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History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Darwinism and politics

October 26th, 2009 · No Comments

Charles Darwin and modern politics
4 CommentsWritten by Lee WishingOctober 26, 9:57 AMWith his head under my kitchen sink last week, talking politics and using tools I had never seen, Keith the plumber said, “My daughter stood up in class and told her eighth grade school teacher, ‘I’ll read your assignments on Darwinism, ace your tests, but I won’t believe it!’” It’s interesting that Keith mentioned this exchange because there’s an important link between Charles Darwin and today’s national politics.

In his latest book, Living Constitution, Dying Faith: Progressivism and the New Science of Jurisprudence, Bradley Watson describes how “social Darwinism” birthed modern-day politics, jurisprudence, and the Progressive Movement. Social Darwinism is a belief system that applies Darwinian evolution theory to political theory and action. For social Darwinists, according to Watson, “Darwin comes to be understood less as a biologist and more as a political philosopher or political scientist rejecting old modes and orders.”

For social Darwinists, the state is like an organism that is always evolving. The state must be forever in the process of change to survive and thrive. And moral-political truth is not a permanent thing. It too is always changing and “relative to one’s moment in History,” writes Watson. “Change in itself becomes the end, and it is always preferable to its opposite.”

Tags: Evolution · politics

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