In the late 19th Century a term called Social Darwinism was established to describe the idea that humans, like plants and animals, compete in a struggle for existence. Social Darwinists base their beliefs on theories of evolution developed by British scientist and naturalist Charles Darwin. Darwin also created “The Survival of the Fittest,” meaning that the strong will survive and the weak will perish. Some social darwinists deny that they approve of the theory that the strongest will survive, but many of their arguments justify imbalances of power because they consider some people more fit to survive than others.
Social Darwinism is a variety of social policies and theories from reducing the power of government to exploring the biological causes of human behavior. Many social darwinists opposed government aid to the poor, laws against child labor, and free public education. Many darwinists did not want government to restrict competition in any way. They believed in the policy called laissez-faire, which means that the government should leave business alone.
There were many problems with the laissez-faire theory. Without some government control, businesses would have the freedom to exploit natural resources, use cutthroat competition, cheat customers and abuse labor. Social Darwinism accounts for the difference between the rich and the poor. It is said to be a “Welfare for the Rich,” meaning that it helps the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.
I think that Social Darwinism is wrong because not everyone has the ability to be the “fittest.” There are people prone to diseases such as cancer, Parkinson disease, multiple sorceress, etc., and no matter how hard someone tries, there are people that just cannot get ahead in life. Not everyone can be a business owner because social darwinists want the business to be able to do whatever they want, without the government getting involved. Businesses can make a huge profit by paying the workers a minimal amount, which causes the weak to get weaker and widespread poverty. In my opinion, I think this theory is morally wrong.
Social Darwinism was very popular at the beginning of the 20th Century. It quickly lost popularity after World War I. During the 1920’s and 1930’s, many observers blamed it for contributing to German militarism and the rise of Nazism. Anthropologists began shifting away from biology and on to culture that questioned Darwin’s theories. Today, many critics believe that Social Darwinism justifies poverty and warfare. This criticism has led to a decline in the influence of Social Darwinism.