday Utopians will go.

    The population of Utopia will be a migratory population beyond any
    earthly precedent, not simply a travelling population, but
    migratory. The old Utopias were all localised, as localised as a
    parish councillor; but it is manifest that nowadays even quite
    ordinary people live over areas that would have made a kingdom in
    those former days, would have filled the Athenian of the Laws with
    incredulous astonishment. Except for the habits of the very rich
    during the Roman Empire, there was never the slightest precedent for
    this modern detachment from place. It is nothing to us that we go
    eighty or ninety miles from home to place of business, or take an
    hour's spin of fifty miles to our week-end golf; every summer it has
    become a fixed custom to travel wide and far. Only the clumsiness of
    communications limit us now, and every facilitation of locomotion
    widens not only our potential, but our habitual range. Not only
    this, but we change our habitations with a growing frequency and
    facility; to Sir Thomas More we should seem a breed of nomads. That
    old fixity was of necessity and not of choice, it was a mere phase
    in the development of civilisation, a trick of rooting man learnt
    for a time from his new-found friends, the corn and the vine and
    the hearth; the untamed spirit of the young has turned for ever to
    wandering and the sea. The soul of man has never yet in any land
    been willingly adscript to the glebe. Even Mr. Belloc, who preaches
    the happiness of a peasant proprietary, is so much wiser than his
    thoughts that he sails about the seas in a little yacht or goes
    afoot from Belgium to Rome. We are winning our freedom again once
    more, a freedom renewed and enlarged, and there is now neither
    necessity nor advantage in a permanent life servitude to this place
    or that. Men may settle down in our Modern Utopia for love and the
    family at last, but first and most abundantly they will see the

    And with this loosening of the fetters of locality from the feet of
    men, necessarily there will be all sorts of fresh distributions of
    the factors of life. On our own poor haphazard earth, wherever men
    work, wherever there are things to be grown, minerals to be won,
    power to be used, there, regardless of all the joys and decencies of
    life, the households needs must cluster. But in Utopia there will be
    wide stretches of cheerless or unhealthy or toilsome or dangerous
    land with never a household; there will be regions of mining and
    smelting, black with the smoke of furnaces and gashed and desolated
    by mines, with a sort of weird inhospitable grandeur of industrial
    desolation, and the men will come thither and work for a spell and
    return to civilisation again, washing and changing their attire in
    the swift gliding train. And by way of compensation there will be
    beautiful regions of the earth specially set apart and favoured for
    children; in them the presence of children will remit taxation,
    while in other less wholesome places the presence of children will
    be taxed; the lower passes and fore hills of these very Alps, for
    example, will be populous with homes, serving the vast arable levels
    of Upper Italy.

    So we shall see, as we come down by our little lake in the lap of
    Lucendro, and even before we reach the road, the first scattered
    chalets and households in which these migrant people live, the upper
    summer homes. With the coming of summer, as the snows on the high
    Alps recede, a tide of households and schools, teachers and doctors,
    and all such attendant services will flow up the mountain masses,
    and ebb again when the September snows return. It is essential to
    the modern ideal of life that the period of education and growth
    should be prolonged to as late a period as possible and puberty
    correspondingly retarded, and by wise regulation the statesmen of
    Utopia will constantly adjust and readjust regulations and taxation
    to diminish the proportion of children reared in hot and stimulating
    conditions. These high mountains will, in the bright sweet summer,
    be populous with youth. Even up towards this high place where the
    snow is scarce gone until July, these households will extend, and
    below, the whole long valley of Urseren will be a scattered summer

    One figures one of the more urban highways, one of those along which
    the light railways of the second order run, such as that in the
    valley of Urseren, into which we should presently come. I figure it
    as one would see it at night, a band a hundred yards perhaps in
    width, the footpath on either side shaded with high trees and lit
    softly with orange glowlights; while down the centre the tramway of
    the road will go, with sometimes a nocturnal tram-car gliding, lit
    and gay but almost noiselessly, past. Lantern-lit cyclists will flit
    along the track like fireflies, and ever and again some humming
    motor-car will hurry by, to or from the Rhoneland or the Rhineland
    or Switzerland or Italy. Away on either side the lights of the
    little country homes up the mountain slopes will glow.

    I figure it at night, because so it is we should see it first.

