Some in the mainstream/left-wing media are shocked, shocked that Rep. Michele Bachmann shows up on the new Coral Ridge Ministries documentary, “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger.” It’s bad enough that she offers a well-informed warning about our nation’s slide toward a government-controlled economy, aka socialism.
What’s worse is that the documentary was “produced by an organization that has been previously criticized for linking the theory of evolution to the Holocaust,” as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune put it. The Huffington Post and some in the left-wing blogosphere gave readers the same radioactive take on Coral Ridge Ministries.
That’s not exactly how we’re best-known. Many know us as the media ministry founded by the late D. James Kennedy and one of the nation’s leading Christian broadcasting organizations. We’ve been honored by the National Religious Broadcasters for our TV and radio programming. Dr. Kennedy is in their Hall of Fame. So what’s this about evolution and the Holocaust? I’ll explain.
First, we produced a documentary on socialism (one that features not just Michele Bachmann, but Chuck Colson, Jay Richards, Richard Land, Al Mohler Jr., David Horowitz, Marvin Olasky and many others) for good reason. That’s where America is headed under the Democrats in Washington – as both some in the mainstream media and the general public know full well. Newsweek told us last year that “We’re All Socialists Now,” and an April New York Times–CBS poll discovered that 52 percent of Americans think Obama’s policies are pushing the nation toward socialism.
Putting “socialism” and “Obama” in the same sentence shouldn’t be all that controversial anymore. As we all know, Obama told Joe the Plumber in 2008 that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” And he complained in his 2009 budget statement that a “disproportionate share of the nation’s wealth has been accumulated by the very wealthy.” “Rising inequality” demands, he said, that we “break from a troubled past” and “begin charting a new path” – one, we’ve learned, that involves the heavy hand of government. More recently, the president announced, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” That’s not exactly the way Adam Smith or Milton Friedman would have put it.
So what about the connection between Darwin and Hitler – what the Star-Tribune for maximum rhetorical impact called “linking the theory of evolution to the Holocaust”?
Well, the facts are clear, as we show in our 2006 documentary, “Darwin’s Deadly Legacy.”
“Among German historians, there’s really not much debate about whether or not Hitler was a social Darwinist,” according to historian Richard Weikart, author of “From Darwin to Hitler” and a featured guest on our DVD. “He clearly was drawing on Darwinian ideas.”
British evolutionist Sir Arthur Keith agreed. He wrote in the 1940s: “The German führer, as I have consistently maintained, is an evolutionist. He has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution.”
Even leading evolutionist Niles Eldredge freely admits the link between Darwin and Hitler. Eldredge, a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, has written that “social Darwinism,” which he regards as an illegitimate offspring of Darwin’s theory, “has given us the eugenics movement and some of its darker outgrowths, such as the genocidal practices of the Nazis in World War II – where eugenics was invoked as a scientific rationale to go along with whatever other ‘reasons’ Hitler and his fellow Nazis had for the Holocaust.”
But evolution was not incidental to Hitler’s thought. It was a “central aspect of his worldview,” according to Weikart, a leading scholar on the Darwin-Hitler nexus. “It drove pretty much everything that he did. It was not just a peripheral part of his ideology.”
The argument for evolution’s impact on Hitler is strengthened by the fact that Darwinian thought heavily influenced Germany in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Hitler was hardly alone in his racist ideas fueled by Darwin and his intellectual progeny, who include Ernst Haeckel and Francis Galton, the founder of eugenics, which was a critical component of the Nazi killing machine. Hitler, according to Weikart, “was drawing on what many other scholars, biologists and geneticists in Germany were preaching and teaching in the early 20th century.”
As Dr. D. James Kennedy said in 2006, “We have had nearly 150 years of the theory of Darwinian evolution. And what has it brought us – whether Darwin intended it or not? Millions of deaths, the destruction of those deemed ‘inferior,’ the devaluing of human life and increasing hopelessness. Darwin’s legacy has been deadly indeed.”
And, come to think of it, that’s the legacy of socialism, too. Some 100 million people were killed by socialist regimes in the 20th century – as we detail in “Ten Truths About Socialism,” the book that accompanies the documentary. This raises the question: Why would Washington ever take the nation on a “new path” toward this old and failed ideology, one that brought tyranny, poverty and death to millions?
John Aman is director of communications at Coral Ridge Ministries and a co-author of “Ten Truths About Socialism.”