Social Darwinism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "social-darwinism" Showing 1-16 of 16
Charles Darwin
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

Richard Weikart
“Darwinism by itself did not produce the Holocaust, but without Darwinism... neither Hitler nor his Nazi followers would have had the necessary scientific underpinnings to convince themselves and their collaborators that one of the worlds greatest atrocities was really morally praiseworthy.”
Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany

Robert J. Sawyer
“If theft is advantageous to everyone who succeeds at it, and adultery is a good strategy, at least for males, for increasing presence in the gene pool, why do we feel they are wrong? Shouldn't the only morality that evolution produces be the kind Bill Clinton had - being sorry you got caught?”
Robert J. Sawyer, Calculating God

Charles Darwin
“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”
Charles Darwin

Leonard Darwin
“Of all the problems which will have to be faced in the future, in my opinion, the most difficult will be those concerning the treatment of the inferior races of mankind.”
Leonard Darwin

Alfred Russel Wallace
“[I]t is indisputably the mediocre, if not the low, both as regards morality and intelligence, who succeed in life and multiply the fastest.”
Alfred Russel Wallace

Leonard Darwin
“My firm conviction is that if wide-spread Eugenic reforms are not adopted during the next hundred years or so, our Western Civilization is inevitably destined to such a slow and gradual decay as that which has been experienced in the past by every great ancient civilization. The size and the importance of the United States throws on you a special responsibility in your endeavours to safeguard the future of our race. Those who are attending your Congress will be aiding in this endeavour, and though you will gain no thanks from your own generation, posterity will, I believe, learn to realize the great dept it owes to all the workers in this field.”
Leonard Darwin

Adolf Hitler
“Truly, this earth is a trophy cup for the industrious man. And this rightly so, in the service of natural selection. He who does not possess the force to secure his Lebensraum in this world, and, if necessary, to enlarge it, does not deserve to possess the necessities of life. He must step aside and allow stronger peoples to pass him by.”
Adolf Hitler

Herbert Spencer
“The forces which are working out the great scheme of perfect happiness, taking no account of incidental suffering, exterminate such sections of mankind as stand in their way, with the same sternness that they exterminate beasts of prey and herds of useless ruminants.”
Herbert Spencer, Social Statics or The Conditions Essential to Human Happiness Specified and the First of Them Developed

Herbert Spencer
“And yet, strange to say, now that the truth [of natural selection] is recognized by most cultivated people...now more than ever, in the history of the world, are they doing all they can to further the survival of the unfittest.”
Herbert Spencer

Henry Clay
“Their disappearance from the human family would be no great loss to the world.”
Henry Clay

Leonard Darwin
“Dedicated to the memory of MY FATHER. For if I had not believed that he would have wished me to give such help as I could toward making his life's work of service to mankind, I should never have been led to write this book.”
Leonard Darwin, The Need For Eugenic Reform

“The darker side of Nietzsche’s ideas was incorporated into the Nazi belief system. Part of the link was straightforward: some things Nietzsche said were pure Nazi doctrine. His comments that ‘The extinction of many types of people is just as desirable as any form of reproduction’ and that ‘the tendency must be towards the rendering extinct of the wretched, the deformed, the degenerate’ could come from any work on racial hygiene.

Nietzsche’s central contribution was not these explicitly Social Darwinist views, but his rejection of the Judeo-Christian morality of compassion for the weak. Self-creation required hardness towards oneself: a strong will imposing coherence on conflicting impulses. It also requires hardness on others. Conflicts between the self-creative projects of different people made inevitable the attempt to dominate others. The whole of life was a struggle in which victory went to the brave and to the strong-willed. Noble human qualities, linked with the will to power, were brought out in combat but atrophied in peace. Compassion was weakness, cowardice and self-deception. The Judeo-Christian emphasis on it was poison. In drawing these consequences from his beliefs about the death of God and from Social Darwinism, Nietzsche provided the part of the Nazi belief system which ‘justified’ the cruel steps they took to implement their other beliefs.”
Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

“Social Darwinism had continued to flourish in German. Together with Mendelian genetics, it was widely thought to provide a scientific basis for the eugenic ‘Racial Hygiene’ movement.”
Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century

Immanuel Kant
“In the physical constitution of an organized being, that is, a being adapted suitably to the purposes of life, we assume it as a fundamental principle that no organ for any purpose will be found but what is also the fittest and best adapted for that purpose. Now in a being which has reason and a will, if the proper object of nature were its conservation, its welfare, in a word, its happiness, then nature would have hit upon a very bad arrangement in selecting the reason of the creature to carry out this purpose. For all the actions which the creature has to perform with a view to this purpose, and the whole rule of its conduct, would be far more surely prescribed to it by instinct, and that end would have been attained thereby much more certainly that it ever can be by reason. Should reason have been communicated to this favored creature over and above, it must only have served it to contemplate the happy constitution of its nature, to admire it, to congratulate itself thereon, and to feel thankful for it to the beneficent cause, but not that it should subject its desires to that weak and delusive guidance, and meddle bunglingly with the purpose of nature. In a word, nature would have taken care that reason should not break forth into practical exercise, nor have the presumption, with its weak insight, to think out for itself the plan of happiness and the means of attaining it. Nature would not only have taken on herself the choice of the ends but also of the means, and with wise foresight would have entrusted both to instinct.”
Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of Morals

Kim Stanley Robinson
“Survival of the fittest," which Sax had always considered a useless tautology. But if social Darwinists were taking over, then maybe the concept gained importance, as a religious dogma of the ruling order....”
Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars