The Absence of Social Darwinism in America

Topics: Medicare, Medicare and Medicaid, Health insurance Pages: 5 (1938 words) Published: February 24, 2014
Social Darwinism is a name given to a theory that says only the fittest can survive. This idea was credited to Herbert Spencer in the nineteenth century. Social Darwinism is no longer used to describe our society as the role of the government became more prominent and social programs like welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid became necessity. Since the introduction of these programs, our society is no longer based on the idea of survival of the fittest; anyone can get help if needed. If Herbert Spencer were alive today, he would not agree with the way our country has pushed aside social Darwinism by introducing government aid.

Social Darwinism is a name given to a theory credited to Herbert Spencer. He used it to define the country we live in. Social Darwinism is our world’s natural reaction to survival of the fittest within the human sector (Hughes & Kroehler, 2011 pg. 9). According to the idea of social Darwinism, Herbert Spencer claims that the strongest in our society will survive and flourish while the weak will die off (Cahill, 2012). The idea of social Darwinism does not run our country today, and we can attribute that to our government run social programs. The well-known programs, such as welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid, stabilize many people in the lower class, which is at odds with the idea of natural selection within society where the weak to die and the strong thrive. Social Darwinism does not run today’s society, like Spencer once thought. If we look at the financial trends in America we see that the rich keep acquiring more riches and the extremely poor can only survive with the help of the government. The government run social programs like welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid, are what prove Herbert Spencer’s idea of social Darwinism wrong. Spencer believed that the weak in America will end up dying off. If we consider the poor to be weak, we can conclude that the weak here in America now have the ability to get back up on their feet and have the opportunity to flourish with government assistance. Often times, when we think of our American society, we think of the life-long rat race we all participate in, so that we can make our way to the “top”. But the “top” has different meanings to many people. Not all participants in this life long journey can make it to the top on their own. To some, the top may simply mean the ability to provide for themselves and their family. Others may consider the top to be honored with the title of CEO of a national company, making millions of dollars each year. There are others who believe the top is defined by the compassionate heart they acquire and the numerous life experiences they walk out of this life with in order to be exactly what God created them to be. The “top” has a different definition to every participant in this crazy game called life. America has found a way to help those suffering laborers by creating government run social programs many Americans refer to as “welfare”. Welfare came to be in the 1930’s during the Great Depression. These programs were the government’s way of helping the overwhelming number of families and individuals that had little or no income due to the Depression ("Welfare information," 2012 Para. 1). What was formerly known as food stamps is now called SNAP which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Saddler, N.D. Para. 1). This government financial program allows many American families who would regularly not have the means to provide food day by day for themselves and their families on their own. They are lacking the means to fulfill a basic human need. There are many requirements that come into play when dealing with people who may or may not qualify for the government financial assistance SNAP provides. SNAP is only for the purchase of food or any food product for human consumption. It also can be used to buy seeds or plants for use in home gardens to produce...

References: Cahill, S. (2012, January 30). replicators evolutionary powerhouses. Retrieved from
Hughes, M., & Kroehler, C. (2011). Sociology: The Core. (p. 9). McGraw-Hill
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Medical news today. (n.d.). Retrieved from (2004). Medicaid benefits. Retrieved from
Saddler, M. R. B. (n.d.). Illinois department of human services. Retrieved from
The party of principle minimum government maximum freedom. (2012, March 18). Retrieved from
Welfare information. (2012). Retrieved from
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