Occasionally, I wonder why many of the same people who extol the teaching of evolution (as I do) and laugh at those who don’t (at which point I part company — who am I to declare what methods God can use?) are so quick to condemn what they call “social Darwinism.” From where I stand, Tennyson was right — Nature is red in fang and claw, and the notion of equality (other than before the law) is proven fictive every day. Why would this not play out on the human level — individually and civilizationally — as well? As John Derbyshire has often asked, if we assume that species evolve, even if only on the micro level, why do we refuse to consider that human not only have evolved, but continue to do so?
One answer to that, of course, is that some adherents to forms of this theory (from advocates for the Aryan ubermensch to fans of the New Socialist Man) are responsible for some of the greatest evils of history. Having recognized that, we’ve seen that the movie hasn’t ended well and we’re reluctant to reboot the franchise. More darkly, it may be that too many of us realize that, if there is an ubermensch, it ain’t us, so best to shut up about it and hope that no one else notices. Heck, I can’t even handle a leaf blower…
Still, taking this sort of evolutionary view of human conduct on the wholesale level can be provocative, and it is with that idea in mind that I point you to an essay by Brett Stevens, which argues that while there may be a class war, it’s likely being fought in a surprising direction. Thoughts?
H/T: The Fourth Checkraise, who is sharing the linky love again.