After fifty years of practice in the Soviet Union, Marxism-Leninism finds itself up against the knotty problems of human nature. At the heart of every question on mastery of the future is the need to produce the “new type of man,” who is supposed to make the new society possible.
Already in 1843, Feuerbach, the famous critic of religion, was writing to Karl Marx, “We need new men!” The old ones are spiritually broken by centuries of bondage. Merely to institute liberal democracy does not mean that the wings of free initiative will suddenly appear on man!
Marx in his criticism of the French Revolution concluded similarly: political emancipation has not by itself brought about brotherhood, but only set free selfishness. Whoever wants to create a new society must change man in order to do so. In the last analysis, what is needed is the emancipation of man from egotism.
This was echoed a century later when Leonid Ilyichev, one of the leading Soviet ideologists, said in 1963:
The Party considers the education of the new man the most difficult task in the communist transformation of society. Unless we uproot the moral principles of the bourgeois world, educate people in the spirit of communist morality, and spiritually regenerate man, it is not possible to build a communist society.
According to Marxist doctrine, this ideal society will be possible only on the basis of a very high productivity rate per capita, a rate so high it cannot be attained by outward norms, coercion, or material incentives. It will take the spontaneous efforts of a selfless, conscientious “new man” who acts from inner conviction.
It is the same with the future abolition of dictatorship, the promised “withering away of ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more