Medved on Bryan on Darwinism
Our friend and colleague Michael Medved is getting ready to record a special three-hour show on the origins of World War I. (Don't miss that one -- his history programs are a treat; see here.) In gathering material, he uncovered something fascinating and dropped us an email about it:
As you know, the cartoon version of William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes trial has never presented an accurate view of his approach to Darwin. In researching my WWI show -- as Secretary of State, Bryan tried heroically to avoid taking the US to war -- I came across this.
In a 1905 speech, Bryan warned that "the Darwinian theory represents man reaching his present perfection by the operation of the law of hate, the merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak. If this is the law of our development then, if there is any logic that can bind the human mind, we shall turn backward to the beast in proportion as we substitute the law of love. I choose to believe that love rather than hatred is the law of development."
What's interesting is that the speech cited came 20 years BEFORE Scopes -- so Darwinism was no passing concern for "The Great Commoner."
Bryan was also remarkably eloquent and prescient -- again, far from the cartoon version.