Three generations of this imbecilic progressive talking point are enough.
I’ve been looking for a way to turn Justice Holmes’ famous quotation back on the Progressives who deny their own roots in “reform” Darwinism. Mr. Goldberg uses it a part of the headline for an excellent analysis of a bogus “history” Progressives have tried to invent.
One reason the term “Social Darwinism” caught on with progressives was that it served to divert attention from the sins of “reform Darwinism”—i.e., the progressive passion for eugenics. The progressives advocated aggressive statist intervention to improve the genetic stock of the country, while the alleged Social Darwinists championed laissez-faire and private charity and—gasp—reproductive freedom. Moreover, the term Social Darwinism, which in Europe was used to justify nationalist and racist theories of the Hitlerian variety, was the perfect label for playing guilt-by-association in America. Ever since Hofstadter’s book, liberals have used the term to accuse conservatives of desperately wanting to return to a past that never was.
Read the whole thing. Also, if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, read Mr. Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism.