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February 25, 2021

Darwinism Revisited Through the Lens of Morality

How about this for a conspiracy theory?

I believe the administration led by Donald Trump would have employed strategic malfeasance in the poor implementation of vaccine distribution to eliminate those members of society that he considers weak.  It would have been a next level Social Darwinism or Eugenics tool used by the rich and powerful to exterminate the “weak” if Donald Trump won the recent election.

For this especially, I am thankful that his social media platform has been removed.

I will support my hypothesis in this essay.

On the heels of a hellacious year with a highly contentious election, Americans are divided on many, many fundamental issues due to differences in education, ideology, geography, and race.

Educated urban dwelling people support Democratic ideology while rural, uneducated people prefer Republican ideology.

This difference matters and should be recognized because gullibility is directly related to social and intellectual inferiority.  More on this to come.

President Biden, the Democrat winner, is preaching unity, reconciliation and helping provide for the disenfranchised.

These are noble aspirations.

He also takes pride in referencing the collective protocols from scientific professionals when discussing his plans for overcoming the spread of Covid-19.

However, according to scientists applying the theories of Charles Darwin, the testing and vaccination may be unnecessary and misguided since it denies the “law” of natural selection.

According to Wikipedia, Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.

So, some social Darwinists might say, “don’t live in fear of Coronavirus.  It will go away.  The strong survives.”

Didn’t we hear those same sentiments from Donald Trump last year before, and amazingly, after he caught it?

His disdain for wearing a mask was evident despite nearly unanimous concurrence by the scientific community that wearing them slows the spread and saves lives. He openly scoffed at people wearing them.  Then he caught it.

It is only because of his wealth and power that he was able to access restricted, trial medical treatments to recover quickly despite his obesity.

This provided us with an insight to his self-supremacist, narcissistic ego, lack of personal accountability and assumed superiority over science, medicine and other people who caught it and died from it.

But maybe his agenda was more pernicious than just general disdain?

He seems to be proud of being a capitalist and with a zero-sum game attitude toward others.  His attitude can best be reflected with these statements: I am a winner.  I win; therefore, you lose.  Everyone who does not win is a loser.  I only like winners.  If you are weak and needy, you are a loser.  I don’t like losers. Losers don’t vote for me.  Let’s get rid of losers.

How?  “Send them back” as he once encouraged his supporters to chant?

Maybe he wanted to do more than just sending people back?

Hold that thought while we do some further sociological exploration.

Let’s look at the evolution of Darwinism to Social Darwinism and the natural extension of those “scientific” theories relative to their application in societies over the past 100+ years.
A natural extension of Darwinism is Social Darwinism.

According to history.com “Social Darwinism is a loose set of ideologies that emerged in the late 1800s in which Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was used to justify certain political, social, or economic views. Social Darwinists believe in “survival of the fittest”—the idea that certain people become powerful in society because they are innately better. Social Darwinism has been used to justify imperialism, racism, eugenics, and social inequality at various times over the past century and a half.

According to Darwin’s theory of evolution, only the plants and animals best adapted to their environment will survive to reproduce and transfer their genes to the next generation. Animals and plants that are poorly adapted to their environment will not survive to reproduce.
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was a scientific theory focused on explaining his observations about biological diversity and why different species of plants and animals look different.

Yet in an attempt to convey his scientific ideas to the British public, Darwin borrowed popular concepts, including “survival of the fittest,” from sociologist Herbert Spencer and “struggle for existence” from economist Thomas Malthus, who had earlier written about how human societies evolve over time.

Darwin rarely commented on the social implications of his theories. But to those who followed Spencer and Malthus, Darwin’s theory appeared to be confirming with science what they already believed to be true about human society—that the fit inherited qualities such as industriousness and the ability to accumulate wealth, while the unfit were innately lazy and stupid.

Another prominent Social Darwinist was American economist William Graham Sumner. He was an early opponent of the welfare state. He viewed individual competition for property and social status as a tool for eliminating the weak and immoral of the population.”