    We should come out from our mountain valley into the minor road that
    runs down the lonely rock wilderness of the San Gotthard Pass, we
    should descend that nine miles of winding route, and so arrive
    towards twilight among the clustering homes and upland unenclosed
    gardens of Realp and Hospenthal and Andermatt. Between Realp and
    Andermatt, and down the Schoellenen gorge, the greater road would
    run. By the time we reached it, we should be in the way of
    understanding our adventure a little better. We should know already,
    when we saw those two familiar clusters of chalets and hotels
    replaced by a great dispersed multitude of houses--we should see
    their window lights, but little else--that we were the victims of
    some strange transition in space or time, and we should come down by
    dimly-seen buildings into the part that would answer to Hospenthal,
    wondering and perhaps a little afraid. We should come out into this
    great main roadway--this roadway like an urban avenue--and look up
    it and down, hesitating whether to go along the valley Furka-ward,
    or down by Andermatt through the gorge that leads to Goschenen....

    People would pass us in the twilight, and then more people; we
    should see they walked well and wore a graceful, unfamiliar dress,
    but more we should not distinguish.

    "Good-night!" they would say to us in clear, fine voices. Their dim
    faces would turn with a passing scrutiny towards us.

    We should answer out of our perplexity: "Good-night!"--for by the
    conventions established in the beginning of this book, we are given
    the freedom of their tongue.


    Section 4.

    Were this a story, I should tell at length how much we were helped
    by the good fortune of picking up a Utopian coin of gold, how at
    last we adventured into the Utopian inn and found it all
    marvellously easy. You see us the shyest and most watchful of
    guests; but of the food they put before us and the furnishings of
    the house, and all our entertainment, it will be better to speak
    later. We are in a migratory world, we know, one greatly accustomed
    to foreigners; our mountain clothes are not strange enough to
    attract acute attention, though ill-made and shabby, no doubt, by
    Utopian standards; we are dealt with as we might best wish to be
    dealt with, that is to say as rather untidy, inconspicuous men. We
    look about us and watch for hints and examples, and, indeed, get
    through with the thing. And after our queer, yet not unpleasant,
    dinner, in which we remark no meat figures, we go out of the house
    for a breath of air and for quiet counsel one with another, and
    there it is we discover those strange constellations overhead. It
    comes to us then, clear and full, that our imagination has realised
    itself; we dismiss quite finally a Rip-Van-Winkle fancy we have
    entertained, all the unfamiliarities of our descent from the
    mountain pass gather together into one fullness of conviction, and
    we know, we know, we are in Utopia.

    We wander under the trees by the main road, watching the dim
    passers-by as though they were the phantoms of a dream. We say
    little to one another. We turn aside into a little pathway and come
    to a bridge over the turbulent Reuss, hurrying down towards the
    Devil's Bridge in the gorge below. Far away over the Furka ridge a
    pallid glow preludes the rising of the moon.

    Two lovers pass us whispering, and we follow them with our eyes.
    This Utopia has certainly preserved the fundamental freedom, to
    love. And then a sweet-voiced bell from somewhere high up towards
    Oberalp chimes two-and-twenty times.

    I break the silence. "That might mean ten o'clock," I say.

    My companion leans upon the bridge and looks down into the dim river
    below. I become aware of the keen edge of the moon like a needle of
    incandescent silver creeping over the crest, and suddenly the river
    is alive with flashes.

    He speaks, and astonishes me with the hidden course his thoughts
    have taken.

    "We two were boy and girl lovers like that," he says, and jerks a
    head at the receding Utopians. "I loved her first, and I do not
    think I have ever thought of loving anyone but her."

    It is a curiously human thing, and, upon my honour, not one I had
    designed, that when at last I stand in the twilight in the midst of
    a Utopian township, when my whole being should be taken up with
    speculative wonder, this man should be standing by my side, and
    lugging my attention persistently towards himself, towards his
    limited futile self. This thing perpetually happens to me, this
    intrusion of something small and irrelevant and alive, upon my great
    impressions. The time I first saw the Matterhorn, that Queen among
    the Alpine summits, I was distracted beyond appreciation by the tale
    of a man who could not eat sardines--always sardines did this with
    him and that; and my first wanderings along the brown streets of
    Pompeii, an experience I had anticipated with a strange intensity,
    was shot with the most stupidly intelligent discourse on vehicular
    tariffs in the chief capitals of Europe that it is possible to
    imagine. And now this man, on my first night in Utopia, talks and
    talks and talks of his poor little love affair.

