Skip to comments.Darwinism's Dilemma (part II: Hard Man)
Posted on 02/07/2003 8:22:41 PM PST by Ethan Clive Osgoode
Darwinism's Dilemma (part I: Cave Man)
Darwinism's Dilemma (part II: Hard Man)
WHAT I CALL the Hard Man way of trying to reconcile Darwinism with human life is very different from the Cave Man way. The latter, as we saw, embraces the Darwinian theory, but then, in the case of man in historical times, illogically makes an exception to that theory. But the Hard Man despises that kind of feeble inconsistency: like the Earl of Strafford, his motto is "Thorough." He says that the Darwinian theory of evolution is true without exception, and it is just too bad for any appearances, that there are or may be in human life, which contradict that theory. They must be delusive appearances, that's all. Underneath the veneer of civilization, the Hard Man says, and even under the placid surface of everyday domesticity, human life is really just as constant and fierce a struggle for survival as is the life of every other species.
"Social Darwinists" is the name which is usually given to the people who take this way out of Darwinism's dilemma. But everyone agrees that it is a very inexpressive name. My name, "Hard Men," is preferable for several reasons. One is, that only a hard man, in the sense of a rigidly doctrinaire one, could possibly believe what these people do. Another reason ins that what they believe implies that human life is an incomparably harder affair than anyone else has ever taken it to be.
Hard Men hold, then, that life among human beings is no less a ruthless competition for survival than it is among pines, or cod, or flies. It follows that in human life, as in the life of those other species, there is no care of the sick, the old, the poor, the afflicted, or the mad, and no protection of the innocent within a community, or protection of the community itself from hostile communities. In plain English: there aren't really any such things in human life as hospitals, charities either public or private, priesthoods, police, armies, or governments.
Of course no one, not even the Hardest Man, actually says this, at least in print. You would have to be not just hard but mad to say so. All the same, it is what the Hard man way out of Darwinism's dilemma really amounts to.
But that is it, then, that the Hard Men in their extensive writings do say? Why, this. Instead of saying, what according to their own theory, they sould say, that unemployment relief (for example) is impossible, they say it is deplorable. (Because it actually increases poverty, both by rewarding economic dependence and by penalizing independence.) Instead of saying, what their own theory implies, that a hospital among human beings is inconceivable, like a hospital among flies, they say that hospitals are injurious to our species. (Because they enable unfit persons to survive and reproduce.) Instead of saying, what Darwinism really implies, that governments and priesthoods are hallucinations, they say that they are harmful. (Because they interfere with or negate the salutary processes of competition and natural selection.)
In this way a very curious historical fact has come about. Namely, that the writings of the Darwinian Hard Men make up, not at all what you would have expected, a literature of the biology and natural history of our species, but a literature of moral and political exhortation instead. Hard Men say that competition for survival, and the natural selection which results from it, are processes just as inevitable among humans as they are among pines or flies. Yet every page they write is written in order to prevent those processes being interfered with or negated: that is, to prevent the inevitable being led astray!.
In fact the whole of Hard Man literature can be epitomized as follows.People who are kind-hearted but ignorant of biology are always attempting, by means of such things as hospitals or unemployment relief, to suspend the law of the preferential survival of those organisms which are best fitted to succeed in the struggle for life. But they might as well try to suspend the law of gravitation, and the only result of their efforts, though also the invariable result, is a greater or lesser degeneration of the human stock.In short, things like hospitals and unemployment relief are, at the same time, both impossible and injurious.
The inconsistency of this is not as immediately obvious as that of the Cave Man way out. Still, it is obvious enough. Or, in case it is not, I will say that the inevitable cannot--logically cannot--be led astray. If (for example) hospitals and unemployment relief really do interfere with or negate the processes of competition and natural selection, then those processes are not inevitable. If they are inevitable, then they really are inevitable, and there is not the smallest need for anyone to exert himself to prevent their being interfered with or negated. In particular there is no need for, and indeed no sense in, Hard Men writing books in order to warn us of the biological dangers of interfering with those processes. You cannot interfere with inevitable processes.
