Comments on: A Bleeding Heart History of Libertarian Thought – Herbert Spencer http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/ Free Markets and Social Justice Thu, 16 Nov 2017 19:36:00 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 By: John Stuart Mill http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-81015 Fri, 14 Jul 2017 21:51:00 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-81015 “The idea is that relief for individuals, based on their individual needs and circumstances, is fine, but that applied society wide creates a society unfit to compete with other societies by creating a mechanism by which otherwise industrious people find it easier to live off handouts than to help themselves.”

This is just theory. And it would predict that government does better by making it harder for everyone. Or that being kicked out of home by 14 or so is actually good, no living off parents just getting some extra money with some flipping-burger job. Time to be really productive, even if it limits the fake growth one would have from study and parents handouts.

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By: Michael Kolla http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-78516 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:00:00 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-78516 I appreciate with impatient enthusiasm the extreme effort you committed to that judgemental synopsis of genuinely conveyed experience by life bled Achievers. I had to read it from bottom up to feel the positive vision that Libertarians need to portray. The information array has brewed a new genre of equity. Connectivity compels creative corporations to be conscience of their Social Equity.
We need to pride our working class thru education, incentive, and influence.

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By: Google http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-66570 Thu, 07 Apr 2016 19:34:55 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-66570 Google

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By: anonymous pedant http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-55342 Sat, 29 Nov 2014 22:34:00 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-55342 “Spencer was a Lamarckian, not a Darwinian, in his understanding of how evolution worked. In other words, Spencer believed that acquired traits could be biologically inherited.”

Darwin himself was also a “Lamarckian” in this sense, not a Mendelian. Nowadays Mendelian and Darwinian are often conflated, but that’s a historical mistake, as well as this limited sense of “Lamarckian”.

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By: Andy Hough http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-45165 Tue, 18 Mar 2014 18:30:00 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-45165 This discussion is probably moribund and so not worth contributing to, but I came across it as a top hit when looking for information about Spencer & social Darwinism, and Zwolinsky’s reading of Spencer strikes me as being so specious that I can’t resist chiming in. To take his three points in turn:

(1) Spencer wasn’t a social Darwinist, but a social Lamarckian. OK, fine, though we can be forgiven for using the former term since most people don’t know what a Lamarckian is. But notice that Spencer’s Lamarckianism makes him more, not less, vulnerable to the charge of heartlessness. A Lamarckian holds that acquired traits (not just biological/genetic ones) are heritable. So it’s not open to a Lamarckian, as it is to a Darwinian, to say that the “good-for-nothings, who in one way or other live on the good-for-somethings—vagrants and sots, criminals and those on the way to crime, youths who are burdens on hard-worked parents, men who appropriate the wages of their wives, fellows who share the gains of prostitutes” (quoting Spencer here) might nevertheless be biologically “fit” and just the contingent victims of bad social conditions, since Lamarckians hold that the behavioral effects of bad social conditions can be passed on biologically. So from a Lamarckian standpoint the project of weeding these people out of the population becomes even more urgent, and the possibility that their vices (or those of their children) might be redeemed through improved social conditions even more remote.

Anyway Lamarckianism is (thankfully) false, so any association between Spencer and Lamarck wouldn’t seem to work in favor of the relevance of his ideas today.

(2) Spencer was opposed to violence. Right, but the passages from Social Statics in question are talking about passively allowing the unfit to die, not doing violence against them. In fact in “The Sins of Legislators,” the 1884 essay where he quotes extensively and without apology some of the more rabid of those passages, he immediately goes on to draw this distinction, accusing his critics of hypocrisy in countenancing war while remaining squeamish about natural selection: “though they cannot bear to think of the evils accompanying the struggle for existence as it is carried on *without violence* [my emphasis] among individuals in their own society, they contemplate with equanimity such evils in their intense and wholesale forms, when inflicted by fire and sword on entire communities. Not worthy of much respect then, as it seems to me, is this generous consideration of the inferior at home which is accompanied by unscrupulous sacrifice of the inferior abroad.”

(3) Spencer allows for individual (though not social) charity. Here the relevant passage from Social Statics seems to me to amplify rather than qualify the preceding ones: it’s notable that Spencer places it immediately after them without any qualifying “to be sure” or “on the other hand.” Here’s a fuller quote from that passage:

“Of course, in so far as the severity of this process is mitigated by the spontaneous sympathy of men for each other, it is proper that it should be mitigated; albeit there is unquestionably harm done when sympathy is shown, without any regard to ultimate results…Then…it defeats its own end. Instead of diminishing suffering, it eventually increases it. It favours the multiplication of those worst fitted for existence, and, by consequence, hinders the multiplication of those best fitted for existence—leaving, as it does, less room for them. It tends to fill the world with those to whom life will bring most pain, and tends to keep out of it those to whom life will bring most pleasure. It inflicts positive misery, and prevents positive happiness.”

The “it” here is of course the “spontaneous sympathy”; i.e. private charity, regard for which is supposed to qualify Spencer as a “bleeding heart.” His claim, it seems to me, is unmistakably the opposite: we should harden our hearts against well-meaning charity, whether public or private, and keep our eye on the long view.

I’m open-minded about the possibility that there might be such a thing as “bleeding heart” libertarianism, and I admire the work of many of the contributors to this blog. But again I have a hard time seeing how Herbert Spencer could be considered one of the fold.

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By: Zachary Quilty http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-44883 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 00:48:00 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-44883 Also Social Darwinism was against imperialism because they believed if they controlled lesser races they had their burden and possible less desirable traits mixed in. Imperialism is where you take over a country and control it for economic gain. When American Imperialism was in full swing it was cooped with progressive idea which like social darwinism, were racist but the progressive were more for controlling the weaker races feeling that because they were biologically superior it was their nature to rule the savage races. So pretty much what you said was Spencer was against progressive ideas, as were all social darwinist.

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By: Zachary Quilty http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-44882 Thu, 13 Mar 2014 00:42:00 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-44882 Lol I stopped reading when you said if spencer wasn’t a social Darwinist then what is he, an ultra conservative aka a librarian, aka a social Darwinist. Social Darwinist is a complex theory but from an economic stand point social Darwinist and libertarianism are the same.

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By: Sobre o naturalismo em ética e política: resposta à tréplica do professor André Coelho | Tabula (não) Rasa & Libertarianismo Bleeding Heart http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-41816 Mon, 30 Dec 2013 06:45:55 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-41816 […] e William Graham Sumner nunca foram darwinistas sociais. Isso já é conhecido, vide aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui e aqui. Quando você lê os textos deles na fonte, você descobre que Herbert Spencer era […]

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By: Social Darwinism and Social Justice | World Liberty News http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-34141 Wed, 31 Jul 2013 06:58:10 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-34141 […] to devote so much time to the thought of Sumner (and, for that matter, to his contemporary Herbert Spencer). Both of these men today are remembered mostly as social Darwinists who […]

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By: Social Darwinism and Social Justice | Bleeding Heart Libertarians http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/2011/11/a-bleeding-heart-history-of-libertarian-thought-herbert-spencer/#comment-33731 Mon, 22 Jul 2013 18:06:17 +0000 http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/?p=1329#comment-33731 […] to devote so much time to the thought of Sumner (and, for that matter, to his contemporary Herbert Spencer). Both of these men today are remembered mostly as social Darwinists who […]

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