Sunday, April 20, 2008

Living and Thriving in God's Belly Button

Dear George,

Don’t get me wrong. I love what the Religous Right is doing to reform democracy along more traditional lines. Freedom is a gift given by God to those who worship and follow his Way in a manner that is acceptable to those who are arbiters in such matters, the Religous Right.

However, I am concerned about some unintended consequences that could surface were Darwin overthrown. We’ve got to tread lightly here. There is an upside to Darwin that is overlooked in the heat of debate, and that upside is Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism sees social implications in Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. If the fit survive, then it follows that those who don’t survive are unfit.

An early proponent of this theory was Herbert Spencer. Spencer was to capitalism what de Sade was to sex. To Spencer, fitness equals money, lots of it. Thus, the poor are unfit. He believed that feeding and housing the poor was a mistake, because it allowed them to survive and pass their unfitness to their offspring.

He was your kind of guy, George. But where you and he have a lip lock is in his belief that the Caucasian male capitalist of European descent represented the apex of social evolution, and that in the Great Chain of Being, the Anglo-Saxon Protestant was right there at the top, tucked into God’s belly button.

Spencer believed that the unfitness of the poor was genetic. Poverty breeds poverty, and the only way to eliminate poverty is to eliminate the poor.

However, we must admit that among the poor, there may be a few with defective poverty genes who, given the right circumstance, might turn out to be quite fit. We are seeing this phenomenon in the favelas of the Third World where, under the guidance of the Washington Consensus, the social safety net has been eliminated.

When you pull the rug out from under the poor, you produce the existential crisis that is the foundation of all conversion experiences. For the majority of the poor, this conversion will take the form of death. But, the fortunate ones with defective poverty genes will be given the opportunity to take their first steps towards financial independence—a life of crime. All commerce is grounded in crime, and today’s gang leader is tomorrow’s CEO.

This is why we need Darwin. We are where we are today because we are ruled by the fittest who survived. Our leaders are those men who succeeded because they were born into the right families or had all of the right connections or kissed the right asses. If a man is able to purchase his survival with his family’s fortune, the that is proof positive that he is fit to survive.

Your admire,
Belacqua Jones

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