Monday, March 25, 2013

More about Social Darwinism

Social Darwinism was a perversion of Charles Darwin's ideas. The theory of evolution developed by  Darwin explains that the survivors of every species are the best adapted to the environment (the best fitted). Darwin´s ideas in Biology extended to Social Sciences. Social Darwinism adapted the theory of evolution to explain how societies work. The theorists of this current considered that there were better fitted "races" (the "white" people") and that was the explanation to their superiority and their right to control the inferior "races".  Competition between the different "races" would determine the hegemony of the victorious ones and the submission of those considered to be inferior. 

Social Darwinism was used to classify people into different "races", depending on the colour of people´s skin or the size of their heads. 

Head Shots of Racial Types

Classification created by Nazi doctor Eugen Fischer in 1921

Social Darwinists also defended eugenics, something similar to selective breeding, in order to get "pure" individuals, by sterilizing first and eliminating later the people who had any physical of psychic flaw. These ideas were used in different countries to sterilize those considered to be inferior (mentally or phisically disabled people, aboriginals) and sustained the Nazi extermination policy during World War 2.

Brochure of the American Eugenics Society

Social Darwinism has also been used to base the reduction of economic help for the poor. New liberal policies defend that if the poor receive subsidies for food, health or education, they won't do anything to improve their lives 

Victorian England...Social Darwinism

All these ideas come from an interested interpretation of Darwin´s evolution theory. But Darwin wouldn't have agreed with the social Darwinists: he thought that not only physical features evolved through natural selection, but also moral sentiments and co-operation and altruism would also belong to human evolution. The following cartoon shows Darwin expelling eugenists and ultra-liberals from his house. 

If you want to read more about all this, here you have a very good link: 

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