    It shapes itself as the most trite and feeble of tragedies, one of
    those stories of effortless submission to chance and custom in which
    Mr. Hardy or George Gissing might have found a theme. I do but half
    listen at first--watching the black figures in the moonlit roadway
    pacing to and fro. Yet--I cannot trace how he conveys the subtle
    conviction to my mind--the woman he loves is beautiful.

    They were boy and girl together, and afterwards they met again as
    fellow students in a world of comfortable discretions. He seems to
    have taken the decorums of life with a confiding good faith, to have
    been shy and innocent in a suppressed sort of way, and of a mental
    type not made for worldly successes; but he must have dreamt about
    her and loved her well enough. How she felt for him I could never
    gather; it seemed to be all of that fleshless friendliness into
    which we train our girls. Then abruptly happened stresses. The man
    who became her husband appeared, with a very evident passion. He was
    a year or so older than either of them, and he had the habit and
    quality of achieving his ends; he was already successful, and with
    the promise of wealth, and I, at least, perceived, from my
    botanist's phrasing, that his desire was for her beauty.

    As my botanist talked I seemed to see the whole little drama, rather
    clearer than his words gave it me, the actors all absurdly in
    Hampstead middle-class raiment, meetings of a Sunday after church
    (the men in silk hats, frock coats, and tightly-rolled umbrellas),
    rare excursions into evening dress, the decorously vulgar fiction
    read in their homes, its ambling sentimentalities of thought, the
    amiably worldly mothers, the respectable fathers, the aunts, the
    "people"--his "people" and her "people"--the piano music and the
    song, and in this setting our friend, "quite clever" at botany and
    "going in" for it "as a profession," and the girl, gratuitously
    beautiful; so I figured the arranged and orderly environment into
    which this claw of an elemental force had thrust itself to grip.

    The stranger who had come in got what he wanted; the girl considered
    that she thought she had never loved the botanist, had had only
    friendship for him--though little she knew of the meaning of those
    fine words--they parted a little incoherently and in tears, and it
    had not occurred to the young man to imagine she was not going off
    to conventional life in some other of the endless Frognals he
    imagined as the cellular tissue of the world.

    But she wasn't.

    He had kept her photograph and her memory sweet, and if ever he had
    strayed from the severest constancy, it seemed only in the end to
    strengthen with the stuff of experience, to enhance by comparative
    disappointment his imagination of what she might have meant to
    him.... Then eight years afterwards they met again.

    By the time he gets to this part of his story we have, at my
    initiative, left the bridge and are walking towards the Utopian
    guest house. The Utopian guest house! His voice rises and falls,
    and sometimes he holds my arm. My attention comes and goes.
    "Good-night," two sweet-voiced Utopians cry to us in their
    universal tongue, and I answer them "Good-night."

    "You see," he persists, "I saw her only a week ago. It was in
    Lucerne, while I was waiting for you to come on from England. I
    talked to her three or four times altogether. And her face--the
    change in her! I can't get it out of my head--night or day. The
    miserable waste of her...."

    Before us, through the tall pine stems, shine the lights of our
    Utopian inn.

    He talks vaguely of ill-usage. "The husband is vain, boastful,
    dishonest to the very confines of the law, and a drunkard. There
    are scenes and insults----"

    "She told you?"

    "Not much, but someone else did. He brings other women almost into
    her presence to spite her."

    "And it's going on?" I interrupt.

    "Yes. _Now_."

    "Need it go on?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "Lady in trouble," I say. "Knight at hand. Why not stop this dismal
    grizzling and carry her off?" (You figure the heroic sweep of the
    arm that belongs to the Voice.) I positively forget for the moment
    that we are in Utopia at all.

    "You mean?"

    "Take her away from him! What's all this emotion of yours worth if
    it isn't equal to that!"

    Positively he seems aghast at me.

    "Do you mean elope with her?"

    "It seems a most suitable case."

    For a space he is silent, and we go on through the trees. A Utopian
    tram-car passes and I see his face, poor bitted wretch! looking
    pinched and scared in its trailing glow of light.

    "That's all very well in a novel," he says. "But how could I go back
    to my laboratory, mixed classes with young ladies, you know, after a
    thing like that? How could we live and where could we live? We might
    have a house in London, but who would call upon us? ... Besides, you
    don't know her. She is not the sort of woman.... Don't think I'm
    timid or conventional. Don't think I don't feel.... Feel! _You_
    don't know what it is to feel in a case of this sort...."

    He halts and then flies out viciously: "Ugh! There are times when I
    could strangle him with my hands."

    Which is nonsense.

    He flings out his lean botanising hands in an impotent gesture.

    "My dear Man!" I say, and say no more.

    For a moment I forget we are in Utopia altogether.


    Section 5.

    Let us come back to Utopia. We were speaking of travel.

    Besides roadways and railways and tramways, for those who go to and
    fro in the earth the Modern Utopians will have very many other ways
    of travelling. There will be rivers, for example, with a vast
    variety of boats; canals with diverse sorts of haulage; there will
    be lakes and lagoons; and when one comes at last to the borders of
    the land, the pleasure craft will be there, coming and going, and
    the swift great passenger vessels, very big and steady, doing thirty
    knots an hour or more, will trace long wakes as they go dwindling
    out athwart the restless vastness of the sea.

    They will be just beginning to fly in Utopia. We owe much to M.
    Santos Dumont; the world is immeasurably more disposed to believe
    this wonder is coming, and coming nearly, than it was five years
    ago. But unless we are to suppose Utopian scientific knowledge far
    in advance of ours--and though that supposition was not proscribed
    in our initial undertaking, it would be inconvenient for us and not
    quite in the vein of the rest of our premises--they, too, will only
    be in the same experimental stage as ourselves. In Utopia, however,
    they will conduct research by the army corps while we conduct it--we
    don't conduct it! We let it happen. Fools make researches and wise
    men exploit them--that is our earthly way of dealing with the
    question, and we thank Heaven for an assumed abundance of
    financially impotent and sufficiently ingenious fools.

    In Utopia, a great multitude of selected men, chosen volunteers,
    will be collaborating upon this new step in man's struggle with the
    elements. Bacon's visionary House of Saloman [Footnote: In The New
    Atlantis.] will be a thing realised, and it will be humming with
    this business. Every university in the world will be urgently
    working for priority in this aspect of the problem or that. Reports
    of experiments, as full and as prompt as the telegraphic reports of
    cricket in our more sportive atmosphere, will go about the world.
    All this will be passing, as it were, behind the act drop of our
    first experience, behind this first picture of the urbanised Urseren
    valley. The literature of the subject will be growing and developing
    with the easy swiftness of an eagle's swoop as we come down the
    hillside; unseen in that twilight, unthought of by us until this
    moment, a thousand men at a thousand glowing desks, a busy
    specialist press, will be perpetually sifting, criticising,
    condensing, and clearing the ground for further speculation. Those
    who are concerned with the problems of public locomotion will
    be following these aeronautic investigations with a keen and
    enterprising interest, and so will the physiologist and the
    sociologist. That Utopian research will, I say, go like an eagle's
    swoop in comparison with the blind-man's fumbling of our terrestrial
    way. Even before our own brief Utopian journey is out, we may get a
    glimpse of the swift ripening of all this activity that will be in
    progress at our coming. To-morrow, perhaps, or in a day or so,
    some silent, distant thing will come gliding into view over the
    mountains, will turn and soar and pass again beyond our astonished


    Section 6.

    But my friend and his great trouble turn my mind from these
    questions of locomotion and the freedoms that cluster about them. In
    spite of myself I find myself framing his case. He is a lover, the
    most conventional of Anglican lovers, with a heart that has had its
    training, I should think, in the clean but limited schoolroom of
    Mrs. Henry Wood....

    In Utopia I think they will fly with stronger pinions, it will not
    be in the superficialities of life merely that movement will be wide
    and free, they will mount higher and swoop more steeply than he in
    his cage can believe. What will their range be, their prohibitions?
    what jars to our preconceptions will he and I receive here?

