Thursday, October 7, 2010

Caring for the weakest links.

The concept of social Darwinism isn’t a new one. It’s been around a while…at least during the age of the robber barons way back in the 1890’s.

The concept of social darwinsim is simple, sterile and horrific in its approach. The basic idea is this: those who are affluent, who are financially able to take care of themselves create a healthy vibrant society. The weak, afflicted and impoverished who, for whatever reason are not financially stable, are a drag on the society. According to Social Darwinists, the poor and afflicted are little more than parasites who, weaken a society as a whole, and thus, must be purged in order to keep the social order healthy and strong. In short, the economically strong survive, the weak do not.

Throw in eugenics (which America experimented with, literally, before Nazi Germany thought it was a grand idea and took it to the extreme) and pseudo-Christian furvor (believing that the prosperous are morally superior and thus blessed by God, whereas the poor are not) and you create a toxic mix that does far more damage to social and economic growth than anything the poor or weak could ever do.

Like I said, this concept is not new. It was tried out during the Victorian Era, dressed up in modern clothes and trotted out during the Great Depression, and has come back, redressed, re packaged for the post modern world, but it’s still the same moral sludge that pervaded hard times before. And sadly most likely will again.

Think it's not happening now? Think again.This isn’t just academic jerking off. Watch the news. Or better yet, go to the local mall or bistro, sit down and just watch people. Listen to the self righteous arrogance of those who say there is no such thing as a free ride in this world. That’s Social Darwinism in action.

Just imagine, your child gets sick. You have no health insurance. The Social Darwinist will tell you that it’s better to let the child die than to ask someone for help, because a sick child is a social and economic drag on society. Never mind that a human life is at stake. The society as a whole must be preserved, and if the weak must perish because of it, so be it. The child will be blessed with riches in Heaven, but that’s poor comfort to the parents who have to bury their child.

And there lies the crux of the problem. In a healthy society of lab mice, Social Darwinism works. In human society, not so much. Humans, in theory at least, are not rats.  We are endowed with the capacity to feel compassion, empathy and the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Most of all, humans have a strong capacity for understanding injustice. And that’s where Social Darwinsim runs against the brick wall of realtiy.

And the reality of this is, is that a segment of people can be repressed for only so long. And once that group gets fed up with it, really fed up with it, they revolt. And with revolution, heads literally roll.

Here’s the secret the social Darwinist doesn’t want you to know. A society is only as strong as its weakest member. A society is judged by how it treats the poor, the helpless and the indigent. A society without compassion, wisdom and love for all its members is doomed

Think on these things. Especially when you're tempted to tell someone who is hurting that there's no such thing as a free ride.

om mani padme hum

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