Ruthless ; 'Social Darwinism'

Article excerpt

A century and a half ago, Charles Darwin jolted the world when he postulated that modern animals evolved from earlier ones - chiefly through a gory "survival of the fittest" process in which less-fit creatures starved, were eaten, had their eggs and babies devoured, or otherwise met dismal ends.

Afterward, the concept of "social Darwinism" arose. It contends that superior people naturally dominate the less-competent and thus gain power and wealth. This view was popular among America's notorious "robber barons" and other extreme conservatives. The theory also was used to "prove" white racial superiority.

A couple of weeks ago, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget plan drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wis., that would slash Medicare and other "safety net" programs for average Americans, while giving still-larger tax giveaways to the rich.

GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney called the Ryan budget "marvelous." Rep. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., supported it, but West Virginia's other House Republican, Rep. David McKinley, joined Democrats in opposing it, saying: "I can't support a plan that cuts Medicare, removes widely used tax credits for homeowners and health care, and still doesn't balance the budget for 28 years. …