One of the social mythologies of our time is that it is in the power and ability of governments to remake society in any image or shape that those with political authority consider “good,” “right,” and “just” for mankind. No other idea has caused more horror and hardship in modern times.
The extreme attempts at such “social engineering” in the twentieth century were in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. The communists believed that man is the product of his social institutions. Abolish private property, impose material egalitarianism, and indoctrinate people from their youth in an ideology and psychology of economic collectivism and political altruism, and a “new socialist man” would be created that would lead to post-scarcity heaven on earth.
Making a “Better World” Whatever the Human Cost
In the name of remaking mankind for that “better world,” the communists were willing to imprison, torture and murder tens of millions who they considered to be resisting or opposing the “reeducation” needed to free people from the residues of the individualist and capitalist mentality that threated the successful creation of Utopia.
The Nazis in Germany had their own vision of the desirable racial “shape of things-to-come.” Unlike their communist cousins, the National Socialists spoke of “race conflict” instead of “class conflict.” A master race was to be constructed by physically eliminating “inferior racial types” and in their place introduce comprehensive racial “breeding” to genetically engineer a superior German type through “scientific” eugenics.
Concentration camps, death camps, torture chambers and crude acts of bestiality against millions of innocent men, women and children were the shining paths to a centrally planned new human race.
We stand back in horror and near disbelief when we try to comprehend the collectivist mindset that could bring such misfortunate and tragedy on so many tens of millions of people during the last one hundred years.
We have been less conscious of how much of the same mindset pervades our own societies today. While certainly less brutal and less blunt, the social engineering mentality pervades and dominates our own times in our own new century, and has for many decades.
The Planning Mentality Continues to Pervade Mankind