But of course this inconsistency has not stopped Darwinian Hard Men writing many books with that very purpose. One of the most influential of these, and one of the best too, is Herbert Spencer's The Man versus the State (1884).
This book is a powerful polemic against the encroachments of modern governments on the liberty of individuals. That is a real enough subject (to put it mildly) and one which is nowadays of rather more poignant interest than it was in 1884. But on every page of Spencer's book the characteristic Hard Man absurdity, of trying to prevent the inevitable from being led astray, lies like a tombstone. The evils which Spencer inveighs against are real, indeed. But they happen also to be ones which, if his own view of man were true, could not possibly exist.
Spencer's view of man is essentially Darwinian. But then, what is this things, the state, doing in a Darwinian view of human life? How could there be a state, where there is constant, universal, unrestrained--and mostly unsuccessful--competition merely to live? think of parallel cases. If a Darwinian writer, in giving an account of fly life, were to mention the existence of fly hospitals, everyone would see the absurdity at once. Similarly, if a Darwinian writer, in giving an account of pine life, were to tell us that there is a pine priesthood, or unemployment relief for "disadvantaged" pines. In the same way, there should be no mention, in a Darwinian account of human life, of such a thing as state. From the Darwinian point of view, Spencer could just as sensibly have written a book called The Fly versus the Fly State, or Pines Against Big Pine Government.
And yet, for all its absurdity, it is very easy to understand how The Man versus the State came to be written. By 1884 the franchise in Britian had been extended to include virtually all adult males, with many results which could be easily forseen. One of these results, which Spencer could see happening, and which by 1884 even a blind man could have seen, was that taxation was already obligating the middle and upper classes to have fewer children, in order that governments could support the irrepressible flood of offspring of the poor. But on the hand, Darwinism says that population always presses on the supply of food, and that, from this pressure, competition for survival, and natural selection, must always ensue. Well, then, if Darwinism is an article of faith with you, as it was with Spencer, things like hospitals and unemployment relief are bound to look like wicked attempts to mislead the inevitable.
But it was the eugenics movement which was easily the most spectacular example of Darwinian hard Men struggling manfully to keep the inevitable from going wrong. This movement stemmed originally from the writings of Darwin himself (although you were not then, and are not now, supposed to say so.) But its official founder and leader, and the man who coined the word "eugenics," was his cousing, friend and disciple, Francis Galton. By about 1880 Galton had become convinced, and had begun convincing others, that some eugenic measures--or what might be called measures of "quality control in humans"--were absolutely imperative for Britain.
The eugenists leave us in no doubt as to why they thought this. It was because, in late nineteenth-century Britain, the fittest people were visibly not outbreeding the less fit. In fact the boot was on the other foot. The overwhelming tide of philanthropic and egalitarian sentiment had brought about a population in which there was (as several writers put it at the time) a preferential "survival of the unfittest." That is, a preferential rate of reproduction by the indolent, the improvident, the unintelligent, the dishonest, the constitutionally weak, the carriers of hereditary disease, the racially inferior, and so on.
Of course other people might have drawn, from these same facts, a conclusion very different from the one that the eugenists drew. They might simply have concluded that Darwin's theory of evolution is false. After all, a eugenist does not have to be a Darwinian. Plato, for example, was a eugenist thousands of years before Darwinism was thought of.
Strictly speaking, there was one other conclusion which Darwinians could have drawn from the demographic facts which terrified them: namely, that the mentally defective, the carriers of hereditary disease, and so on, were actually fitter than the average upper middle class Britons. But this would have required the superior fitness of one group of organisms to another to be identified with its having a higher rate of actual reproduction: an idea which, though it is neo-Darwinian orthodoxy at the present day, really is as ridiculous as Galton would have thought it. For suppose it were true, and suppose Jack decides to have children by Jill, though he through genetic misfortune is blind, violent, and of sub-normal intelligence, while she has inherited deafness, syphilis, and AIDS. Then even the best medial advisor could only say to these intending parents something like the following: "It's no good asking me or anyone else whether you two are fit, or how fit you are. That can bo known only after you have finished reproducing. If you manage to leave behind you more children than the average couple, that will prove you are fitter than the averag couple, or rather it will be your superior fitness. But there's only one way to find out, so off you trot and get stuck into it. You could be lucky. Beethoven's father, remember, was a genetic disaster."
