[lit-ideas] Re: Social Darwinism or Darwinian Socialism?

  • From: Judith Evans <judithevans001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 00:40:07 +0000 (GMT)

--- Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> When Irene speaks of Social Darwinism, I'm not sure
> I know what she means by the term.  I'm not sure I
> know what anyone means by the term (most of the time
> it seems to be used as a justification for "devil
> take the hindmost" meritocratic economic theory). 


I think it usually is.  When I applied it to British
Imperalism I was thinking of the beliefs that "lesser
races" were inherently inferior.  I admit -- to
address the rest of your post -- that I hadn't tried
to relate that to Darwinism.

Lesser races stuff like this:

"What though the spicy breezes blow soft o'er Java's
isle;
though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?
In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are
strown;
the heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and
stone!"

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/f/f271.html



> What I have a problem seeing is the Darwinism in
> Social Darwinism.  Darwin was talking about
> environmental change and how those changes effect
> various populations in accordance with their
> abilities to adapt to the changes.  As "Andy" used
> the term in her recent posts, she seems to believe
> that Social Darwinism is a might-makes-right ethics
> or philosophy [drove Hitler, behind European
> colonization] and she condemns such philosophies. 
> But Darwinism is an entirely different species, it's
> an explanation, never a justification.  Darwin not
> only does not makes justifications for any behavior,
> he makes no survival predictions for the stronger or
> more intelligent or craftier beings -- only that the
> more able a group is to adapt to a specific change,
> the more likely it will survive the change.  So
> perhaps weak people coming together and pooling
> their resources in response to globalization might
> be a better fit than the go-get-em entrepreneur with
> bucks to toss around.  What population is best
> suited to survive the changes -- they are the most
> likely to move forward -- until the next change.  So
> maybe a Darwinian Socialism the future.  And then
> Feudalism?  Only time will tell.  That is what
> should be m

Judy Evans
Cardiff




                
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