The Clare Spark Blog

December 10, 2019

Richard Hofstadter on Social Darwinism in American Thought, 1865-1915 (1944)

Filed under: Uncategorized — clarelspark @ 8:20 pm

/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hofstadter. Read this Wiki bio first. As Wiki describes, though RH started out as a Red, he soon switched to social democracy. His negative opinion of Darwin was rejected by later Red graduate students at UCLA: I don’t know why (see below), especially as RH rejected materialism and the abuse of science here.

Indeed, RH wrote this early book in the tradition of Charles Beard (see https://clarespark.com/2018/05/29/progressive-legacy-to-democratic-party/), and other confusing Progressives, and yet was an inspiration to later Red historians and the New Left generation who similarly denounced racism, imperialism, expansionism, and the Industrial Revolution that exploited immigrants. And like the Progs, RH embraced pragmatism (Peirce, William James, and John Dewey). 

I suppose that Darwin became fashionable during the climate change offensive, though his views on marriage were retrograde. (See https://clarespark.com/2011/04/14/darwin-and-the-climate-change-debate-the-greens-have-it//)

If I became a sort-of conservative, it was no thanks to my graduate training at UCLA.

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