    My mind flows with the free, thin flow that it has at the end of an
    eventful day, and as we walk along in silence towards our inn I rove
    from issue to issue, I find myself ranging amidst the fundamental
    things of the individual life and all the perplexity of desires and
    passions. I turn my questionings to the most difficult of all sets
    of compromises, those mitigations of spontaneous freedom that
    constitute the marriage laws, the mystery of balancing justice
    against the good of the future, amidst these violent and elusive
    passions. Where falls the balance of freedoms here? I pass for a
    time from Utopianising altogether, to ask the question that, after
    all, Schopenhauer failed completely to answer, why sometimes in the
    case of hurtful, pointless, and destructive things we want so

    I come back from this unavailing glance into the deeps to the
    general question of freedoms in this new relation. I find myself far
    adrift from the case of the Frognal botanist, and asking how far a
    modern Utopia will deal with personal morals.

    As Plato demonstrated long ago, the principles of the relation of
    State control to personal morals may be best discussed in the case
    of intoxication, the most isolated and least complicated of all this
    group of problems. But Plato's treatment of this issue as a question
    of who may or may not have the use of wine, though suitable enough
    in considering a small State in which everybody was the effectual
    inspector of everybody, is entirely beside the mark under modern
    conditions, in which we are to have an extraordinarily higher
    standard of individual privacy and an amplitude and quantity of
    migration inconceivable to the Academic imagination. We may accept
    his principle and put this particular freedom (of the use of wine)
    among the distinctive privileges of maturity, and still find all
    that a modern would think of as the Drink Question untouched.

    That question in Utopia will differ perhaps in the proportion of its
    factors, but in no other respect, from what it is upon earth. The
    same desirable ends will be sought, the maintenance of public order
    and decency, the reduction of inducements to form this bad and
    wasteful habit to their lowest possible minimum, and the complete
    protection of the immature. But the modern Utopians, having
    systematised their sociology, will have given some attention to the
    psychology of minor officials, a matter altogether too much
    neglected by the social reformer on earth. They will not put into
    the hands of a common policeman powers direct and indirect that
    would be dangerous to the public in the hands of a judge. And they
    will have avoided the immeasurable error of making their control of
    the drink traffic a source of public revenue. Privacies they will
    not invade, but they will certainly restrict the public consumption
    of intoxicants to specified licensed places and the sale of them to
    unmistakable adults, and they will make the temptation of the young
    a grave offence. In so migratory a population as the Modern Utopian,
    the licensing of inns and bars would be under the same control as
    the railways and high roads. Inns exist for the stranger and not for
    the locality, and we shall meet with nothing there to correspond
    with our terrestrial absurdity of Local Option.

    The Utopians will certainly control this trade, and as certainly
    punish personal excesses. Public drunkenness (as distinguished from
    the mere elation that follows a generous but controlled use of wine)
    will be an offence against public decency, and will be dealt with in
    some very drastic manner. It will, of course, be an aggravation of,
    and not an excuse for, crime.

    But I doubt whether the State will go beyond that. Whether an adult
    shall use wine or beer or spirits, or not, seems to me entirely a
    matter for his doctor and his own private conscience. I doubt if we
    explorers shall meet any drunken men, and I doubt not we shall meet
    many who have never availed themselves of their adult freedom in
    this respect. The conditions of physical happiness will be better
    understood in Utopia, it will be worth while to be well there, and
    the intelligent citizen will watch himself closely. Half and more of
    the drunkenness of earth is an attempt to lighten dull days and
    hopelessly sordid and disagreeable lives, and in Utopia they do not
    suffer these things. Assuredly Utopia will be temperate, not only
    drinking, but eating with the soundest discretion. Yet I do not
    think wine and good ale will be altogether wanting there, nor good,
    mellow whisky, nor, upon occasion, the engaging various liqueur.
    I do not think so. My botanist, who abstains altogether, is of
    another opinion. We differ here and leave the question to the
    earnest reader. I have the utmost respect for all Teetotalers,
    Prohibitionists, and Haters and Persecutors of Innkeepers, their
    energy of reform awakens responsive notes in me, and to their
    species I look for a large part of the urgent repair of our earth;
    yet for all that----

