Survival of the Fittest

Topics: Survival of the fittest, Charles Darwin, Social responsibility Pages: 7 (2227 words) Published: April 11, 2007

According to Darwin's Origins of Species that was published in 1859, in the process of nature selection and evolution, the weaker ones will be unavoidably weed out by the stronger ones. His theory had caused philosophers, sociologists, and others began to adopt the idea that human society had also evolved. One of the most well-know theory inspired by Darwin is Spenser's social evolution, popularly known as the Social Darwinism, which centers around the idea of " Survival of the fittest"(Wikipedia, 2007) In the following essay, the author will try to explain some of the key characteristics of this philosophy, as well as providing some critics on its ruthlessness that are against this concept. However, there will be strong and positive arguments presented against those critics in defense of the idea of social Darwinism. Last but not least, a conclusion will be formed and the justification of author's belief will be given.

The Origins of Social Darwinism

Herbert Spencer, who was the original inventor of the idea of social Darwinism, published a huge number of books regarding the concepts of " survival of the fittest", "Society advances," Spencer wrote, "where its fittest members are allowed to assert their fitness with the least hindrance" (quoted in Bergman, n.d) He went on to argue that the unfit should "not be prevented from dying out". His whole idea is based on the favor of competition and individuality. In his theory, he also mentioned about government should involve as little as possible, and also encouraged government not to aide the poor, since it would only promotes laziness and vice and many more other subject matters. In modern time, his words are still considered by many as a golden rule of doing business, for example, Andrew Carnegie had wrote in his biography that "the law of competition, be it benign or not, is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department" (quoted in Bergman, n.d).

Some words that are closely linked with the idea of " Survival of the Fittest" from the point of view of the authors are "individualism", "inequality", "profit making", "competition", and "minimum government involvement". Although there are many critics against the social Darwinism theory, the author strongly believe that this is by far the best system that should be employed by the society. It not only creates prosperity in a nation, but also as well serves the function of promoting good virtues. Many critics would disagree with this statement, since " survival of the fittest" is often associate with the traits of "dog eats dog", ruthlessness", "selfishness", and "egotism" ( The Western Socialist, n.d).

In a society where " survival of the fittest" rule is applied, most commonly in a Capitalism society, individuals are expected to take care of him/her self, and they are the masters of their own destinies. It will serve as a motivation for hard work. As an enfant, we learn that in order to get more food or attention from our parents, we need to cry louder than our siblings; as a adolescent, we learn that in order to be popular, one must be good at sports or having an attractive personality or looks; when going into the working world, one must work harder than others to get promotion, which will lead to higher salary and a better living; even when we get old, we will need to take care of our own health in order outlive people from our generation. It seems like a cruel concept, but this is the way how people can constantly improve themselves, and through these stages in life, we eventually learn how to plan for ourselves, how to become responsible for our right and wrong doings, instead of relying on someone or something. Since individual knows that they are going to be rewarded, either materialistically...
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