What Hath Darwin Wrought?

By Geoffrey Botkin

In Britain, police are bracing for the summer riots. The year 2009 has become the year of runaway unemployment, social chaos, and cultural confusion. The authorities expect the summer riots to get ugly.

British citizens were supposed to be happy in 2009. They are not.[1] This is an awkward disappointment for Britain’s social engineers, who had engineered a full year of celebratory splendour to honour a favourite son. 2009 was to have been the year of triumph for Charles Darwin — the greatest social engineer of them all.

Ever since Darwin published the idea that the English were one of the “favoured races,” one hundred and fifty years ago, Britons have been trying to make him a national and international hero. This year, Darwin’s 200th birthday year, was to be a great hero-making opportunity. The Church of England planned a formal apology to Darwin for “misunderstanding” his theology. The British Council, the Royal Geographical Society, the BBC, the University of Cambridge and dozens of other agencies, museums, and organizations[2] planned extravagant memorials to Darwin. Each depict him as a historical superstar. Their exhibitions remind the world that Britain embraced Darwin as much more than a mere naturalist. This is a convenient spin. As a naturalist, Darwin was an incompetent observer, and his findings have been discredited.

The reinvented Darwin has great utility as the founding father of modern Britain. This is his official image for the year 2009, even in exhibitions where his own “tree of life” diagrams and improperly-labelled specimens disgrace him. The Natural History Museum, for example, is putting final touches on a £78 million landmark temple to Darwinism, part of their massive Darwin Centre, which opens this fall. They were expecting many proud and happy celebrants. Before the riots, that is.

Darwin’s Mystery Religion

It is not dishonest to present Darwin as the architect of modern Britain. His rash ideas and religious propaganda took Britain directly into the militant leftism of the twentieth century, and headlong into the calamities of 2009. Today Darwin’s ideas live in the hearts of those British functionaries who want to honour their spiritual ancestor. These intellectual descendants of Darwin know him mostly as an ideological icon. However, they know enough about his work to know better than to honour him as a social scientist. They should be rightly ashamed of the ideological and fraudulent science that characterizes Darwin’s work. But they are not ashamed. They sincerely believe Darwin is the hero responsible for a new evolutionary stage of British greatness. This is what is so morbidly grotesque about the British celebrations.

In 2009, the United Kingdom is dying before the eyes of a watching world. Do Darwin’s British disciples sincerely believe that Britain’s modern downfall, her cultural disintegration and social chaos[3] are a step forward? Do they believe Britain’s demise is evolutionary progress and even social salvation? If so, the legacy of Charles Darwin is especially chilling. It represents self-directed societal devolution into a stage of willful ignorance. It also represents the forced devolution, dehumanization, and derangement of human reason.

Extravagant Honour and Blind Fanaticism

Darwin’s disciples fancy themselves as evangelists of reason. They are not following a new religion, but an old one. Since the days of James I, Britain has struggled under an “enlightened” minority of theological rebels. King James rejected Britain’s rich Biblical heritage and rewarded a group of theologian-sycophants who justified his self-indulgent aspirations to act like God. With James as their sovereign, they began to create a Britain in his indecently vulgar image. James’ grandson Charles II, another self-worshipper, was yet more determined to find the alchemy of self-directed social evolution. Charles’ tutor Thomas Hobbes helped by promoting an all-powerful, centralized, “sovereign” government, without which life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”[4]

Not long after, Darwin’s own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, a prominent atheist and physician, saw potential in the powers of a grand secular state and the improvement of the species[5] through sexual reproduction. He postulated theories of cosmic evolution and survival of the fittest long before Charles Darwin argued for it in his largely unoriginal[6] work, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, or the Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.[7]

Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton (who despised the “half-witted negro”), summarized these theological ideas into a blunt conclusion. “It has now become a serious necessity,” wrote Galton, “to better the breed of the human race. The average citizen is too base for the everyday work of modern civilization.”[8]

And so, in obedience to these Darwinian prophets, Britain developed a socio-biological priesthood to extend the dominion of the state over nature, over men, and over civilization. This class of politicized scientists are now in control of Britain’s future. They do the everyday work of modern civilization. And they do it according to the design of Charles Darwin, denying at every stage of social evolution that man has a soul accountable to a Creator. The “average citizen” is nothing but an organism which needs scientists to engineer him into physical perfection. Society is nothing but an organism which needs scientists to engineer it to social perfection.[9] Perfection is defined to mean that the scientists are in total control and can predestine a rationalist future. To ensure their continued role in this profession, they must completely and forcefully engineer society to guarantee that there is no “misconception of the ignorant or superstitious” (Erasmus Darwin’s words).

