Social Darwinism and “Playing Race Cards”


Much of the racist policies and sentiments of the West in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, including racism against Canadian indigenous peoples, have their roots in social Darwinism, a derivative of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. .. Unfortunately, this doctrine is now resurrected in the name of Critical Racial Theory (CRT).

Darwin claims in his famous 1859 book On the Origin of Species that animals, birds and plants adapt to the environment. This observation suggests that species success is particularly dependent on their ability to adapt to changing environments. Adapted organisms survived to become parents of the next generation, but non-adapted organisms had few, if any, offspring.

Darwin called this process “natural selection.”

Shortly after Darwin’s book was published, British biologist Herbert Spencer expanded the concept of natural selection to the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Spencer’s idea applied to humans was that some races and ethnic groups were physically and mentally more adaptable than others. Therefore, he argued that the most suitable groups are more likely to survive and breed, while the less suitable groups are less likely to survive and perish.

Social Darwinism

Spencer’s theory became known as social Darwinism. This is an idealism that assumes that individuals and their groups respond to the same natural selection and survival pressures as animals, birds and plants. This theory is used to explain why the population varies from place to place, and why some groups have successfully expanded into the territory of other groups.

From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, social Darwinism became a widely accepted view in Western Europe and provided a strong justification for the colonization of European powers. Of course, Nazi Germany accepted this theory as justification for the slaughter of mentally ill, Jewish, and various other “non-Aryan” people.

The defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II delayed, but could not stop, the use of social Darwinist theory to explain and justify racial and ethnic differences. In fact, ideology is still the implicit premise that underlies many social interactions today.

Surprisingly, minority groups that have been heavily discriminated against in the past now seem to value others based on the ideology of social Darwinists. The most obvious example is the critical racial theory, which assumes that all “whites” have unique advantages over all other groups of people, and as a result, this belief is that whites are black, indigenous. It will result in discrimination. The CRT accepts this idea as an axiom.

Play race cards

This argument is used by minority groups to justify hostility towards members of the majority group, even if it is wrong. For example, in the first week of July, Manitoba Prime Minister Brian Pallister issued an official statement in response to the collapse of the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth of Winnipeg.

“We need to respect our heritage just as we need to respect each other,” he said at a press conference. “People who came to this country did not come here to destroy anything before and after becoming a country. They came here to build. They started to build better. I did. “

The Manitoba Prefectural Council of Chiefs (AMC) described the Prime Minister’s comment as “the worst racist dog whistle you can imagine.” Wab Kinew, the state’s NDP leader and indigenous people, said: Or do you agree with Minister Clark? He referred to former Aboriginal and Northern Ministers of Relations, who resigned from Parister’s comment.

Please reread the Prime Minister’s words. Do you see derogatory words about indigenous peoples and other races?

He simply said that many immigrants to Manitoba have a positive attitude towards the communities they are building. Nevertheless, racism charges continued for the week or so after the reconciliation of the Prime Minister and his indigenous people and the new minister of northern relations, Alain Lagimodiere, was accused several times instead of once. Are Parister and Lagimodiere “racists” just because AMC and Wabkinu said so?

Such explicit accusations have become known as “playing race cards.”

This means that people of a particular racial and ethnic lineage can shut out the debate very quickly by attacking them in a way that despises them. In other words, these people are free to make offensive comments about other people who are exempt, forcing them to retreat and even apologize, no matter how innocent their remarks are. To do.

Activists like AMC and Kinyu have revived 19th-century social Darwinism, claiming that races are fundamentally different and often hostile to each other. They are engaged in a power-gaining zero-sum game that goes against the notion of multiculturalism and national harmony that Canada is trying to achieve.

These neospeciesists have neither time for civil dialogue nor reconciliation, and their purpose is to separate Canadians from each other.

Free and lively debate

Obviously, in lively discussions and debates, people are easily misunderstood. But for citizens’ discourse to be effective, people need to overcome these inherent difficulties and continue to work on them. People need to be tolerant, humble, and empathetic, especially when interacting with people from different ethnic and racial groups.

But calling others derogatory names such as “racist” or “reacting like a whistling dog” dilutes civil discourse, justice, and democracy. ..

Canada needs to maintain a free and lively debate where all people can actively discuss policy, despite all her shortcomings, without being called slander, which means they are irreparable. there is.

Justice and democracy rely on Canadians not making claims in terms of social Darwinists. For the benefit of all Canadians, and for the benefit of our country, it is time to send both social Darwinist and personal aggression statements to the trash can of history.

Rodney A. Clifton is an emeritus professor at the University of Manitoba and a senior researcher at the Frontier Center for Public Policy. He is the co-editor and co-editor of the book “Reconciliation Comes from Truth: Evaluation of the Truth Commission Report”. Frontier Public Policy Center When Amazon..

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Rodney A. Clifton