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  #1  
Old 08-27-2015, 04:51 AM
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Default Social Darwinism

I've become interested in the concept as of late, and I thought I would create a thread to see if I could get other people's opinions on it.

As somewhat of a starter, I've realized there are at least two perspectives with which one can look at social darwinism. The first is that one sees oneself as superior to others due to one's higher social class, and one uses that as an excuse or justification to extort or bully those lower than oneself. The second is that one sees oneself as superior to others due to one's higher social class, but sees that as a mandate to protect those below them from such extortion or bullying. Clearly, one of these is more negative and one is more positive, and it would be possible (in fact, I'm doing so in the novel I'm writing) to write a protagonist and antagonist as opposite sides of the issue. But does the second example still count as Social Darwinism? Certainly, it's more benevolent than the first example; however, as I see it, it's an issue of kicking the dog (ex. 1) versus petting the dog (ex. 2) - one is better than the other, but in the end they're both treating those they act towards as the dog, rather than as a fellow human.

And in addition to the above, what are other ways in which social darwinism as a worldview could be applied? I feel like, as with all worldviews, it isn't an inherently positive or negative idea, and shouldn't be treated as such.
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...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokémon Showdown VGC
[23:36:02] ConcertofMadness: Shrekt
ConcertofMadness was muted by BoTTT Junior for 7 minutes. (Contained banned phrase)
[23:36:15] +Chuppa Cross: oh dingram
[23:36:20] +Chuppa Cross: can we ban rekt too
[23:36:25] @dingram: but i use rekt :(
[23:36:32] +Chuppa Cross: you shouldn't :(
[23:36:52] +Chuppa Cross: you cant ban shrekt and then still use rekt lol
Chuppa Cross was muted by BoTTT Junior for 7 minutes. (Contained banned phrase)
[23:37:00] Superbird: #REKT
[23:37:01] @dingram: noobs getting muted
[23:37:02] NeuroRapter: lmao
[23:37:03] @dingram: get rekt
[23:37:06] stealthfox2: lol
ConcertofMadness was unmuted by dingram.
Chuppa Cross was unmuted by dingram.

[23:37:13] ConcertofMadness: Freedom
[23:37:18] +Chuppa Cross: i walked into that
[23:37:20] paintcanz: chuppa was muted?
Chuppa Cross was muted by makiri for 7 minutes.
Actually the best match ever
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2015, 05:29 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

Social Darwinism, in all its forms, is based on the idea that the strong should be rewarded and the weak should be punished. That's messed up. How could anyone justify such a viewpoint?
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2015, 05:33 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Dragon View Post
Social Darwinism, in all its forms, is based on the idea that the strong should be rewarded and the weak should be punished. That's messed up. How could anyone justify such a viewpoint?
Hm, that's never how I've understood it. I've always seen that as more of a derivation (or even reversal of cause and effect) of the simpler belief that where people are in society reflects the amount of effort they put into moving upwards.
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If I'm reffing your ASB battle, you can find my reffing scale in this document. Mostly it involves details on stat modifications and status conditions, as well as my interpretation of the damage formula, other clarifications regarding the specifics of certain attacks.
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokémon Showdown VGC
[00:31:16] @dingram: makiri an you make someone a driver real quick
[00:31:19] #makiri: why
[00:31:19] @dingram: just so they can say something
[00:31:21] @dingram: and demote them
[00:31:26] +Superbird: inb4 demotes dingram to driver
[00:31:26] @dingram: i want to see if my bot logs the message
[00:31:32] @dingram: no it cant be me
[00:31:45] #makiri: who am i drivering
[00:31:47] +AnotherDimension$$: Me
[00:31:49] @dingram: uh Superbird
[00:31:51] +Kirito11: me lol
[00:32:12] +Superbird: wait rly
[00:32:18] @dingram: i just chose a random active user
[00:32:23] @dingram: just say something
Superbird was promoted to Room Driver by makiri.
[00:32:24] @dingram: anything
[00:32:32] %Superbird: cool
[00:32:34] %Superbird: yay
[00:32:34] @dingram: ok done
[00:32:36] %Superbird: this feels awesome
[00:32:37] @dingram: ty makiri
[00:32:38] %Superbird: while it lasts
[00:32:41] +z2porygon: lol screen shot
[00:32:54] @dingram: you can demote now :3
[00:32:57] +AnotherDimension$$: Superbird
[00:32:59] +AnotherDimension$$: Warn me
Superbird was promoted to Room Voice by makiri.
[00:33:02] @dingram: just doing testing with bot
[00:33:05] +Superbird: well that was fun while it lasted
[00:33:12] @dingram: im glad you didnt like mute anyone
[00:33:13] @dingram: or anything
[00:33:16] +z2porygon: lol
[00:33:21] +Superbird: i shouldve though
[00:33:24] @dingram: no
[00:33:24] +Superbird: ill make a note for next time
[00:33:25] @dingram: ;-;
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2015, 06:19 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbird View Post
Hm, that's never how I've understood it. I've always seen that as more of a derivation (or even reversal of cause and effect) of the simpler belief that where people are in society reflects the amount of effort they put into moving upwards.
The name "social Darwinism" comes from Darwinism, the theory of natural selection. Social Darwinists argue that, just as natural selection weeds out the unfit, so too society should weed out the unfit. As such, social Darwinism is inextricably linked to supremacism. If you're going to defend this philosophy, you need to be prepared to explain yourself very well.
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2015, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