Thus man, the social organism, must never be allowed to revert to the misconception that God exists. And so we arrive at the reason why Darwin must be enthroned as the high priest of scientific secular statism. Darwin gives these apparatchiks their scientific credentials to be totalitarian.

Who are these totalitarian scientists who insist that Darwin be worshipped as part of the national will? Russian author Alexander Boot describes them in their own lingo. “The subspecies . . . Physicus totalitarius . . . is characterized by tunnel vision, delusions of grandeur and unabashed smugness born out of its ability to peek at bare half-truths through nature’s keyhole.”[10]

Boot knows much about this species of arrogant bureaucrat. He fled the KGB in 1973, leaving Russia in search of Western Civilization, but found it no longer existed. It had been eradicated, he observed, by social scientists, to make way for the next stage of sociocultural evolution. He was astounded to find social scientists at the helm of once great Western nations, steering them without opposition into permanent annihilation in the name of science. The Western apparatchiks he observed were fanatically and religiously devoted to Darwin, using Darwin’s crooked keyhole and Darwin’s desperate fantasies to justify their drive for totalitarian power.

The fact that life in the West had devolved to become “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” was of no concern to the social evolutionists.[11] The goal was total control of a secular, positivist[12] society. This was the “upward” progress they were seeking in the name of science. This was the freedom they had defined and designed for the socially-evolved “average citizen.”

“Never, Never, Never!”

Dr. Anthony Daniels worked for years with the average citizen of Britain in prisons and inner-city hospitals, observing the devolution of British freedom, dignity, and the very will to survive. Dr. Daniels[13] has been fascinated by the predictions of French social historian Alexis de Tocqueville, a contemporary of Darwin, who foresaw the dangers of a scientific secular state, its bureaucracy, and its war against the soul of man.

“[Tocqueville] prophetically described,” writes Daniels, “the future soul of man under a seemingly benevolent and democratic government that willingly laboured for the happiness of the people `but chose to be the sole agent and only arbiter of that happiness.’ Such a government would ‘supply [the people] with their necessities, facilitate their pleasures, manage their principal concerns.’ What would remain, but to ‘spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living’? When this came to pass, the will of man will not be shattered, but ‘softened, bent and guided.’ Men will not be forced to act, but prevented from acting; the government will not destroy, but prevent a full human existence. It will not tyrannize, but ‘enervate, extinguish and stupefy a people.’[14]

“And this is exactly the condition to which a part of the population had been reduced under irreproachably democratic governments,” notes Daniels. “Living in subsidized housing, its children educated free of charge and its medical bills paid (all for its own good, of course), with an income sufficient to guarantee both enough food and perpetual entertainment in the form of television, all its ‘principal concerns’ are ‘managed,’ just as Tocqueville said they would be, and it is thus spared ‘the care of thinking and all the trouble of living.’”

“Yes,” observes Daniels, “when I see the baying mobs of drunken young people who pullulate in our city centres every weekend, awaiting their evil genius to organise them into some kind of pseudo-community, and think of our offices full of potential Eichmanns, I shudder. Our fascism will no doubt be touchy-feely rather than a boot in the face — more Kafka than Hitler — but it will be ruthless nonetheless. Timeservers led by scoundrels: that is the future of this septic isle.”[15]

Dr. Daniels has since left the isle of his homeland — because of the Darwinian bureaucracy[16] and what it has done to the character of Britons.[17] “Much of our population believes not only that it has no duty to control itself, but also that it is actually harmful to try to do so.”

