But this is a nice article going into the question of whether Darwinian theory offers good support for various conservative positions, "that Darwin’s scientific theories about the evolution of species can be applied to today’s patterns of human behavior, and that natural selection can provide support for many bedrock conservative ideas, like traditional social roles for men and women, free-market capitalism and governmental checks and balances."
The question whether to use Darwinism in political argument is, of course, different from the biological question whether the human animal resulted from evolution (which is what Brownback, Huckabee, and Tancredo look foolish rejecting).
“The current debate is not primarily about religious fundamentalism,”[John G.] West, the author of “Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest” (2006), said at Thursday’s conference. “Nor is it simply an irrelevant rehashing of certain esoteric points of biology and philosophy. Darwinian reductionism has become culturally pervasive and inextricably intertwined with contemporary conflicts over traditional morality, personal responsibility, sex and family, and bioethics.”So Darwinism only provides a form for political argument, not the actual answers. As the article notes, lefties and righties have found ways to say what they want to say in Darwinian style. It's interesting to think about who benefits most from the acceptance of arguments in this mode. It seems to work awfully well for justifying the subordination of women. Why should we want to promote modes of argument that work too well to support things you diapprove of? I haven't read Arnhart's book, but he seems to think he can whip out "moral sympathy" to get him out of whatever jam his Darwinism gets him into. But if we actually believe in this political Darwinism, won't it affect how sympathetic we are and what we are sympathetic about?
The technocrats, he charged, wanted to grab control from “ordinary citizens and their elected representatives” so that they alone could make decisions over “controversial issues such as sex education, partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and global warming.”...
Mr. Arnhart, in his 2005 book, “Darwinian Conservatism,” tackled the issue of conservatism’s compatibility with evolutionary theory head on, saying Darwinists and conservatives share a similar view of human beings: they are imperfect; they have organized in male-dominated hierarchies; they have a natural instinct for accumulation and power; and their moral thought has evolved over time.
The institutions that successfully evolved to deal with this natural order were conservative ones, founded in sentiment, tradition and judgment, like limited government and a system of balances to curb unchecked power, he explains. Unlike leftists, who assume “a utopian vision of human nature” liberated from the constraints of biology, [political scientist Larry] Arnhart says, conservatives assume that evolved social traditions have more wisdom than rationally planned reforms.
While Darwinism does not resolve specific policy debates, Mr. Arnhart said in an interview on Thursday, it can provide overarching guidelines. Policies that are in tune with human nature, for example, like a male military or traditional social and sex roles, he said, are more likely to succeed. He added that “moral sympathy for the suffering of fellow human beings” allows for aid to the poor, weak and ill.