Social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher and po...

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The following excerpt is from a college textbook, Sociology, A Down-to-earth Approach, 7th edition by James M. Henslin.

“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.

Herbert Spencer lived from 1820 to 1903, and 1903 was the year of the Wright brothers’ first flight and the year my mother was born.

Please see Great Depression 2 | I am weary | November, 2012 | Monopoly money | Lemming politics

Life expectancies

Life Expectancy 2007 UN HDR & CIA Factbook

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Critics of Obamacare are usually critical of healthcare in other nations, particularly Canada and the UK(England). They praise US healthcare as the best in the world, but we spend much more of GNP to produce the “best”. My question to those critics is, if our healthcare is so good, why do we live shorter lives?

Here are some sample life expectancies, by world ranking:

1.  Japan     men  78 years     women  86.1 years

11.Canada  men  78.3            women  82.9

20.UK        men   77.2           women   81.6

36. US        men   75.6           women   80.8

It should not be necessary for men in the US to undergo a gender change in order to live as long as men in Canada, the UK or Japan, nor should US women face an average of 5.2 years of widowhood..