Social Darwinism: A Misunderstanding - Liberal Resistance

Social Darwinism: A Misunderstanding

Editor’s Note: There is a fascinating article over on Salon about Social Darwinism, a term the Right employs but doesn’t actually understand. This week, Burt Gretzinger explicates the Salon article and notes just how dim our pseudo-conservatives really are.


We have a group… a Party… a sometime-cult of stupidity which often rejects anything outside Biblical Scripture (you know: because they OWN Christianity), and ties “Family Values” to their rhetoric to appeal to a base which is mostly ignorant of anything outside of Baptist propaganda, and they use it to create a new pseudo-science called “Social Darwinism”.

That they co-opt the term of “Darwinism” to advance a non-science of “fittest” is really just further evidence of their duplicity. “Darwinism” is somehow FAKE, but “Social Darwinism” is somehow acceptable.

A few key points in this article:

1). “Any trust-fund aristocrat can chuckle about the unpitying law of the jungle and feel like a raw, scrappy survivor.”

Okay… yeah… so they were apparently built for not only survival, but ultimate top-of-the-foodchain domination– with the advantage of having lineage which endowed them with an edge–TRUST FUNDS– to enter into the cruel, harsh world of dog-eat-dog. They had to pick-and-choose their financial advisors and investment options amidst a sea of adversarial wealth managers all looking to enrich themselves as they promised massive financial gains greater than the others.

Yeah, man, that’s some scrappy survivalism.

2). “Of course, the science of economic Darwinism is not actually science. It’s worth repeating that.”

Okay, I’ll repeat it: the science of economic Darwinism is not actually science. This needs no explanation– it’s really pretty obvious.

Look around you, “it turns out that nature’s sociopathic assholes are, in any case, rarely the most fit.” Power and wealth are more tied to driven greed and selfish need than anything resembling a desire to just create enterprise and economic parity. Good jobs? Fuck that! Good ROIs (Returns On Investments)! When the ROIs drop, the first things to be cut are the laborers building the stuff being sold. Protect the fan base (investors) at all costs. They have Trust Funds to nurture.

1). “Nature has played the game of self-interest, and discovered that communal cooperation is usually more effective in promoting growth and success.”

Trees in a forest compete for sunlight, but they cooperate on every other level– sharing and exchanging nutrients, communicating (fungally) health and hazards. “Tree huggers” are the doggie-treats the big dogs snack on before they eat other dogs. But the huggers are the ones who truly understand mutual nurturing, and, therefore, communal health.

4).“ In the first phases of life on Earth, competition between hungry one-celled organisms almost depleted available food sources and ended life’s history on this planet before it even began. This sorry end was only avoided through a bizarre interaction where different bacteria entered into communal arrangements in which they exchanged nutrients and, gradually, became the complex cells that form the building blocks of all higher life forms, including Ayn Rand.”

Just let that sink in. Even Atlas can’t shrug that one off.

And, finally:

5). “Societies where competition is too fierce fall apart, just as ecosystems where predation has run rampant quickly collapse in scenes of mute starvation and spasms of violence.”

When there are no more dogs for other dogs to eat, then what? Trust Funds wither and die. Those “scrappy survivors” who were so smug in their self-importance ultimately lose the game because they never understood the building blocks undergirding the whole chess board– the true meaning of “Darwinism”.

Don’t get me wrong: I believe Capitalism is the best path for any society. And competition is an important stone in that foundation. But the competition needs to be healthy and fair, the “lesser life-forms” need to be understood and appreciated (and protected!) for that whole Darwinian system to survive. Inherited wealth and ROIs are capitalism’s rewards, not the structure… not the ecosystem.