It is often claimed that every contemporary ethical dispute is really a debate between Charles Darwin and the Pope. On the one side there is a secular (im)morality which finds it acceptable and desirable ruthlessly to use and sacrifice individuals. On the other, there is Christian morality which asserts that every single human being has an immortal soul and is thus sacred. In this context it’s interesting to note how, after the outbreak of the First World War, some social Darwinians were pacifists on account of their anti-egalitarian Darwinism; Ernst Haeckel, the leading proponent of social Darwinism, opposed the war because in it, the wrong people were killed: ‘The stronger, healthier, more normal the young man is, the greater is the prospect for him to be murdered by the needle gun, cannons, and other similar instruments of culture.’ The problem was that the weak and sick were not allowed into the army. They were left free to have children and thus lead the nation into biological decline. One of the solutions envisaged was to force everyone to serve in the army and then, in battle, ruthlessly use the weak and sick as cannon fodder in suicidal attacks.

Violence, Slavoj Žižek.

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