In a column explaining why Teddy Roosevelt had his flaws as a US Prez (“Choosing the right role model, October 5, 2008”), George Will offers some interesting information:
Having read Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” at age 14, and having strenuously transformed himself from an asthmatic child into a robust adult, he advocated “warrior republicanism” (Hawley’s phrase). TR saw virtue emerging from struggle, especially violent struggle, between nations and between the “Anglo-Saxon” race and lesser races. Blending “muscular Christianity,” the “social gospel” — which sanctified the state as an instrument of moral reclamation — and Darwinian theory, TR believed that human nature evolved toward improvement through conflict.
Well, that’s classical Darwin fascism, believe it or not (and I don’t).
TR invested the materialist doctrine of evolutionary struggle with moral significance for the most manly “races.” He wanted the state to rescue America from the danger, as he saw it, that a commercial republic breeds effeminacy. Government as moral tutor would pull chaotic individualists up from private preoccupations and put them in harness for redemptive collective action.
Sounds to me like a recipe for government paying a ton of tax money for a zillion civil servants to poke their collective nose into the smallest corner of everyone’s business and promote laws against everyone who offends them, on the theory that we are “helping” evolution.
It’s nice to see that someone is actually talking about this.