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Reich begins: "What kind of society, exactly, do modern Republicans want? I've been listening to Republican candidates in an effort to discern an overall philosophy, a broadly-shared vision, an ideal picture of America. They say they want a smaller government but that can't be it."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



The Rebirth of Social Darwinism

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

01 December 11

 

hat kind of society, exactly, do modern Republicans want? I've been listening to Republican candidates in an effort to discern an overall philosophy, a broadly-shared vision, an ideal picture of America.

They say they want a smaller government but that can't be it. Most seek a larger national defense and more muscular homeland security. Almost all want to widen the government's powers of search and surveillance inside the United States - eradicating possible terrorists, expunging undocumented immigrants, "securing" the nation's borders. They want stiffer criminal sentences, including broader application of the death penalty. Many also want government to intrude on the most intimate aspects of private life.

They call themselves conservatives but that's not it, either. They don't want to conserve what we now have. They'd rather take the country backwards - before the 1960s and 1970s, and the Environmental Protection Act, Medicare, and Medicaid; before the New Deal, and its provision for Social Security, unemployment insurance, the forty-hour workweek, and official recognition of trade unions; even before the Progressive Era, and the first national income tax, antitrust laws, and Federal Reserve.

They're not conservatives. They're regressives. And the America they seek is the one we had in the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century.

It was an era when the nation was mesmerized by the doctrine of free enterprise, but few Americans actually enjoyed much freedom. Robber barons like the financier Jay Gould, the railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, controlled much of American industry; the gap between rich and poor had turned into a chasm; urban slums festered; women couldn't vote and black Americans were subject to Jim Crow; and the lackeys of rich literally deposited sacks of money on desks of pliant legislators.

Most tellingly, it was a time when the ideas of William Graham Sumner, a professor of political and social science at Yale, dominated American social thought. Sumner brought Charles Darwin to America and twisted him into a theory to fit the times.

Few Americans living today have read any of Sumner's writings but they had an electrifying effect on America during the last three decades of the 19th century.

To Sumner and his followers, life was a competitive struggle in which only the fittest could survive - and through this struggle societies became stronger over time. A correlate of this principle was that government should do little or nothing to help those in need because that would interfere with natural selection.

Listen to today's Republican debates and you hear a continuous regurgitation of Sumner. "Civilization has a simple choice," Sumner wrote in the 1880s. It's either "liberty, inequality, survival of the fittest," or "not-liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest. The former carries society forward and favors all its best members; the latter carries society downwards and favors all its worst members."

Sound familiar?

Newt Gingrich not only echoes Sumner's thoughts but mimics Sumner's reputed arrogance. Gingrich says we must reward "entrepreneurs" (by which he means anyone who has made a pile of money) and warns us not to "coddle" people in need. He opposes extending unemployment insurance because, he says, "I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing."

Sumner, likewise, warned against handouts to people he termed "negligent, shiftless, inefficient, silly, and imprudent."

Mitt Romney doesn't want the government to do much of anything about unemployment. And he's dead set against raising taxes on millionaires, relying on the standard Republican rationale millionaires create jobs.

Here's Sumner, more than a century ago: "Millionaires are the product of natural selection, acting on the whole body of men to pick out those who can meet the requirement of certain work to be done… It is because they are thus selected that wealth aggregates under their hands - both their own and that intrusted to them … They may fairly be regarded as the naturally selected agents of society." Although they live in luxury, "the bargain is a good one for society."

Other Republican hopefuls also fit Sumner's mold. Ron Paul, who favors repeal of Obama's healthcare plan, was asked at a Republican debate in September what medical response he'd recommend if a young man who had decided not to buy health insurance were to go into a coma. Paul's response: "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks." The Republican crowd cheered.

In other words, if the young man died for lack of health insurance, he was responsible. Survival of the fittest.

Social Darwinism offered a moral justification for the wild inequities and social cruelties of the late nineteenth century. It allowed John D. Rockefeller, for example, to claim the fortune he accumulated through his giant Standard Oil Trust was "merely a survival of the fittest." It was, he insisted "the working out of a law of nature and of God."

Social Darwinism also undermined all efforts at the time to build a nation of broadly-based prosperity and rescue our democracy from the tight grip of a very few at the top. It was used by the privileged and powerful to convince everyone else that government shouldn't do much of anything.

Not until the twentieth century did America reject Social Darwinism. We created the large middle class that became the core of our economy and democracy. We built safety nets to catch Americans who fell downward through no fault of their own. We designed regulations to protect against the inevitable excesses of free-market greed. We taxed the rich and invested in public goods - public schools, public universities, public transportation, public parks, public health - that made us all better off.

In short, we rejected the notion that each of us is on his or her own in a competitive contest for survival.

But make no mistake: If one of the current crop of Republican hopefuls becomes president, and if regressive Republicans take over the House or Senate, or both, Social Darwinism is back.

 

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+158 # artful 2011-12-01 12:57
This is a perfect description of today's republican party. The only remaining question in my mind is, how did they ever arrive at this dreadful philosophy?
 
 
+108 # AndreM5 2011-12-01 14:40
The R party didn't "arrive at this dreadful philosophy." It was dictated to them by their overlords. It is in the script handed each day to the purveyors of propaganda in the corporate media. It is everywhere.
 
 
+68 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 19:22
Quoting artful:
"... how did they ever arrive at this dreadful philosophy?


Very simply. It justifies the crimes involved in rigging the system to stay on top. It also (they hope) offers a rationale against the people that must be stepped on in order *to* rig the system to stay on top.

Most of these folks don't fear their own non-existent conscience, but they do fear the wrath of the mobs that must be placated as the people and their offspring are systematically robbed and plundered of their present and future means.

Even Darwin did not promote "survival of the fittest" in the way that these people have misused the idea. "Survival of the fittest" *never* meant, to Darwin, the power of one being to elbow out and starve out another.

Darwin's point was that when nature evolves a new "niche" to be exploited, the animal most "fit", or best "designed" by evolution to *fill* that new niche will be the "design" that survives into the future. It was "design" v.s. evolving environments, not "every animal for themselves".

Social Darwinism, Eugenics, and Nazi Socialism have all bastardized Darwin's original thought as a means of justifying their own free-for-all economic and racial depredations.

Darwin had nothing to do with it. Period.
 
 
+2 # racetoinfinity 2011-12-04 05:18
x2! Well-said!
 
 
+22 # Bope2 2011-12-01 21:27
Consider, however, that a social Darwinist philosophy might include another possibility. Namely, that many species survive by developing effective methods for cooperation, while competing with other species. Certainly, wasting the unique talents and capacities of many individuals doesn't seem a particularly effective long-term survival strategy.
 
 
+18 # RLF 2011-12-02 06:21
Even social Darwinism doesn't let the people at the top steal and commit fraud. It is one evil thing to be a social darwinist...qui te a worse evil to be a social cleptocracist.
 
 
+7 # John Locke 2011-12-02 15:45
Greed!
 
 
+146 # pernsey 2011-12-01 13:14
GOP stands for Greedy One Percent

This article pretty much backs that statement up completely! Its sickens me to read this because its true. This is why we really need the OWS movement, so they cant kill our voices completely.
 
 
+46 # Margolicious 2011-12-01 15:52
Pernsey, right on. Greedy One Percent describes the "Repukicans" and their rotten supporters very well. Reich's article on social darwinism explains "repukican" propaganda. Ayn Rand's writings expoused social darwinism too thus she is a favorite of the "repukicans'. As pointed out many times by Reader Supported News writers, Rand received Social Security and Medicare. I think a better way to describe the "repukicans" is that they want government welfare for themselves and screw the poor and middle class. Bachmann's home loan and farm subsidies is a good example.

We need to all pray and support the "Occupy Movement". These American heroes can bring positive change and save our country from becoming a police state that benefits only the 1%.
 
 
+72 # artful 2011-12-01 13:27
Oh, and lest we forget, the motto of today's republican party is:
"Hoist up the ladder, Jack, I'm aboard!"
 
 
+6 # racetoinfinity 2011-12-04 05:21
They think they'll be safe from planetary global warming, from the 99 percents' outrage, but they won't.
 
 
+1 # racetoinfinity 2011-12-04 05:25
They think they'll be safe from the effects of global warming, and from the protests and outrage of the 99%, but they won't.
 
 
+102 # BradFromSalem 2011-12-01 13:29
How ironic that modern adherents of Social Darwinism depend so very much on the support of those that reject evolution. On the other hand it does demonstrate that those who choose to ignore science in all its forms are not intellectually capable of running a modern large government.

When they do choose to follow what appears to be science such as Social Darwinism, they totally misapply the theory. This, of course, runs counter to their best anti-climate change argument. Which is that until we know for sure, lets assume that it is entirely false.

So, to sum up. Allowing the rich to accumulate as much wealth as they can is OK. Its OK because the theory of evolution may be correct and that would follow under the survival of the fittest notion. BUT. we cannot teach our kids only Survival of the Fittest, i mean evolution since that is an unproven theory. At the same time, we cannot do anything about potential green house gasses since that would violate the rich getting as much money as possible under the theory of evolution, because the green house gas effect is an unproven theory.

WOW! No wonder Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman, etc. all sound looney. Try keeping that conflicts inside your brain and see if the rest of your thinking ain't twisted.
 
 
+97 # Inspired Citizen 2011-12-01 13:37
"Regressives" is the nice word. They are, the worst of them, from Bachmann to Paul, especially Paul, REACTIONARIES. The least bad, Gov. Huntsman, has not got a chance with the reactionary Republican base. The base has been ideologically corrupted by Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and other John-Bircher types.
 
 
+67 # giraffee2012 2011-12-01 13:56
Quoting Inspired Citizen:
"Regressives" is the nice word. They are, the worst of them, from Bachmann to Paul, especially Paul, REACTIONARIES. The least bad, Gov. Huntsman, has not got a chance with the reactionary Republican base. The base has been ideologically corrupted by Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage and other John-Bircher types.

Don't forget "Norquist" who heads the CULT
 
 
+30 # Texas Aggie 2011-12-01 14:20
There's a nice blog along these lines called the Regressive Antidote.

www.regressiveantidote.net

It's a weekly tirade on the way the regressives have been destroying American society.
 
 
+57 # bugbuster 2011-12-01 13:42
A number of nations that reject Social Darwinism, Germany for example, are eating our economic lunch. Q.E.D.
 
 
-13 # Martintfre 2011-12-01 13:43
//They (republicans) say they want a smaller government but that can't be it. Most seek a larger national defense and more muscular homeland security. //

They - the Democratic majority in the US senate just passed a home land security bill that makes America a battle zone and makes single government officials police, judge, jury and executioner ...
 
 
+42 # David Starr 2011-12-01 14:23
And the Repubs no doubt went along w/ it. The Repubs in fact are leading the charge of "bigger" gov. for the worst of reasons: Further enrich the rich & further militarize the security apparatus. As for the commoners, let them eat surplus cheese.
 
 
+21 # Texas Aggie 2011-12-01 14:23
If you bothered to tell the truth, you would note that it was the republicans who voted against the amendment with only two exceptions. The Democrats, on the other hand, by and large voted for the amendment with only 15 exceptions, mostly blue dogs.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2011-12-01 20:01
Don't expect a good faith honest argument from this social Darwinist.
 
 
+20 # jay84 2011-12-01 14:38
Republicans went along with it hook line and sinker.

Don't be so hypocritical, it makes you look like a tool. But you're right, it's disgusting it had bipartisan support.
 
 
+20 # Bruce Gruber 2011-12-01 14:46
A minority of Democratic Senators (16), beholden to Big Pharma, Wall Street and Eisenhower's debunked Military Industrial Complex joined 100% (every one) of the Republicans in passing this defense authorization act. Your support of President Obama having the guts to VETO it is most welcome. Basically it makes any of us who plead for an effective voice for the 99% potentially identifiable as 'supportive' of enemy positions ... the same could be 'interpreted of anyone who 'criticizes' our government and therefore gives aid and "comfort" to our enemies. Any despotic megalomaniac could imprison anyone who speaks unwanted truth to power - no arrest, no grand jury, no lawyer, no trial, no Rights! Forget the Constitution. Forget the Bill of Rights. Rendition Supreme! Brought to you in defense of financial derivatives, insider trading, fraudulent foreclosures, fine print/no right contracts, gerrymandered election districts and political sale to the highest bidder.
 
 
+38 # jon 2011-12-01 17:17
There is no Democratic Party, anymore, just like the Republicans are not conservative, they are regressive.

WE have a two-headed, one party system, and will continue that way until we take the money out of elections.
 
 
-105 # Martintfre 2011-12-01 13:49
//if a young man who had decided not to buy health insurance were to go into a coma. Paul's response: "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks." //

So must the other response be - live life as if it cost you nothing - some one else will always be on the hook to pay for you.

The problem with the welfare state is it is not productive enough to support the welfare state.
 
 
+98 # Texas Aggie 2011-12-01 14:26
Funny but the countries that are the most socialistic in Europe are also the countries that are doing the best economically. Check out Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The ones hurting the most are the ones least supportive of their citizens - Portugal, Spain and Italy.
 
 
+57 # Ken Hall 2011-12-01 14:34
"The problem with the welfare state is it is not productive enough to support the welfare state." Gosh, someone needs to tell the Scandinavians and Germans that they're doing the impossible and had better stop it right now because it's putting the lie to the Republican cant.
 
 
+63 # pernsey 2011-12-01 14:43
Martin if your so against welfare, you should be screaming about all the corporate welfare we dole out. Or are you just against helping people?
 
 
+25 # tm7devils 2011-12-01 19:14
Quoting pernsey:
Martin if your so against welfare, you should be screaming about all the corporate welfare we dole out. Or are you just against helping people?

I agree! Aren't bailouts just a form of welfare? If they walk the talk then they should just let these companies go under - survival of the fittest!
 
 
+29 # Bruce Gruber 2011-12-01 14:47
Social Darwinists believe nature's god endowed the rich with superior qualities and that if all money and power was redistributed throughout society it would rise, like cream right back to those on top-. Wanna bet?!? ONLY if they control the interpretations by a SCOTUS owned by the country club set ... ONLY if they own the government and media ... ONLY if they can keep us fighting one another over differences of education, race, geography, social views and fear. As the 1% say, "Don't trust anyone you can't buy!"
 
 
+15 # David Starr 2011-12-01 14:58
Oh right, & the commoners have paid dearly for the elite interests of the few-Repubs, Dems, & their Corporate benefactors-& the military that essentially protects those interests wordlwide through economic inequality & taxes. Yeah, many are on the hook to pay for the few.

You belong back in the 19th century. W/ your glib cliches, you would fit in well back then: No unions, no "tree huggers", no "commies"; there was Manifest Destiny doctrine, a gov. by & for cut-throat capital, Eugenics, "freedom" to openly "stab" your workers in the back. So, why don't you go back there?
 
 
+23 # CL38 2011-12-01 16:13
See the problem with you 'argument' is that the right is really very much in favor of socialism and the 'welfare state' for the rich and corporations, but not for the middle class or poor.
 
 
+9 # pbbrodie 2011-12-01 20:47
Then why are the welfare states of Europe living at such higher standards than the US? People like you simply refuse to look at the facts.
 
 
+7 # Billy Bob 2011-12-01 22:16
In fact, the "welfare states" of Europe (like Germany) are the ones whose economy is being forced to bail out the darwinist states (like Greece).
 
 
+2 # in deo veritas 2011-12-02 08:19
Why don't these countries put their people first and to hell with the ones going under because of their own failures? Oops-why doesn't our misgovernment instead of funneling bailouts secretly to foreign banks?
 
 
+6 # ericlipps 2011-12-02 09:02
Quoting Martintfre:
//if a young man who had decided not to buy health insurance were to go into a coma. Paul's response: "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks." //

So must the other response be - live life as if it cost you nothing - some one else will always be on the hook to pay for you.

The problem with the welfare state is it is not productive enough to support the welfare state.

And suppose the young man in question had made his decision because he simply couldn't afford to pay for health insurance?

It seems a touch harsh to say "Tough luck, boyo" in such a situation, which is what Martinfre seems to be doing. And health insurance isn't cheap, and wouldn't be cheap even with Republican-styl e vouchers (the GOP would issue vouchers for breathable air if it could).
 
 
+58 # Billy Bob 2011-12-01 13:49
More proof that, yes it really is modern CONSERVATIVES who bear a strong resemblence to the nazis.

The reason the cons are always accusing the left of being nazi-sympathize rs is that they know deep down they bear such a strong resemblence and, like their nazi predecessors, are big believers in the PRE-EMPTIVE attack (e.g. if they call us "nazis" first, we'll just look like we're accusing them of the same for revenge).
 
 
+14 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 19:33
@ Billy Bob -

Bravo ! You have identified the Repub "plan" that has been successfully used for the past 30 years. Very simple. To predict what the Right is doing, one need go no further than to listen to what the Right is loudly accusing the Left of doing. It sounds too simple to be true, but it has been as predictable as sunrise for the past three decades. Good Call, Billy Bob !
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2011-12-01 19:59
"To predict what the Right is doing, one need go no further than to listen to what the Right is loudly accusing the Left of doing. It sounds too simple to be true, but it has been as predictable as sunrise for the past three decades."

I wish I had worded it like that. In comparison, my description was clunky.
 
 
+53 # fredboy 2011-12-01 13:53
What's fouled in Sumner's concept is his assumption that the poor, the oppressed, and those victimized by big, corrupt business will sit back and take it, and watch as their loved ones are also victimized. But history is filled with individual and collective actions that disprove this theory. When Americans wake up we will have hope. When they stand up and take action we will celebrate.
 
 
+38 # Pufferly 2011-12-01 13:57
The Republicans got it wrong again: They mostly got their loot from daddy, so for them it's the survival of the Fattest. Darwin's work was on sub-human species; applying the theorem to themselves puts them with the "lower" species, although who ever said we're the top of the evolutionary scale? We're still (gasp!) evolving. Only cockroaches have reached perfection.
 
 
+16 # Erdajean 2011-12-01 15:09
Love it, love it! Only the cockroaches....
One of many flaws in Sumner's rant is that his purveyors of perfection (yes, cockroaches!)st and out for one thing only --their worship and tireless acquisition of money and raw power.
The people who make a civilization are a different breed -- they are the thinkers, the teachers, the artists and scientists, who love matters of the mind, spirit and cosmos, and thus rarely acquire wealth. (Remember these were the people Madame Mao, the White-Boned Devil and her Gang of Four tried to kill off, in 1970s China. It didn't go well.)
What a world it would be with only the likes of Grover Norquist and Michele Bachmann, in row on row of ticky-tacky mansions....
 
 
+16 # Bope2 2011-12-01 21:32
I think it was Ann Richards who said that George Bush was born on third base and thought he'd hit a triple. This idea does seem to extend to many Republicans.
 
 
+34 # jmillay 2011-12-01 14:03
Mr. Reich, you have stated it well. We have seen this cycle of the self-justifying rich blaming the poor because they deserved it, on many occasions. Teddy Roosevelt had to challenge the railroads for gouging the farmers, for one example.... on down the decades. But the present batch of corporate robots, called republicans and the pre-programmed adolescents playing tea party, have control of much of the media. The flickering lights and repeated sound bites fit the classic description of hypnosis. I have done hypnosis to help clients reveal their own truth to themselves for therapy, but this hypnosis is maliciously designed for the propagation of lies to the majority of voters. Let us call it what it is: the use of evil for the control of power. That could lead to the control of labor to become virtually slave labor.
The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights used to be limited by laws against deliberate lies and slander.
 
 
-98 # spartan 2011-12-01 14:14
Much better to make your own mistakes than to have liberal leaches in government tell people what light bulbs they are allowed to buy, or how much of the fruit of ambition, brains and labor you can keep and how much you have to give to douche bags who bitch about how the system is such a meanie to them. Let's all wear mao jackets and put masks on and talk with a recorded voice. Then we'll all be the same. No rich , no poor, no success, no failure, no progress, no art, no discovery. Reich is the pot calling the kettle black. LONG LIVE LIBERTY, you misguided numbskulls.
 
 
+38 # jay84 2011-12-01 14:43
Another truly clueless RWNJ. That's the thing with you guys, you all talk a big talk of "freedom and liberty" but want none of it; or you wouldn't be infringing on women's and gay's personal lives. You authoritarian to the extreme, it makes you hypocritical. There is no liberty in your values, unless you consider the freedom of tyranny a value.
 
 
+22 # pernsey 2011-12-01 14:46
You must be part of the 1% with the you got yours so screw the rest of us philosophy. There no longer is liberty...you dear sir are the misguided!
 
