The Social Darwinist is someone who believes that the Darwinian theory of evolution — i.e. “survival of the fittest” — should be actively applied to people, societies, or nations. To the Social Darwinist, ALL of life is a struggle for survival in which the strongest naturally prosper at the expense of the weak — and it is right and natural that they should do so because that’s just the way things are, and/or natural law is Above Good and Evil.
Such people rarely concede that their chances for survival may have started higher than others due to reasons such as inherited wealth, social prestige, or even dumb luck. They typically state that we, collectively, have become complacent and stupid; they want to remove any trace of “weakness” and “stupidity” from society. It may seem to some that because humans aren’t currently enduring wars or other catastrophic extinction events, evolution in humans has ceased altogether (or at least paused — either one of which is highly problematic). If Social Darwinists do talk about evolution, they are very likely to talk about evolutionary levels and teleological evolution rather than Darwin’s actual theory (which was more of a pass-fail concept). Regardless, it is worth taking a look at the typology of Social Darwinists.
In brief, Social Darwinists generally come in one of six major flavors:
1. The Meritocrat: This first type believes that the scientific method is absolute in its superiority to other methods of inquiry and investigation. They strongly endorse and have even internalized, a particular formulation of natural selection that uniquely puts them in a zero state of accountability to God, the State, or any other enforceable moral code. For the Meritocrat, people who rise to the top in society, by whatever means necessary, can and should consider themselves superior to others — even going so far as to praise the evils of over-ambitiousness and arrogance as well as condemning or scorning kind behavior/altruism. These values are often coupled with the “logic” that since they are in charge, they must necessarily deserve to be there.
2. The Nazi by Any Other Name: The second type of Social Darwinist is a racist or speciesist who believes that their race or species is a Master Race or Superior Species, and by extension, the only one fit to live and reproduce in the entire world/galaxy/universe. The Nazi by Any Other Name uses this belief as a justification for subjugating, enslaving, or just plain annihilating any and all of those that they consider “inferior” (as the Nazis actually did).
3. The Evilutionary Biologist: The third type of Social Darwinist is an evolutionary biologist or anyone else who has mistaken or half-baked ideas about how evolution works “for the good of the species.” Given this collectivist bend, it is no surprise that, in order to help evolution/natural selection (or at least to not “get in its way”), anyone with a birth defect or who is in any other way “weak” in this villain’s eyes deserves to die so that the gene pool remains strong. Many such characters hope to create the Transhuman Ultimate Life Form or to preserve some kind of genetic or biological ‘purity’ whatever form that may take and regardless of the consequences.
4. The Jerk Justifier: The fourth type of Social Darwinist is simply selfish and uses Social Darwinism as a justification for psychopathic or sociopathic behavior. This character may not actually believe in Social Darwinism and may not even care, but finds it to be a convenient justification or excuse for the way they were going to behave regardless.
5. The Struggler: The fifth type of Social Darwinist believes that competition, suffering, and struggle make the individual, and possibly society as a whole, better over time. They tend to believe in virtues like cunning, ruthlessness, opportunism, and the ability to endure/survive by any means necessary. The Struggler also tends to have a cynical view of the world as a hard, harsh place and that Hobbes was right about life being “nasty, brutish, and short.” They tend to take a Might Makes Right view of things, and the most sincere of this kind do not believe the struggle ever ends and are never hypocrites; if they end up on the losing side, they will accept their fate with dignity (though usually not quietly).
6. The Weakness Punisher: The sixth type of Social Darwinist deliberately seeks out weak people and ruins their lives. They usually use manipulation to let/force these people to embarrass themselves, often enough online, and bully their victims or let other people do the bullying for them. If female, they always use their sexuality to exploit their victim’s wish for having a purpose in life. In the end, they usually encourage their victims to commit suicide so that their weakness will never again be a burden to anybody.
Tagged: Charles Darwin, Darwinism, Ethics, Evolution, Evolutionary Biology, Meta-Ethics, Metaphysics, Morality, Philosophy, religion, Science, Social Darwinism, Theory of Evolution
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