Galton and the other eugenists should really have concluded, then, from their demographic facts, that Darwinism is false. These facts, (I should perhaps emphasize), though the eugenists certainly over-colored them, were real enough, and frightening enough too; just like that expansion of the state which very properly frightened Herbert Spencer. But of course if would have been entirely out of the question, a psychological impossibility, for someone like Galton to come to the the conclusion that Darwinism is false.
Galton's intellectual and emotional situation was therefore this. On the one hand there was Darwin's theory of evolution. If it is true, then competition for survival is always going on in every species, and as a result natural selection is always going on too. Therefore, preferential survival of the organsisms best fitted to succeed in the struggle for life is inevitable. But on the other hadn there were, right before his eyes, the quite oppressive demographic realities of contemporary Britain. What could poor Galton possibly be expected to conclude, except that the inevitable was being led astray, and need the help of people like himself in order to be put back on the rails?
Was Darwin himself free from this characteristic inconsistency of Darwinian Hard Men? Some justly respected writers imply that he was, and even that he was not really a Social Darwinist or Hard Man at all. But they are mistaken. Consider, for example, the following paragraph from The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (second edition, 1874).With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.This will be admitted to be the utterance of a Hard-enough Man, at any rate. In particular, it is plainly the utterance of a eugenist. Yet it was published in 1874: that is, at a time when eugenics was hardly even a gleam in francis Galton's eye. Nor is it the utterance of one of the softer eugenists, either: think about Darwin's reference here to the singular folly of "allowing one's worst animals to breed."
But if further evidence is needed that Darwin was, sometimes at least, a Darwinian Hard man, the following two paragraphs will supply it.Man scans with scrupulous care the character and pedigree of his horses, cattle, and dogs before he matches them; but when he comes to his own marriage he rarely, or never, takes any such care. He is impelled by nearly the same motives as the lower animals, when they are left to their own free choice, though he is in so far superior to them that he highly values mental charms and virtues. On the other hand he is strongly attracted by mere wealth or rank. Yet he might by selection do something not only for the bodily constitution and frame of his offspring, but for their intellectual and moral qualities. Both sexes ought to refrain from marriage if they are in any marked degree inferior in body or mind; but such hopes are Utopian and will never be even partially realised until the laws of inheritance are thoroughly known. Everyone does good service, who aids towards this end. When the principles of breeding and inheritance are better understood, we shall not hear ignorant members of our legislature rejecting with scorn a plan for ascertaining whether or not consanguineous marriages are injurious to man. The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand, as Mr. Galton has remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, whilst the reckless marry, the inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society. Man, like every other animal, has no doubt advanced to his present high condition through a struggle for existence consequent on his rapid multiplication; and if he is to advance still higher, it is to be feared that he must remain subject to a severe struggle. Otherwise he would sink into indolence, and the more gifted men would not be more successful in the battle of life than the less gifted. Hence our natural rate of increase, though leading to many and obvious evils, must not be greatly diminished by any means. There should be open competition for all men; and the most able should not be prevented by laws or customs from succeeding best and rearing the largest number of offspring.Of course it would be easy to find, in other authors, Harder-Man utterances than these. For example, in some of the writers who are quoted in R. Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought (1959): writers, that is, who used Darwinism to justify the economic activities of the "robber barons" of American capitalism about a hundred years ago. Not that even any of them was the Hardest Man of all Hard Men. That distinction belongs, as far as I know, to Adolf Hitler, an instructive quotation from whom can be found in M. Midgley's Evolution as a Religion (1985).
