From Kelly Wilkins at left-wing mag Counterpunch, an interesting take on Darwinism:
One of the ways the media has shaped the public’s attitude concerning the distribution of wealth and power in our society, has been by the dissemination of a familiar but menacing ideology, an ideology which teaches that human success and failure is determined by evolutionary fitness — ‘the survival of the fittest’ ethic.
This idea sprang from dangerous interpretations of Darwin’s writings, peaked in the age of eugenics and Hitler, and remains to this day in our consciousness because of the language and constructs we continue to use.
The phrase is often and incorrectly attributed to the father of evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin, and though Darwin did use this language later in his life, the phrase was actually coined by Herbert Spencer — an English philosopher, sociologist, and social Darwinism’s most enthusiastic proponent. More.
Many of us are unclear on why leftists ever thought Darwin was one of their heroes. Maybe this is a good time to talk about the fact that there is not a lot of daylight between “there is a grandeur in this view of life” and Spencer’s social Darwinism. From Wilkins again:
It would seem, given the confidence with which the Darwinist message is delivered and the extent to which it is disseminated, that there exists little uncertainty surrounding our scientific theory of life. Yet over the course of the last several decades, science has revealed more about how organisms change, showing us that uncertainties do exist and that we should continue to seek answers. More.
Continuing to seek answers is a major reason to suspect that one is still alive.
We fear that Counterpunch readers mightn’t want to watch this, but it might provide some context:
See also: Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler, Hitler’s Ethic, and The Death of Humanity. His books provide a lot of meticulously researched twentieth-century context. Added, copied from combox below: Axel at 3, many left-wingers have a hard time accepting the fact that early twentieth century social movements like fascism and communism shared many roots. Darwinism was one of them. Fascist movements gobbled Darwin up because they were ethnocentric. But the communists, who were internationalists, had a more conflicted relationship with it. Basically, Darwinism won’t do them any good and it is stale-dated anyway. As Wilkins notes, there are better ways of understanding evolution now.