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Darwinism Or, Biological Victorianism. Darwin, his own “origins” Charles Darwin, 1809-1882. Origin, 1859. Born into union of two High Capitalist families.

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Presentation on theme: "Darwinism Or, Biological Victorianism. Darwin, his own “origins” Charles Darwin, 1809-1882. Origin, 1859. Born into union of two High Capitalist families."— Presentation transcript:

1 Darwinism Or, Biological Victorianism

2 Darwin, his own “origins” Charles Darwin, Origin, Born into union of two High Capitalist families. Paternity:  grandfather Erasmus Darwin, upper-middle class—doctor (offered post of Royal Physician), naturalist, evolutionist, Maternity:  Both mother and wife were Wedgewoods—wealthy industrialists (“Wedgewood China,”) thus, also upper- middle-class.Wedgewood China

3 Darwin: his political ‘origins’ The upper-middle class, the industrialist class, wanted:  an end to the landed Gentry, to stable, hereditary titles and estates on the principle of noblesse oblige.  an end to local farming and produce and goods grown and exchanged locally and within the country on cultural pathways.  an end to cottage industry: families and local communities—villages—working on a system of co- operative independence to produce linens, pottery &c. The political system of the upper-middle class was Whig-ism or Liberalism.  [‘Tory’ is the term for their opponents.]

4 Darwin: his political ‘origins’, con’t Whig ideology promotes:  Free, or Liberal, Trade: Goods from other countries must enter the market freely, irrespective of their price, to compete with local economies. Local goods are then exported, with price (& costs) adjusted for the markets around the globe.  ‘economy’ from Greek work for “household”  Expansion of British control of raw materials in other parts of the globe: i.e. an Empire.  Prices of goods and services—including wages—must be set on a Free Market: that is, a market where everyone is free to compete (say, of labour) by working harder, or longer, or more cheaply. Their political method of overturning the Tory principles of stability in local culture, economies, and history, (a Moral view) was ‘Free competitive voting’—i.e. universal franchise. (a instrumental view.)

5 Darwin: his political ‘origins’, con’t Whig ideology, then, assumes: 1. Universal competition among independent (i,e. free) atomic units. 2. A view of history that emphasises progress and development. – These ideas represent, as it came to be called, Capitalism 1. competition, or struggle 2. atomic individualism 3. progress and development – In the mind and from the pen of an heir from among the most successful of the Capitalist class, these ideas are written in a way that establishes them as being natural—one of Nature’s Laws, like Newton’s ‘law of gravity.’ – Charles Darwin creates and publishes a system of Natural Law, wherein biology—vegetable, animal and human all—operates on Whig principles. – Thus, Darwin’s triumph was to write a book—Origin of Species— which persuaded (and, indeed, still persuades) Western culture that to oppose Capitalism is to oppose a law of Nature.

6 Darwin: On the Origin of Species Written as, technically speaking, a rhetorical work: “the art of using language for persuasion.” Darwin’s case, to present an unfamiliar, and likely unwelcome, idea in familiar language and with the appearance of a familiar, and welcome, discourse.  The Idea was mechanistic evolution: “Natural Selection.”  The familiar & welcome discourse was Capitalism & Naturalism.

7 Wikipedia Contagion Alert  “While Malthus's work does not itself qualify as Social Darwinism, his 1798 work An Essay on the Principle of Population, was incredibly popular and widely read by social Darwinists....According to Michael Ruse, Darwin read Malthus' famous Essay on a Principle of Population in 1838, four years after Malthus' death.” WIKIPEDIA: “Social Darwinism” IDIOT!  “A struggle for existence inevitably follows from the high rate at which all organic beings tend to increase…. It is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdom.” Charles Darwin: On the Origin of Species….

8 John Henry, Cardinal Newman Poet: intellectual, intense, sensitive An Anglican minister who famously wrote defenses of ‘High Anglicanism’—the Tractarian movement. Via media: ‘middle way’  ‘English’ characteristic Became a Catholic, eventually a Cardinal

9 John Henry, Cardinal Newman, Cont’ Attacked by Charles Kingsley: author (Water Babies) & ‘muscular Christian’ Muscular Christianity: emphasised the carpenter-Jesus, who threw money-lender out the Temple Boy Scouts is a muscular Christian movement Team Sports—leagues, rules etc.– muscular Christian invention.  Kingsley accused Newman of dishonesty (explicitly—”truth for its own sake has never been a virtue with the Roman clergy….”) and effeminacy, implicitly. Apologia Pro Vita Sua: “Justification for my Way of Life.”

10 Thomas Henry Huxley Grandfather of:  Aldous Huxley—author of Brave New World.  Julian Huxley—Darwinian & coiner of Transhumanism: improve humanity by eguenics, genetic modification & environmentalism. Middle-class (father was a schoolteacher) who became self- taught scientist, public policy administrator, and Evangelist for Darwin’s doctrine of natural selection. Coined the word “Agnosticism”:  Means ‘not Gnostic’: i.e. Knowledge is Empirical rather than Mystical or Spiritual.

11 Thomas Henry Huxley: ‘Darwin’s bulldog’….but not his lapdog.  Darwin was a recluse, and a severe valetudinarian related, modern biographers & scholars richly speculate, to his fears about the consequences of his own theory Huxley was the public voice—at debates and in writing—advocating and explaining mechanical evolution (Huxley was not convinced that natural selection was a valid theory) and, generally, promoting physical science over moral, literary & humanistic education.

12 Thomas Henry Huxley: ‘Darwin’s bulldog’….but not his lapdog, cont’ He is an essentially English writer, and an ‘eminent Victorian,’ exemplifying the Via Media character of England.  Modern case is Anthony Giddens, sociologist, author of “Third Way’ society – Tony Blair, New Labour: between Margaret Thatcher’s conservatism and Marxist control by State. Huxley: via media between mechanism and theism. So, Huxley denounced classical & literary education while succeeding by command of classical and literary style: orally and in print. “Augustan”.


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