The concept of the new man is hardly new.
This sleepwalking entity has been the dream of communists and progressives since the 1920’s. Leon Trotsky envisioned the new man as a selfless and altruistic sociobiological human prototype whose sole purpose in living was to undertake the demands of mother state. The new man, much like bread dough, can be shaped, formed, deformed and re-formed on demand. The New Soviet Man (Homo Sovieticus), as he was first called, is the warrior/slave, depending on the demands of the state at the moment, preferred by totalitarian social engineers.
The current embodiment of the new man is at home in his belief that the larger the number of popular causes that he embraces, the more that he is capable of assuaging the emptiness brought on by his paralyzing moral-spiritual vacuum. Remember, the new man is supposed to be self-less. Nonetheless, he brazenly aims to perfect mankind.
And because the new man views himself as being merely a “historical” entity, something akin to a butterfly in a windstorm, these utopians opt for enslaving mankind to the temporary and fickle whims of mother state. The origin of the new man is now a time-proven staple of twentieth century totalitarianism. The new man was then, and continues to be the creation of envious and resentful individuals. The new man is the logical inheritance of philosophical materialism and all its derivatives.
The hope issuing forth from the mind of totalitarian malcontents has always been that the new man can be manipulated as a zombie at the service of the state - or any other secular religion that it finds necessary to create. We ought not to forget that the new man hates the fruits of work – that is, leisure. This is the dominant trait of the new man under totalitarian regimes. In totalitarian regimes, the new man gives the outward appearance of being a dedicated peon to the state. In reality, he is merely a miserable and lowly trained monkey, a venerable circus act devised for external consumption.
The destruction of personal autonomy and man’s capacity for self-knowledge is the fundamental claim to victory of those who endorse the new man. Today the new man is a finely tuned twenty-first century automaton. What greater efficacy than to devoid man of his sense of dignity in order to rule over him? The new man is a hollow entity whose entrails have been removed by guilt and self-doubt. Yet the new man does not notice this, for he has no internal reservoir from where to draw any moral or spiritual strength.
Acceptance of the wisdom contained in history is ruled out by the new man. The new man is taught that he is the stuff of the future. Thus, the past must be obliterated to make room for the designs of social-engineers. Today we know that historically those who wouldn’t cooperate with progressive programs or pogroms eventually met with the Gulag. The glorification of the new man - an entity which is billed as possessing a higher moral conscience - is a priority of radical ideologues.
Marx’s now well recognized notion of false consciousness is manifested as a form of psychological and moral torture whereby the individual is castrated, placing in doubt all his convictions, ideas and values. Better not to have ideals and convictions, if they happen to be out of step with the dominant milieu. This is an especially acute form of self-loathing. It is essential that individuals who remain out of step receive outside “help.” In other words, “we will liberate you from yourself,” but only after you come forth and admit your “errors.” If this can be achieved in the public eye, the benefits for the state will be immense. Today thought finds itself placed in the catalogue of human crimes for the first time in history.
The totalitarian systems of the twentieth century triumphed because of their incessant campaigns of forging public opinion to coincide with the demands of illegitimate governments and states. This machinery of propaganda has left no stone unturned. It has utilized children to turn on their parents, priests to inform on their parishioners, writers to become hired pens at the service of the state, and teachers to disseminate the techniques of mass control. These are all now historical facts that can be easily verified in declassified documents. Yet what is the legacy of these techniques of terror?
It is an urgent necessity to come to recognize these techniques because they have been converted into the modus operandi of political correctness in open and democratic societies. What once worked effortlessly to destabilize western democracies is now employed as internal methods of persuasion. These same techniques of terror are today utilized to extort capital from corporations and foundations, silence all adherence to tradition, and to forge ahead with the radical formation of school-age children.
Auto censorship is one of the most effective techniques of radical ideologues. Those who have lived in totalitarian countries refer to it as the practice of double morality. This has evolved from being Antonio Gramsci’s dream of controlling western culture, to the social engineering of B.F. Skinner, and is now incorporated into positivistic psychology and sociology. These techniques were re-packaged and presented to the world after the advent of the new left, post 1968.
One of the great achievements of this sinister and “scientific” positivism is the destruction of free will. A free, autonomous will is the greatest enemy of those who possess the urge for totalitarianism. The destruction of free will and an individual’s desire to safeguard it is a necessary step in convincing people about their false consciousness.
With the destruction of personal conviction also comes the incapacity to think for oneself. What more effective technique of mind control than to create a culture of amoral, dysfunctional neurotics?
Another of the achievements of radical ideology in our time is to revolutionize primordial human reality to the point of making people believe that everything under the sun is political. This technique paralyzes us in our tracks, as we can no longer distinguish appearance from reality. Who can think and write under these conditions?
This radical doubt that tries to present us in public as people consumed by false consciousness - reactionaries - destroys human spontaneity. Spontaneity, we ought not to forget, is free will outwardly manifested. Hence, here, too, we are made to check and re-check our language – the strongest outward target of mind control – as not to give away the advanced corrosion of our false consciousness.
Today we no longer know what is correct to say in public, now that positivist social engineers have hammered our heads for over forty years with the idea that good and evil do not exist. The political correctness thought police tracks our every move. This is hardly commensurate with democratic values. What has the west learned from the uncivil arrest of humanistic values in the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century?
As much as radical ideologues pay lip service to freedom of press and personal expression, history has taught us that radical ideologues cannot tolerate individual liberties. Liberty is a threat to the radicalized makeover of traditional institutions like universities, churches, and the capital of private enterprise.
Today we are champions of groupthink and politically correct empty chatter.
The sinister idea that propels this technique of fear is intent in forcing us to think “correctly” in redefining human reality as being political in make-up. This is yet another of the many descriptions of “post-modernism.” Let us not forget that post-modernism is an expression that the new man has come to cherish. Post-modernism is the pseudo intellectual glorification of moral-spiritual anarchy and liberation from objective, hierarchical values. Of course, post-modernism is a blatant attempt to institutionalize the coerced will of those who have auto-designated themselves as identity groups.
When the new man is an intellectual, very rarely is he also intelligent. When he is intelligent, this ideologically motivated being is never sincere. Better described as being careerists and opportunists, and always defending indefensible horrors, these are some of the staple characteristics which disqualify such intellectuals as people of good will. These are people who are motivated by the extravagant abuses of “theory” and their desire to embrace cash-cow causes that are in vogue. The new man ascribes great importance to the arbitrary causes that it associates with. For these very reasons, the new man has no other recourse but to censor creativity and genuine ideas in the name of self-preservation.
Ironically, the new man has taught us that coerced, radical ideological categories leave no room for existential and vital human reality. Regardless of our artificially contrived expansion of state power, and the politicization of all aspects of human life, we remain, in the final analysis, autonomous beings. Man is an entity that is ruled by moral/spiritual essences, not political categories.
Books by Dr. Gonzalez
Dr. Pedro Blas Gonzalez is a Professor of Philosophy at Barry University, Miami, Florida and is finishing a book on Ortega's The Revolt of the Masses. He blogs at Castle to Castle.