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View Diary: Social Darwinism: From Spencer To Rand To Ryan (57 comments)

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  •  aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh (4+ / 0-)

    there is no such thing as social darwinism, goddammit!

    "fit," or "fittest," has precisely one meaning in evolutionary biology:  the ability to reproduce.  the engine of evolution, and survival of the fittest, is the process of a heritable mutation conferring a survival advantage upon its carriers.

    "fittest" does NOT mean biggest, strongest, baddest.

    Never forget that the Republican War on Women originated with religion; the GOP is but theocracy's handmaiden.

    by Cedwyn on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 09:30:49 AM PDT

    •  Social Darwinism does not operate (8+ / 0-)

      the way that Darwinism does in the natural world.

      Its purpose is to defend a specific order.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 09:34:25 AM PDT

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    •  Sure there is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKinTN, ER Doc

      You may object to the use of Darwinism in the colloquial, but the philosophy "Social Darwinism" exists.

      Your comment reminds me of the dumb objections to the objection to Cleaver's stupidity yesterday.

      This language police nonsense is so pointless, ESPECIALLY in a political discussion.

      •  you're a lawyer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        you know how important precision in language is.

        and no matter what one is saying about "social darwinism," simply discussing it reinforces the notion, lends credence to the idea as a valid perspective.

        so since we both agree that the philosophy is abhorrent, can't we both agree that it should not be granted the patina of gravitas by being associated with darwin?

        Never forget that the Republican War on Women originated with religion; the GOP is but theocracy's handmaiden.

        by Cedwyn on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 11:33:49 AM PDT

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        •  Not in politics (0+ / 0-)

          I doubt the adherents are please with the way we are discussing it BTW.

          And no, I don't agree with your last line.

          Or with the objections to referring to GOP assaults asa "WAr on Women."

          This is politics, not beanbag.

        •  I don't think it gets a patina of gravitas (0+ / 0-)

          By being associated with Darwin.

          The emotional association that you are trying to create by using the term "Social Darwinism" is that conservatives see people as animals rather human beings, that they see the poor as parasites who cannot survive on their own.

    •  You're yelling at ~150 years of sociological (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pat bunny, Cedwyn, ER Doc

      and anthropological theory in which biological analogies and evolutionary mechanisms as explanations for social change have waxed and waned, yet never disappeared.

      Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

      by angry marmot on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 10:14:41 AM PDT

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    •  I feel your pain. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clem Yeobright, Cedwyn, ER Doc

      You might find what Darwin himself had to say on the matter illuminating. I did.
      Here he's really responding more to Francis Galton's ideas(eugenics) than Spencer's.

      The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with an overwhelming present evil. ... We must therefore bear the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely that the weaker and inferior members of society do not marry so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage, though this is more to be hoped for than expected.
      And this:
      The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable- namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.

      -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

      by pat bunny on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 10:24:12 AM PDT

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    •  Social Darwinism - Immutable Racial Spirit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc

      Natural selection also included random change.

      Social Darwinism is all about mystical and often Fascist ideas about "blood" and "spirit" that are nowhere near the conscept of genetics.

      Also these ideas were strongly economic and aimed at poor whites, because hey blacks were segregated already.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 10:35:32 AM PDT

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    •  I love you Cedwyn, and I understand what (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot, Cedwyn, Eric Nelson

      you're saying. But I think the term, inaccurate as it is to actual Darwinism, holds untold benefits as an effective weapon to use against the GOP in getting evangelicals to at least stay home and possibly even vote for Dems.

      I love the term. As it is defined, it perfectly describes GOP policy in a way many who've been previously impervious to reason, might finally be able to have their eyes opened.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Mon Apr 09, 2012 at 10:36:27 AM PDT

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