If you are “young”, by that I mean forty years old or less, you have probably not read Charles Darwin’s signature work, “On The Origin Of Species”. It was published in 1859 and was a record of his observations on how mankind and other species then living on planet earth had evolved from lower, less successful forms of life.
The work flew in the face of people of religious belief who held the view that mankind was Divinely created and was put upon this Earth, as is. We had not descended from monkeys or anything else as Darwin claimed.
Darwin’s book was extremely controversial and Hollywood made a movie about it, “Inherit The Wind”. This was the story of the Scopes trial, in which a Tennessee school teacher taught Darwin’s theory to his High School students in violation of the laws of the state.
The movie was extremely well done and the cast included such Hollywood greats as Frederic March and Spencer Tracey playing the prosecuting and defense attorneys, respectively and Dick York, best remembered as Samantha’s husband on “Bewitched” playing the role of Bertram T. Cates, the movie’s version of John Thomas Scopes, the teacher who had been brought before the bar of justice.
Central to Darwin’s observations was the fact that weaker, less successful species either died off or evolved in order to withstand the brutalities of nature. Some species were victims and others were their predators. The mere act of survival was paramount to everything else. There would be some logic in that on which we all might agree. After all, you cannot write a “Declaration of Independence” or “The Minute Waltz” or accomplish anything else if you have been killed by a stronger opponent.
The initial verdict in the Scopes trial was that the defendnant was guilty. (That conviction was ultimately overturned on a technicality). When the matter was finally resolved legally, it was loudly applauded as a victory for science. Those of a religious mindset were stunned that God’s Word had been legally nullified. The case was tried in 1925.
In the nearly 90 years since the Scopes trial was heard and adjudicated, those who are “progressives” (some of whom may actually have heard of this case or read Darwin’s underlying work) have labored hard to replace religion with science. Their efforts have not gone unrewarded. But there is a subtext to Darwin’s thesis that, ”successful species evolve to maintain their continuation.” It is the manner in which they accomplish that primary goal of survival.
If you have ever watched Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, or read an issue of “National Geographic Magazine” you know that in any herd of animals, those who are weak or old, frail or young, are often sacrificed by the collective so that the strong may breed and pass on their superior genes to future generations. The weak and less efficient in the heard truly play a role in the collective’s well-being – as victims.
Is there a corollary between the survival techniques of other animals and mankind? Are not those whose lives are dependent on government “entitlement” programs our weak and frail, our old and young? Would not many of these perish were it not for the beneficence of the collective?
But what if in our “brave new world” the majority were to view them as too plentiful in number and decided to cull the herd? This would certainly be rational Darwinian practice. They would be fed to the herd’s predators with no thought for the individual’s interests – keeping in mind only the objective of the collective.
When the last of the weak had been devoured, the collective might notice something that we have seen repeat itself throughout history. Their old enemies, and perhaps some new ones, will still be circling the fringes of the heard, waiting for their opportunity to fulfill their own mission of survival and looking for the weakest members among those who remain. The question that the herd must then address is, whom shall we select next as our sacrificial victims?