This line of thinking ignored the obvious benefits to the wealthy due to the ingrained, multi-generational transfer of wealth and power emanating from inheritance, social status, and educational opportunities uniquely availed to them by their predecessors and their homogeneous social and geographic environment.

“As social Darwinist rationalizations of inequality gained popularity in the late 1800s, British scholar Sir Francis Galton (a half-cousin of Darwin) launched a new “science” aimed at improving humans by ridding society of its “undesirables.” He called it eugenics.

Galton proposed to better humankind by propagating the British elite. He argued that social institutions such as welfare and mental asylums allowed inferior humans to survive and reproduce at higher levels than their superior counterparts in Britain’s wealthy class.

Galton’s ideas never really took hold in his country, but they became popular in America where the concepts of eugenics quickly gained strength.

Eugenics became a popular social movement in the United States that peaked in the 1920s and 1930s. Books and films promoted eugenics, while local fairs and exhibitions held “fitter family” and “better baby” competitions around the country.

The eugenics movement in the United States focused on eliminating undesirable traits from the population. Proponents of the eugenics movement reasoned the best way to do this was by preventing “unfit” individuals from having children.

During the first part of the twentieth century, 32 U.S. states passed laws that resulted in the forced sterilization of more than 64,000 Americans including immigrants, people of color, unmarried mothers and the mentally ill.

Adolf Hitler, one of the world’s most notorious eugenicists, drew inspiration from California’s forced sterilizations of the “feeble-minded” in designing Nazi Germany’s racially based policies.
Hitler adopted the social Darwinist take on survival of the fittest. He believed the German master race had grown weak due to the influence of non-Aryans in Germany. To Hitler, survival of the German “Aryan” race depended on its ability to maintain the purity of its gene pool.
The Nazis targeted certain groups or races that they considered biologically inferior for extermination. These included Jews, Roma (gypsies), Poles, Soviets, people with disabilities and homosexuals.

By the end of World War II, social Darwinist and eugenic theories had fallen out of favor in the United States and much of Europe—partly due to their associations with Nazi programs and propaganda.”

Donald Trump borrowed much of the same rhetoric from Hitler to gain fanatical followers who, as noted previously, are mostly uneducated, rural, white people.

His use of generic attribution made his narrative more believable. He often referenced that “many people say…election rigged, science unproven, I am great etctera…”.

But, as referenced above, has Social Darwinism really fallen out of favor with the general populace in America?

Or has it just been publicly muted because of the ramifications to those who voice support of white supremacism?  But that doesn’t stop the thinking of that support.  This is where hypocrisy is evident.

We have seen many examples of people saying one thing, then thinking and doing the opposite.
One, specific, relevant example would be how Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 despite a majority of polling suggesting that he would be beaten soundly by Hillary Clinton.

Clinton campaigned on unifying platforms of equality of opportunity in a global economy.
Trump campaigned on “America First.”

Most people condemned his statements, widely considered racist, about Mexico sending their worst to America with “Illegal Aliens” and Africa’s “shithole countries”.  But that only activated his base.  One could even say that, his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is barely concealed racist language.  The inference from his slogan was to go back to a time when minorities and women were treated as property of white men and had few or no rights in society.

Yet, when it came time to vote, he won over many voters including women and minorities despite their verbal denial to pollsters.

To his own astonishment and many pollsters, he won the election in 2016.

What does this tell us about Social Darwinism in America?

It tells me that it is alive and well but strategically sublimated by its proponents.  Instead of saying, “Kill the Blacks and Jews”, they use coded language.  They denigrate minorities as lazy and weak.  They spread conspiracy theories perpetuating their unfounded beliefs.  They vote for politicians who structure and support policies in favor of the rich, white and powerful. This is a strong undercurrent of latent, rhetorical racist thinking, barely detectable and just below the surface of cognition by most people.

Instead of The United States of America, we have become a union of us vs them states and people.

Here is my perspective on the warped and bastardized “evolution” or timeline of social Darwinism:

Darwinism is proven in science.  Social Darwinism evolves (interesting word here!) from Darwinism, which then extends to Eugenics and eventually, Nazism. But Nazism was flawed because, in part, it was too transparent.

