It should not come as news that conservatives, particularly those of the religious variety, are disproportionately at the receiving end of media ridicule. One of the most incessant of jabs taken at the religious right is that they tend to deny evolution. If this is the case, one wonders: why is it that if the left is the self-proclaimed “party of Darwin,” its adherents are the ones advocating positions contrary to Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Darwin’s theory holds that life is a competition, and that those organisms with the genetic aptitude to prosper, that is the fitness to thrive, are the ones who will “win” this competition and pass on their genes. Over time, the genetic code of a species naturally adapts in accordance with the inherited fitness of their forefathers.
To reiterate: the main takeaway from natural selection is that competition is both an inextricable part of nature, and the impetus for evolution. With that being the case, it is hypocritical for the self-anointed “party of Darwin” to expresses such anti-competitive sentiments.
The progressives who gleefully deride creationists are the same progressives who seek a larger role for the state. Overwhelmingly, they feel private enterprise is something that needs to be reeled in by way of government regulations. However, there is a preponderance of both hard evidence and timeless economic wisdom, that excessive regulations stifle market competition, and in turn, do more harm than good.
An empirical study from the Mercatus Center, a free-market think tank out of George Mason University, concluded that regulation “inhibits business growth and job creation while protecting larger, existing businesses.” The study suggests that as the regulatory burden of the state grows, and starting a new business becomes increasingly difficult, the market becomes less competitive. This in turn costs jobs and growth, all while protecting the larger, established companies, which are better equipped to deal with all the red tape.
It is the contention of many capitalists that aside from job creation and business growth, deregulation would also benefit consumers and catalyze innovation. With new competitors able to enter the market unmolested by the state, competition should heat up, and businesses of all levels would be pushed to offer better products and services to customers. In a truly competitive market, complacency does not go unpunished. Innovation and adaptability are key to the survival of a business (i.e. “species”).
As a rebuttal, a socialist-Darwinian may invoke group selection. Group selection is the less accepted theory that natural selection occurs at a group level rather than individual, and that therefore altruistic populations can out-compete groups of selfish individuals. This interpretation could be used to argue that economic collectivism is better in the Darwinian sense, as socialism can take care of our species as a whole.
This is, however, misguided thinking; besides being more innovative, capitalist societies are also more altruistic than socialist ones. The more the government takes on the burdens of providing products, services, and taking care of the poor, the less they become the responsibility of everyday people working together. This, along with the fact capitalism creates abundance, may help explain why free-market economies consistently rank high among the World Giving Index’s most charitable nations. In case you were wondering, the United States has placed in the top two countries in each of the past four years.
To oppose capitalism is to oppose competition, and to oppose competition is anti-Darwinian in every sense. As a whole, liberals may be more likely to say they believe in Darwin’s theory, but it seems conservatives are more likely to appreciate the value of competition, whether that be supporting free-market economics or denouncing the “participation trophy” culture. The worldview of any given conservative creationist is likely more Darwinian than that of the biology student who fawns over Bernie Sanders. With that in mind one wonders: who’s really the “party of Darwin”?