December 11, 2005
Obama says Republicans practice “Social Darwinism”
By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Republicans controlling the
federal government practice Social Darwinism, a discredited
philosophy that in economics and politics calls for survival of
the fittest, according to a Democratic U.S. senator.
star, told Florida party members that only a philosophy among
Republicans of sink or swim explains why some Hurricane Katrina
victims in New Orleans still live in cars while Republicans in
Washington prepare next week to enact $70 billion in tax
"It's called the 'Ownership society' in Washington. This
isn't the first time this philosophy has appeared. It used to
be called Social Darwinism," Obama said late Saturday at the
Democrats meeting at Walt Disney World.
"They have a philosophy they have implemented and that is
doing exactly what it was designed to do. They basically don't
believe in government. They have a different philosophy that
says, 'We're going to dismantle government'," Obama said.
Republicans running the federal government believe, "You
are on your own to buy your own health care, to buy your own
retirement security ... to buy your own roads and levees,"
Obama said, referring to flood barriers that gave way in New
Orleans during Katrina last August.
Obama, the only African American now in the U.S. Senate,
gave the keynote address at the annual meeting of Florida
Social Darwinism applies Charles Darwin's theory of natural
selection from biology to human culture. Popular in the late
19th and early 20th centuries, the theory advocates free
competition and a minimalist role for government in society.
Darwin himself rejected the application of natural selection to
Florida's Democrats have won only a single state-wide
election since 1998, when Republican Jeb Bush, the president's
brother, was elected to the first of two terms. Florida law
bars him from seeking a third term, a fact which has fed
optimism among Democrats about 2006's state-wide elections.
Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean also spoke to the
group, repeating his call for a "strategic redeployment" from
Iraq in which the United States brings home 50,000 National
Guard and reserve soldiers in the next six months and transfers
20,000 troops to Afghanistan to root out terrorists.