University Professor Explains Thomas More's Utopia
One example of how Utopia is relevant is found in "the need for the careful, studied place of intellectuals in the political life."
"It's really a call for intellectuals, to think about [their role]" in society, explains Dr. Boyle. Thomas More himself exemplified this well, being an intellectual who was deeply involved in the politics of his day. "More was a very smart man, a clear intellectual. Many of his humanist colleagues thought he was wasting his time in government service. But it's not just that he was really smart, he read his Plato, terrific how he would go boss princes around. Rather, his intelligence, his certain understanding of precisely how it is, in the practical realm… works."
"Given the complexity of modern life, the need for solid philosophical principles, at the same time on the firm ground in the practice of politics, in economics, in any number of aspects of culture, seems all the more relevant."
"The political order," Dr. Boyle goes on, "is not the source of our happiness. This is a theological point, but it's very dear to More's heart. The political order can serve to help order men to their happiness, but it cannot achieve it. This is a matter of Church, of the City of God. Political order can more or less help, but it can't achieve what I think, in the modern sense, is the Utopian dream."
I need to read Utopia, but "political order" seems to be rather squishy here because of the word "order." Are we talking about the constitution, the government, the laws (and customs) or something else? None of them are identical to the ultimate end, but some precision may be warranted if we're trying to understand Utopia better.
Dr. John Boyle
From 2009: Lost Aquinas