What is Social Darwinism?

Social Darwinism states that human groups, races and societies are subject to natural selection in the same way that they are plants and animals. Social Darwinism was popular in the last nineteen and early twentieth centuries and its central ideology was that those perceived as weak in human societies had diminished and their culture was delimited, but the forts developed and strengthened at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Origin of social Darwinism

According to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, organisms that adapted to the environment had a better chance of eliminating their competitors. The term “social Darwinism” was first used by Joseph Fisher in his article 1887 “The history of land ownership in Ireland”. Scholars who supported social Darwinism were called social Darwinists, including Walter Bagehot and Herbert Spencer of England, and American William Graham. Scholars believed that natural selection acted on changes in the general population and, in the long run, only those with the best survival characteristics would have improved and dominated the population.

Role of social Darwinism

Social Darwinists use the theory to support the ideologies of political conservatism and capitalism, and laissez-faire. Class stratification was considered a natural inequality between individuals in society for the control of property, power and frugality. Attempts to intervene on the basis of equality laws or state weapons were seen as an interference with natural processes. Biological selection was also considered a natural selection process in which the dominant genus dominated the minor genus. The poor and the disabled were considered unfit and received no help from other members in a society where wealth was seen as a sign of success and power. It was used by imperialists, colonialists and racists to justify their punitive actions against other members of society. In the mid-20th century, social Darwinism, when further progress and research into knowledge, weakened the theory rather than supported it.

Social Darwinism Against Social Evolution

Social evolution is a branch of social biology that deals with the evolution of behaviors and characters. The philosophers that preceded Darwin, including Hegel, pointed out that societies have progressed through different stages of development. They referred to development as a social evolution. However, social Darwinism is distinct from social evolution due to the way it draws distinctive ideas from Darwin’s ideology “survival for the fittest” to social studies. Darwin, unlike social Darwinists, believed that a struggle for resources allowed those with better physical and mental traits to adapt and succeed more frequently than those without. Long-term, these qualities would accumulate in the population and under certain conditions the descendants would have different characteristics. Darwin did not incorporate his ideas into a social or economic perspective, although social Darwinism takes the concept from his theory. Social Darwinism was criticized for supporting a divided society that believed in the rule of the rich over the poor and for not defending the equality of all races.

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