SOME OF THE other Hard Men, then, would undoubtedly go further than Darwin does in the passages just quoted, and would add other things which he would not at all have agreed with: perhaps some idiotic proposition about the racial inferiority of Jews, for example. But is there anything in the above passages which even the most rabid of the American Social Darwinists, or even Hitler himself, would have disagreed with? If there is, I have failed to detect it. These passages are, in fact, just standard issue Hard Man material, and contain its standard issue inconsistency. For they combine, in about equal proportions, suggestions that man is inevitably subject to natural selection, and suggestions that we will have to be right on our toes to make sure he stays that way.
The last two paragraphs quoted reveal, in addition to Darwin's eugenism, his opposition to the practice of contraception. Nor was he, as one might have expected, opposed to contraception only where what he calls "the better members of society" were concerned. He was emphatically opposed to contraception altogether. He were, in reply to a correspondent who had expected him to have a very different attitude to that subject, that "over-multiplication [is] useful, since it cause[s] a struggle for existence in which only the strongest and ablest survive..." So it is clear enough that Darwin considered contraception to be one of the dangers threatening to overwhelm the inevitable.
A Hard Man nowadays (like a good one according to the old song) is hard to find, at least in print: certainly far harder than a hundred years ago. But unfortunately it is impossible to determine how far this fact is due to a real change in what people believe. It may be more due to a change in what they are allowed to say. Out freedom of the press, except for really precious things like pornography, has greatly diminished in the last hundred years, and especially in the last twenty. In 1982 you could say in public print that women are intellectually inferior to men, that blacks are morally inferior to whites, that poor people are lazier than middle class ones, that Shi'ite Moslems are ignorant murderous fanatics, and so on. You cannot say so now. Or if you do by some fluke manage to get something of that sort into print, you will need to revise your own and your family's insurance policies, the terms of your employment contract, and your home secutiry.
So if nowadays Darwinian Hard Men are seldom to be met with, or at least to be identified, in print, the reason may simply be that they, and their editors and publishers, are frightened of such powerful and ruthless groups as feminists, blacks, Shi'ites, etc. My opinion, for whatever that is worth, is that this is the main reason for the apparent scarcity of Hard men. In reality, I suspect, there are still plenty of them, especially among those neo-Darwinians who have come to be called "sociobiologists." They are too scared to say what they think, that's all.
WHAT I CALL the Soft man way out can be quickly dealt with. Strictly speaking, it is not so much an attempt to resolve the inconsistency between Darwinism and human life, as a mere failure to notice that there is any inconsistency to be resolved.
The Soft Man is intellectually at ease. Having been to college, he believes all the right things: that Darwin was basically right, that Darwin bridged the gap between man and animals, etc., etc. He also believes, since he is not a lunatic, that there are such things as hospitals, welfare programs, priesthoods, and so on. But the mutual inconsistency of these two sets of beliefs never bothers him, or even occurs to him. He does not think that his Darwinism imposes any unpleasant intellectual demands on him. So he is not drawn to postulate, for example, as a concession to Darwinism, a period even in the remote past of all-out competition among people. He leaves that kind of thing to some of the television cartoons that five-year-olds watch. Still less does he think that his Darwinism requires him to advocate eugenics, or to oppose welfare programs, as the Hard Men do. In fact the politics of Darwinian Hard Men fill Soft Man with horror. They do, at any rate, until the suburb where he lives is taken over by blacks, or Shi'ite Moslems, or Croats, or Sikhs, or whatever.
The Soft Man is certainly the most appealing of the three ways out of Darwinism's dilemma, if we all agree to call it such a way at all. Utter helplessness almost always has something very appealing about it, and intellectual helplessness is no exception to this rule; while Soft Man is an extreme instance of such helplessness, or (in Samuel Johnson's phrase) of "unresisting imbecility."
But then, I do not really need to introduce Soft Man to you: you know him well. And the reason is, that he is you, and you, and--most of the time--me. We freeze to the marrow when we remember the hardest of all Darwinian Hard Men, and his gas ovens. But we also think that the person who put us basically right about man was the one who wrote, in a discussion of human life, of the unparalleled folly of allowing one's worst animals to breed.
