How can T.H. Huxley's ideas support social welfare programs aiming for a healthy national population, as envisioned by Karl Pearson?

I'm a bit confused on T.H Huxley's views on Darwin's theory. I know that he supported him, but what were his views?

Expert Answers

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Although we don't usually think of social welfare programs and Social Darwinism in the same context, I think that we can do so here.  What Huxley's social welfare programs were aimed at was creating a happier and more educated worker.  This better worker could then be better equipped to compete in Pearson's international rivalry.

Huxley was not really proposing the sorts of welfare programs that Darwinists hate.  He was not proposing to give "handouts" to those who were uneducated or poor.  Social Darwinists would oppose such things because they allow the "unfit" to survive and dilute the power of a nation's people.

By contrast, Huxley's proposals were aimed more at improving working conditions and education among the people.  He believed that workers who were treated well would work better and therefore be more competitive.  He believed that educated people would also be more able to compete in the international arena.

Therefore, Huxley's ideas are not completely in conflict with Pearson's.  Huxley believed that his proposals would increase the strength of British society as a whole and make it more competitive.

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