November 26, 2009

Social harmony versus soulless individualism

Daniel Todes ascribes the initial rejection of Darwin's ideas by some Russian commentators to a cultural reaction to the metaphor of the struggle for existence.
Russia's economy, political structure and culture also contrasted sharply with those in the United Kingdom. Capitalism was only weakly developed and political supporters of the two most important classes, rich landlords and peasants, spoke the language of communalism — stressing not individual initiative and struggle, but the importance of cooperation within social groups and the virtues of social harmony. Russian political commentators of the left, right and centre reviled Malthus as an apologist for predatory capitalism and soulless individualism.

Those comfortable with tyrannical systems have long been fond of equating more freedom with less soul and less harmony.

No comments:

Post a Comment