Social Darwinism

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Social Darwinism

Liba 102
3/23/03
Social Darwinism is a concept that has been used in past organizations
and systems of governments to label certain patterns, within society. In
today’s modern society, people are categorized according to their traits,
skills, and principles. Social Darwinism calls this social selection; the
more intelligent, skilled, and self controlled one is, the more likely they
are to survive. This example has repeated itself throughout history in
many different cultures. The result is almost always the same, the more
fit a person is to societies mold; the more likely they are to succeed in
life.

This concept is very present in today’s society and has been in past
societies.In modern day, the most successful beings are those who are in
the wealthier percentile of the population. Because of this wealth, they
are more likely to be ambitious in life, which in turn, causes them to make
wiser decisions for themselves, which will not hinder nor destroy their
comfortable, decadent lifestyles.

There are many social scientists who have conducted tests and
theories on this subject. D. Colin Wells wrote a conference paper entitled
“Social Darwinism.” He applied the Darwinism Evolutionary Theory to the
investigation of the manner in which social institutions and doctrines
influence the survival of certain groups (Hawkins, 1997). This brought
about the question of what kinds of people were favored by society. Wells
thought that modern conditions reversed natural selection. He mostly
blamed this on political and social development; for example, taxation,
trade unions, and education for women. These were all factors that
facilitated the postponement of marriage and small families among the
worthier and wealthier percentages of society (Hawkins, 1997). Stoddard’s
point of view was closely related to wells’. He believed civilization as a
whole was what substituted social selection for natural selection. He
thought elite qualities were not hereditary, but caused by civilization.

Another one of his major points was that slowly, intelligence is being
breed out of American society. The successful wait to have kids later in
life, while the “unfit” have many kids, earlier decreasing their chance of
becoming successful at all. According to Stoddard, there are two solutions
to this. One is eugenics, which is “improved social selection based on
natural law.” The other is by being “eugenic conscious,” which is to
compel the wealthier to have lager families, and think of duties not rights
(Hawkins, 1997). Lapouge identified several types of social selection.

First, he discussed political selection, which was functioning through
civil wars, exile, and persecution. In other words, war eliminated the
weak indivuals. The next topic was religion, especially Catholicism,
caused by celibacy, which regulated corrupt people reproducing. The third
type discussed was moral selection. He thought prudish norms and
prohibitions hindered reproductive activities. Lastly, Lapouge discussed
economic selection, which favored an aristocracy whose wealth opened up
opportunities that might never otherwise be available to them (Hawkins,
1997).

In conclusion, most of these theories and concepts are proven true in
society’s favorism among its citizens. Especially, in America the wealthy
succeed on both moral and intelligent grounds, compared to those who have
less money. The entire concept is cyclical. The wealthy possess more
options; for example, an ambitious, successful man will have a child who
would attend a school where moral principles are valued and taught, and
where intelligence and ambition is enforced. In turn, the child will
cherish high morals, thus making wise decisions; increasing his or her
chance of succeeding in life.