    There is Burgundy, for example, a bottle of soft and kindly
    Burgundy, taken to make a sunshine on one's lunch when four
    strenuous hours of toil have left one on the further side of
    appetite. Or ale, a foaming tankard of ale, ten miles of sturdy
    tramping in the sleet and slush as a prelude, and then good bread
    and good butter and a ripe hollow Stilton and celery and ale--ale
    with a certain quantitative freedom. Or, again, where is the sin in
    a glass of tawny port three or four times, or it may be five, a
    year, when the walnuts come round in their season? If you drink no
    port, then what are walnuts for? Such things I hold for the reward
    of vast intervals of abstinence; they justify your wide, immaculate
    margin, which is else a mere unmeaning blankness on the page of
    palate God has given you! I write of these things as a fleshly man,
    confessedly and knowingly fleshly, and more than usually aware of my
    liability to err; I know myself for a gross creature more given to
    sedentary world-mending than to brisk activities, and not one-tenth
    as active as the dullest newspaper boy in London. Yet still I have
    my uses, uses that vanish in monotony, and still I must ask why
    should we bury the talent of these bright sensations altogether?
    Under no circumstances can I think of my Utopians maintaining their
    fine order of life on ginger ale and lemonade and the ale that is
    Kops'. Those terrible Temperance Drinks, solutions of qualified
    sugar mixed with vast volumes of gas, as, for example, soda,
    seltzer, lemonade, and fire-extincteurs hand grenades--minerals,
    they call such stuff in England--fill a man with wind and
    self-righteousness. Indeed they do! Coffee destroys brain and
    kidney, a fact now universally recognised and advertised throughout
    America; and tea, except for a kind of green tea best used with
    discretion in punch, tans the entrails and turns honest stomachs
    into leather bags. Rather would I be Metchnikoffed [Footnote: See
    The Nature of Man, by Professor Elie Metchnikoff.] at once and have
    a clean, good stomach of German silver. No! If we are to have no ale
    in Utopia, give me the one clean temperance drink that is worthy to
    set beside wine, and that is simple water. Best it is when not quite
    pure and with a trace of organic matter, for then it tastes and

    My botanist would still argue.

    Thank Heaven this is my book, and that the ultimate decision rests
    with me. It is open to him to write his own Utopia and arrange that
    everybody shall do nothing except by the consent of the savants of
    the Republic, either in his eating, drinking, dressing or lodging,
    even as Cabet proposed. It is open to him to try a News from Nowhere
    Utopia with the wine left out. I have my short way with him here
    quite effectually. I turn in the entrance of our inn to the civil
    but by no means obsequious landlord, and with a careful ambiguity of
    manner for the thing may be considered an outrage, and I try to make
    it possible the idea is a jest--put my test demand....

    "You see, my dear Teetotaler?--he sets before me tray and glass
    and..." Here follows the necessary experiment and a deep sigh....
    "Yes, a bottle of quite _excellent_ light beer! So there are also
    cakes and ale in Utopia! Let us in this saner and more beautiful
    world drink perdition to all earthly excesses. Let us drink more
    particularly to the coming of the day when men beyond there will
    learn to distinguish between qualitative and quantitative questions,
    to temper good intentions with good intelligence, and righteousness
    with wisdom. One of the darkest evils of our world is surely the
    unteachable wildness of the Good."


    Section 7.

    So presently to bed and to sleep, but not at once to sleep. At first
    my brain, like a dog in unfamiliar quarters, must turn itself round
    for a time or so before it lies down. This strange mystery of a
    world of which I have seen so little as yet--a mountain slope, a
    twilit road, a traffic of ambiguous vehicles and dim shapes, the
    window lights of many homes--fills me with curiosities. Figures and
    incidents come and go, the people we have passed, our landlord,
    quietly attentive and yet, I feel, with the keenest curiosity
    peeping from his eyes, the unfamiliar forms of the house parts and
    furnishings, the unfamiliar courses of the meal. Outside this little
    bedroom is a world, a whole unimagined world. A thousand million
    things lie outside in the darkness beyond this lit inn of ours,
    unthought-of possibilities, overlooked considerations, surprises,
    riddles, incommensurables, a whole monstrous intricate universe of
    consequences that I have to do my best to unravel. I attempt
    impossible recapitulations and mingle the weird quality of dream
    stuff with my thoughts.

    Athwart all this tumult of my memory goes this queer figure of my
    unanticipated companion, so obsessed by himself and his own
    egotistical love that this sudden change to another world seems only
    a change of scene for his gnawing, uninvigorating passion. It occurs
    to me that she also must have an equivalent in Utopia, and then that
    idea and all ideas grow thin and vague, and are dissolved at last in
    the rising tide of sleep....
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