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Social Darwinism Research Papers

Social Darwinism research papers show that Social Darwinism is a social theory that was taken from Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer's evolutionary theories. Paper Masters custom writes all sociology theory papers and will focus on any aspect of social darwinism.

According to Social Darwinism, it is surmised that human beings behave the same way as animals and all other species with a drive for "survival of the fittest. The evolution of society places the fittest or the most prosperous members at the top of the evolutionary chain, while the others are left behind. Social Darwinism opened the door for laissez faire, imperialist attitudes to sweep Europe during the nineteenth century. Social Darwinism

In the second half of the nineteenth century Europe expanded to many new colonies, exerting both political and economic control. Europeans felt they were superior to the people of these nations and felt just in their domination. Social Darwinism is a theory used to "justify competition in the marketplace or between nations, as the mechanism of evolution in which the fittest triumph". This idea is based on the original theories of Charles Darwin published in 1859 in "On the Origin of Species" which basically stated that there was an ever-changing evolution of humans. In researching his theory, Darwin carefully collected information about natural history. He asserted that humans evolved by evolution, and explained how it occurred. According to Darwin, only those adapted to their environment survived to reproduce. He contended that the weak would die out and the fit would survive. This idea is known as natural selection. These ideas were carried over to other aspects of life, such as sociology and economics. There was talk of the natural superiority of men over women; national characteristics were determined to undesirable (or in the case of European characteristics, superior).

The theory of natural selection by Charles Darwin has, over the years, been used to further some truly terrible ideologies. These ideas include, but certainly are not limited to:

  1. Early Capitalism
  2. Marxism
  3. Nazism
  4. Modern Capitalism
  5. Racism
  6. Ethnic Prejudice
  7. Imperialism

Each of these theories has, in one way or the other, been affected by Darwinism.  Moreover, social Darwinism is perhaps the single force behind institutional racism, ethnic prejudice, and imperialism.

Darwin’s theory of natural selection is, by itself, quite logical and benign. It simply states that organisms on earth are constantly evolving in an effort to adapt to their environments. Individuals within a species that have unique characteristic suitable for the environment are the ones that will survive the elements; and therefore, live to maturity and mate. Once reproduction has occurred, then those valuable characteristics are passed on to the next generation. The individuals that have the wrong characteristics required for survival, do not live to reproduce; and thus, do not transmit those characteristics to the next generation. Creatures with the right characteristics will survive through the ages (hence, Survival of the Fittest), like the alligator.  An example of those creatures not fit for survival are the dinosaurs. Social Darwinism, actually, starts before the publication of his book: The Origin of Species

Darwin uses this concept in his book The Origin of Species.  He argues that organisms with specialized traits are always more effective at surviving due to the specialized trait.  For this reason, plants evolved such that pistils and stamens (that is, the male and female characteristics) appear on totally different plants of the same species.  Darwin calls this the “physiological division of labor”.

Adolf Hitler is probably the most notorious of the all the social Darwinians. He writes a chapter, published in the book Mein Kampf, called Nation and Race. Hitler claims that the white race rose above all other races because it specialized in being white. In other words, there is something superior in the characteristic of being white.  He further argues that the white race has risen to the top of all races by specializing and will stay on top by maintaining a purity of blood. He notes the United States as an example of the superiority of the white race by staying pure. Whites have gained control of that continent. He bemoans South America and blames their lack of economic prowess on the intermixing of races. He also uses race as an excuse to invade Eastern Europe. He argues that the Eastern Europeans are not truly white and that the Master Race needs room to grow: “Living Space”.

Today, Social Darwinism is still alive. Neo-Keynsians and Monetarist claim that some unemployment is necessary for a health economy. They insist that inefficiency arises when everybody has a job. They hide that fact that unemployment is a death sentence to people in an industrialized nation. In a capitalistic society, the capital is used to make goods.  Unfortunately capital is owned by the few rich. The unemployed have no way to make a living. 

Modern Capitalist further claim that competition is good. Firms that specialize survive. Firms that do not specialize die. This is good. It creates efficiency and helps maintain a health economy. An entire language has grown around this Modern Capitalist view of society. Phraseology used to deal with the unemployed include “lack of work ethic”, “unstable”, and “not a self-starter”, etc. Institutions like the church, social services, and psychology have all been indoctrinated in these phrases so as to indirectly aid the Modern Capitalist in their objective of maximizing profits. Unemployment and specialization can never be condoned if it means other people must starve. All people have the right to survive. This is true even if you are an atheist

Plato, in The Republic, states that a man who wrongs another, actually does more damage to himself.  How can people get better and improve through specialization, competition, and survival of the fittest when it means starving your fellow man. In the final analysis, Social Darwinism’s theory of specialization and competition only does more harm to society.  Darwin might take credit for this social theory, but its origins are actually quite old, probably pre-historic.

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