The California fires are a preview of America’s dystopian future
The Golden State is on fire, which means that an idea of American utopia is on fire, too.
Utopias are the good places of our imagination, while dystopias are the places where everything goes terribly wrong, where evil triumphs, and nature destroys her own. Frequently utopias and dystopias are the same place, because perfection may not be possible without someone suffering.
Ursula LeGuin writes about this paradox in The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, a story about the moral dilemma of living in a city called Omelas whose prosperity is made possible by one child’s pain. As the story’s title makes clear, most people don’t walk away from the beautiful place, even when its secret is known.
California often finds itself the Omelas of the American imagination. For some, it’s the beautiful pl ...