September 7, 2005

Larry Arnhart's new book Darwinian Conservatism

There's now a blog promoting political scientist Larry Arnhart's new short book:

"Conservatives need Charles Darwin"

That’s the message of Larry Arnhart’s new book Darwinian Conservatism, launched this month by Imprint Academic.

Ever since the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species in 1859, political and religious conservatives have had an uneasy relationship with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Many conservatives accept the Biblical doctrine that human beings were specially created by God in His image. And some conservatives believe that the living world shows evidence of being the product of an "intelligent designer". Many of these conservatives fear that the idea of humans evolving naturally from lower animals denies their moral dignity as special creatures of the Divine Intelligent Designers.

Going against this movement, Larry Arnhart aims to persuade conservatives that Darwin is their friend and not their enemy. The author claims that a Darwinian science of human nature supports the moral, political and religious ideas of conservatism. Darwinian biology confirms the conservatives’ realist view of human nature and denies the leftists’ utopian view of human nature as perfectible.

Many conservatives don't realize that Darwin was the greatest intellectual descendent of their hero Adam Smith. Darwin read Smith's Wealth of Nations in the late 1830s just as he was formulating his theory of natural selection, and was greatly influenced by it. In effect, natural selection is Smith's "invisible hand" applied to nature rather than the economy.

Arnhart's publisher's message sounds sensible too:

In recent years the tradition of the political pamphlet has declined—with publishers (other than think-tanks) rejecting anything under 100,000 words as uneconomic. The result is that many a good idea has ended up drowning in a sea of verbosity. However the introduction of the digital press makes it possible to re-create a more exciting age of publishing. Imprint Academic is proud to announce Societas: essays in political and cultural criticism to fill the lacuna in public debate. The authors are all experts in their own field, either scholarly or professional, but the essays are aimed at a general audience and contain the minimum of academic paraphernalia. Each book should take no more than an evening to read.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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