“Not only are such people severely lacking in ethical standards,” wrote Daniels recently, “but they also live in permanent fear of the power that they have ceded to the state; and no one who has any dealings with the bureaucracy of welfare, child support, housing and so forth can be left in any doubt as to its power to grind people up and spit them out. Hedonistic egotism, fear and resentment form the character of a large proportion of our population, and it is a character that is ripe for exploitation. They have made themselves natural slaves.”[18]

Daniels correctly traces Britain’s devolution to two causes: to those slaves who surrendered their freedom, and to the “slave drivers” who forced the surrender through Darwinian social engineering. “Believing that man is the product of his environment, [the social engineers] have nevertheless set about creating an environment from which it is truly difficult to escape, by closing off all the avenues and bolt-holes as far as possible. They have destroyed the family and any notion of progress or improvement. They have made a world in which the only freedom is self-indulgence, a world from which — most terrible of all — prison can sometimes be a liberation.”[19]

“Freedom is their enemy because they do not know what to do with it,” writes Daniels. “[British convicts] often say of prison that they feel safe in it; safe more from themselves and the consequences of their own bad decisions than from external enemies. They actually feel more free in prison than outside.”

Daniels then asks, “Whatever happened to independent, freeborn Britons?”

Independent, freeborn Britons once vowed in the great anthem “Rule Britannia”: “Britons never, never, never will be slaves!”[20] Then freeborn Britons embraced the theology of Charles Darwin.

“We are a nation of slaves and slave drivers,” Dr. Daniels laments.[21] He tells painful stories of British patients “who often ask me for drugs to prevent them from thinking.”[22]

But men are not unthinking animals, as the social Darwinists have taught them. Men are not stimulus-response mechanisms without a soul. Men do think, men can act, and men can resist slavery. The once British virtues of gentility, chivalry, and discipline have given way to desperate riots in 2009. If today’s protesters are serious about reversing Britain’s state-sponsored social devolution, they need to replace, not celebrate, the religious culture of social Darwinism.

1. “The tumbrils are not quite rolling up Whitehall, but MPs now fear the politics of the lynch mob. . . . Voters, says Labour veteran Diane Abbott, want ‘dead MPs hanging from lamp-posts’.

“Among ministers, there is now a genuine fear of public disorder. Meltdown, an anarchist collective involved in the G20 protests, is organising an ‘overthrow the government’ day in June, arguing that it is time to move beyond targeting bankers. ‘The last time it felt like this was probably just before the poll tax riots,’ recalls one Labour aide.
“With public faith in the banking system shattered by the recession, and confidence in the police undermined by allegations of brutality, many MPs feel as if the establishment itself is crumbling. Where might this revolutionary fervour end?” See: Gaby Hinsliff, Caroline Davies and Toby Helm, “The week Britain turned its anger on politicians,” The Observer, Sunday, May 17, 2009.

2. British social critic and scientist Dr. Anthony Daniels, writing under the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, observes, “The elites cannot even acknowledge what has happened, however obvious it is, for to do so would be to admit their past responsibility for it, and that would make them feel bad. Better that millions should live in wretchedness and squalor than that they should feel bad about themselves — another aspect of the frivolity of evil. Moreover, if members of the elite acknowledged the social disaster brought about by their ideological libertinism, they might feel called upon to place restraints upon their own behavior, for you cannot long demand of others what you balk at doing yourself.” See: Theodore Dalrymple, “The Frivolity of Evil” City Journal Autumn, 2004.

3. British social critic and scientist Dr. Anthony Daniels, writing under the pen name Theodore Dalrymple, observes, “The elites cannot even acknowledge what has happened, however obvious it is, for to do so would be to admit their past responsibility for it, and that would make them feel bad. Better that millions should live in wretchedness and squalor than that they should feel bad about themselves — another aspect of the frivolity of evil. Moreover, if members of the elite acknowledged the social disaster brought about by their ideological libertinism, they might feel called upon to place restraints upon their own behavior, for you cannot long demand of others what you balk at doing yourself.” See: Theodore Dalrymple, “The Frivolity of Evil” City Journal, Autumn, 2004.

4. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil, 1651.

5. Erasmus Darwin imagined a cyclical evolution of life and creation by cyclical natural forces. “Thus all the suns, and the planets, which circle round them, may again sink into one central chaos; and may again by explosions produce a new world; which in process of time may resemble the present one, and at length again undergo the same catastrophe!” About biology he mused, “Perhaps millions of ages before the commencement of the history of mankind, would it be too bold to imagine that all warm blooded animals have arisen from one living filament which the first great cause endued with animality, with the power of acquiring new parts . . . . and thus possessing the faculty of continuing to improve by its own inherent activity, and of delivering down those improvements by generations to its posterity, world without end?”

