Monday, 10 June 2013

How the rightwing loves and hates Darwin.

Rick Perry considers himself a biblical literalist. So much so that he flirts with throwing rocks over Jefferson's the wall of separation of church and state, by holding stadium sized prayer meetings.  The Texas State Board of Education has experienced some capture in an attempt to diminish understanding of Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Texans will remember how Perry funded oil industry tax cuts, by cutting social programs, CPS, and education budgets.

The Concerned Women of America express fear that teaching the fact of evolution would essentially result in social Darwinism. But it seems other rightwing groups don't have a problem with a Darwinian society, especially those calling themselves libertarians.

And yet, a social Darwinist society, is the very type of society that we see emerging from "supply side economics". In which the interests of the wealthy are served at the expense of the poor and middle class society. Indeed the principle of this in specifically criticized by Richard Dawkins in his hour long interview with Wendy Wright of Concerned Women of America, in which he states it would not desirable to have a society in which the rich prey on the poor.

An examination of the 60 years to 2010, reveals the effect of Gordon Gekko's "Greed is ... good" which went on to say "Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit."

Earnings Growth1950-801980-2010
Lower 90%$13,222
Top 0.01%$2.4m

The rising tide did raise all boats until Reaganomics (or "Rigonomics") left the majority of Americans in dry dock. America's economy has grown and increased the net wealth of the nation but where is that wealth going? Certainly not to the lowest 10% their incomes have decreased in real terms by 4.4% .

It mainly goes to people like the Walton heirs, the Koch brothers and wall street speculators. The people who think proverty means having to sell your second summer home in upstate New York and who fix interest rates for bribes like day-old sushi rolls. And what do they do with all this money. Gambling. Not at Los Vegas, well not much compared to what they throw into the derivatives markets - remember that thing that imploded in 2008. Nek Minit, The US Government/Tax Payer is on the hook for a bailout for the bad "gambling" debts of the Wall Street Banksters.

Walmart is interesting, It costs the American Tax Payer $900k for each store, because the wages they offer are so low, staff must use welfare entitlements to survive. The same entitlements which are targets for downward pressure in yet more tax breaks for Corporations and the Wealthy. President Obama is not playing this game. And GOP is repelling, even blackmailing, the administration, and perhaps the nation to  be allowed to loot the public purse/wallet to fund their gambling habit.

The rightwing also embrace Ayn Rand's doctrine of Objectivism which might be described as the philosophy of the Sociopath. Indeed one particular sociopath caught attention of Ayn Rand and became the target of high praise from her for his shrugging off social norms. He became notable at the for kidnapping, dismembering and attempting to ransom a 12 year old girl.

This doctrine is used just to justify actions that many would consider immoral, even those who consider themselves conservatives. For example, many employers  like to be good employers, for example CostCo, and see staff as assets to be maximized, rather than cost to minimized. Seeing staff as liabilities, discourages training investment that leads to operational problems for the business, cutting profits, and further cutting staff, in an endless drain circling cycle. Investing in staff, however, minimizes problems and maximises profits, and makes paying a living wage possible. But, rightwingers will say "Corporations have the right to do anything to maximize profit", which is often a response to criticism of poisoned water tables. It seems they miss the concept that doing good things, valuing people, particularly staff, and natural resources on which they depend, can be more profitable than reinvented slavery, or environmental vandalism. Tourists don't exactly flock to fracking dump sites to admire the spectacle of dead or deformed wild life.

Ultimately, the irony is the evolution by natural selection is a beautiful, compelling and useful explanation of natural history without which much of medicine would little more than voodoo, while social Darwinism is a doctrine that would replicate the predation and vicious aspect of wild species. Is it possible they don't get irony? Certainly not this particular irony.

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