I may add that Soft Man was also Charles Darwin himself: a fact which many Soft Men regard as a quite good enough excuse for the chaotic state of their own opinions about human life. Darwin's personal recipe for resolving Darwinism's dilemma was a mixture, in roughly equal proportions, of Hard Man and Soft Man, with just a dash--say 10 percent--of Cave Man thrown in. At the present day the most admired Darwinian chefs prefer to go a bit easier on the Hard Man ingredients; though that may simply be due, as I have suggested, to fear. Anyway, these disagreements among the experts are not so great that they need to concern mere street-Darwinians like ourselves.
 C. Darwin, The Descent of Man (2nd ed. 1874) vol. 1, pg. 205-6.
 C. Darwin, The Descent of Man vol. 2 pg. 438-9.
 Mary Midgley, Evolution as a Religion (1985), pg. 119.
 J.M. Robertson, A History of Freethought in the Nineteenth Century, (Dawsons of Pall mall, 1969), pg. 337. Robertson is reporting a letter from Darwin to Annie Besant.
will . . . create (( link )) - - - a cologne (( magic ointment )) --
called Affirmative Action (( govt science // evolution )) --
which makes ignorant people (( think // believe they )) smell educated (( tyrannical superiority complex )) ** ."
** . . . my additions !
With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
Some think your article builds a strawman. It seems as if Chuckie "hisself" also thought we were in this same struggle except that civilized men cheated and ought to stop doing so. If he did not think we were under the same rules as the other living creatures why would he mention what he did? Why would he make a strawman to pummel?
Darwin complains that we humans are behaving as if his theory were false, and we should quit doing that and get back to the business of living human life as if his theory were true. Quit defying Darwinism and get back to the universal, inexorable struggle for survival !!
"Straw man" has become the evo buzzword for "take that! I destroyed the argument with two words!" and is a refried approach to dismissing criticism with the lazy wave of a hand.
going to the fire // ash heap of history ! ! !
I got a magazine today. The cover story was "School's out for Darwinism." You might have seen it. The good news is that the courts are allowing criticism of evo in the public schools for a number of reasons, none of which would matter if darwinists had enough evidence to make their case... but the don't. I can see them stomping their feet before the court and insisting that it's true because most scientists believe it or some such nonsense.
...which just goes to show that both you and Osgood are working off the same distorted misrepresentations of evolutionary science. The typical creationist "critique" of evolution looks a lot like Tom Daschle's view of conservatism -- misunderstood from the ground up.
Part of what makes this whole ramble by Osgood a straw man is that it takes a side issue (the alleged moral implications of evolution) and then tries to pretend it is a square-on attack on evolution itself. It's not. Osgood doesn't get within ten miles of an actual examination of the physical and experimental evidence for evolution, nor does he attempt in the least to deal with the core of the theory itself. Osgood is in effect arguing that nuclear physics can't be right because if it were it would allow horrible bombs to be built which could kill millions. Unfortunately for Osgood, the correctness of a scientific theory does not depend on whether one might be horrified by the implications (and in Osgood's case, he's *really* stretching the alleged "implications").
Furthermore, he puts words and concepts into people's mouths based more on Osgood's own prejudices against "Darwninists" than on anything they might actually hold. And even when he quotes one (Darwin) he dishonestly takes the quote out of context to make it appear more "Hard" than it is. For example, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING the passage Osgood quotes Darwin writes, in the very same paragraph still:
Important as the struggle for existence has been and even still is, yet as far as the highest part of man's nature is concerned there are other agencies more important. For the moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, the reasoning powers, instruction, religion, etc., than through natural selectionOsgood could not possibly have missed this passage when he extracted the first half of the paragraph from it. Osgood is being remarkably dishonest -- he was trying to paint Darwin as what Osgood calls a "Hard man", and yet in the VERY SAME PARAGRAPH Darwin expresses a clear statement that man's "higher nature" owes it origins to such sources as man's customs, intelligence, learning, and *religion*.
