Darwinian Conservatism

Larry Arnhart’s blog is worth a link.

I’m probably not exactly a Darwinian conservative myself — my secret wish is to rehabilitate Lamarck — but plainly the assault on Darwin lately is ideological rather than scientific and must be resisted.

Addendum: Actually there’s quite a lot wrong with Arnhart’s specific ideas about Darwinian conservatism, including this, “Darwinian conservatives will agree with President Bush that there is a natural desire for liberty.” What evidence is there for this claim? Most people throughout most of the world for most of history have been quite unfree and don’t seem to have chafed a great deal at their condition. Clearly enough, whatever natural drive there may be for freedom is easly satisfied or else overpowered by other impulses.

My naive impression is that a taste for freedom is both biologically and culturally uncommon. But then, a tend toward a pessimistic, Cram-like view of these things.

Addendum II: Following a link from Steve Sailer, I see the War Nerd has addressed the myth that people want democracy (not the same thing as freedom, of course, but these day people tend to mistake one for the other).

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5 thoughts on “Darwinian Conservatism

  1. Matthew November 6, 2006 / 6:39 pm

    Who wants liberty, period? I think the ordinary person wants to live their life without too much trouble. That’s why the Iraq war doesn’t interest people until they find out loved ones need to serve past their time. Or why campaign finance reform doesn’t capture the public interest, but eminent domain does.

    For the everyday American – liberty is simply the ability to move through life with few institutional obstructions. Democracy isn’t necessary to achieve this – just a political structure which is smart enough not to go too far in a power grab.

  2. Pithlord November 6, 2006 / 10:13 pm

    I think Hegel’s claim was that humans naturally want freedom for themselves. Of course, I’m not sure he would have defined freedom the same way you did. Obviously, no sensible person would agree with Bush that people naturally want freedom for other people.

  3. Tim November 18, 2006 / 9:54 am

    There was an article by Michael Shermer recently in Scientific American entitled Darwin On the Right: Why Christians and Conservatives Should Accept Evolution that is pretty good. Generally speaking the whole Creationist / ID thing is mostly an evangelical Protestant thing. There are certain unsavoury social consequences of Darwinism but it’s really our society’s scientism rather than Darwinism per se that is responsible for those. Religious motivated people would be better advised to follow G K Chesterton’s advice in his piece “The Unimportance Of Evolution”, rather than attempting to fight scientism on it’s own ground with a rival variant of scientism.

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