 
+31 # DPM 2011-12-01 15:20
Quoting spartan:
Much better to make your own mistakes than to have liberal leaches in government tell people what light bulbs they are allowed to buy, or how much of the fruit of ambition, brains and labor you can keep and how much you have to give to douche bags who bitch about how the system is such a meanie to them. Let's all wear mao jackets and put masks on and talk with a recorded voice. Then we'll all be the same. No rich , no poor, no success, no failure, no progress, no art, no discovery. Reich is the pot calling the kettle black. LONG LIVE LIBERTY, you misguided numbskulls.

Or purify your water or have food safety rules or require lead free paint or toy safety or safer vehicles, machines, clothing, roads, building, plumbing, electrical, sewage, schools, etc. Most of the things you take for granted in your everyday life that you don't get from "benevolent" business OR competition. There are a lot of "douche bags" collecting money that we shouldn't be paying. Some names I can think of are Monsanto, GE and Goldman Sachs. It isn't government that is the problem. It is STUPID government. Neither the Republicans or Democrats seem capable of intelligent governess anymore. LONG LIVE LIBERTY AND INTELLIGENT THOUGHT!
 
 
+27 # Bruce Gruber 2011-12-01 15:21
SPARTAN:
"If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a light bulb that's earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars."
Few if any of us enjoy change of any sort. Some of us "hate" anything which is directed from a government. Maybe this is because we don't like ANYONE - our family, our neighbors, our pastor, or our government (the collection of our democratic will) telling us what we SHOULD or MUST do. But we have reached a point where there is an industry of misinformation at work today in the United States. UNFACTS are peddled steadily to make us mistrust everything - especially our collective will. "Leaches", douche bags, mao jackets, and misguided numbskulls" suggest you cannot hear reason in anything with which you disagree. Apparently the mis-informers have won you over.
 
 
+33 # 22dragon 2011-12-01 15:28
Spartan, I don't know what you have done for your life or for how many years you have been doing it, but please share a personal example of how your National Government has conspired against the success of your career. I can think of numerous examples of how the government has allowed the son of a poor family to get an education, house his neighbors, aid those in need, and raise his family.
Those "Roosevelt Years" were good years.
I am no millionare, by choice and circumstance, and no douche bag either, for similar reasons. The orchard has been bountiful, and I am happy to share the fruit and not just sell it. Tis the season Scrooge...from an Artist.
 
 
+23 # humanmancalvin 2011-12-01 16:18
Got to love the the misinformed light bulb retort. Who in the world would not wish to save save billions of watts of energy with such a simple fix. Well a Faux News viewer I guess, where the clueless go to get their talking points.
 
 
+11 # Todd Williams 2011-12-01 16:52
I'm a misguided numbskull? Who in the hell are you to call anybody on this forum that name? I hope you continue to stew in your bitter, vile soup of anti-intellectu alism and misplaced patriotism. You and your ilk are destroying our country from within. A pox on you Mr. Spartan.
 
 
+13 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 19:43
Name-calling and shouting-down the speakers are not strategies. They are symptoms of fear. Have Big Pharma save you a 500% profit inflated "Chill Pill", Spartan. Rest assured that no one is trying to stop you from making your own mistakes. You are a "force of nature" in that department all by yourself.
 
 
+6 # ABen 2011-12-01 20:56
Spartan; you sound like you could use a good dose of Preparation H!
 
 
+14 # Bope2 2011-12-01 21:41
If allowing individuals to make their own mistakes affected only them, I would be inclined to agree. But the "mistakes" of unethical individuals in the Bank of America (for example) have caused untold suffering and hardship to others (and it appears they will largely escape any form of sanction for it). And I absolutely reject the idea that a child should suffer for the "mistakes" of her parents, or for the "mistakes" of a corporation that put profits ahead of her safety! Call me a misguided numbskull if you like, but that doesn't change the fact of your morally bankrupt and socially dysfunctional shortsightednes s. Actually, you can go directly to hell, which is where you would see your ideas most perfectly expressed.
 
 
+8 # racetoinfinity 2011-12-02 01:47
There's so much wrong with this Ayn Randian rant, more than I can elucidate now. Progressives do not want an authoritarian collectivism like Stalinism or Maoism. The system is rigged and bought by the rich; it's survival of the most CORRUPT.
 
 
+41 # jwb110 2011-12-01 14:19
That very same social Darwinism has led to some of the worst and bloodiest revolutions in history. What Sumner and Gingrich, and Paul and Romney don't see is that when the least, but greatest in numbers, have nothing to lose including their lives, they are the most formidable of enemies.
And when the "un-fittest" are all gone who will scrub the toilets of the 1%?
 
 
+18 # grandpadavid 2011-12-01 14:59
[quote name="jwb110"]T hat very same social Darwinism has led to some of the worst and bloodiest revolutions in history.
The French revolution of 1789 to cite one example. When Louis XVI decided to tax everyone to pay for two wars that had been financed with borrowed money, the rich were able to persuade the treasury to not tax them but to tax everyone else. WHen the peasants were aroused by this, the blood pooled in the Bastille courtyard from the beheadings of the very wealthy aristocrats.
 
 
+7 # DPM 2011-12-01 15:21
Quoting jwb110:
That very same social Darwinism has led to some of the worst and bloodiest revolutions in history. What Sumner and Gingrich, and Paul and Romney don't see is that when the least, but greatest in numbers, have nothing to lose including their lives, they are the most formidable of enemies.
And when the "un-fittest" are all gone who will scrub the toilets of the 1%?

The 1/2 of the 1%.
 
 
+27 # LeeBlack 2011-12-01 14:37
Reich, quoting Sumner: ""Millionaires are the product of natural selection, acting on the whole body of men to pick out those who can meet the requirement of certain work to be done… It is because they are thus selected that wealth aggregates under their hands - both their own and that intrusted to them … They may fairly be regarded as the naturally selected agents of society." Although they live in luxury, "the bargain is a good one for society."

This sounds like the philosophy of "The Family" - the secretive 'religious' group. Their belief is that people in power are in those positions because they are selected by God and that by working with these powerful people they can promote their views.

This is the result of 'absolute power corrupts', those who have power or money can never have enough power and money. There is no recognition by these people that luck, inheritance, the benefits of living in this democracy has presented them with the opportunities to be successful.

I recognize that many of the wealthy have worked hard and intelligently to achieve their success, but these declared Christians seem to forget St. Luke's advice, "from those have been given much, much will be expected". I don't think Luke meant, 'gather more to yourself' but to contribute to the common good.
 
 
+6 # Todd Williams 2011-12-01 16:56
Right on Brother Lee Black. I love you to-the-point comments!
 
 
+7 # Gnome de Pluehm 2011-12-01 14:47
Let's call it financial Darwinism.
 
