We also mark the 500 years by turning our attention to the film Back to Utopia.
Sir Thomas More’s book Utopia (see a coming essay also) inspired both communism and utopian socialism. It was all about sharing, the land belonging to the people rather than private ownership, shorter working days, a better future, and developing a well-informed authority. More (Catholics know him as Saint Thomas More) viewed the then State as exploiting the people even though they claimed the opposite – not unlike the way today’s state or capitalist elites deceive their voters and consumers. More was employed by King Henry VIII, but as a religious man could not accept the King as head of the Church. As a result, he was sentenced to death by hanging for treason – whereby he was taken down, barely alive, castrated, his innards torn out and burnt in front of his own eyes, before being beheaded. His head was boiled and put on a stake on the city bridge. His daughter Margaret – the film depicts her as reading her father’s book – acquired the head by bribing a guard, then hid it to avoid it being tossed into the Thames. It is said that when the loving daughter was buried, she held her father’s head in her hands.
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