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Herbert Spencer's Social Statics: Survival of the Fittest Applied to Humankind
Date of Herbert Spencer
Who was herbert Spencer?
- i. English intellectual whose work concerned philosophy and social theory rather than science
- ii. “Social Darwinism”
- iii. Coined the phrase “survival of the fittest”
- iv. First major work, Social Statics in 1851
What is social darwinism?
i. the idea that the very struggle for survival which characterized lfie in the natural world also applied to human societies
What does he state in his work?
- a. All a government can do is protect; they cannot act as “Reliever-general” to the poor
- b. If the state demands from the citizens, it is reversing its function and diminishing that liberty to do only what it was told to do
- i. Don’t believe that, by a government helping a pauper, he is extending his liberty
- c. Civil power exists to enforce the fundamental law
- d. Allowing many to pursue his desires is different than satisfying his desires
- e. Warfare is the most merciful provision
- i. Poverty, distress, starvation, etc. are benevolent
- f. Although it may seem heartless that an unskillfulness may lead to starvation, sickness causes one to drop from the labor competition, widows and orphans must struggle to live, etc.
- i. However, this is the way of life; it is good and benevolent because it singles out the weak, low-spirited and debilitated.
What is the fundamental law?
(to take care that every man has freedom to do whatever he wants without harming anyone else’s freedom
Date of Henry Morton Stanley
Background of Stanley
- a. Born John Rowlands in Great Britain; got fame as American citizen in the employ of the king of the Belgians, Leopold II
- b. 1871, while working as a journalist for the NY Herald, he led an expedition to locate Dr. David Livingstone
- i. This caused Leopold II to become interested in acquiring an empire in Africa, which led other Europeans to do the same
Description of Autobiography: European Imperialism in Africa (1909)
- A chief of Stanley Pool district demands and receives $4.5k for Stanley's establishing a station in the wilderness, which he was doing for two years, causing Ngalyema (native trader in ivory and slaves) to forget and demand payment forcefully.
- As a result, Stanley hides warriors and hangs a gong that, when rung, will cause all to rush out.
- When Ngalyema comes to meet him and tells him he must leave, warning him of the hostility of the natives, he questions what the gong is and demands Stanley to ring it, even though Stanley warned him that it is a war fetish.
- Warriors come out. Ngalyema and his son are abandoned by their warriors, and Ngalyema is deeply scared and allows Stanley to continue his project.
- Later on, the natives help and soon his reputation reaches other peoples and he is welcomed by them.
- Stanley says everything is to be gained by friendship with him, but wars bring nothing but ruin.
- Stanley believes he has sown seeds of good will at every place touched
- He then ends with a tone of superiority saying that the white man must dumb himself down in order to fit in with the blacks, who regard him as a great nuisance. After about three years, his intelligence will be superior.
- Lastly, he reprimands his men for complaining about compliments. He says that's onyl for women, boys, and childish blacks.
What does David Livingstone say?
if a man goes with a good-natured, civil tongue, he may pass through the worst people in Africa unharmed