I don’t know if my view of animals is rosy. After all, you too admit that, “[L]ife in the wild isn’t perfectly totalitarian and dystopian. There’s cooperation as well as competition and struggle.” And that’s all I say too. However, I deem your evaluation of animals rather harsh and unfitting as an analogy to corporate monopolies, because, contrary to economy, “alpha-male dominators” in animal kingdom don’t threaten other members of group with death by starvation in the way monopolies threaten small businesses with bankruptcy.
I understand that you reject social Darwinism. If you asked me a month ago, I would too. But the more I look into it the more it seems to me that societies obey the same rules that drive biological evolution. Thus social Darwinism may be, quite ironically, correct in this regard. However, social Darwinists commit a crucial error — they misinterpret the meaning of “fittest” which, in their understanding, then translates into measuring that “fitness” in terms of wealth and power. Similarly, some biological Darwinists commit the same error when they equate “fitness” with “dominance.”
Yesterday I came across an interesting book:
Survival of the Friendliest by Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods: 9780399590665 | PenguinRandomHouse.com…
"Please read this beautiful, riveting, and uplifting book. You will learn the astonishing story of how and why humans…
I read only the available public excerpt, but there was a part that sums up what I was taught about evolution, natural selection, and survival of the fittest throughout my whole education (emphasis mine):
But to Darwin and modern biologists, “survival of the fittest” refers to something very specific — the ability to survive and leave behind viable offspring. It is not meant to go beyond that.
Darwin was constantly impressed with the kindness and cooperation he observed in nature, and he wrote that “those communities, which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members, would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring.” He and many of the biologists who followed him have documented that the ideal way to win at the evolutionary game is to maximize friendliness so that cooperation flourishes.
So my point with regard to social Darwinism was that despite their short-term economic dominance, the wealthy are actually biologically less fit (already mentioned interbreeding, arranged marriages, selection of incompatible partners or partners with limited potential, preferring career before family, etc.), which makes them also less fit and less adaptable to the demands of ever-evolving society and its problems (as they prove time and again). The sole fact that the wealthy (with meaningful executive power) comprise merely some 1–10% of the whole human population should be enough of a proof.
Also worth to consider is that the amount of effort one has to continuously exert is proportional to the amount of wealth in one’s possession (i.e. the more you have the more you have to work, keep in mind, control, etc.).
So, you may have meant it as an analogy, but, as it seems, wealth provides no advantage and the actual measure of “fitness” is merely an appropriation and twisted interpretation of theory of evolution — the wealthy simply look into a distorted mirror they themselves created. Despite its (hypothesized) propagandistic undertones, there’s a Russian fairy tale movie Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors that nicely depicts this phenomenon.
But yeah, social Darwinism as it is traditionally understood is the same as how potential of religions got hijacked. Well, (American) conservatism is utter hypocritical madness. Then again, in principle, (American) liberalism is no different in my book.