Their extermination was done by commission.  The expressed ideology of Trump to get rid of people who disagreed with him or were considered weak, could be done by omission.

That is the scary part of the omission strategy.

The repercussions of the extermination of Jews by Nazis lead to condemnation of that behavior, but, not necessarily the thinking behind the behavior. Because the behavior (extermination of Jews via cremation in concentration camps) was visible, documented, and abhorrent; it was widely condemned by civilized society.

However, the condemnation was more about the physical, intentional murderous acts instead of the underlying thinking that inspired the action of genocide.

For many, the philosophy and Social Darwinism never really died.  It just became action-dormant while spreading like a philosophical virus, throughout, gullible, hate-filled factions of the Republican Party.

Trump stoked the virus with his coded language saying things like, “there are very fine people on both sides” when referring to racist rallies and people protesting them.

Here are my perceived differences in priorities between the political parties’ orientation in America:

Republicans:
Self – Money/Power
Party
Religion/Guns
Country
Fellow citizens

In summary: my rights and health are more important than your rights.

Democrats:
Constitution
Equal Opportunity (meritocracy)
Country
Party
Self

In summary: my rights end where yours begin.

For these far-right Republicans, the self is first, then party.

An example would be wannabe, sycophant presidential candidates like senators Hawley and Cruz who will say just about anything to gain favor with Trump supporters.  They refused to even admonish Trump for inciting a riot that led to domestic terrorism of their very own place of business and fellow senators for fear of any backlash from his supporters who can vote them out of power in the next election.

Their excuse for voting against impeachment is that the trial will only cause my division in our country.

To me, this is like firefighters not responding to a house on fire at night because their blaring sirens might upset the sleeping neighbors.

This is a race to the bottom by the extreme right in a desperate attempt to cling to power.

Integrity and truth are irrelevant to them if they have wealth and power.

When considering this, selfish ideology, combined with the hubris of “American Exceptionalism”, and conspiracy theories about “rigged elections”, it is easy to see how, just one day after the election results from Georgia were finalized and senate seats awarded to a black person and a Jewish person which gave all three branches of government to Democrats; a protest turned into a riot, stoked by conspiracy theories, where mostly white citizens stormed the senate in an attempt to overturn the election results by force.

The connection between the timing of the siege on the Capitol and motivation by participants is undeniable.  Their actions were inspired by racism, Social Darwinism and perpetuated by power-hungry human caricatures like Trump, Hawley and Cruz.

Trump used the rally for his own selfish purposes to stay in power while keeping the justice system and creditors at Bay.   Both will now certainly seek accountability and retribution for his behavior.

Democratic philosophy by its adherents seems to be diametrically opposed. That said, they are also susceptible to the human weakness of selfishness despite their rhetoric.

In America, our collective self-perception (hubris) of considering ourselves as exceptional is very apparent.  We are geographically separate, the greatest economic engine and have the most powerful military the world has ever known.  We are the masters of invention, successful business incubators and a mecca of higher education.  Our per capita wealth and consumption are greater than any other country by far.

Even though he has been widely supported by evangelical Christians, he seems to have forgotten the writings of Luke:

“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded” (Luke 12:48).

Instead, Trump abdicated our responsibility to the planet and other countries of our outsized consumption and impact on the environment by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord.

We could have led by example and taken responsibility, instead we backed out in a Trumpian sort of way by blaming others.

Attitudinally, we think that we are the best place and race in the world.
Our xenophobic tendencies are stoked by politicians in their brazen attempt to gain favor with voters.

Irony, hubris, and hypocrisy are on full display in the example of the following, juxtaposed scenarios.

An example of this attitude is apparent when regarding our behavior towards our neighbors to the south – Mexico and Central America.  We populate all-inclusive resorts there, consume to the extreme and rely on accommodating, subservient staff to cater to our every whim and desire.  We expect them to speak English to us at the resorts in their country!

Conversely, we rely on the Mexican and Central American people to work in low paying, demeaning agricultural, maintenance and service jobs that require no education and are considered beneath them by most Americans.  These same, uneducated, poor people are then maligned for “not speaking English in our country” and are often derisively labelled “Illegal Aliens.”

