Pros And Cons Of Social Darwinism

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Social Darwinism is the result of applying Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution to human society, and one of the forefront Social Darwinists was none other than William Graham Sumner. In general, the concept of Social Darwinism has many pros such as “breeding” out weakness and disease, supporting the strong, and encouraging the development of a more advanced society. It also as many disadvantages, however, such as a smaller gene pool, hindering the weak, and controlling who gets to have children. Using the writings of both Darwin and Sumner, these pros and cons will be explored to prove that the negatives of Social Darwinism outweigh the positives. To begin, the first pro of Social Darwinism is the elimination of weakness and disease.…show more content…
Overall, the concept of Social Darwinism greatly supports the development of a more advanced society as its goal is to produce stronger humans, and thus a stronger society. In the Descent of Man, Darwin writes that “Man scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, cattle, and dogs before he matches them; but when he comes to his own marriage he rarely, or never, takes any such care” (227). Based on this, it is suggested that humans should take immense care in choosing their partners as if they were choosing a breeding match for one of their animals. This would mean looking back at the pedigree, or descent, of perspective partners to make sure they are descended from people who meet the standard. Distinguishing these standards would be simple, as the offspring of wise parents would not be on the same level as the offspring of foolish parents (Sumner 233), and a similar categorization would be made for all characteristics. Yet, simply encouraging people to nitpick their perspective partners would not be enough to create this advanced society. It is not enough to say “…all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid poverty for their children,” (Darwin 227) because looking for a partner to mate with is a natural instinct. Therefore, the only way to ensure the advancement of society would be to decide who gets to reproduce. This is a large downside to Social
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