The proposition is stated above that socialist/communist law reform attempts to "make man good", while the methodolgy of the English common law sought to keep man out of sin. The English common law (as it existed once upon a time) is the greatest system of law devised by humans. The judges drew their inspiration from the Bible. The common law has been greatly modified in recent times by legislation, which has undermined some of its basic features.
The roots of the attempt to create a "new man" goes back to the 19th century (if not earlier), but the momentum becomes more powerful in the 20th century. A change in philosophical outlook occurred, which was mainly the result of the new sense of human mastery over the environment, which in turn was inspired by the fabulous scientific and technological achievements of the 19th and 20th centuries. This euphoric sense of human capacity quickly permeated every field of human learning and radically changed the way in which human problems were regarded, thus giving rise to the predominant social theories of our times.
It did not take long for leaders around the world (of all political persuasions) to succumb to an illusion of their capacity to fashion the destiny of human kind. This overpowering sense of capacity led them to think that the limited range of government power and authority were the main obstacles to the achievement of socially desirable goals. Given this feeling, few leaders feared the consequences of the imperceptible growth of government power capable of both use and abuse.
As Western nations grew immensely wealthy and the bounty of democratic governments expanded immeasurably it seemed that all social ills were curable given the political will. This new faith provided the foundation of the greater part of intellectual discourse, and theories upon theories were built to support the new concept of in theory equality, social justice and participatory democracy. That was the ideal and theory. In practice socialism leads to ever increasing and all-embracing government. All this involved a subordination of Western societies to new secular philosophies and theories, all of which proceed on the basis that God did not exist or ignoredGod. Man and woman under the influence of secular philosophies thought they could solve human problems and end human suffering. Man began to play God. Man forgot original sin. The moral dimension was undermined. Fallen man tried to reach out to perfection on earth— Man tried to build heaven on earth. He forgot God. The spiritual dimension was undermined. Therein lies the roots of Australia's crisis and the crisis of the western world.
The roots of the economic, social, political and moral problems of modern western nation is that our leaders have moved away from limited government and moral responsibility.
Western society which was influenced by liberalism and Christianity is in the process of rejecting this heritage and influence. How is this happening?The answer is that Western societies from the latter part of the 19th century have very gradually moved to attempt through law to make man good to create a new man— to create heaven on earth. The importance in the common law tradition of the fault principle is outlined above. The purpose of common law was to focus on wrong doing— to stop individuals from sin. This reflected the influence of liberalism and Christianity which reached roughly the same positions from different perspectives. The liberal influence sought to give the autonomous individual the freedom to live his life and to order his own affairs, within an area of legal regulation based on fault which placed restrictions on human conduct. The Christian influence pointed to a concept of righteousness (love God and love your neighbour) which was to be achieved not through the law, but through man in relationship with God. The common law dealt with wrongs (sin) and was intended to keep men out of sin. The law nowattempts to make man good. The earlier law's purpose was more limited to prevent sin— and goodness to be achieved through man's relationship with God in the Christian tradition and the autonomous individual in the liberal tradition.
Christian and liberal positions come into tension on issues such as censorship, abortion, pornography, obscenity and decriminalisation of homosexuality.
The attempt to create a "new man" was seen at its extreme in communist countries, but it has also been evident in western societies.
The movement to repudiate God was given an impetus by Marx and the socialist government established in the USSR. But Marxism ideas have also influenced western democratic societies.
"The essential danger and destructiveness of the communist state in the 20th century is that it has not been satisfied only with controlling the political and economic affairs of society. In its totalitarian form, the communist state extends its domination into the personal and cultural being of man. It swallows up the individual and attempts to create and mould in its place a creature completely in the image of the ideology of the State."
How is this done?A brilliant case study, including the above quotation, is to be found in Mikhail Heller's, Cogs in the Wheel:The Formation of Soviet Man.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, not merely to nationalise the means of production and direct the economy through central planning. Their goal was wider than that: the creation of a New Soviet Man, freed from the bourgeois prejudices of the past.
The New Man was to be altruist in spirit, communal in outlook, sacrificial in his labour for the common good, boundless in his fight for world revolution.
Professor Heller explains the means and methods for production of Homo Sovieticus. The first step was total destruction of the old social order and all of the social and cultural institutions that surrounded and protected the individual. Heller refers to this as the process of culturally stripping the individual naked and atomising him so he is defenceless and mouldable by the state in each and every corner of social life.
The next step was the "nationalisation of time" through central planning. Through the instituting of "the plan" under Stalin, the State attempted to control and manipulate the very concept of time. All human life existed and continued through the dimensions and durations defined by the plan. The Soviet authorities, Heller explains, tried to set and change the boundaries of "past", "present", and "future" by accelerating, shortening, and modifying the temporal horizons within which all economic and social activity was made to conform.
Finally came "ideologization", the process through which the Soviet State attempted to fill the content of men's minds and influenced the language and thought patterns of "the people" in whose name the leaders undertook this grand scheme. Under this heading Heller details the state's control and direction of literature, the arts, education, and the all-pervasive din of propaganda through every mode of communication. Nor does Heller ignore the role of fear, intimidation, and terror as practised by the secret police.
Seventy years of Communism have not produced a New Society Man. Human nature and will are ultimately stronger than the State. Heller demonstrates, seven decades of the Total State have influenced, modified and distorted how an entire population thinks, speaks, and acts.
The Communist experiment demonstrates the difference between theory and practice. The New Man "is altruist in spirit, communal in outlook, sacrificial in labour for the common good, boundless in his fight for world revolution". The substitution of "change through democratic processes and civil disobedience" for "world revolution" would be an accurate summation of the views of elites in Australia and western democratic countries. The differences between the communist state and the democratic socialist state which elitist reformers (of different philosophical shades) in western democratic states aspire towards is that, for them, violent revolution is to be avoided and revolution effected through: gradual extension of government power and control, the "political correctness movement" pervasive in many Western Universities and moving into the media and politics, abuse of democratic processes, concealment of the reality of change from the people (through gradualism and other devices), the suppression of opposing points of view in education and media, restrictions on the scope for individual action and initiative as a consequence of the growth of government power and control, and intimidation of all contrary viewpoints. There is a gradual movement towards the same ideals which failed in communist countries.