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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16592/the-real-william-graham-sumner/

The Real William Graham Sumner

April 22, 2011 by

There is considerable evidence that the entire concept of “social Darwinism” as we know it today was virtually invented by Richard Hofstadter. FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach


Paul April 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

Whether or not you consider the social Darwinism as discussed by Hayek (who relates it to his ‘spontaneous order’) as being its modern conception, it’s quite interesting to read what Hayek has to say in his ‘Law, legislation and liberty’:

“[I]t is important to clear up some misunderstandings which in recent times have made students of society reluctant to employ it. The first is the erroneous belief that it is a conception which the social sciences have borrowed from biology. It was in fact the other way round, and if Charles Darwin was able successfully to apply to biology a concept which he had largely learned from the social sciences, this does not make it less important in the field in which it originated. It was in the discussion of such social formations as language and morals, law and money, that in the eighteenth century the twin conceptions of evolution and the spontaneous formation of an order were at last clearly formulated, and provided the intellectual tools which Darwin and his contemporaries were able to apply to biological evolution. Those eighteenth-century moral philosophers and the historical schools of law and language might well be described, as some of the theorists of language of the nineteenth century indeed described themselves, as Darwinians before Darwin.”

Anonymous April 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

I wish Riggenbach would pull no punches and reveal what seems self-evident to me. Hofstadter was a Communist falsifier of history who invented smear terms to slander his political opponents. In fact, the genuine proponents of racism and eugenics were the “Progressive” leftists. Bill Anderson did a great job of exposing the “Progressive” origins of Jim Cow at the recent ASC (see: The Master Race: Racialist Legacies of Progressivism).

Libertarians (and conservatives as well) need to emphasize that racism is a leftist idea and that Jim Crow was one of the many unfortunate legacies of the “Progressive” Error in American history (along with the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and Prohibition, to name just a few “Progressive” evils). Today’s “Neo-Progressives” are always making baseless accusations of racism against anybody they happen to disagree with, so we need to hit back by revealing which side the racists were actually on. In a saner world, the word “Progressive” would be associated in the minds of most people with racism, Jim Crow, and eugenics. Contrary to the leftists who cover up their ideology’s racist past, it was not a “blind spot,” but rather the essence of their ideology.

Leon April 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm

Fool! Racism is biologically natural, an evolutionary mechanism which aided in the survival of our species. For whites it is also laudable. Why shouldn’t whites be racist? We are ethically superior, the normative humans. The rest of the earth’s peoples are judged to the extent they behave like whites (and whites are criticized to the extent they behave like blacks). Whites accomplished nearly everything of real value in history. Why shouldn’t we rule the world? Certainly, we would be better off, as would most nonwhites, too.

Libertarians like Mises always blather on about how great the 19th century was, how it was the century of liberty and the gold standard. True. It was also the century in which whites ran the planet. Coincidence?

Freedom Fighter April 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm

“In essence, however, “social Darwinism” seems to be the notion that success in the market proves an individual’s fitness to survive in the struggle for existence”

What happens if, in order to survive, your only chance is by doing some crimes like robbery.

If you chose to stay honest, you will die because everybody rejects you, hates you, wants to set you aside, shun you etc. In essence, you are not fit for survival because everybody thinks you are worth nothing.

Then, you chose to commit some crimes, rob a million bucks and survive a long time.
Or, decide to remain honest and die starving.

How is it that the state of being fit depends on your subjective choices ?

Being fit, the state of being, should be intricate and not depend on subjectivity. A rock is hard, no matter how I decide it is soft.

Well, being fit for survival should not depend on subjective acts we make but on unconscious behavior which, after test, determin if you are fit or not.

I know that my example is a little bit twisted but darwinism seems to be stuck in determinism and makes no place for subjectivity and free will.

And given that value is a subjective quality, that something has value only because other people subjectively decides that this has value, that nothing in itself has intricate value.

How can we deem someone “fit” for survival if his fitness depends on the subjective and free willed valuations of others ?

I guess that darwinism just doesn’t apply to humans who are free willed and subjective. It could only apply to animals who are acting out of instincts without choice.

Freedom Fighter April 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

In other words, a person is what he is objectively, how can this objectivity depend on what I decide about him and what other decide about him collectively.

Human beings have too much freedom and power and are too unpredictable to be cast into a mold of determinism and objective fitness.

Social darwinism should not be viewed as what we are but what we do. We decide individually and collectively who is fit and who is not, it has nothing to do with objective being.

If a person is rejected and dies of starvation because of this, it’s as much his fault as it is other’s who rejected him. It’s not that he is not fit, it’s that others decided he was not.

You cannot be in yourself what others decide subjectively about you. And others are not objectively what you decide about them.

It’s all free willed subjective valuations and it therefore outperforms and outpaced the deterministic and predictable animal ecosystem model.

Freedom Fighter April 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Humans are moral and complex creatures beyond determinism.
One day, I gave $300 to a guy begging money at a street corner.
The gratitude that this guy displayed was worth all the money in the world and I felt better because of this, I felt upbeat.

In a sense, this guy is more fit for survival than me because he gets money for nothing and makes me feel great about foolishly wasting mine. LOL !

That’s our human reality, we are above darwinism.

Mr.huh? April 23, 2011 at 9:19 am

As a friend of mine on Facebook recently said, “You’re worth in life ultimately depends on how useful you are in a zombie apocalypse.”

Leon April 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm

We need racism and eugenics. Here is an example why:


What would Jesus do, in this McDonald’s, or about this problem of niggers plaguing our fair commonwealth?

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