Osgood is clearly just picking and choosing his points to bolster his own biases, and *not* trying to present a fair, balanced analysis of someone's views.
Finally, the loony, way-out-there nature of Osgood's rants can be seen when he makes such amazing assertions as, "Instead of saying, what Darwinism really implies, that governments and priesthoods are hallucinations...". Um, excuse me? "Darwinism" in no way implies that governments or priesthoods are "hallucinations". Nor can I recall ever reading any philosophy-of-science work which even remotely made any such ridiculous assertion. I'd like to know what fever-dream Osgood pulled *that* fantasy from. It's nothing that is either logically connected to evolution in any way, nor propounded by anyone I know of (present or past) who studies evolution. It is, quite simply, a straw man of the most extreme, worst type.
Clearly it's not a science magazine.
I need to dig it up, but somewhere around the web there's a web page where someone has hilariously compiled all the times, over the past 140 years, that someone has predicted the imminent collapse of evolution.
Practically every year, some anti-evolutionist declares that the fall of evolution is due any day now. Really, any day, just you wait...
Hey, stupid. Listen to me. First off, the name is Osgoode. Second, the writer of the essay is David Stove. Pay more attention next time before composing your standard mindless Darwinian regurgi-refutations.
My, aren't you charming. Where's that Abuse button? Ah, there it is...
First off, the name is Osgoode. Second, the writer of the essay is David Stove.
Direct your rant at Cicero, he made the original error when he wrote, "I really don't know what all this talk is about 'straw men,' since Osgood does, indeed, fairly represent what Darwinists and Social Darwinists have actually said". I was responding to him, and presumed he knew what he was saying -- silly me, I should know better than to assume that creationists can get even the simple stuff right.
Funny, you didn't blast *him*...
Pay more attention next time before composing your standard mindless Darwinian regurgi-refutations.
The part where you refuted my points seems to have gotten lost in transmission.
But yes, next time I'll do what I usually do, which is double-check anything a creationist says against original sources. My only excuse in this one case was that it was 3am my time, I was tired, and I was rushing to try to beat the impending "FreeRepublic going down for maintenance" deadline.
The Scientific American indirectly addressed your implication within a series of replies to creationist objections which were featured this past summer. I'll just post this as an FYI, in case you're interested:
4. Increasingly, scientists doubt the truth of evolution.
No evidence suggests that evolution is losing adherents. Pick up any issue of a peer-reviewed biological journal, and you will find articles that support and extend evolutionary studies or that embrace evolution as a fundamental concept.
Conversely, serious scientific publications disputing evolution are all but nonexistent. In the mid-1990s George W. Gilchrist of the University of Washington surveyed thousands of journals in the primary literature, seeking articles on intelligent design or creation science. Among those hundreds of thousands of scientific reports, he found none. In the past two years, surveys done independently by Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University and Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western Reserve University have been similarly fruitless.
Creationists retort that a closed-minded scientific community rejects their evidence. Yet according to the editors of Nature, Science and other leading journals, few antievolution manuscripts are even submitted. Some antievolution authors have published papers in serious journals. Those papers, however, rarely attack evolution directly or advance creationist arguments; at best, they identify certain evolutionary problems as unsolved and difficult (which no one disputes). In short, creationists are not giving the scientific world good reason to take them seriously.
To elaborate briefly with my own remarks: in order for the field of biology to abandon evolutionary science in the manner which you suggest, there must first exist at least some vague semblance of an alternative scientific exegesis. As of this point in time, that not only appears less than imminent, but indeed a rather speculative and remote possibility.
People call it a “strawman” argument because it is based on manifestly untrue premises. In reality man is not the only social animal. Other species can and do cooperate. Someone who takes care of their families IS more likely to pass down their genes to subsequent generations than someone who is purely out for themselves, (unless he makes up for his lack of quality with a lot of quantity). The claim that ruthless competition is the only way to maximise your chances of survival is wrong. In fact, ruthless competition can reduce your chances by causing others to regard you as a threat.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.