This hypocrisy is almost farcical if it weren’t so real and sad.  Yet, it runs just below the current of cognition.

So, Social Darwinism thinking is still alive and well in America.  It is the overt actions inspired by the thinking that have been considered more dangerous.

The actions are evil, but the thinking is much more pernicious.

So, it brings us to these existential questions:

Will poor people have the same access to vaccines as the rich and powerful in America?

Will this obvious disparity in vaccine distribution be magnified in poor countries?

Will this lead to a form of mass extermination by inaction?

Is Darwinism a real science or just a theory?

Is Social Darwinism an organic extension of scientific Darwinism?

Does society owe anything to the weak, poor, old and disenfranchised?

Is “learned helplessness” a tactic employed by “lazy” people or does it have more to due with lack of education and opportunity?

Will our collective hubris be the end of us?

Would we ever do anything as overtly drastic as allowing murder millions of people because we thought they were inferior?

No.  Of course not.  That is too transparent.

Let’s look more closely.
Perhaps, the attitude some people have regarding not wearing masks or adhering to scientific protocols requiring social distancing is a more subliminally diabolical way of exterminating the “weak”?

Think about it for a minute.  If the wealthy and powerful have access to the vaccines and the poor do not, massive genocide still can occur just through a lack of vaccines availability.

But now, without direct, physical evidence of something like concentration camps from Germany, people will die because they were “too weak”.  But the reality may be that they did not have the means for social distancing or access to vaccines.

Designed or not, omission of corrective action can yield a net result of massive genocide.

Trump has manipulated the interpretations of how weakness and greatness are perceived.  To him and his followers, weakness if admitting that you are wrong when you are wrong, that you lost when you lost.  It means not being accountable for behavior, no matter how bad it is.  To him, weakness is getting caught.  He denigrated a war hero, John McCain for getting caught.

Conversely, to him, strength is attacking anyone who questions him, his statements, or his motives.  To him, strength is using his wealth and power to get what he wants and to make others bend to his will regardless of the morality of his actions.

To me, this is the exact opposite of strength.  To me strength is the courage to stand up for those who have less opportunity.

Strength is empathy for people, not mocking of people.

You’ll never take back our country with weakness, you must be strong” He said on January 6th which led to the riot and domestic terrorism.

Ironically and concurrently, Americans are actually safer because we are blessed to have a diversity of population from slavery and immigration who voted for his opponent that led to the departure of Trump and may have saved us from extermination through malfeasance.

The minorities in our culture who are considered “weak” by white supremacists, generally do not support Social Darwinism.  They used their voices and voted out a president who advocated those policies under the guise of Making America Great.

They voted in a President who listens to real science and wants to help our country grow stronger together and wants to vaccinate as many people as possible.

This may not necessarily extend to poorer or gullible people who do not have access to vaccines or don’t trust science.

While I have said many times, everything may be subject to everyone, factual truth is also undeniable when it is supported by the collective agreement of educated people after thoughtful consideration.

The future of our country depends not only on what we think about these issues, but, by extension, how we act and what we decide to do about factuality and truth.

The future of our species depends on what we choose to do with a necessary, organic alignment between thinking and doing.  Collective sustainability over the long term requires an agreed-upon morale foundation.

That morality can’t be grounded in what is best for me right now or homogeneous relative to a desired audience.  It must be inclusive, unbiased and color blind.

Can we look beyond what is best for me, now; to what is best for us all, later?

Some of us want to but others have different priorities as noted above.

Can I predict the future?  No.  But I can root for it.

I root for authentic meritocracy inspired by morality.

I root for people to align with the planet instead of abusing it.

I pray for people to have an authentic, personal relationship with their God instead of one that relies on false prophets.

I hope for people to find truth through research instead of being manipulated by power hungry people.

I hope that I am wrong about intentional vaccine distribution malfeasance and the false propaganda regarding the importance of distancing, mask usage and the vaccine efficacy.

The world is watching…

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