The Impact Of Social Darwinism


Social Darwinism is a term whose use was initially in the year 1887. Herbert Spenser is the man who was given the name. This was a result of his idea in which he talked of survival for only those who are strongest or fittest in the societies. Spenser in his theory explains that only those that are healthy or rather stronger are going to survive in the world in the future. The unfit and the weak in the societies may be outdone and defeated by those that are fittest or strongest. Spenser had his work highly borrowed from the theory of Charles Darwin about evolution. However, there is a major difference in the way the two talks about survival. The idea was initially Darwin’s. In the works of Darwin, the survival of all is determined by the strength of nature and its ability to provide for human life. Spence in his works brings the ideas of application of the theory that was originally Darwin’s in practical life. He talks of how some people will outdo others and wipe them out of the society. Those with more finances more technological advances and weapons are considered to be stronger according to Spenser. Those with less or no finance, less technological advancements and weak or unequipped armies are considered to be weak. The use of these resources that people may own or lack will determine their survival. The weak will eventually be defeated or suppressed by the strongest. It is thus evident that Spenser did a lot of borrowing in Social Darwinism from the works of Darwin.

Positive Impacts of Social Darwinism

The theory of Spencer has been used to improve the economies. The idea of the non-interference of the government in the economy has been used effectively in improving the economies of many and different societies. Charity and grants have also become a part of the society to help those that are weaker survive. There are also opportunities availed by people yo continue being stronger and to enable them survive. Improvement and growth in technology can be attributed to the idea of Spencer.

Negative impacts of Social Darwinism

Colonialism used the excuse to suppress the people in territories they invaded. The outdoing and defeat of military from weak countries was very unfortunate. Mass killings by dictators for example Adolf Hitler used Spenser’s theory as an excuse. There is also confusion between the ideas of Darwin and those of Spencer.

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