TO THE EDITOR:
(Re: “Documentarian proves utopia exists, but only in our heads,” March 30, 2017) A surface look at Warren Chase, and the “Wisconsin Phalanx” might attach “utopia” to it, but it is a much more complex story than I can relate here.
My master’s thesis was on that settlement, and my reading took me back to Saint Simon, Charles Fourier, and the emerging liberal thought that followed the French Revolution when human beings (no longer chattel serfs — with minds) attempted to create a new system of equitable society.
The son of a wealthy Erie Canal fortune went to France to learn from Fourier his model for “harmonious” living. He brought it back to America at a time of depression. ...
At Ceresco new arrivals came in the fall, wintered over — without helping — and then moved on.
Stockholders, who never moved to Ripon from Pike River, got capital appreciation without doing any work.
Those who moved north to Strongs Landing, Omro, and beyond could buy land for a dollar and a quarter an acre. As Adam Smith would say, it was a matter of “oeconomicks.”
— Allan Mortenson
360 Ardmore Ave.
To read the entire letter, see the April 6, 2017 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.