Hunting Down Social Darwinism

Hunting Down Social Darwinism : Will This Canard Go Extinct?

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Description

Hunting Down Social Darwinism is the third and final installment in the trilogy, The Nature of Liberty. The trilogy gives a secular, ethical defense of laissez-faire capitalism, inspired by Ayn Rand's ideas. The trilogy's first book, The Freedom of Peaceful Action, provided the philosophic theory behind the ethics of a free-enterprise system based on the individual rights to life, liberty, and private property which John Locke described. The second installment, Life in the Market Ecosystem, explained how free enterprise functions much as a natural ecosystem wherein behavioral norms develop, bottom-up, from repeat interactions among individual participants in the economy. As such defenses of free enterprise are frequently criticized as "social Darwinism," however, this third and final installment of the trilogy asks the question, "What is social Darwinism?" The book embarks on a hunt for the term's meaning, explores social Darwinism's beginnings, and examines whether it is fair to describe such nineteenth-century free-market advocates as Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner as social Darwinists. It then addresses the accusation that the free-market Darwinism commonly ascribed to Spencer and Sumner rationalized bigotry and founded the pseudoscience of eugenics. In the process, the book refutes various myths about the topic popularized by such scholars as Richard Hofstadter and John Kenneth Galbraith. The extent to which the popular narratives about social Darwinism prove to be inaccurate holds enormous ramifications for current controversies. It has implications for debates over the ethical appropriateness of reducing taxpayer spending on social welfare programs, and also sheds new light on the pros and cons of attempts to apply biological evolutionary theory to the study of human social institutions. Additionally discussed is the manner in which various prominent figures in economics, evolutionary psychology, and Complexity Theory have grown famous for advancing ideas which Spencer and Sumner originated, even as such figures simultaneously downplay the importance of Spencer and Sumner to their field. Following the hunt for social Darwinism, this work sums up the trilogy with some final thoughts on the importance that liberty holds for every effort to live life to the fullest.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 420 pages
  • 177.8 x 256.54 x 27.94mm | 929.86g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 3 tables
  • 0739186701
  • 9780739186701

Review quote

In this ambitious work, Stuart Hayashi clearly, systematically, and accessibly articulates the secular, philosophical, and moral foundations of a free society based on the supremacy of individual rights in which each person has the opportunity to pursue his flourishing and happiness. The author explains these foundations in language that will be understandable to educated laypersons, college students, and concerned citizens who follow current political issues covered by the media. While discussing the compatibility of human nature and individual rights, he makes a compelling and unprecedented argument that particular theories from the field of evolutionary psychology are congruent with Objectivism's views on human nature, individual rights, morality, social relationships, and the nature and rules of a proper government (i.e., a limited night watchman state). Hayashi's book is a masterful feat of intellectual integration from various disciplines that builds on the work of Ayn Rand and other intellectual giants, past and present. -- Edward W. Younkins, Wheeling Jesuit University Once again, Stuart Hayashi has composed a tome of epic scholarly proportions. Anyone interested in studying the fundamental dissimilarity of laissez-faire policies and Social Darwinist principles must read this book. -- Andrew Bernstein, author of The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faireshow more

About Stuart K. Hayashi

Stuart K. Hayashi worked as an analyst and aide at the Hawaii State Capitol in both legislative houses.show more

Table of contents

Part I: Stalking Social Darwinism Chapter 1: Did Nineteenth-Century Capitalists Want the Poor to Die? Chapter 2: The Conflation of Laissez Faire with Regulation-Imposed Eugenics Chapter 3: The Equivocation That Infects Intellectuals Chapter 4: The Camouflaging of Eugenicists as Eugenicism's Opponents Chapter 5: Progressivism: The Genesis of Eugenics Part II: The Governism of the Third Reich Chapter 6: Is Naziism the Final Stage of Capitalism? Chapter 7: Socialism and Fascism: Close Relatives Chapter 8: The Fuhrer versus Free Enterprise Chapter 9: They Loved Blood and Soil but Not the Mind Chapter 10: Extinction of the Social Darwinism Canard Part III: The Final Lessons of Liberty Chapter 11: The Ethologists' Unpaid Debts to Spencer and Sumner Chapter 12: Overthrowing the Anarchists Chapter 13: Natural Liberty Requires Adherence to Truth Conclusionshow more