 
+23 # townshendfan 2011-12-01 14:47
The defect in Sumner and the modern regressive argument for darwinian selection is that this competition doesn't begin from a level playing ground. It also assumes that the newborn can choose his parents. A newborn can do absolutely nothing to influence whether his father is a jailed criminal or a wall street banker. If a social darwinian can look at two newborns - one born into a leafy, opulent upper class with advanced professional parents, with an implicit trust fund and the right family connections; the other born into a gun ravaged ghetto with unemployed parents with substance abuse...if the darwinian can look at those two newborns and just turn his back on the helpless severely disadvantage child, then that person is not human. Call yourself a social darwinist, i call you an animal without any human quality, a sinner, a purveyor of evil on humankind.
 
 
+13 # angelfish 2011-12-01 14:47
EXACTLY! You are, again, SO right, Mr. Reich! "Regressive" is THE definitive adjective for the ReTHUGlicans, when half the population had NO civil rights, let alone, HUMAN RIGHTS, women were kept barefoot and pregnant, and children were, indeed, seen and NOT heard, THIS bunch of REGRESSIVE, retarded and backward looking ReTHUGs should have their pictures in the dictionary under the word! WHY do they hate Progress? WHAT is the matter with sanity and reason? They have ALWAYS been Historical Revisionists but they long for a past that NEVER was for most Americans. I hope the electorate chooses well on Election Day 2012. Their decision will reverberate for generations to come. Vote Democratic!
 
 
+14 # michelle 2011-12-01 14:47
During this holiday season let's all be sure to watch the Christmas Carol and look for the social darwinism in the story. My favorite part is ghost showing the twin dangers, 'ignorance and want'.

"From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children;
wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt
down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

'Oh, Man. look here. Look, look, down here.' exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling,
wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where
graceful youth should have filled their features out, and
touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled
hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and
pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat
enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No
change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any
grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has
monsters half so horrible and dread."

"They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon
them. 'And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers.
This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both,
and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy,
for on his brow I see that written which is Doom..."
 
 
+14 # hasapiko 2011-12-01 14:54
If Americans had any brains at all we would be electing Robert Reich for president. Reich understands that the problem with social darwinism is that it is an outmoded paradigm, driven by the traditional concept of scarcity. Yet within a generation the world economy - for the first time in man's history - will be generating so much wealth that world per capita income will be above the poverty line. So, the challenge will be not survival of the fittest but how to equitably distribute that wealth so as to assure the prosperity for all that brings with it happiness and political stability.
 
 
+23 # reiverpacific 2011-12-01 15:02
Reward the "entrepreneurs" (by which he means anyone who has made a pile of money).
Well I'm a long-time one of these types so beloved by Newt the Grinch and used to make a comfortable living if not lavish, which was good enough for me and my family until the collapse of the economy (as well as getting really sick just once) and I could sure as hell use a bit of help to get back on my feet as one of the "New Poor".
Big corporations are not "entrepreneuria l" but all-consuming by their very charter and as Elizabeth Warren pointed out so truthfully, the currently wealthy did NOT make it by themselves. Many of the rich inherited their wealth, a bit like the British Royals being born into privilege.
I mean, isn't that what this country was trying to escape?
If the"spartan" pinhead (I'm descending to that person's style of rhetoric here) equates capitalism with liberty, harken back to Dickens' "Are there no Workhouses, no Prisons" -and that's Victorian times for you, two centuries ago; is THAT what you want?
Sumner was the natural precursor to Milton Friedman's Chicago School of Economics "Rip it all down and build it all up for profit only and to Hell with humanity" model which has destroyed so much at home and abroad and is the theorem practiced by the IFM. And now the Koch's "Americans for Prosperity (for a few).
 
 
+18 # RJB 2011-12-01 15:03
How scary is that? Talk about being between a rock and a hard place when Democrats vote for extending the battle field all over the world, of course, to control terrorists. Everybody knows what a terrorist is. It's a poor slob who wants the greatest threat to humanity out of his face. He wants the U.S. to stop killing his people. He wants self determination. Or perhaps I'm a terrorist for speaking such words. The only thing that has given me a sense of power of late is Occupy. It's the only game in town.
 
 
+27 # Regina 2011-12-01 15:07
What an amazing irony! The cretins who reject Natural Selection in the sciences, because they take the Bible literally, now promote it for socioeconomic developments, while they happily overlook all the biblical passages about the Golden Rule and its variations. It's time to rub their noses in their contradictions.
 
 
+3 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 19:49
It has never been "about" truth for the 1%, but only about "what works" to attain and maintain the power and wealth. Period. Rubbing their noses in "truth" is as effective as standing in your driveway flapping your arms. Neither plan will do much to "get you off the ground".
 
 
+29 # daveapostles 2011-12-01 15:50
The original 'Social Darwinist' - avant la lettre - was Herbert Spencer over here in England. What the latter-day Social Darwinists forget is that in his initial musings about 'survival of the fittest' (the phrase coined by Spencer, not Darwin), Spencer assumed that everyone would start out in life with the same and equal status, for only that way could the survival of the fittest operate. So he was originally opposed to the inheritance and transfer of wealth between generations, because it contravened the survival of the fittest by allocating to some an unequal start. So, for a start, those with inherited wealth (Koch brothers, for example) do not reflect the survival of the fittest in the original Spencerian doctrine. That's just a socio-philosoph ical observation.
 
 
+19 # AGG 2011-12-01 15:58
Since when do the attributes of being filthy rich and selfish get defined as humanity's most desirable traits? Something terribly backwards in that line of reasoning!
 
 
+13 # 666 2011-12-01 15:59
It's always good to point this stuff out, but this article would have been much better if you had included the fact that the Neocons have made NO attempt to hide their gilded age agenda. They've come right out and said it many times -- especially during the Bush years. ("it" being to return the US to the Gilded Age)
 
 
+10 # debrock 2011-12-01 16:13
Check out the Dominionists. Most of these candidates want to get rid of the Constitution and replace it with a theocracy based on their interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Although they would NEVER refer to them with that name.
 
 
-28 # happycamper690 2011-12-01 16:41
Mr. Reich praises us for the fact that "We built safety nets to catch Americans who fell downward through no fault of their own." But, do not these same safety nets also catch those whose plight is their fault? Those who dropped out of high school and never went back; those who were wild-eyed and greedy when mortgage bankers told them things that were too good to be true; when imprudent investments were made; and those many, many other things that we actually do control. Why do we always add the phrase "through no fault of their own?" It's an imperfect construction and I think those who use it should be more careful in how they use it.
 
 
+20 # Todd Williams 2011-12-01 17:06
Idaresay, Mr. Camper, that while it may be true that some poeple are complete and utter f**kups, that the bulk of these people have gotten to that place because they didn't have the opportunities, the education, the family and whatever else it takes nowadays to rise in social and economic position in our society. Remember, however, that most people are just normal folks trying to get along, not create problems, and live their lives out in peace. Nobody really plans to have the economic rug jerked out. Shit happens.
 
 
+16 # jon 2011-12-01 17:28
No system is perfect, and there will always be criminals, that is why we have laws.

