Through Thomas More’s Utopia, the idea has been placed as part of political philosophy.
Although Moro himself acknowledges that his idea is not original: he has relied on Plato’s Perfect City, which is the Greek name for what we know as The Republic.
And one and the other do the same: they draw the perfect society.
Aldous Huxley in 1932 writes another work in this category, but he removes the paternalistic tone from the genre and describes it from the correct perspective.
Thanks to Huxley we call this genre what we always should have called it: dystopias.
It is a mistake to call “utopias” the kind of stories made by Moro and Plato and all those who take up the genre.
What Plato leaves us is of course one of the most complex and richest works that we have, if discussed in depth it is much more than a dystopia. But, he gives it the paternalistic, didactic tone that Moro later takes up and that elaborates the deception.
Deception because the drawing of the perfect society that they make is not complete unless they give voice, in that fantasy, to the people who live it: who suffer from it.
Huxley does that, for the first time.
And listening to the voice of the creatures in that perfect society, we can now have a much clearer image of what they are. Not only how they are, which is not as important as being clear about what they mean: the consequences of the laws and policies and different polices necessary in each one.
We continue to use the name “utopia” and oppose it to “dystopias”. I think we made a mistake. An error in which we let Plato keep us by assuming that we should seek a perfect society, and that all we need is a master, absolute, wise design: perfect.
Huxley is the only realistic in the genre, and as such he shows us the complete drawing. He is the only one who during the presentation of the plan asks the uncomfortable questions that the seller would have preferred that nobody ask