“Spencer thought that societies evolve from lower (‘barbarian’) to higher (‘civilized’) forms. As generations pass, the most capable and intelligent (‘the fittest’) members of society survive, while the less capable die out. Thus, over time, societies improve. If you help lower classes, you interfere with this natural process. The fittest members will produce a more advanced society—unless misguided do-gooders get in the way and help the less fit survive.
Spencer called this principle ‘the survival of the fittest.’ Although Spencer coined this phrase, it usually is attributed to his contemporary, Charles Darwin, who proposed that organisms evolve over time as they adapt to their environment. Because they are so similar to Darwin’s ideas, Spencer’s views of the evolution of societies became known as social Darwinism.
Spencer’s ideas that charity and helping the poor were wrong appalled many. The wealthy industrialists of the time, however, who saw themselves as the ‘fittest’—and therefore superior—found Spencer’s ideas attractive. Not coincidentally, Spencer’s views helped them avoid feelings of guilt for living like royalty while people around them went hungry.”
“Spencer gained a wide following in England and the United states, where he was sought after as a speaker, but eventually social Darwinism was discredited.”
But was it discredited? It seems to me that social Darwinism has made a roaring recovery in today’s GOP.
- The Stream He Swims In: (brothersjuddblog.com)