Views expressed in this article are entirely from What Is Satanism? and may not be shared or reflective of views from other Satanists or the Church of Satan. Church of Satan is the authority on Satanism.
Social Darwinism is a term consistently related to Satanism. There is no question that Anton LaVey was inspired by older work, often using portions of Survival of the Fittest by Ragnar Redbeard, that expressed social Darwinism.
Darwinism is co-opted in a number of different topics to synthetically reinforce a topic by leveraging the work of Charles Darwin. Often, individuals who would gladly disagree or entirely misunderstood evolution weaponize Darwin's name to justify personal delusions about their social standing. The motivators for these conclusions predated Charles Darwin's work and individuals eventually leveraged concepts in biology to backwardly justify conclusions.
Darwin's concept of natural selection is ripe for abuse in reflections about society. Aspects of social Darwinism include: there are individuals in our society more fit for success, that the greediest and most competitive individual is the most fit, that people have an inherent typology (or success factor), eugenics can hurry humanity to a superior state, members of society who are not highly functional will inevitable succumb to natural selection, and that human society has an eventual established goal. The negative connotations of these assumptions should be obvious. Aggressive competitiveness does not guarantee success within a society any more than a lack of competitiveness guarantees failure.
To be clear, suggesting that social Darwinism has a meaning outside of the theories expressed in the 19th century is naive. To attempt to coerce the term into a meaning outside of colloquial meaning used for two full centuries is a fallacy of equivocation. We will not tread lightly.
"Survival of the fittest", the quote most people are familiar with as representative of Charles Darwin, originated from a sociologist named Herbert Spencer. Evolutionary fitness of organisms shifts based on variation with this phrase ultimately being misunderstood to suggest there is some form of ultimate organism, or the offspring of, that is successful at the expense of culling other obsolete variations. This conclusion, closer to theories from Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, suggested organism development was somehow guided incrementally to perfection. Factually, and more in line with Darwin, the most adaptable organism produced through random unguided variation will survive. For example, a random adaptation of an increase in natural lifespan may find success but is not guided by an organism's will to be perfect.
Teleological (that is, that nature has some final plan and applies guidance) results are known to be naive. A variation of an organism is not produced by the guided plan of an unknown force but by random variations being more successful.
Charles Darwin's concepts were pioneering in the 19th century where most scholars were Christian scientists. Particularly, the evolution of humans as another animal tore away the uniqueness of humans and our place on the world. Random variation ousted control from divine entities. In later works, the very ethical core of humanity was torn away from divine guidance and placed squarely in the realm of our own responsibility.
To believe humanity's biological evolution, development of various societies, and our very system of ethics is directed by any force other than humanity is the realm of creationism and theists.
Charles Darwin's conclusion was that, in social groups, altruism ensured success. Altruism is distinctly in opposition to phrases like "survival of the fittest" and concepts like eugenics as applied to society. Darwin's own social theories directly conflict with theories bearing his very name. Ethics in human societies could evolve through cooperation of a group and completely independent of any other guidance. Once again, to believe otherwise is the realm of creationists and theists.
Satanism is not inherently altruistic, in fact, it is quite the opposite. A Satanist is an empowered individual who can choose how and at what commitment they can help their communities. Sympathy is not a foreign concept as without the sympathy of Anton Szandor LaVey there would simply not be Satanism to help free people from all of the suffering insisted upon individuals by ancient dogmas. Sympathy from a Satanist is the result of that Satanist's evaluation.
Charles Darwin, in review of biological evolution as applied to a society, shattered the concept that some mythical being drove human ethics. Satanism revisits the same claim and allows morality and ethics to be openly evaluated by an individual. An individual's morals and ethics are the responsibilty of that individual.
Organisms in biological evolution avoid competitive through sympathy and adaptability. Societies function similarity through societal constructs of laws and expected behavior within a community. Satanism is no different, insisting mutual admiration and discouraging unwarranted intra-organization antagonization of members.
Satanism is vital existence and indulgence, not sacrifice for the sake of being benevolent, and sympathy is earned. Likewise, a Satanist does not sacrifice their own indulgences for the sake of being pointlessly malicious, and disdain from a Satanist is most certainly earned.
Success with Greater Magic depends directly on a Satanist's ability to distinguish greater wisdom outside of themselves to achieve their goals through clear intentional action. A Satanist is not compelled to donate, nor are they compelled to be cruel to, any group of individuals based solely on social constructs and dogma.
Social Darwinism is not a term that appears within The Satanic Bible.
The Nine Satanic Statements, while not reproduced here, should be reviewed as published by Anton LaVey and available at Church of Satan's website.
Teleological results of evolution, whether biological or applied to the evolution of our societies, is a direct violation of the second of the Satanic Statements as a naive pipe dream.
Undefiled wisdom in the third Satanic Statement obliterates considerations for 19th century social Darwinism.
Responsibility to the responsible in the sixth Satanic Statement is the very core of what Charles Darwin's theories represented to the 19th century world. There are no invisible forces driving our biological or ethical evolution. Leading directly into the seventh Satanic Statement, humanity is just another animal, we know that we are responsible for our diverse society and cooperation deters natural selection. Humanity creates its own problems and its own solutions without any invisible friends.
Stratification has all the hints of social Darwinism without context. A reader may assume this should apply to the entire global society or to your local music shop. It should be clear that stratification is not a goal for worldwide domination, but rather to be able to objectively say that the constantly late worker, in keeping with responsibility to the responsible, is not the person you trust with the keys. Water will find its own level, just like that constantly late worker, and enabling that individual with praise and promotion is ridiculous. The great musician earns a concert hall while the person who refuses to practice earns deserved ridicule.
Social Darwinism has been used a number of times in Magus Peter H. Gilmore's verbal and written explanations of Satanism. However, the aspects of social Darwinism (Spencerism, et al) appear to be properly denounced throughout written works.
We judge people for what they are individually, their personal achievements, and how they behave, ascribing nothing to them based on their lineage. They can either succeed or fail in impressing us as humans who are worth our precious time through their own accomplishments and demeanor. Meritocracy is our approach, and we have nothing but disdain for people who demand they should be considered worthy of note simply because they had ancestors who were outstanding. We see these poseurs for the desperate losers they are, and shun them. And we will also recognize those who fall into herd-behavior patterns, people who are by nature incapable of personal self-realization. They are to be avoided whenever possible.Magus Peter H. Gilmore, A Map for the Misdirected
Meritocracy, elitism, and individualism shatter through 19th century Christian majority concepts. Assessment by Satanists is clearly independent of lineage, race, nationality, gender, sexuality, or any other societal construct. Satanists master their chosen arts through personal responsibility and expect those around them to have the same discipline. Individual's with discipline and talent, not lineage or the luck of an inherited position, rise to the top on merit of their own aptitude and dedication.
Satanists treasure individualism, hardly something to be gained goose-stepping down the strasse. Yet we do not embrace an “anything goes” atmosphere wherein all values are relative and nothing rises above a sludge of commonality. Satanism encourages a return to more traditional values in art and literature such as mastery of technique and emotional communication, of form and function, design and execution.Magus Peter H. Gilmore, Satanism: The Feared Religion
For Satanists, the master of art is infinitely more attractive than following in a queue of the powerful hoping to eventually earn a high rank position through emulation. If you are able to trick a well paying crowd with mediocrity, so be it, but a Satanist doesn't tarnish their shoes with the common. Fighting for scraps from the crowd is no place for a Satanist.