Social Darwinism Deconstructed

, Richard Thompson, Leave a comment

In a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, President Obama criticized the Republican budget proposal as “thinly veiled Social Darwinism,” in which the poor are seen as unfit and are coerced by the dominant rich. David Gordon of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in his piece “Social Darwinism and the Free Market,” argues that President Obama has fundamentally misapplied Darwinism to free market economics.

Gordon has certainly done his research, quoting several philosophers and historians who prove that Darwinism was not meant to be applied on a social level.

“As [economist Murray] Rothbard trenchantly remarks, the social-Darwinist argument is a poor one,” Gordon writes. “Even if it accurately described biological evolution, very much contrary to fact, why would it give us a guide to policy? Why should we aim to promote the goal of evolution, if we prefer not to do so? The social-Darwinist theory masks a recommendation about social ethics with a pseudoscientific narrative.”

Since society does not operate under a “survival of the fittest” mentality then, contrary to far-left economic theory, the free market does not perpetuate class struggle, but rather thrives on cooperation to ensure the survival of everyone in society.  Gordon supports this claim of mutual benefit through social cooperation by noting Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage, which calls for those with greater proficiency to trade with the less skilled in society.

Gordon realizes that the best way to ensure communal success is to allow the poor access to the free market rather than to subject them to government programs and to not overly tax the rich.

Richard Thompson is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.

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