American social Darwinists have evolved throughout American history to adapt to the times, but the common thread that ties the historic manifestations of this
phenomenon is class warfare and elitism of the wealthy classes against the poorer working/slave classes. Social Darwinists, in a perversion of Darwin’s “survival of the fittest,” historically have equated the ‘fittest’ with the rich elite of society supposedly being justified in its exploitation of the poor masses, first by slave holders, then by 'robber barons’ and now by ‘globalists.’
The rich are regarded in social Darwinism as the legitimate determiners, guardians, and heirs of our national wealth and values; Conversely, in social Darwinism, first the colored races, then the immigrant and poor were equally held in disdain and despised as a dirty, uneducated, criminal class, of questionable loyalty to society and a burden on the good ‘proper citizens’ (translation: well heeled) society. Unfortunately, this primitivist and nativist oligarchic idea has been handed down from America's early days of slavery and sweatshops, and has been used to justify racism and elitism.
It made use of religion to do its bidding, employing a pseudo-calvinist determinism introduced early in our history in the form of the Arminian heresy, a perversion of the doctrine of pre-destination, wherein wealth was supposed to be a sign of God’s blessing and favor, and poverty a sign of God’s curse and disfavor...
This heresy introduced into American Christianity has never been completely dismissed since the 1800’s. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was the immigrant and the anarchist who became synonymous with national dirtiness, unworthiness and treason. This was the ethos that culminated in the Herbert Hoover-strike-breaking-ethos of the early twentieth century Republican party.
Any review of political speeches and leadership policies demonstrates that wealth has continued to equal moral worth in America.
Its latest manifestation is the phenomenon of ‘neo-con’ Republicanism. Just as the Civil War era social Darwinist justified slavery in terms of the black man or woman being inferior and thus deserving of his or her slavery, the current neo-con reaganite republican believes in the ‘spread of democracy’ (a synonym for the hegemony of Wall Street). It is paying homage to the ‘fattest cat.’
Under Reagan, the ideas of morality became added on to this reverse-class-warfare view of economics. To the Arminian heresy, the Reagan republicans wedded the religious ideal of “God, country and so-called family values,” being a sort of anti-poor rejection of the socialist boogeyman of the ‘liberal democrat left’. This new social Darwinism twisted the Bible's teachings to suit its political agenda. The Reagan form of social Darwinism didn’t passively permit that one become rich; it demanded it as the price of representation in our government. Accumulation of wealth became a necessity in order to win elections, as well as a moral duty incumbent upon those who belonged to the power elite.
This requirement was underpinned by the Rockefeller-inspired Republican mythology that the poorest in America could become rich and do so honestly and quickly by mere hard work (despite massive evidence to the contrary seen in the masses of working poor with two jobs). Thus, according to today’s rigid right-wingers, there is no excuse for poverty, which they believe results only from one's own shortcomings or those of someone else enabling the poor to be ‘bums’. It has become since the 2000 "election," a sin even to sympathize with those who are poor, and it is tantamount to treason to oppose the current power-elite’s foreign military adventurism. The new code phrases are “tax and spend democrats,” “socialists” and ‘traitors, soft on terrorism’ and eager to helping the enemy and lack of "patriotism” (which in their thinking is whatever enriches the ruling elite).