Social darwinism


The social Darwinism is the theory that explains that groups human and races are subject to the same laws selection natural that Charles Darwin had perceived in plants and animals in nature. According to the theory, which was very popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the weakest were reduced and their cultures delimited, while the strong grew in power and cultural influence over the weak. Social Darwinists held that human life in society was a struggle for existence governed by “survival of the fittest “, a phrase proposed by the British philosopher and scientist Herbert Spencer .

What is social Darwinism?

It was a series of theories that tried to apply biological concepts to society and politics based on the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin and whose basic idea is the survival of the most suitable in relation to social evolution .

  • What is the theory of social Darwinism
  • Story
  • Author
  • Elements
  • Social Darwinism by country
  • Consequences
  • Criticisms of Social Darwinism
  • Examples

What is the theory of social Darwinism

The theory consists of explaining the origin and evolution of all the species that exist in the world and was received in a positive way in the 19th century, by the imperialist and colonialist countries . Social Darwinism is a pseudoscientific theory that arises from natural selection and Darwin’s struggle for survival. It is the claim that social evolution can be explained by the laws of biological evolution .


It is the biological equivalent of bourgeois philosophy , where the free competition doctrine is the economic manifestation and that the struggle for existence is the struggle to satisfy all human needs . In the competition for power, the best emerges and the one with the most capacity to govern.


Charles Darwin was the first person to observe evolution as a process by which variations and natural selection determine whether an individual should exist or disappear. Natural selection is the process of survival of organisms whose to live in a certain environment, and it is through this process that populations are altered and new species emerge, adapted to survive in the environment.

We can say that it arose in the nineteenth century when Europeans were looking for a way to expand capitalism and conquer new lands and used power to conquer Africa and Asia , for Europeans, they occupied the highest part of evolution and that is why they were more fit to dominate other peoples .

Social Darwinism was used in international relations and colonial rule, in the late 19th century. The industrial revolution and its military applications created a division between the countries of the world. On the one hand, there were the strong nations and on the other, the weaker ones.

For their part, Nazism and Fascism used Social Darwinism to defend their theory of inequalities between individuals, with the terrible consequences that we all know.


Social Darwinism was raised by Herbert Spencer . He made an interpretation of natural selection as ” survival of the fittest ” and succeeded in incorporating it into the field of sociology . In this way, Spencer argued that innate characteristics or those that are inherited could have a greater influence than education or acquired characteristics. This position can be mobilized by evil, ignorance, but it was erroneous and perverse, and based on this moral perversion the capitalists justified social inequalities .


There were four elements that Darwin used to formulate his theory and these were:

  • The individual variability and its potentiality that explained that the members of a species are different from each other. The individual differences are not only morphological characteristics , but also physiological and behavioral. One source of variability is intrinsic to the individual or genetics and can be inherited and the other is the influence of environmental factors .
  • The transmission to the generation of the variable characteristics which can have exogenous or endogenous causes .
  • The species produce more progeny than can survive and that is why the potential capacity of exponential growth of the species exists , they generate a much higher number of individuals than those that could normally be established.
  • The struggle to exist because if there are a number of individuals in a community that exceeds the resources available to survive, mortality will occur .

Social Darwinism by country

  • In Bolivia , national idealism is promoted with the theory of social Darwinism in many of its peoples that use craniometry , as a fallacious argument of the supposed superiority of the Caucasian over the Indian, and make a cranial comparison since that of the Indian weighed between five and ten ounces less than that of the white, which influenced the poverty of his blood and his psychic conditions . That is why they consider that the Indian and the mestizo do not contribute at all in the effective scale of progress and that they are condemned to extermination to make way for the white race.
  • In Germany the ideas of Darwin and Dalton were adopted by the German Ernst Haeckel , a doctor who became the leading apologist . Haeckel’s works and Darwin’s message spread throughout Nazi Germany , fueling Hitler’s desire to create the superior Aryan race by eliminating Jews and other inferior races based on evolution’s inherent ability to classify various human races. as separate species.


Some of the consequences of social Darwinism are:

  • Scientists use it to suppress religious aspirations and explain the state of all living things, discarding the creation myth .
  • Its ideology is related to sexist , racist and ethnocentric positions .
  • This theory was later inspired by Adolf Hitler to justify the Jewish holocaust and his idea of eugenics .
  • It was believed that overpopulation was an inherent phenomenon of the human species that demands social inequality and prohibits assistance .

Criticisms of Social Darwinism

The main criticism made of Darwinism was that the theory had been raised from the field of evolutionary biology , and had enormous potential as an ideological justification for placing the value of one race over another, of the rich over the dispossessed, of the poor. learned over the ignorant.

It functioned then as a milestone in addition to competition , it motivated inequality and exploitation for capitalist production and affirmed that it was the way forward to achieve human progress from a positivist perspective.


  • The Republican candidates in an effort to discern a general philosophy , a widely shared vision, an ideal image of America .
  • The humanitarian assistance that has been blocked for a few, but that has been promoted for others including welfare programs the government.

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