Darwin is not responsible for ‘Social Darwinism.’
War and oppression have always been components of human history, however with the introduction of Darwin’s theory of evolution man had a new justification for his cruelty. Darwin’s ideas promoted a superman or super-race philosophy. The prime component of Darwin’s ideas revolves around the notion that life progresses by natural selection – the survival of the fittest. Couple this with the racist culture in the scientific world of his day and you have the reason to pursue any exploitive agenda. Might makes right, so why not proclaim yourself the master race and conquer others? Theodore Roosevelt stated that a racial war to the finish with the Indians was inevitable and there should be a spread of English-speaking people all over the world (Morris 1989, 68-70).
Some may say that Social Darwinism is the root cause of all of the world’s current problems. Social Darwinism leads individuals as well as social, ethnic, or religious groups, and also nations to compete against other individuals, groups, or nations because they feel in some way superior or think they just naturally have to compete.
As we know the practices by which powerful nations or peoples seek to extend and maintain control or influence over weaker nations or peoples is Imperialism and, colonialism usually suggest formal political control, involving territorial takeover and loss of self-government. The intention is to broadly to control or influence either formally or informally, directly or indirectly, politically or economically. Each imperial state attempted to control the trade of its colonies, in order to acquire the benefits of that trade. States pursued power for a variety of reasons: by the need to expand their economies, by the desire for security, and diplomatic advantages.
Social Darwinism is that process and which up people within the nation decides to impose their way or philosophy of life i.e. economic structure, social standards, and processes with the intent to dominate and control. This process is fulfilled over many years focusing an economic, social, executive objective. When a nation exists in a constant state of growth using calculated, adaptive resolutions that promotes forward mobility, personifies Social Darwinism. The basic American attitude throughout history has been remarkable by design and left their homeland to implement their native customs. In the minds of most Americans it has been embedded into the basic American thinking. Over the years the attempts to conform one cultural group into the ways of another, many believe, has made this country so prominent …but at what cost. We have fought wars with the purpose of securing sovereignty within and abroad, capitalizing on the forward momentum knowing that history has taught us that only the strong will survive.
Social Darwinism, as the name clearly implies, is the application of Darwinian theory to human society. Supporters use the theory both within single nation states, to justify internal inequalities between citizens. Society is not nature; rather it is an artificial structure specifically designed to avoid the perils of the natural world. In human society the collective endeavor is to protect the weakest members, those who would be vulnerable in the state of nature, and allow them the same rights as the strongest. Society was not created to benefit the strong, to grant them control over the weak. All men are created equal is the tenet human civilization ideally attempts to recognize but individual selfishness continually attempts to denounce.
Human beings do not adapt to their environment as much as they attempt to change it. That is the purpose of social teamwork: to change the environment. Human society, as a Social Darwinist claims to perceive it, is not some sort of higher order level of nature; human society, unlike many animal societies, does not evolve and adapt to the natural world; human society endeavors to change the face of the natural world. Human beings have the grand desire to adapt the world and their society to themselves, not vice-versa. Martin Luther King forced America to change, he had not, rather, adapted to (or, more accurately, accepted) its contagious hatred of the black man then he may as well never have existed. Human society does not coexist with nature; it attempts to rise above it. Human society, unlike nature, should not recognize the chance superiority of a specific group of members, as an excuse for their dominance over others of the population. Survival of the fittest does not apply within human society. Generally in human society those who are the most likely to succeed, are born into circumstances that are tailored for them to succeed. In this respect the current state of human society is far more savage than nature. In nature the fittest survive, but in today’s society it is those who are born into the fittest surroundings that survive. Social Darwinism is, in truth, an attempt to deny the opportunity to live to those considered inferior. Human beings though, by our most basic moral beliefs, cannot be inferior. If people with children live in the streets starving; if entire civilizations tread down the path of destruction, it is not the result of the truth of Social Darwinism; it is, the result of contagious human selfishness; the same selfishness that governed every lost civilization and today governs our society.
Social Darwinism is of a moral nature because human beings, after all, are not animals. Within the perspective of human society the normal processes of the natural world often seem uncivilized. It is this savagery that human society is designed to avoid. Regardless of ability, all human beings are equal and have the same right to life as all other human beings competition is a savage circumstance; it is what all people, through social cooperation, attempt to avoid. Society is meant to behave in a manner that benefits the whole of human civilization and recognizes the inalienable right of every human being to life, liberty, and happiness.