Monday, November 19, 2007

The stupidity of Denyse O'Leary.

I swear, you're not going to believe someone actually wrote this:

World of ideas: A leftist critique of social Darwinism

In The Nation, Daniel Brook writes,

Social Darwinism is the ideology of Gilded Ages, times of stunning inequality and declining social mobility. Social Darwinism takes the manifest injustice of a socially ossified society and argues that its very ossification proves that such a society is just. You can see it in David Brooks's New York Times column when he reassures a nation in which predatory lending now serves the function once played by sharecropping that the "rich don't exploit the poor; they just outcompete them." You can also see it in The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. For Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein, survival of the fittest proves that rich Americans deserve their wealth and poor Americans deserve their poverty. Clark merely applies the theory globally to rich countries and poor countries.

To the social Darwinist, it is societies with high degrees of intergenerational social mobility that are, in fact, the most backward. They have yet to allow all the talented to rise to the top. By contrast, the most ossified societies are the most advanced, for they have already allowed the best to ascend, where they continue to reproduce superior offspring. Thus, the meritocratic filtering period was always in the past. Perhaps, as the first social Darwinists argued, it was at the dawn of human history? Or, as Clark argues, in the Middle Ages? Or, as Mickey Kaus suggested in his 1992 book, The End of Equality, just a generation ago? Whenever it was, it is not now. The wheat has already been separated from the chaff. A few were already riding high long ago, and the rest continue to be run over.

As James Watson’s recent daring descent down Mt. Improbable has recently demonstrated, in the present age of political correctness, social Darwinism is a career killer irrespective of merits or lack thereof.

So, Deynse is all a-twitter that a "leftist" would take exception with "social Darwinism."

Well, duh.

How much of an imbecile must you be to propose that biological evolution provides a justification for "social Darwinism?" Honestly, I'm not sure where to even begin disemboweling O'Leary's idiocy, or just write it off as too asinine to merit a response.

I'll give it some thought. Right now, I think I'll just go drink heavily.


Balbulican said...

Well, it says, "social", like Socialism, right? And leftists like Darwin right? So it MUST be a lefty idea. Obviously.

J said...

Leftists have for the last half century always been the ones opposing Social Darwinism. Some supported in its early days, but the rightwing has always had a great many Social Darwinists, from its earliest days to the present.

pretty shaved ape said...

social darwinism - survival of the richest

socialism - not so much

denyse o'leary = turnip

M@ said...

As a member of the Writers Union of Canada, I was rather pleased to receive an invitation today not only to Denyse's upcoming reading at a Toronto Indigo, but also to a coffee-and-cake gathering at her personal residence -- address and directions supplied -- afterwards.

I don't know if I can possibly pass on personally meeting Ms O'Leary. She also asked everyone to pass it on to friends who might be interested. Anyone want to come with? I'm sure we could engage her in a delightful exchange of ideas.

(Note that I'm not suggesting any kind of disruption or untoward behaviour. Also note that I won't be giving out Denyse's address -- even if Richard Evans offered me $500, I wouldn't do that.)

Ti-Guy said...

I doubt interacting substantively with Denyse O'Leary would lead to anything useful.

You know the takes a knowledgeable person days of argument and documented evidence to refute what a wingnut can spit out in a second.

CC said...


By all means, suck it up and check it out, and report back whether O'Leary is either:

a) pathetically dishonest, or
b) abysmally stupid

Because, really, those are your only two choices.