Evil in the Age of Utopian Dreaming
Adolf Hitler had two utopian dreams, both of which were evil and both of which constituted the core of Hitler's political philosophy.
The first one, more familiar to today's masses, was Judenfrage, translated as the "Jewish Question." Hitler's answer to the "Jewish Question," initially, was to remove all Jews from Germany. Eventually this became kill them all.
The second one is less familiar, and it was called Lebensraum. Hitler's plan was to kill off almost all of the native populations of Poland and the Ukraine and settle the area with Germans.
Joseph Stalin's utopian dream was fake-borrowed, in that it had to cling to Karl Marx who was the hero of those he (Stalin) rode in on. Even the name is fake -- Stalin was really Djugashvili. Stalin, however, did not want to be called on his fake borrowing, and so he killed off nearly everyone in his empire who was a communist of the old, freethinking sort, along with millions of others who were just there. Thus the Stalin utopia: paranoid dictatorship in the name of Marx and Lenin. Stalin wanted the sort of Marxist utopia in which he could play the part of Peter the Great. Never mind that there was no place for a Peter the Great in a Marxist utopia. What happened was "development" along American lines, organized by American engineers, imported by Armand Hammer, imposed by a dictatorship. It could only go so far.
Nobody's denying that utopian dreams can be evil. Utopian dreaming, after all, is the intersection of desire and world picture -- it's the idea of a society and a world designed like you want it to be. Focusing upon utopian dreams allows us to see the desire behind politics and other gestures of world building, and adjust accordingly. Ideas of civilization that do not focus upon the underlying desires behind the various projects will, conversely, not see them for what they are.
The past Age of Utopian Dreaming was heedless. It was founded upon conquest, Europe's conquest of the world. Eventually, it settled upon the ideal currently in observance in Scandinavia, a cozy nook away from the main action of history. This only happened after a general shutdown of utopian dreams (think Margaret Thatcher saying "there is no alternative") and, before that, after a long and torturous process in which multiple dangers arose and were ignored within the social imaginaries of an Age of Utopian Dreaming.
Hitler was appointed by idiots who hated democracy and who thought very little of Hitler. At the beginning of 1933, Franz von Papen organized a cabinet with Hitler as Chancellor, which was satisfactory to President von Hindenburg, who approved it in January of 1933. He did this, for among other reasons, to get back at then-Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher, in a petty rivalry. Stalin came to power in the system Lenin created. The totalitarian utopias were transitory phenomena -- as Kees van der Pijl argued, these evil utopias were instigated by dictators of the semi-periphery using utopian dreams to industrialize their nation-states through forced-march methods. All of that activity, from Stalin to Hitler to Mao, was conditioned upon the capitalism of the 20th century. There may be totalitarianism in the future, but its utopian impulse, although still evil, will be fumbling, nostalgic, and defensive. Hitler wanted to conquer the world, and bit off a lot of it before he was stopped; Trump wants to build a wall, and is having considerably less success than that which Hitler experienced upon invading Paris.
It is with the culmination of the Age of Electricity that we will see capitalism, the Utopia of Money, as an evil utopia. Beginning in the 1880s, and especially in the wake of Edward Bellamy's (1888) novel News from Nowhere (a novel which correctly and in advance predicts the credit card and the telephone), a number of fictional works predicted that electricity would be the solution to all of humankind's ills. These were the Utopias of Electricity. Today, of course, enormous quantities of fossil fuel are being burnt to create the present-day utopia of electricity, with a consequent greenhouse effect. A transition to renewable energy will continue to be stalled because the fossil-fuel extraction companies will not want to let go of all of the value represented by their reserves, in much the same way in which the slaveholders of the American South did not want to let go of the value represented by their slaves. Thus the capitalist, fossil-dependent, Utopia of Electricity, a concept threatening disaster upon the world today.
Global elites, when confronted with this evil, squirm and hope to suppress whatever impulse exists in the masses to do anything serious about the climate change problem. Climate change has arisen and been ignored; there will be consequences.