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A final word on Social Darwinism (and misunderstanding a blog!)

A final word on Social Darwinism (and misunderstanding a blog!) May 19, 2012

Recently I blogged here about Social Darwinism. My main point was that Social Darwinism is incompatible with Christianity. Somehow that launched some readers into a series of assumptions and comments based on them. They assumed that I was attacking capitalism. That’s instructive to me. Do some people interpret any criticism of Social Darwinism as criticism of capitalism? I certainly hope not, but so it seems.

True, I’m not a fan of unregulated, unrestrained capitalism. I don’t call myself a socialist because of the connotations of that term. But I am an advocate of a mixed economy.

HOWEVER (yes, now I’m shouting) I don’t understand how some otherwise quite reasonable people leaped to the conclusion that my post was about capitalism. I didn’t even comment on capitalism per se. I was criticizing a Christian editor for recommending Darwinian economics. SURELY there can be justifications for capitalism that don’t entangle with Social Darwinism. (I call it “Social Darwinism” because the editor clearly was not referring to biological Darwinism.)

Does anyone here want to defend Social Darwinism as compatible with Christianity? Anticipating the objection that government is totally separate from Christianity, let me ask it this way, then. Does anyone want to defend a Christian recommending Social Darwinism as the basis for public policy?

That was my other point in the post–to suggest that too many Christians bifurcate between their Christianity and other areas of their lives including what they believe about public policy. It’s one thing to defend capitalism, it’s something else to recommend it because of “Darwinism” (which in this context can only mean Social Darwinism).

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