Social Darwinism - The Eugenics Movement - dayline.info
May 8, It can be argued that religion does not explain how the world works. Eugenics is a more extreme form of Social Darwinism, which is linked to. Dec 20, Proponents of Social Darwinism believed poverty and many other social ills were the results of bad genes. In the s, eugenics movements. Apr 6, Social Darwinism has been used to justify imperialism, racism, eugenics and social inequality at various times over the past century and a half.
However, Spencer's major work, Progress: In The Social OrganismSpencer compares society to a living organism and argues that, just as biological organisms evolve through natural selection, society evolves and increases in complexity through analogous processes.
Jeff Riggenbach argues that Spencer's view was that culture and education made a sort of Lamarckism possible  and notes that Herbert Spencer was a proponent of private charity.
While Malthus's work does not itself qualify as social Darwinism, his work An Essay on the Principle of Population, was incredibly popular and widely read by social Darwinists.
In that book, for example, the author argued that as an increasing population would normally outgrow its food supply, this would result in the starvation of the weakest and a Malthusian catastrophe.
Malthus himself anticipated the social Darwinists in suggesting that charity could exacerbate social problems. Another of these social interpretations of Darwin's biological views, later known as eugenics, was put forth by Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, in and Galton argued that just as physical traits were clearly inherited among generations of people, the same could be said for mental qualities genius and talent.
Galton argued that social morals needed to change so that heredity was a conscious decision in order to avoid both the over-breeding by less fit members of society and the under-breeding of the more fit ones. Francis Galton In Galton's view, social institutions such as welfare and insane asylums were allowing inferior humans to survive and reproduce at levels faster than the more "superior" humans in respectable society, and if corrections were not soon taken, society would be awash with "inferiors".
Darwin read his cousin's work with interest, and devoted sections of Descent of Man to discussion of Galton's theories. Neither Galton nor Darwin, though, advocated any eugenic policies restricting reproduction, due to their Whiggish distrust of government. Nietzsche's point of view on sickness and health, in particular, opposed him to the concept of biological adaptation as forged by Spencer's "fitness". Nietzsche criticized Haeckel, Spencer, and Darwin, sometimes under the same banner by maintaining that in specific cases, sickness was necessary and even helpful.Survival of the Fittest: Social Darwinism & Eugenics
Wherever progress is to ensue, deviating natures are of greatest importance. Every progress of the whole must be preceded by a partial weakening. The strongest natures retain the type, the weaker ones help to advance it.
Something similar also happens in the individual. There is rarely a degeneration, a truncation, or even a vice or any physical or moral loss without an advantage somewhere else. In a warlike and restless clan, for example, the sicklier man may have occasion to be alone, and may therefore become quieter and wiser; the one-eyed man will have one eye the stronger; the blind man will see deeper inwardly, and certainly hear better. To this extent, the famous theory of the survival of the fittest does not seem to me to be the only viewpoint from which to explain the progress of strengthening of a man or of a race.
It was adopted by emerging social sciences to support the concept that non-European societies were "primitive" in an early stage of development towards the European ideal, but since then it has been heavily refuted on many fronts  Haeckel's works led to the formation of the Monist League in with many prominent citizens among its members, including the Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald.
The simpler aspects of social Darwinism followed the earlier Malthusian ideas that humans, especially males, require competition in their lives in order to survive in the future.
Further, the poor should have to provide for themselves and not be given any aid.
However, amidst this climate, most social Darwinists of the early twentieth century actually supported better working conditions and salaries. Such measures would grant the poor a better chance to provide for themselves yet still distinguish those who are capable of succeeding from those who are poor out of laziness, weakness, or inferiority.
Hypotheses relating social change and evolution[ edit ] Further information: Social evolution "Social Darwinism" was first described by Oscar Schmidt of the University of Strasbourgreporting at a scientific and medical conference held in Munich in He noted how socialists, although opponents of Darwin's theory, used it to add force to their political arguments.
Schmidt's essay first appeared in English in Popular Science in March However, the use of the term was very rare—at least in the English-speaking world Hodgson,  —until the American historian Richard Hofstadter published his influential Social Darwinism in American Thought during World War II.
Social Darwinism - HISTORY
Hypotheses of social evolution and cultural evolution were common in Europe. The Enlightenment thinkers who preceded Darwin, such as Hegeloften argued that societies progressed through stages of increasing development.
Earlier thinkers also emphasized conflict as an inherent feature of social life. Thomas Hobbes 's 17th century portrayal of the state of nature seems analogous to the competition for natural resources described by Darwin. Social Darwinism is distinct from other theories of social change because of the way it draws Darwin's distinctive ideas from the field of biology into social studies.
Darwin, unlike Hobbes, believed that this struggle for natural resources allowed individuals with certain physical and mental traits to succeed more frequently than others, and that these traits accumulated in the population over time, which under certain conditions could lead to the descendants being so different that they would be defined as a new species.
The Eugenics Archive
However, Darwin felt that "social instincts " such as "sympathy" and " moral sentiments " also evolved through natural selection, and that these resulted in the strengthening of societies in which they occurred, so much so that he wrote about it in Descent of Man: The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable—namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these Social Darwinists took up the language of evolution to frame an understanding of the growing gulf between the rich and the poor as well as the many differences between cultures all over the world.
Photograph of Herbert Spencer. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. Social Darwinism, poverty, and eugenics Social Darwinian language like this extended into theories of race and racism, eugenics, the claimed national superiority of one people over another, and immigration law.
Many sociologists and political theorists turned to Social Darwinism to argue against government programs to aid the poor, as they believed that poverty was the result of natural inferiority, which should be bred out of the human population. As a massive number of immigrants came to the United States during the Second Industrial Revolution, white, Anglo-Saxon Americans viewed these newcomers—who differed from earlier immigrants in that they were less likely to speak English and more likely to be Catholic or Jewish rather than Protestant—with disdain.
Social Darwinism and Eugenics
Many whites believed that these new immigrantswho hailed from Eastern or Southern Europe, were racially inferior and consequently "less evolved" than immigrants from England, Ireland, or Germany. Political cartoon showing Uncle Sam lecturing a group of childlike caricatures depicting the people of Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines.
The "more advanced students" of Texas, California and Alaska sit in the back of the classroom, while the African American student is forced to clean the windows, the Native American student is confined to a corner, and the Chinese student is halted outside the door.
Art by Louis Dalrymple, Puck magazine, Image courtesy Library of Congress. During and after World War IIthe arguments of Social Darwinists and eugenicists lost popularity in the United States due to their association with Nazi racial propaganda. Modern biological science has completely discredited the theory of Social Darwinism.
What do you think? How does it differ from Herbert Spencer's idea of Social Darwinism?