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What's the Fittest?

Do they really think they’re the “fittest”?

It seems to me that underneath all the various fights for and against the “social safety net” is an unassailed assumption: Everyone who has—money, status, prestige, whatever—is the “fittest”, and DESERVE to survive and thrive; everyone else deserves whatever they DON’T get.

This is, it seems to me, the essential underlying difficulty in all our political conversations.

And, people believe that it is not instinct, or nature, but rather high-minded, deliberative moral and ethical choices that account for what those “whatever” people have and do.

According to this ubiquitous assumption, the “fittest” is the man [and, it’s usually “man”—because they’re bigger and stronger, right?] who gets the most [because he, out of high moral consciousness, consumes the least and works the hardest], and that every other one who doesn’t have the most/best for not working the best/hardest deserves to be wiped out.

The sloths and weaklings certainly should not, must not—if we are to believe our some moral commentators—be allowed to take what they haven’t, and cannot, earn for themselves.

Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala) said in May, those who “ … lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy …” shouldn’t have to pay more so that the rest can have health insurance." He seems to imply that the commonweal is a competition in which winners are rewarded with health, and the rest?

Well, what about ‘em? They don’t matter! —If the game is survival of the fittest.

In fact, the sooner we stop shoring them up with resources that are being wasted on them, the sooner we’ll get rid of them; and, the better off the rest of us will be. That unassailed undercurrent of a certain kind of “moral” thought moves inexorably toward the “logical” conclusion that “The Non-Survival of the Unfit” is also a rule of the race. As our President said last year, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Failure becomes a death sentence [often attenuated (without attenuated suffering) by years of NOT dying]—or, at least a justification for severe social deprivation as social punishment for that failure. Knowing that there is a significant portion of the US population who is believing this—even to their own detriment—is an essential truth that needs to be owned and questioned!

Forget that the coiner [Spenser] and the adopter [Darwin] of the phrase ("survival of the fittest") would have rated as “fittest” all of us—who have lived to reproductive maturity and done the deed of reproducing!

Yes, we are all survivors—and the fittest; even the most debilitated and disabled of us!

The king of the pond in “Yertle the Turtle” is finally felled by a simple, little “burp!” I hope he has health insurance. What’s essential then?!


Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals