Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's this about Social Darwinism?

The recent popularity of the idea of social Darwinism made me curious? What is Social Darwinism? This is what Wikipedia says:

"The name social Darwinism is a modern name given to the various theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, which, it is alleged, sought to apply biological concepts to sociology and politics."

On the face of it, the theory about it is not so innocuous. After all Darwinism is a term that has been used as opposed to Creationism. So it must be a term pleasing to the "Liberals." It's used in the general drift of things nowadays to justify the idea that wealth is the dominant criterion for who is socially successful. Let companies fail when they are not viable. Let poor people fail because they are not working hard enough. Let the middle class disappear if it cannot adapt to current required standards whatever those might be.

So what's wrong with social Darwinism? Those who are looking for salvation in this theory (Ayn Rand in a strange way seems to have been a proponent of it) should look not only at the Russian Revolution, and the much earlier French Revolution to see what society makes of systems that suppress the majority in favor of a well-to-do minority.

It's a tragedy when people are led to believe that a person's success is only judged by how much money he or she makes. Not only does that kind of thinking deny that quality of life and how you live it, has an intrinsic value that cannot be judged in terms of money, it also limits the number of people who can be in that category unless you make the society in its extreme an egalitarian one where everyone is wealthy, and we all know that is impossible.

When life is only judged in terms of superficial means-to-an-end criteria, there are going to be repercussions. Is there another revolution in the works?


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