Thing is, Social Dariwnism is propagated by those very people who benefit from it. Talent and intellect don't have to do with money. Rather, the opportunity to cultivate talent and intellect is what costs money, and that's where rich people have the advantage. They have the money, they invest it, they get a return; it's a self-perpetuating cycle unless somebody really screws up along the way. Meanwhile, a poor family has to concentrate more on their basic needs Because they have barely any money for anything else. With a lot of sacrifice, they can save up and invest it in their children.

Many times, these very people who have huge sums of money don't know how to manage it. Question is, if Social Darwinism were real, why do they keep their money? Pardon if that doesn't make sense, 2:30AM over here.

Then there's lobbying. Poor people can't really lobby because, again, they have no resources. If anything, some organizations here and there lobby for them. On the other hand, corporations and other rich... people? syndicates? have budgets specifically for lobbying and keep the system going.

Interestingly, A Christmas Carol is actually a very heavy critique on Social Darwinism. A novel like that won't take the position of the minority; Scrooge was the majority at the time. Some of his quotes are even verbatim from Malthus and co. As MD said, you've got to be extra careful when defending it.
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2015, 03:39 AM
Teh Ebil Snorlax Teh Ebil Snorlax is offline
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

There is no definition of Social Darwinism other than what MD said. If I really tried, I could make it sound more stilted and detached for you ("benefits tend to accrue with the strong and deprivations with the weak") but no matter what I do, I can't make it mean what you seem to think it means.

Maybe there is a parallel universe where Social Darwinist can mean "those with have a duty of care towards those without", but it is not this universe. In this universe, Social Darwinist means "those who cannot survive without external assistance do not deserve to survive" and as a disabled person I'm really struggling to see Social Darwinism as a morally neutral ideology that can go either way.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2015, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

I don't argue that that's what Social Darwinism is.

So now my question is, what is the philosophy actually called that I mistakenly called social darwinism?
__________________
Visit my art website - Monitors of Modern Art! Updates weekly.

If I'm reffing your ASB battle, you can find my reffing scale in this document. Mostly it involves details on stat modifications and status conditions, as well as my interpretation of the damage formula, other clarifications regarding the specifics of certain attacks.
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokémon Showdown VGC
[00:31:16] @dingram: makiri an you make someone a driver real quick
[00:31:19] #makiri: why
[00:31:19] @dingram: just so they can say something
[00:31:21] @dingram: and demote them
[00:31:26] +Superbird: inb4 demotes dingram to driver
[00:31:26] @dingram: i want to see if my bot logs the message
[00:31:32] @dingram: no it cant be me
[00:31:45] #makiri: who am i drivering
[00:31:47] +AnotherDimension$$: Me
[00:31:49] @dingram: uh Superbird
[00:31:51] +Kirito11: me lol
[00:32:12] +Superbird: wait rly
[00:32:18] @dingram: i just chose a random active user
[00:32:23] @dingram: just say something
Superbird was promoted to Room Driver by makiri.
[00:32:24] @dingram: anything
[00:32:32] %Superbird: cool
[00:32:34] %Superbird: yay
[00:32:34] @dingram: ok done
[00:32:36] %Superbird: this feels awesome
[00:32:37] @dingram: ty makiri
[00:32:38] %Superbird: while it lasts
[00:32:41] +z2porygon: lol screen shot
[00:32:54] @dingram: you can demote now :3
[00:32:57] +AnotherDimension$$: Superbird
[00:32:59] +AnotherDimension$$: Warn me
Superbird was promoted to Room Voice by makiri.
[00:33:02] @dingram: just doing testing with bot
[00:33:05] +Superbird: well that was fun while it lasted
[00:33:12] @dingram: im glad you didnt like mute anyone
[00:33:13] @dingram: or anything
[00:33:16] +z2porygon: lol
[00:33:21] +Superbird: i shouldve though
[00:33:24] @dingram: no
[00:33:24] +Superbird: ill make a note for next time
[00:33:25] @dingram: ;-;
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Old 08-30-2015, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

