It is funny how some things just catch fire in terms of the way in which they are perceived. At the turn of the 19th century, Charles Darwin was born and though he was not the first to conceive of the ideas surrounding evolution, it certainly stuck with him as his legacy. However, the basics of the theories of evolution, that the strong survive and those best suited to survival will out-live the weak. According to social Darwinism, those with strength flourish and those without are destined for extinction. It is important to note that Darwin did not extend his theories to a social or economic level, nor are any credible evolutionists subscribing to the theories of Social Darwinism. However, according to evolutionary theory, nature is a “kill or be killed” system. Those that cannot keep up are either left behind or cut off. If evolution, through chance, is solely responsible for life as we now know it, why should that process be countered? If “survival of the fittest” or “kill or be killed” cannot apply in what we define as “decent society,” then, which is wrong, society or evolution? If neither, then how do we explain morality, charity, and compassion? These are questions we have to ask ourselves when we look to government, who represent our interests. I feel as though on some level, individuals who believe in smaller governments believe in the idea of social Darwinism. Their thought process might be along the lines of we should not bail out businesses that fail, the good ones will succeed and the bad ones will not and that should be the natural course of capitalism. However, they still could believe that there should be government services to provide safety services and emergency services for people. There then would be the next level, where individuals believe that they people should be able to fend for themselves, meaning that they do not need police officers to protect the public, nor firemen or emergency response teams to provide support in the event of a crisis. To them, individuals who cannot accomplish this will be selected out.
David Allen once said “All men are created equal, it is only men themselves who place themselves above equality.” In thinking about how we perceive each other, we have to think of how the objectively different we are. The answer is not much. Though everyone comes from different backgrounds, it is our experiences and education that sets us apart, which does not really apply to the theory of evolution. The first thousand days, as some developmental economists suspect, are the most important in determining outcomes for childhood through adulthood. If some of us were innately better than others, then this empirically proven theory would not hold true, because it would be determined prior to birth. While it is true that some people are born with certain physical attributes, and possibly greater intellectual capabilities than others, it is proven that under the right circumstances that even those born with disabilities can outperform those who have better genetics. In thinking about this, in nature, this would not be the truth, which is why it is hard to think of why social darwinism as an applicable theory.