Barack Obama, quoted in yesterday’s New York Times:
Disguised as deficit reduction plans, [the Paul Ryan budget] is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism. And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training, research and development, our infrastructure — it’s a prescription for decline.
Obama finally states the obvious! Maybe someone in his inner circle forced him to read columns by Paul Krugman or Robert Reich, who wrote this two weeks ago:
Republican social Darwinists are determined that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 be made permanent. Those cuts saved the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (roughly 1.4 million people) more money on their taxes last year than the rest of America’s 141 million taxpayers received in total income.
And that’s only a small part of what Republicans are determined to do to widen the gap between the rich and poor. Obama is right, but it’s hard to work up enthusiasm for him, given all the time he spent during his first term in pow-wows with social Darwinists — i.e., with banksters and chiefs of multinational corporations. With people such as Timothy Geithner and Jeffrey Immelt, who are part of the problem, not of the solution.
Footnote: Poor Charles Darwin. His name will forever be connected with the “survival of the fittest” philosophy popularized in Victorian England by Herbert Spencer, a foe of social reform movements and an ideological ancestor of libertarians and other compassion-free conservatives. The sort of guy who could shrug off the potato famine in Ireland, which killed more than a million people.
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I heard the widdle wee-wees got their feelings hurt when the Big Bad so-called Socialist likened their behavior to Social Darwinism. Speaking as a Socialist (actually a Wobblie but that’s another story) there is nothing “social” about Social Darwinism. It’s American Capitalism as practiced today: Corporatism, defined in Time Magazine by 1933 Time Magazine Man of the Year Benito Mussolini as Fascism.