Social Darwinism is just Darwinism. Social Darwinism is just the rational assumption that mankind does not exist in a special bubble, cut off from forces we see at work every time we turn on National Geographic.
The common retort is that “social Darwinism” is merely a just-so story concocted post-hoc to explain away the effects of discrimination. There are haves and have-nots, power and oppression, and in my mind it is an obvious statement to say that such things are inevitable or “natural” given the dynamics of life on Earth. To others, however, by saying it I am erasing the real culprits, the real agents of inequality among humans: discrimination, privilege, and so on. Nothing natural about those. Combat them, and you will see equality flourish.
But this is a misunderstanding. Discrimination and privilege are absolutely a part of the natural order of things that we see at work on National Geographic.
Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) have a stark hierarchy of who does and who does not get to soak in the hot springs. There is a certain class privilege given to young macaques who are lucky enough to be born to dominant females. They get the warm waters of the hot springs; the others are quite literally left out in the cold.
Elk regularly face discrimination—the ones who are weak, elderly, retarded are the ones who will be eaten by the wolves, not the ones who are strong, young, able. Clearly, ageism and able-bodied privilege are at work on the arctic tundra, and the consequences are not psychological but a matter of life and death.
Rape-culture is rampant in nature. Just the other day, at the zoo, I saw a male lion humping a female lion despite her obvious displeasure and anger. Yet she was weaker and smaller than the male lion, and had nowhere to run.
Privilege, discrimination, rape-culture . . . the academic concepts of the Progressives are merely labels for behaviors that we see across the animal kingdom, and it is the existence of privilege, discrimination, and rape culture across the animal kingdom that completely undermines the utility of these concepts—they are supposed to name uniquely human (and therefore alterable) phenomena. But as spending five minutes in front of a wildlife documentary will demonstrate, they are not uniquely human phenomena. They exist in the non-human world. So the onus is on the progressives: what makes you think you can change the behavior of the human animal any more than you can stop dominant macaques from keeping the other macaques out of the hot springs?