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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The 1% is a social darwinist force bent on destroying the essential social contract
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Thursday, April 05, 2012

The 1% is a social darwinist force bent on destroying the essential social contract

i've said since i started posting on this blog back in 2005 that there is nothing our 1% desires more fervently than to drive a stake through the heart of any explicit or implied social contract... they are truly the champions of the "you're on your own" society, a dystopian, randian, survivalist nightmare that would turn a blind eye to any effort to support the common good...

robert scheer
equates the 1% with the republicans, an equivalency i believe is less than accurate, particularly given the lack of any discernible daylight between the repubs and the dems...

It is with chilling certainty that one can predict that a single Romney appointee to the Supreme Court would seal the coup of the 1 percent that already is well on its way toward purchasing the nation’s political soul. Romney is the quintessential Citizens United super PAC candidate, a man who has turned avarice into virtue and comes to us now as a once-moderate politician transformed into the ultimate prophet of imperial hubris, blaming everyone from the Chinese to laid-off American workers for our problems. Everyone, that is, except the Wall Street-dominated GOP, which midwifed the Great Recession under George W. Bush and now seeks to blame Obama for the enormous deficit spawned by the party’s wanton behavior.


[T]he Republicans refuse to take ownership of the collapse resulting from their longstanding advocacy of radical financial deregulation that led to the derivatives bubble, hundreds of trillions of dollars of toxic junk, now a permanent, nightmarish feature of the world’s economy. Romney, who made his fortune through such financial finagling, even has the effrontery to call for more of the same and blame Obama’s tepid efforts at establishing some sane speed limits for the financial highway as a cause of our ongoing crisis.

scheer's conclusion is that we have no choice but to re-elect obama...
The Republicans are a sick joke, and their narrow ideological stupidity has left rational voters no choice in the coming presidential election but Barack Obama.

it was good to hear obama use the term "social darwinism" in his speech the other day... it's about damn time somebody in our national leadership dared to say it... unfortunately, however, even though i've used the term a million times myself, it's somewhat misapplied... darwinian theory claims that only the fittest survive, but in our current context, the 1% is massively underwritten by national policies designed to benefit them and their interests, the most egregious example being the massive bankster bailout...

predictably, obama's use of the term has spawned controversy...

the huffpo takes issue with obama's use of social darwinism...

For language expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson, social Darwinism seems like a risky term to use for political ammunition.

She says most people are familiar with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection – survival of the fittest.

But Jamieson, a political communication authority at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center, explains that social Darwinism is a concept, an extension of Darwinism, that essentially says that those who are innately superior, often biologically superior, are advantaged in the conflict among or between groups.

She doesn't think that is what Obama is suggesting when he uses the term. Instead, what he is probably trying to convey is that he thinks Republicans subscribe to a theory that each person is on his own – no help from others, no government help.

The term is loaded with all sorts of negative historical associations. It has ties in the past to the rationalization of inequality, says Jamieson, as well as to the eugenics movement and the idea that those who are unfit should not be allowed to propagate.

And that's probably not what the president intends to suggest.

jonathan chait has a different take...
I happen to think "social Darwinist" captures the prevailing Republican philosophy pretty well. The point of the label, created by historian Richard Hoftsadter, is that a species of laissez-faire economics treated the market the way Darwinians treat natural selection — as the sole natural and correct mechanism for distributing rewards. You do not have to venture into the Republican fever swamps to find evidence of this belief. Greg Mankiw, an economist, adviser to Mitt Romney, and relative moderate within the party, has written:
People should get what they deserve. A person who contributes more to society deserves a higher income that reflects those greater contributions. Society permits him that higher income not just to incentivize him, as it does according to utilitarian theory, but because that income is rightfully his.

Now, I suspect that right-wingers object to the term "social Darwinist" because it can be understood to imply a more literal application of Darwinism — that the poor should be killed off so they cannot reproduce. Almost none of them would take the theory quite so far. But the more symbolic application of Darwinism to the market, as a morally optimal tool for allocating rewards, seems appropriate. Republicans may prefer a more positive-sounding label, but in politics you don't always get to pick your label.

the biggest piece of work that needs to be done in this country is for all of us to wake up to the fact that we are ALL in this goddam boat together and that it takes ALL of us to make it work... and that realization will never come about as long as the 1% insists they are at the top of the economic ladder as a result of their own inherent self-worth... such a misbegotten notion is at the fetid, rotting core of what we so proudly extol as our "capitalist free market" while completely ignoring the dynamics of a system specifically built to empower the rich...

p.s. it's interesting to see both commentators eschew eugenics... believe me, even though - thankfully - it's not part of the national dialogue, for those who are convinced that they have achieved their lofty status in society as a result of their superior genetic attributes, the concept of eugenics is only a small step away...

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