Sorry elitists, evolution is not goal-oriented and social Darwinism is intellectually bankrupt
, editor of End the Lie
I have not been signing my own writings thus far but since we are now getting some other wonderful authors submitting their writing, from now on I will be signing my own original work to make the authorship clear.
Those who seek to justify their immoral subjugation and oppression of those who happen to have less material wealth will cling to anything that allows them to feel a bit better about themselves. The theory of evolution is an apt example of some powerful individuals perverting a scientifically justified theory to support eugenics and scientific racism.
However, the theory itself refutes every attempt by future personages to twist the concepts to support their point of view.
Social Darwinism extends the concepts of survival of the fittest and natural selection to human society, something which in and of itself is quite absurd. Even more ridiculous is the fact that, by definition, biological evolution is not goal-oriented and is not working towards a superior human species. If one seeks to hold the view of social Darwinism, one must accept that what could now be the most advantageous adaptation could instantly become the downfall of the organism if the environment were to change.
To further explicate this fact, we can attempt to take up the point of view of those who seek to justify domineering their fellow man. If one was in possession of endless hordes of wealth and illusory power, one would likely hire people to do just about everything for oneself. If, suddenly, there was a massive shift in ideals around the globe and all currencies were instantaneously declared worthless along with what used to be called “precious metals” like gold, this wealthy individual would find themselves stripped of all power. What used to be a socially advantageous feature could now be seen as neutral or even negative. If such a massive reformation of priorities were to take place, those who used to utilize material wealth to oppress the poor would likely be seen as an enemy of humanity. No longer would one’s riches allow one to enslave human beings in the name of a dollar and no longer would one’s wealth determine one’s power in the world. Thus, these coddled individuals would be naturally selected out of the human species due to their incompetence and inability to do anything for themselves.
I fail to see how anyone attempting to support the concept of social Darwinism could get past the fact that the theory of evolution directly contradicts their intentions of consolidation of power and the justification of class domination. How can you justify being born into wealth as an evolutionary advantage that propels you above the “unwashed masses”? If one is to do so, one is acting as though wealth is a physical adaptation that has an intrinsic value to the human species. I do not believe this could possibly be further from the truth.
Unlike an individual like Lance Armstrong who was born with an abnormally large heart giving him a massive leg-up on the competition, being in possession of copious quantities of so-called “precious metals” and green pieces of paper are not adaptive traits. While an exceptionally intelligent person will have an advantage over those around him in every situation, the man or woman born into wealth flounders. A social Darwinist not coming from familial wealth but from success solely of one’s own is slightly more logically justified in their position but it is far from irrefutable and I will get to that next.
When an individual rises from the depths of poverty to the upper strata of the societal power structure, said individual might believe that they are better than those around them who were not able to make that ascension. While being born into wealth has nothing to do with adaptive traits but solely luck of the draw, this case lends a bit more support to the social Darwinist position.
To be exceptional in this world, one usually must have some unusual trait, skill, or talent. These individuals might find some truth in the tenets of social Darwinism due to the fact that they have some evolutionary advantage that allowed them to rise above their peers. This is like an alpha-male in a pack of wolves who, due to his size and ferocity, is able to dominate all other males in the pack. If this wolf were able to philosophize, he might start to have his head swell with the self-aggrandizing concepts of social Darwinism.
That being said, both the individual who arose from poverty and the wolf would be fools to accept social Darwinism based upon the random adaptations they happened to receive that allowed them to rise to a position of power. Instead of being grateful for one’s gifts and using them to better the lives of all members of our species, and other living things as well, social Darwinism encourages the opposite.
Galton invented the term eugenics in 1883 and set down many of his observations and conclusions in a book, Inquiries into human faculty and its development. He believed that a scheme of ‘marks’ for family merit should be defined, and early marriage between families of high rank be encouraged by provision of monetary incentives. He pointed out some of the tendencies in British society, such as the late marriages of eminent people, and the paucity of their children, which he thought were dysgenic. He advocated encouraging eugenic marriages by supplying able couples with incentives to have children. (Source)
Galton, cousin of Darwin (himself a scientific racist as evidenced by the full title of his seminal work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life) was an unabashed eugenicist and promoter of some of the most morally and intellectually repulsive ideas ever promoted. These same ideas have been utilized by racists, Nazis, and generally imbecilic individuals the world over. Sadly, as evidenced by the Holocaust, these ideas seem to be readily accepted and supported by far too many people who obviously have not taken the time to thoroughly reason through their position.
Personally I find it a bit hilarious that people promote the ideals of social Darwinism while not realizing that their own position supports the right for someone to murder them in cold blood if they have the money to afford the weaponry and the ability to wield it. I don’t know if Galton and the many other scientific racists and social Darwinists realize it or not but their entire concept of racism is turned on its head by the tenets of social Darwinism. If one race is superior to another and wealth is a sign of superiority due to the fact that an evolutionary advantage allowed for the accrual of said wealth, how can one justify an individual of another race being as wealthy and/or powerful as oneself?
Furthermore, how would a social Darwinist account for long-standing cultures that practice collectivism? If wealth and power are evolutionarily advantageous traits, how could collectivist tribes pre-date modern society while still existing to this day? How could a single society function without a select few at the top living in mansions and bathing in caviar if the tenets of social Darwinism held even a minuscule drop of water? I cannot seem to wrap my head around this wholly nonsensical idea and the fact that anyone claiming to be a scientist or capable of cognizance could accept these ideas is beyond me.
Subjugation of your fellow man is not an evolutionary advantage, in fact it usually does not end up well for those doing the oppressing. Those truly blessed with the advantageous trait that is the ability to critical think can see this and those who ignore their inner moral compass will surely pay the price eventually.