Daily Telegraph journalist Damien Thompson doesn’t like Evangelical Christians’ theory that Darwinism lead to Hitler’s death camps. He thinks this is another example of American religious right wing lunacy.
I won’t dispute with Damien that there are some seriously nutty right wing Evangelical Christians in America, but I don’t think this particular theory of theirs is that far fetched. The link isn’t a direct one, (Nietzsche actually criticized Darwin’s scientific theories) but he accepted Darwin’s basic cosmological views that there was no master designer behind nature, and surely the step from Darwinism’s “survival of the fittest” is only a short hop to Nietzsche’s philosophy of the superman and the super race, which was an inspiration for Hitler.
You have to ask the question, “Could Hitler have done what he did without Nietzsche and could Nietzsche have written what he wrote without Darwin first preparing the ground?”
Things that are not connected in directly causal ways are often connected in the long view in more subtle ways. I once argued that the Protestant Reformation led not only to the Thirty Year’s War, but also to the French and Russian Revolutions…but that’s another story.