Darwinism and Racialism

In their eternal quest to prove that liberals are the “real racists”, many conservative Christians have tried to vilify Darwinism by arguing that it inevitably leads to a belief in eugenics and racial hierarchy. They reason that without Darwinism, the racialism of National Socialist Germany and other regimes would never had existed, and they imply that liberals who affirm Darwinism could turn “racist” at any moment. Conversely, on the far right some atheistic racialists blame Christian anti-Darwinism for our current racial predicament, reasoning that if only Darwinism were fully embraced, anti-racism would fall away. Both views are incorrect, and they are incorrect because they do not fully appreciate what the moral consequences of Darwinism are.

Taken by itself, the theory of Darwinism does have racialist implications. According to Darwinism, the process of natural selection led to the evolution of humans out of micro-organism. This process inevitably leads to differences in ability in every species and subspecies. The racialist Darwinists are therefore in a sense correct when they charge liberal Darwinists with intellectual dishonesty, for the liberal Darwinist is forced to affirm the absurd position that natural selection has led to differences in ability in every organ of every organism except for the human brain, which has miraculously evolved to the exact same condition in every human tribe and family regardless of environment or particular historical experience. Where the atheistic racialist goes wrong, however, is in failing to see that the chief consequence of Darwinism is a moral and intellectual libertinism that inevitably embraces anti-racialism.

Contrary to the claims of secularists, Darwinism’s immediate and widespread popularity was not due to a sudden scientific enlightenment. Rather it was due to fallen man’s ancient desire to become free of God’s moral commandments. If man was created by blind, random forces, then man has no sentient Creator to whom he owes obedience. This makes man autonomous when it comes to morality. Many 19th and early 20th century Darwinists would certainly be viewed as “racist” and right-wing by today’s standards, but this was because of the legacy of Christian civilization that still influenced the mores of Western society. As Darwinism became more widely accepted, autonomous man asserted his own understanding of morality more and more. “Archaic” institutions like the Church, the family, and the nation-state increasingly came under attack. Autonomous man thought that his knowledge of the evolutionary process gave him the ability to consciously reshape human existence and human nature. Schemes for an egalitarian, communistic, one-world government have been amongst the chief fruits of Darwinism. (Even in National Socialist Germany, which mixed traditional Christian ideals with Darwinism, there were those who thought they could re-write the rules of Christianity and morality based on their own human understanding.) Darwinism views human existence as an open-ended process, not a defined sphere with God-ordained limits of acceptable behavior. Under such an ideology, hedonism and sexual liberation will reign. Hedonism conflicts with racialism, because racialism demands that sexual relations be regulated not by pure pleasure, but by long-term considerations about the fitness of a mate. That is, the welfare of prospective children and the entire nation are put before the pleasure of the moment. The hedonism born of the Darwinist credo that “we are all just animals” cannot tolerate the restraints of racialism.

Darwinism cannot be separated from the libertinism that it implies. While it is certainly possible for some individuals to be both Darwinist and racialist, history shows us that Darwinism, hedonism, secularism and anti-racialism all go together. As evidence, I point out that religious institutions in the United States were the last holdouts against the tide of racial egalitarianism. The Southern Baptist Convention did not formally repudiate its support for racial segregation until 1995, and the evangelical Bob Jones University did not lift its ban on interracial dating until 2000. I can think of no Darwinist institutions or associations that resisted egalitarianism for so long. Fashionable secularists embraced Darwinism in the mid 19th century, and less than a century later these same secularists embraced the “civil rights” movement and full racial equality. In both cases it was Bible-believing Christians who led the resistance, and this is no accident. Racialism thrives when men believe in a sovereign God who has established human differences.

And finally, to any Christians who persist in thinking that all racialism is inherently Darwinist, I point out that the racial hierarchy that existed in the antebellum South was formed in a thoroughly Christian society and preceded the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859. It is impossible to charge Christian nationalists with Darwinism when it is our desire to return to an understanding of race the flourished prior to Darwinism.

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