virus: Re:Re:Re:Re: FAQ

David Leeper (
Tue, 07 Nov 95 17:08:00 PST

Reply To Duane Hewitt:

First, perhaps we should take this offline. I'm not sure everyone on this
list wants to hear us rant on about welfare and Social Darwinism. My email
address is

Second, rather than responding point-by-point, allow me to respond in a
general (and short) way.

As I understand you position you are against government welfare but support
private charity. My position is I'd like to see government welfare
drastically improved and private charity continued and improved. Neither
system helps enrich a person's memes.

Social Darwinism comes from the earlier part of this century. It was used
by business leaders as justification of the exploitation of their workers.
Because they had the power to exploit them, it was correct to exploit them.
In my opinion, this system is brutial, short-sighted, and simply wrong. My
remark to you about Social Darwinism stems from your saying "These programs
take from those who have demonstrated successful memetic adaptation and
gives to those who are dysfunctional." I can't disagree more with that.
Simply because someone is having trouble in their current environment does
not mean they're stupid, unable to adapt, or dysfunctional. Nor does it
mean its correct behavior to ignore their plight.

If you'd like to discuss these issues futher, send me an email.


Dave Leeper
On Tue, 7 Nov 1995, David Leeper wrote:

> I'm not sure private charities have dried up in America. Look a Green
> Peace, Salvation Army, United Way, numerous churches, Comic Relief,
> International, etc. etc. That these charieties would have paid our bills,

> bought our food, and put clothes on our back for eighteen years is not
> to me.

I do not suggest that charity is extinct in America. What I am suggesting
is that the amount of voluntary charity in a country is inversely
proportional to the amount that it is a welfare state.

> I have no arguement that the Federal Government is inefficient. I have no

> argument that welfare is an abused system. But I don't think that getting

> rid of it is the answer. It _does_ need drastic changes. It cannot be a
> way of life, the way it is now.

I find it does not meet my standards for justification. IMHO it only
seems to exacerbate the problems that it claims to be addressing.

> To label someone "dysfunctional" because they are having a tough time in
> current environment is Social Darwinism. It is also short-sighted.

Everyone has problems and granted that all problems are not equal.
However, it has not been clearly demonstrated to me that since someone
else has had a tough time of it that they automatically have a claim on me.

I think it is shortsighted not to acknowledge that social policy causes
selective pressures to occur for behaviours that are not beneficial. If
this is "Social Darwinism" then so be it.

Why is the drug trade so lucrative?
Because of the high costs of doing business and the high risk factor due
to government policies.
Look at the differences in sentences between crack cocaine and cocaine
powder. This is US government sponsored Social Darwinism.

> It sucks 'cause I don't like it! ;-)

Thanks for being so specific. :-)

> Many people receive benefits from the current system. But by maximizing
> these local variables, we are harming several important global ones.

In ecosystems the same thing occurs quite often. The wolf population booms
leading their prey to become more scarce and then the wolf population
dies off. These are natural cycles. I am not convinced that we are going to
irreparably damage the planet. Invariably, the apocalyptic
environmentalists since the time of Malthus are pushing back the days of
Aramageddon (For example, _The Limits to Growth_ by the Club of Rome) There
are definitely areas of concern but they often seem to be blown out of
proportion. I would not underestimate the adaptibility of the human
animal or of life in general.

> Perhaps if economics were based on genes/memes instead of dollars, we'd be

> better off. I'm not sure how that'd work though...

What are dollars but a symbolic representation of food and security which
our genes and memes have been selected for over millions of years? The
problem as others have mentioned before is that our memetic evolution is
moving much more quickly than our physiological evolution.

Duane Hewitt