You might think that the process of natural selection and the free-market competition of capitalism have little in common. Especially if you are a political conservative. There is a broad correlation between conservative political views, and the denial of Evolution. Think about that for a minute.
A common view of the process of natural selection is that it pits competing organisms against each other to determine which is the “fittest” to survive in their current environment. The losers fail to reproduce and end up in the dustbin labeled extinction.
Now consider free market competition. Businesses compete to produce the best products at the lowest possible cost. The losers fail to prosper and are either driven out of business or devoured through mergers or acquisitions. Either way, they disappear into the dustbin of extinction.
Most Christians claim that, to some degree, evolution is a hoax, and that God decides what organisms inhabit our planet. Those who acknowledge that there is a natural selection process, insist that it is all part of God’s plan. He oversees it, and tweaks it occasionally, to make sure the right mutations happen. Evangelical Christians deny that, and claim that God has already made all those decisions.
Many of those same Christian conservatives advocate noninterventionist government that deregulates business and minimizes or eliminates social programs to help the lower economic classes. Although they would certainly not call it that, such advocacy bears a great resemblance to social Darwinism. Here is one definition:
Social Darwinism: The theory that individuals, groups, and peoples [I would add businesses – Ed] are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection as plants and animals. Now largely discredited, social Darwinism was advocated by Herbert Spencer and others in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was used to justify political conservatism, imperialism, and racism and to discourage government intervention and reform.
Does that sound familiar? Which political party in the US advocates deregulation of business, elimination of “socialist” programs like Social Security, Medicare, and programs to help the poor like food stamps, AFDC, Medicaid, etc. That would be the Republican Party which proudly calls itself conservative and “God’s Party.”
It is Ironic that that Republicans advocate policies that are clearly derived from social Darwinism but deny the well-documented processes of natural Darwinism.
Bert Bigelow graduated from the University of Michigan engineering school, and then pursued a career in software design. He has always enjoyed writing, and since retirement, has produced short essays on many subjects. His main interests are in the areas of politics and religion, and the intersection of the two. Many of his writings are posted on his web site, bigelowbert.com. You can contact him at [email protected]