Aren’t Republicans the True Disciples of Darwin?

by James Wallace Harris, Friday, October 12, 2018

I’m beginning to see my liberal hopes for social justice are naïve and conservatives are survivalists acting on animal instinct and not theology.

In “Notes from the Fifth Year” from We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates, he describes why he does not believe in cosmic justice or God. As a kid, Coates got beat up and learned he could only rely on himself for help. He saw that in society too. Our hunger for justice is the desire to be protected, but Darwinian laws of red tooth and claw overrule theology and legal systems. As a liberal, I want society to be just and protective, but I’m realizing that counters my own atheistic and scientific beliefs. What I find ironic is Republicans who claim to be Christian, a belief in cosmic justice, want laws and government that affirm Darwin. That I, an atheist, an avowed disciple of Darwin, really want a Christian society. It’s it hilarious when Christians act evolutionary and atheists yearn for grace?

I thought “Notes from the Fifth Year” both brilliant and depressing. It reminds me of a film I saw on the internet of a big green snake coming out of a woodpecker’s hole while the woodpecker frantically fights to pull the snake out to save its nest. I knew people were on the ground filming and watching this struggle. I wanted the woodpecker to win. It kept pecking the snake, and the snake would grab it by the wing, and the bird would struggle free, fly away, but then immediately return to attack the snake again. Its only hope was itself. I wanted the bird to win. I wanted the people on the ground to find a way to pull the snake down. But like Coates, I realized there is no help for the woodpecker except its own efforts to survive.

More and more I see Republicans as survivalists fighting with all their might to save their way of life. They don’t want to pay taxes to help other people because they want that money to protect themselves. They don’t want laws to help other people, only laws that to protect themselves. They’re against minorities, immigrants, and poor people because they threatened their survival. They offer no alternative to Obamacare because they believe in the survival of the fittest. They don’t really disbelieve climate change but deny the expense of global warming because it threatens their pocketbooks. They’d rather have dollars in their paychecks than a clean environment or a just and equal society.

The Republicans are the snake in the tree, not the valiant woodpecker because they are strong and can take what they want. Coates is right, we live in an atheist reality where the powerful prevail. And the strong won’t help the weak. It’s against their nature.

I find it hard to believe Republicans claim to be Christians. They don’t believe in the fishes and the loaves. They don’t believe in turning the other cheek. They don’t believe loving thy neighbor. They don’t believe the meek shall inherit the Earth. But they’re positive camels can go through the eyes of needles.

I now assume Republicans are Darwinians on Earth but Christians after death. They believe in easy Christianity, where merely saying “I believe in Jesus” is a ticket to heaven. But what happens if Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship is right, and true Christianity is far more expensive?

I’m an atheist that wants humans to create a society that overcomes the laws of Darwin. Even though I’m not a Christian, I felt Jesus wanted to create a heaven on Earth where everyone is treated equally and just. Am I naïve and the Republicans realistic? Conservatives believe the City of God lies beyond death, whereas liberals want humanism to construct it on Earth.

We can now see that Republicans have given up any pretense of ethics. With them, the end justifies the means, and their means are Darwinian, not Christian. Back in the early days of the Environmental movement, the idea of Lifeboat Earth emerged. It’s a great analogy. There’re always people in lifeboats who feel they deserve the rations than the others, and that the weak should be put off the boat. That’s very Darwinian. Aren’t Republicans acting like the ruthless in a lifeboat?


10 thoughts on “Aren’t Republicans the True Disciples of Darwin?”

  1. I remember when the Republican Party advocated balanced budgets and a strong defense. They sold their political souls to the Religious Right so they could win more elections and gain more power. That Faustian Bargain led the Republicans into doubting Science (global warming, genetic research, etc.) and cutting Social Programs. If they could, the Republicans would eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Tax cuts for the Rich linked with cuts in Education and Health will lead to disaster. And snakes!

  2. I think you nailed it on the head. At the end of the day the fittest will survive. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, or anything in between,…we are all unique individuals or groups of like minded individuals who by definition will be in disagreement, more or less, with each other. No one individual or group has all of the answers so it makes sense (according to Darwin) that competition will be the great equalizer! 🙂

  3. Yes! is the answer to your question. Their hypocrisy is stupefying in its transparency. I believe Coates is right – there is no cosmic justice. You are right that the conservative right fears and loathes minorities, immigrants, the poor. They fear them because of their potential to overwhelm and they loathe them (and us) for the guilt they induce. I believe they will stop at nothing to consolidate their power. Our only recourse is the ballot box, and I am not hopeful.

  4. If Trump has taught us nothing else it’s that we ought to stop giving cultural conservatives the benefit of the doubt as to their sincerity. What we are seeing these days is well beyond the pale on all counts.

  5. A very astute post and I agree and I agree with all your commenters as well. And the religious right really has nothing to do with religion but power pure and simple. And the fools that follow them to the edge of the cliff!

  6. An interesting view of current Republicanism. This resonates with me. As a former Republican, I find nothing to agree with in their contemporary stance.

    1. That’s completely understandable that people hate to pay taxes. But they also want to live in a great country. Just spend one day noticing everything you use that you didn’t pay for directly. We share a society and it has to be paid for.

      1. Who specifically has suggested that we stop paying taxes?

        Obviously we should pay taxes, that does not mean we should endorse free shit or welfare or socialism.

        1. But our ideals cost money too, like equality, opportunity, freedom, justice, fairness, and so on. Welfare has been drastically cut back, and we’re hardly the socialists Republicans fear. But tens of millions of people in this country are being treated unfairly and unequal. If we don’t help them our streets will eventually look like the slums of Calcutta. I would rather pay more taxes than have to look at so much poverty.

          Plus, you never know when either you or I will lose our luck of privilege.

          How do you feel when a beggar on the street panhandles you? What if you had to encounter 100 times as many every day? What if you had to beg?

          I want to live in a society that truly promotes equality, justice and equal opporutnity for all. As long as we don’t have that it’s going to cost us one way or another.

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