It is better to work towards elimenating the small percentage of fraudulent users of a system, than to kill the whole system.
 
 
+9 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 20:07
@ jon

Just so, Jon. Large department stores, as part of the cost of doing business, add a 15% "shrinkage charge" to the price of all items. They call it "shrinkage", you and I call it "shoplifting". The other customers, not the store, are going to absorb the cost of shoplifting.

The same applies to any government program. Fortunately, in most government programs the "shrinkage" is usually, not always (when you list Defense Contractors), less than 5%. So yes. While there will always be malefactors in the midst of any human group endeavor, whether it's Macy's or the Food Stamp program, the idea is to simply keep the corruption to a minimum. Obsessive rooting out of every copper penny takes more time and expense than it's worth as long as "shrinkage" remains below a certain threshold.

Is it perfectly fair ? A child - who all have an innate sense of "fair" would tell you "NO" ! An adult, who has long ago learned that "life is not inherently fair" would tell you that as long as you minimize "shrinkage", it's as close to "fair" as life gets. Voltaire used to tease the French people for "hating good", with the meaning that they would not accept "good" because they were too busy waiting for "perfect".

Lets start with "good".
 
 
+17 # agio 2011-12-01 17:32
The GOP and many Democrats ask us to turn a blind eye to what Wall Street has done to our economy, under the theory that even though there may be a few "bad actors" the system is necessary for shared prosperity. And yet there is no similar sentiment when it comes to looking at social safety nets that are occasionally misused by the undeserving. Strikes me as a bit of a double standard.
 
 
+17 # reiverpacific 2011-12-01 18:19
Here's a little bit of wisdom from an old british judge to help you get the safety net concept (Socialism?).
"It is better than ten criminals go free than one innocent man be convicted" or words to that effect.
There are dysfunctional, -aye and lazy- individuals in every society -some of them born into wealth and enjoying it's immunity from accountability but in exploitative capitalism, the guilty rich most often live well and free, whilst many people of good heart who make one mistake, are made to feel the full weight of the Injustice system, especially with the current corrupt activists-for-t he-few supreme crowd.
Will YOU cast the first stone or pick out the rotten apples from the social barrel -and what would you do with them if you could -and what criteria would you use (the Nazis were swift to deal out summary judgement and death to anyone who was past their productive use)?
You point to mean-spiritedne ss, judgementalism and authoritarianis m in y'r post, not all-inclusive access to a true culture of free thought and action with all fear of sickness or weakness removed.
The rips in what little remains of the US safety net are now so wide a Texas Republican with a wide brimmed hat and a horned Lear Jet filled with his cabal of handlers could fall through and still leave room for stragglers! Happy with that are you?
 
 
+17 # pernsey 2011-12-01 18:38
Sooo...its not the mortgage bankers fault for misleading people about mortgages, its the peoples fault for believing them? Generally first time home buyers do listen to the bankers assuming they know their stuff. If you needed a surgery and the doctor messed up, would it be your fault for trusting the doctor??

Wow happycamper, Fox News has taught you well grasshopper! I hope you never end up homeless, through no fault of your own, because if you did Im betting you wouldnt be as heartless or a republican. I hope you have a job they arent planning to ship overseas...I hope that for everyone. Apparently your just to deluded to see anything beyond your selfish nose!
 
 
+8 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 20:12
Well said, pernsey

A Conservative is just a Liberal who has never been down on his luck.... either with job loss or catastrophic medical expenses.
 
 
+7 # Bope2 2011-12-03 10:45
happycamper690- -I see that you were careful not to be too broad in your condemnation of the "no fault of their own" statement, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness in this regard. However, you seem to be heading toward the analogous logic that ships shouldn't have lifeboats because some of those who might use them in an emergency should be able to swim on their own. And they should have thought about the sharks in the water before they boarded the boat in the first place.

Here's a question: Why does the notion of the "undeserving poor" resonate so strongly with conservatives? I suspect that many conservatives would greatly overestimate the proportion of people who choose poverty due to lack of motivation. Perhaps this is a psychological projection of the awareness that those of us who are not poor are here at least in part because we are incredibly fortunate. Regardless of intelligence, good character, and so forth, how much chance was there that any one of us would be born at this time, in this place, and have the capacity to benefit so much?

Frankly, the pittance that ends up in the pockets of the "undeserving poor" doesn't bother me nearly as much as the much larger amounts of my tax dollars that go into the pockets of the "undeserving rich!"
 
 
+27 # fhunter 2011-12-01 16:48
"I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing." Please, Mr. Gingrich, tell us what you did for the millions you got from Freddie and Fannie?
 
 
+11 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 20:22
@ fhunter

EXACTLY ! And where do we even get the idea "for doing nothing" ? You can't GET unemployment if you haven't worked ! It is called Unemployment *INSURANCE*, not unemployed handouts.

As with all insurance, you have paid the premiums while you *were* working, against the day when you might *not* be working.

I think that when idiots like Gingrich have an automobile accident, they should be required to pay for all damages out of their own pockets.

After all, their Auto Insurance Companies, to whom they have been paying premiums all these years, obviously need the money more than do the "Insured", and we can't have guys like stalwart Newt taking a vehicle related "HAND OUT" !

Same with fire insurance on their homes. Just bring the hot dogs and the marshmallows - no "HANDOUTS" to the "Insured" who have been paying premiums.
 
 
+4 # opinionaire 2011-12-02 09:46
Quoting fhunter:
"I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing." Please, Mr. Gingrich, tell us what you did for the millions you got from Freddie and Fannie?

When I first read your comment, I "saw" "Please, Mr. Grinch..." which, in this season, might make more sense.
 
 
+13 # Mansa WI 2011-12-01 17:00
Re "inheritance and transfer of wealth"

I believe it was one of many mistakes by the "Subprime Court" in the 1920s that finalized the death of Rational Capitalism by judging that corporations have the same rights as people. This folly, of attributing human rights to corporations, continues today with the idea that money equals free speech.
The personal and corporate accumulation of money for power’s sake, without the checks and balances of a government that has protections for all people and provides oversight to our banking, (and any high powered institution) puts our nation at risk for the kind of abuses we see now in Wisconsin with the Walker régime. If you see me on the sidewalk, please sign the recall petition.
 
 
+16 # agio 2011-12-01 17:29
"Social Darwinism" and its modern day descendants is basically the Calvinist idea of predestination wrapped in pseudoscientifi c garb. Modern day GOP ideology, with its distinct Christianist undertone, is in many ways are return to the original idea of salvation through grace alone.
 
 
+25 # Smiley 2011-12-01 17:40
Social Darwinism got it backwards. One of the main reasons we were so successful as a species is that we took care of our own. We shared within the tribe. Individuals gained respect and became leaders because of what they did for others. Those who had more than they needed when their tribe mates were without were ostracized.
 
 
+9 # jon 2011-12-01 19:19
Exactly right, Smiley!

You don't have to be a cultural anthropologist to understand what it took to bring us to this point in human history.

The republicans would do well to go back and study history again, because it is clear that they failed those classes.
 