6. Lucretius (ca 60BC) wrote that existing species were stronger and more cunning than those extinct. Plutarch (95AD) noted that wolves contribute to the survival of fast horses when they devour the slow ones. Alfred Russell Wallace, Darwin’s contemporary, passed ideas of natural selection to Darwin, who went to press with those ideas in 1859 before Wallace could do so.

7. The original title of Darwin’s 1859 work.

8. Justin Boland, “The Wit and Wisdom of Sir Francis Galton”, Skilluminati Research, August 9, 2007.

9. Socio-cultural evolutionist, the Marquis de Condorcet, listed ten stages, or “epochs”, the final one having started with the French Revolution, which was destined, in his eyes, to usher in the rights of man and the perfection of the human race.

10. Alexander Boot, How the West Was Lost (London: I. B. Tauris, 2006), p. 101.

11. “Ultimately, the moral cowardice of the intellectual and political elites is responsible for the continuing social disaster that has overtaken Britain, a disaster whose full social and economic consequences have yet to be seen. A sharp economic downturn would expose how far the policies of successive governments, all in the direction of libertinism, have atomized British society, so that all social solidarity within families and communities, so protective in times of hardship, has been destroyed.” See: Theodore Dalrymple, “The Frivolity of Evil,” City Journal, Autumn, 2004.

12. According to Wikipedia, August Comte, known as father of sociology, formulated the law of three stages: human development progresses from the theological stage, in which nature was mythically conceived and man sought the explanation of natural phenomena from supernatural beings, through metaphysical stage in which nature was conceived of as a result of obscure forces and man sought the explanation of natural phenomena from them until the final positive stage in which all abstract and obscure forces are discarded, and natural phenomena are explained by their constant relationship.

13. Daniels is perhaps England’s most astute agnostic, a cultural observer and critic nonpareil. He generally writes for national and international publications under the pen name Theodore Dalrymple.

14. Theodore Dalrymple, “How to Read a Society,” City Journal, Spring, 2000.

15. Theodore Dalrymple, “The Brutish British,” The Spectator, January, 24, 2003.

16. “The British welfare state is neither the most extensive nor the most generous in the world, and yet our rates of social pathology — public drunkenness, drug-taking, teenage pregnancy, venereal disease, hooliganism, criminality — are the highest in the world. Something more was necessary to produce this result.” See: Anthony Daniels, “The Frivolity of Evil,” City Journal, Autumn, 2004.

17. “There are pleasures, no doubt, to be had in crying in the wilderness, in being a man who thinks he has seen further and more keenly than others, but they grow fewer with time. The wilderness has lost its charms for me.
I’m leaving — I hope for good.” See: Anthony Daniels, “The Frivolity of Evil”, City Journal, Autumn, 2004.

18. Theodore Dalrymple, “The brutish British,” The Spectator, January 4, 2003.

19. Theodore Dalrymple, “A Murderess’s Tale,” City Journal, Winter, 2005.

20. This popular British national air was originally included in Alfred, a masque about Alfred the Great co-written by Thomson and Mallet and first performed at Cliveden, country home of Frederick, Prince of Wales, on 1 August 1740, to commemorate the accession of George I and the birthday of the Princess Augusta. The second stanza: “The nations, not so blest as thee, Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall; While thou shalt flourish great and free, The dread and envy of them all. Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves: ‘Britons never, never, never will be slaves.’”

21. Theodore Dalrymple, “The brutish British”, The Spectator, January 4, 2003.

22. Theodore Dalrymple, “The nation is quite drunken enough”, The Telegraph, January 4, 2005.

About the Author

Geoffrey BotkinGeoffrey Botkin is a cultural analyst, political consultant, veteran filmmaker, husband, and father. He currently serves as a senior consultant to the Western Conservatory of the Arts & Sciences. His works include some of the most controversial and widely watched public affairs films of the last twenty years, reaching viewers across the US, Russia, Europe, and Australia.