Third World Fantasies
A RECENT visitor to a Scandinavian university, after a heated debate with a group of students who had complained bitterly about the lack of freedom in their own country and in the West in general, asked which country in the world they most admired. The answer was Albania. None of the students was familiar with conditions in Albania, none had been-there or had the faintest wish to go, but Albania was nevertheless the name of their utopia.
This syndrome is of course not new. Throughout history men have hankered after the perfect society, and have often assumed wistfully that in some distant place it already existed or was at least coming into being. In our time Soviet Russia was once the mecca of such pilgrims, the place where not only a new social order but a new spec-ies of mankind was said to have been brought forth, free of selfishness and depravity, free of crime and even neurosis, perfect in every respect, lacking only the gift of immortality. Enthusiasm for the Soviet Union has waned in recent years, but not the need for political gods to worship. Attention has shifted to China and, to a lesser extent, North Korea and Cuba.
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