A Better Future For Mankind
Chapter 33 from 'The Australian Achievement' by LJM Cooray (1985)

The reformist, if words are the only guide, is more concerned about a better future for mankind than the liberal. Are liberals unconcerned about human problems? They do not often give the impression that they are. Liberals are probably as concerned, though they do not waffle or talk about it in the same way as socialists. The paradox is that freedom related values have a better record of providing for human needs and reducing poverty than socialist and Marxist regulationism.

If people are concerned about peace, poverty, inequality and human problems, where should their priorities lie? They should start with themselves. This is the very reverse of the approach of the reformists. They are motivated to change other people and are often unconcerned about their own standards. They often fail to realise the hypocrisy in the difference between their affluent lifestyles and their concern for human poverty and suffering. The late Justice Murphy, in a judgement, said that property rights belong to a bygone era. If he had lived, he would have retired with a large sum of money drawn from judicial and parliamentary superannuation funds and converted these into property.

A better world requires better human beings. A better world needs more of the practice of sincere religion (any religion) or genuine humanism. The emphasis is on sincere religion because of the corrupting effect institutional structures have had on religion. It is not suggested that the institutionalised church should come back into politics or that the church should lay down political guidelines for the faithful. Unfortunately, the battle to reduce the power of the institutionalised church in politics has also had the effect that moral values have been taken out of politics. Moral values and standards of conduct must be brought back into public life. A better future for mankind requires individuals to change.

In the recent period of rampant educational, technological and material development it is debatable whether man's capacity to get on with his fellow human beings has been in any degree increased. Has it in any way increased in the wake of the developments of the last one hundred years or more? If the wars, the localised wars and the many examples of man's inhumanity to man which are prevalent in the world today are analysed, it cannot be said that in terms of toleration mankind has in any meaningful sense moved forward.