June 14, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

White Supremacist Murderer Was a Social Darwinist

David Klinghoffer on Evolution News and Views has pointed out that James von Brunn, the man who murdered guard Tyrone Johns at Washington’s Holocaust Museum on June 10, was motivated by ideas of natural selection and eugenics.  Klinghoffer provided additional information on Belief.Net with quotes from Brunn’s writings.  He also found hundreds of references to natural selection on a neo-Nazi website.
    Klinghoffer was careful to state the Darwin would have repudiated the association this murderer made with his theories.  He asks, though, why the mainstream media have completely ignored the association in their coverage of the murder.  “What’s not reasonable is to give Darwinism’s social influence a special pass, forbidding any mention of it as somehow out of bounds,” he ended.  “Very far from reasonable indeed, it’s nothing less than a cover-up.”

A typical liberal response is the tit-for-tat moral equivalency strategy: i.e., to find another murderer motivated by alleged Christian conservative views (like the recent abortionist murderer).  Keep in mind a couple of important differences.  (1) The chilling body count of victims of state-sponsored genocide in the name of social Darwinism and atheism should put that argument in context (re-read the 11/30/2005 entry; also 12/11/2007).  (2) Compare Jesus and Darwin.  Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no conceivable way to get vigilante murder out of that fountainhead of love.  On the other hand, Darwin portrayed nature (including mankind) as an amoral, unguided, purposeless march of progress toward “fitness” in a cruel, heartless, Malthusian world.  He himself made statements about human breeding of the weak and imbeciles being highly injurious to the human species – statements directly echoed by von Brunn.  Though he would have abhorred racism, murder and totalitarianism in the name of his theory, Darwin was himself a Social Darwinist (see review of new book The Darwin Myth on Evolution News and how some of his followers today still echo the eugenics sentiment Evolution News; see also piece by David Tyler on ARN, “Darwin was an advocate of Social Darwinism”).  In other words, you can derive totalitarian dictatorships and neo-Nazi murderers from natural selection, but you cannot derive vigilante murderers from the teachings of Jesus.  Was not the conservative movement’s outrage against George Tiller, the late-term abortionist, motivated by a love for life – the life of the unborn?  Media bias was once again blatantly evident with commentators tying Tiller’s murderer to conservative Christian influences, but failing to tie von Brunn with Darwinian doctrines.  These are not morally equivalent cases.

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