 
+10 # stonecutter 2011-12-01 18:00
The only way my trust in, and respect for the members of Congress in both parties could fall any lower is if they built a meth lab in the basement of the Rayburn building, and began selling product to local school kids in an effort to cut the deficit. Come to think of it, if they did that at least it would demonstrate some initiative, and a fundamental understanding of supply and manufactured demand.

No such luck. I just heard today the Speaker of the House of Representatives is "not an economist", and therefore can't find his pathetic cretin's ass with both hands and a flashlight! But he's still third in line to POTUS. What a great country!
 
 
+6 # NOMINAE 2011-12-01 20:27
@ stonecutter

They do not have to *be* economists or experts, but they are supposed to *rely* on qualified economists and experts. But, of course, the only "data" they rely on is the "party line", and strict adherence to their marriage vows with Grover Norquist.
 
 
+9 # Rarocker 2011-12-01 18:51
They say they want a smaller government but that can't be it.

Yes it can! Take that to the Nth degree and see what happens. They want smaller government ... but more power vested in it. They are achieving that already as the 1%. The Nth degree is ... a one person government with unlimited power. If they have their way ....that's what's coming. Remember GWB's words ... I can't quote him ... but to the effect ...this job would be a lot easier if I was dictator?
 
 
+5 # Rick Levy 2011-12-01 19:49
Actually, I thought it was Herbert Spencer who came up with the notion of social Darwinism.
 
 
+10 # webbyter 2011-12-01 20:24
For those of you who have studied the economic history of the U.S. this conclusion will not surprise you. Many have recognised the philosophy of Darwin within the so-called conservative movement. Robert here gives an excellent essay that highlights many of the more cogent points on the parrallels between the economic philosophy of the late 19th century and that of the Republican party... though, his warning that Social Darwinism will re-emerge IF the Repubs dominate the government is a bit off. Social Darwinism IS BACK. If it were not, there would not be people camped out at thousands of city centers around the world. THE BATTLE, indeed, is one against the economic application of Darwinist philosophy and the irony is... those that claim to repudiate the Theory of Evolution are the staunchest supporters of Social Darwinism.
 
 
0 # Regina 2011-12-05 02:15
Please remember NOT to attribute to Darwin -- and blame him for -- what's being labeled "Social Darwinism." That label is ONLY an analogy, not a part of Darwin's actual thought.
 
 
+5 # KittatinyHawk 2011-12-01 20:39
Smaller government but larger corporations to take away the rights of the People.
right now GOP is writing another bill at taxpayers expense to put the Canada Pipeline in thru the Energy Reg Commission so no President (Ob) can stop it! Nice all I see on here is more rhet on GOP vs Obama.
It is time we get the Referendums to vote against Pollution, against the 1%
I am sure OB will allow this bill to go thru and say, what ya goin to do!
 
 
+6 # ABen 2011-12-01 21:10
Reich is spot-on with this critique of the current GOP. Many of the core ideas of Social Darwinist thought are clearly part of their social philosophy. Virtually all social scientists rejected this theory half a century ago. For those who are interested in understanding this utterly discredited application of Darwinian theory, try reading Mike Hawkins' "Social Darwinism in European and American Thought.' Darwin saw the start of this bastardization of his theory and wrote the set of essays gathered under the heading of "Social Evolution" to counter the misuse of his theory. Historical note: Hitler and Mussolini both bought the notion of Social Darwinism.
 
 
+7 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-12-01 22:00
& Social Darwinism is a diabolically distorted. unscientific mish-mash of isolated & grossly mis-applied Darwinian terms hoicked together as an excuse for an eminently selfish, anti-social & destructive worldview, to which Darwin himself was bitterly opposed. A form of mental masturbation.
 
 
+10 # michelle 2011-12-01 22:37
Republicans have combined social darwinism with Malthus and the misery factor. Add a touch of Ricardo for inevitability and finally a little bit of TV to take the place of Horatio Alger. Wrap it all up in package tied together as Natural Law and bingo you no longer care for fellow human beings. Sick beyond belief. There is a breaking point for people. They will revolt. They will not die quietly.

It is time for the real discussion about how we want to live on this planet. How we will manage resources, how we will be responsible adults making sure all children are feed, educated and filled with a sense of optimism and wonder. This 'nasty, brutish, and short' business has to end. I just can't understand how so many people, especially in the poorer red states, can be snookered by republicans. I can't deal them with anymore. Thank goodness for OWS modeling human behavior, never turning folks away, trying to help the broken people who wander into camp and standing firm for a fair and just future.
 
 
0 # Regina 2011-12-05 02:26
They are "snookered" by the endless rote repetition rendered in Republican propaganda for the purpose of making their simplistic slogans stick (think Fox). They also gain some reinforcement from the dismissal of opposing views as "elitism" -- people struggling with poverty and seeking quick improvements are easily persuaded to reject contrary ideas as elitist. OWS has done well to show up this fallacy -- we have to hope it can continue.
 
 
+4 # Aussieken 2011-12-02 01:33
natural law - Sorry WE can do nothing for YOU -it's because of sins in past lives that YOU are born low caste (India)- The African American is the descendant of Ham so slavery for THEM is fine - The Bible says so - God gave US that land and so we will murder YOU and take it - WE will put on hold that stuff about thou shalt not kill. God those Irish are bad - not only are THEY Catholics but they drink up all THEIR money! Don't give any money to THOSE beggers it only encourages THEM. WE are a shining light on a hill. WE don't want our children mixing with THEM. WE are the 99% YOU are the 1%.The only problem with Jesus is that he was one of THEM - a Jew! (No kidding a Priest said that to me once!) WE British have civilized half the planet. WE Chinese live in the Middle Kingdom next to Heavan - Gwai Lo, Gentile, Foreigner - THEM THEM THEM - US US US! WE are better than YOU!

Artful - you asked "The only remaining question in my mind is, how did they ever arrive at this dreadful philosophy?"

Great question and the answer I think can be found in two books by Desmond Morris 'The Human Zoo" & "The Naked Ape" Basicaly when you believe that somebody else is not a member of the US - OUR tribe but a member of THEM - you can without guilt treat THEM like shit - keep THEM downtrodden - even murder THEM! Hey - REIVERPACIFIC - I hope you're no a SASSANACH!
 
 
+3 # in deo veritas 2011-12-02 08:31
BRAVO! You have described the mindset of TOO many Americans who are the cause of our peril. Sadly it is also the mindset of TOO many in government and Wall Street who are speeding us on the road to perdition. Those who do NOT oppose this mindlessness are accomplices and will be judged accordingly.
 
 
+9 # head out the window 2011-12-02 06:34
The reality is that cooperation not competition advanced human evolution.
 
 
+1 # tinkertoodle 2011-12-02 07:37
Very true and I can see the 1% ers giving it a thumbs up but what do you do with the morons and teabaggers that actually BUY this krap the Republicans are spewing? Maybe there should be an IQ test to qualify to vote.
 
 
+7 # RMDC 2011-12-02 08:08
The name for republicans is not "regressives." It is Reactionaries. Too bad that word is not in current usage. It has the right history to explain how republicans and conservatives think.

Some of the better educated conservatives like Henry Kissinger understand his own roots in the reactionary Congress of Vienna. Kissinger idolizes Prince Clemens von Metternich and has spent his whole career trying to implement the resolutions of the Congress of Vienna -- total control of societies by a ruling elite, religious idiocy for the masses, and the military-indust rial complex for the elites and monarchs. Globally it called for a balance of power among a few hegemons, dividing the world among themselves.
 
 
+3 # in deo veritas 2011-12-02 08:25
It is a lesson that the one percent need to be taught-THEY are the dinsaurs. They either evolve and adapt or perish. They are NOT the fittest. They also fail to realize that if they succeed in getting what they want then they will turn on one another just like the gangsters in Chicago in Capone's time. They will self-destruct in good time- but not in time for our country to survive.
 
 
+5 # dvlegare 2011-12-02 09:55
Finally. As an anthropologist, I observed this during Gingrich's reign of terror. These people have done everything in their power to negate the social contract and impose the worst of social darwinist principles (discredited by anthropology many years ago). In her time, Ayn Rand was one of the last holdouts who espoused this cruel, unworkable, and unsupported mess that was supposed to have been based on science. It was not based upon anything other that the wishful thinking of the very rich who felt a perverse need to try to justify their theft of our national heritage.
 
 
+4 # kelly 2011-12-02 15:32
Yeah. But science or maybe biology caught up with her in the end, didn't it? It proved you can't outrun cancer and that sometimes the social programs put into place to help the 99% leeches may inadvertently aid the elite 1% too. I understand she went on Medicare after her cancer was advanced.
By the way, why has no one mentioned today, since we are talking about smaller government and less interference by the Greedy Old Partisans, the fact the even though the group of 12 failed, Eric Cantor, conservative bastion is the first to look for a way to bypass rules and try to exempt cuts in defense(offense ) spending?
 
 
+4 # jimyoung 2011-12-02 10:18
He (Gingrich) opposes extending unemployment insurance because, he says, "I'm opposed to giving people money for doing nothing."

He better only be against extending an insurance benefit beyond what the premiums paid for. If he is then I would assume he would be against all the trillions of bailout funds spent or lent to "diversified financial services" so very far beyond any insurance premiums they paid. What does he suggest doing about Bank of America trying to put their derivatives gambling losses in an FDIC insured subsidiary? Sounds like the most massive insurance fraud in history to me.

How about we limit unemployment insurance payouts to the percentages of unpaid "insurance" benefit the banksters got? The unemployed would probably never have to work another day in their lives, but we can't afford anything near the excessive insurance payout percentages the finance sector got. Any thoughts on how honestly most of those drawing unemployment earned their money compared to Wall Street's shoddy products? I actually do believe I'd like to see many more of the Wall Street types unemployed, at least on Wall Street. I think many of them not draw much unemployment insurance, and will actually use their brains in more productive, and personally satisfying ways, producing the goods and services that make our currency worth something.
 
 
+2 # dwainwilder 2011-12-02 14:09
I believe it would be useful to make a distinction between the Republican Party - which may still be capable of legitimate political goals, policies, and public trust - and a new phenomenon which is a de facto party cloning itself in the midst of the Republicans. I call this entity the Repugnicant Party, and is made of some, but not all, Republican politicans, plus the rightwing reactionary complex of think tanks, billionaires, covert orgs such as "The Family," and commentators such as Faux News, Rush Limbaugh, etc.

The Repugnicant Party is essentially fascist, as it promotes a view that corporate interests, military interests and government interests (those which they deem worthy of surviving their "starve the beast" strategy) are identical.

The Repugnicant Party is utterly uninterested in compromise with other views to the views, interests and values, whether held by Republicans, Democrats, conservatives (true conservatives, that is), libertarians, liberals, or political freebooters and independents. This is a dangerous development, and deserves a name worthy of - and mocking - its name.
 
 
+4 # noitall 2011-12-02 14:09
If you look at a country as an entity, an organism, with a multitude of 'parts', a healthy one has all parts functioning at an optimal level to the good health of the country/organis m. A unhealthy entity/organism has a bad leg, blind in one eye, deaf, bad teeth, but the ass is thriving. How could this be? it goes against nature. EVERYTHING whether it likes it or not, is ruled by the laws of Nature. Turn these so-called "chosen" out into the wilds alone without the rest of the organism and they would be eaten alive. Who was it that saved "the chosen's" ass in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and every other war that was waged and fought to protect "America's" interests? the "unchosen", the "Darwin failures", the working class. Their pipe dreams are just that; just as in their resumes, they have portrayed themselves so far from reality that they cannot recognize themselves; put to the test, left to their own means in this world, they will die like a poodle in a dog fight.
 
 
+3 # Buddha 2011-12-02 18:15
Like an alcoholic, we won't fully expunge these idiots and their crazy beliefs from the body politic until we hit rock bottom. We aren't there yet. Remember, 4 years of Herbert Hoover's similar do-nothing and cut spending ideas turned a Black Tuesday into the depths of the Great Depression. And after the people had enough, saw the light and elected FDR and the birth of American Progressivism, the GOP didn't see power for decades.
 
 
+4 # Bope2 2011-12-02 20:27
I imagine you didn't catch it, but Jesus recently appeared on Fox News and said to Sean Hannity, "You know all those things I said about rendering unto Caesar, and turning the other cheek, and loving your neighbor? Just forget I ever said them. What can I say? I was wrong. I was up in My Father's house the other day, and was talking objectivism with Ayn Rand, and, hey, she convinced me OK? All that altruism and selflessness I used to preach gets in the way of God's law, which of course is the sacred law of the market. And, anyway, you're right--we don't want to weaken the herd by coddling the least among us, because our God may be mighty, but I'm a little nervous about those other gods, you know what I mean?"
 
 
+6 # DurangoKid 2011-12-02 22:31
Pretty simple, really. The GOP wants a top-down authoritarian society with the GOP at the top. Orders come down and the profits go up.
 
 
0 # pgobrien 2011-12-05 17:16
So sad the the honorable name of Darwin has to be attached to this abominable philosophy. It's a misreading and misapplication of Darwin from start to finish. It's not the "strongest" who survive, it's the "fittest" -- and sometimes being fit means being able to see how we are inter=dependent and how we can work together for the betterment and survival of so many more of us. It takes a scosh of brains to understand Darwin. Those who want a return to the Gilded Age will carry us all down to ruin -- another of Darwin's principles.
 
 
0 # pgobrien 2011-12-05 17:25
The "young man" in question is, however, a red herring. He's not representative of the mass of Americans who have no health insurance not because they choose not to buy it but because they can't afford it. I'm much less worried about this fictional "arrogant young man" than I am about the real people in this country who are being thrown under the bus under this philosophy of none-for-all and all-for-themsel ves.
 

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