Yeah, Social Darwinism implies a certain laissez-faire especially in economics where usually rich people will become richer and poor people poorer under the works of "free" market. Such laissez faire is an inaction, hence why it fits neither of the "bullying" or "petting".

Okay, so the philosophy you're talking about would revolve around a moral imperial to help those in need. By in need, that could mean (relatively and un-pejoratively) poor, uneducated, sick, bullied, without resources, unrespected, unheard... Hans Jonas called it the Imperative of Responsibility and applied it to the environment.

While it sounds great on paper to have those with access to economical / social / cultural resources help those without (and it's great irl most of the time), the approach takes on a very paternalistic turn when you look at who's deciding for who. Truth is, it's really hard to determine what's best for whom, and most of the time even the resourceful have no clue as to how / if they could / should help their fellow humans...

This philosophy as you call it is what drives most social movements now and I think it's more or less social humanism? I think. I may be making this up.

Either way, some people are born with privilege, and we have to face that part. Now, when you notice you're part of the privileged bunch, what to do with that privilege? Ignore those in need and focus on your own dreams / goals or pretend you know what's best for them? I feel there's no completely moral way out of this.

Also hey since this is so touchy don't hesitate to ask for clarifications before you take anything I say the wrong way, I still have a hard time explaining myself right in english on such delicate subjects.
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2015, 06:51 AM
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Superbird View Post
So now my question is, what is the philosophy actually called that I mistakenly called social darwinism?
It's hard to say. You'll probably need to elaborate.

In your first post, you describe individuals who see themselves as superior to people of lower social standing. The word for this is classism. Note that both of the characters you describe are classist, even though one has good intentions and the other does not.

In your second post, you mention the idea that a person's social standing is based on how hard they try to improve it. I don't think this idea itself has a name, but the concept of moving through classes is called social/economic mobility. Any expert in the field will tell you that economic mobility depends not just on how hard one is willing to work, but also on a number of external factors, such as class, gender, ethnicity...

The US is in a strange situation when it comes to economic mobility. On the one hand, Americans tend to believe that there is a high degree of social and economic mobility in their society - this is the essence of the American Dream, after all. But in reality, several studies have shown that economic mobility is actually lower in the US than in comparable countries. Despite this, Americans often favor ideologies that rely on the assumption of high economic mobility, such as capitalism and liberalism.

I would guess that the ideology you're looking for is something along the lines of liberalism (or libertarianism, or whatever you call it over there). Liberals typically seek to minimize government interference (taxes, welfare etc), in the belief that this ensures people are rewarded if and only if they've earned it. In its most extreme forms, liberalism can become social Darwinism.

You'll probably want to describe more in detail what you're thinking of, though.

Last edited by Music Dragon; 08-30-2015 at 06:57 AM.
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2015, 12:15 PM
Teh Ebil Snorlax Teh Ebil Snorlax is offline
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Default Re: Social Darwinism

If you see this duty of care being enacted through state policy, then you're looking at social liberalism as both the ideology of the society and the ideology of your positive individual.

If you see this duty of care being enacted by the private initiatives of relatively more privileged individuals, then you're looking at libertarianism or classical liberalism as the ideology of the society, as MD says, but the ideology of your positive individual is what people who study NGOs would call philanthropic paternalism, where the wealthy dictate the distribution of moneys for charitable causes because they're the ones who have all the money.

Additionally, there is industrial paternalism, where corporations invest in infrastructure and social amenities in the communities where their workers live, but that's a quite particular and historically specific expression of the idea and probably not what you were going for.
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