[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
though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?
In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are
the heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and


> 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

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