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This page is about the characterization trope, and does not necessarily have anything to do with Darwin, actual evolution, or real-world individuals with an interest in either.

Basic Information

The Darwinist trope describes a type of villain who believes that only the strong, cunning, and ruthless have a right to be on top, and that the weak and poor deserve their fate. What makes him a villain is that he not only believes all this, but actively works towards keeping himself in power and suppressing those weaker than him.

This attitude is distinct from racism because the Darwinist is perfectly happy to oppress members of the same ethnic group as his own - only those who can cling to power as strongly as he does are worthy of respect.

The Darwinist may also be a strawman atheist and is an excellent additional lense to attach to the Mengele impersonator as an example of the 'dangers of science'. Both of these archetypes can also be served as more realistic characters with a smaller portion of ham.

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • Darwinist villains who rule a nation might enforce mandatory sterilization of criminals and the poor, while encouraging those further up the social ladder to have as many children as possible.
    • (pseudo) Darwinian concepts would also include the sort of semi-speciation of humanity that appears in Huxley's Brave New World and a variety of transhuman fiction.
  • Organizations run by Darwinists will likely have very fierce competition for open positions, which means that those who rise to the top are among the most ruthless people imaginable.
    • Ironically, this can make the organization far less effective, as supposed allies turn on each other for promotions. Washouts are also a good source of recruits for its enemies.
  • For a less dystopic society, we should note that a strong meritocracy is also pretty Darwinian in character. This sort of community might not be actively oppressive, but would certainly be a bad place to be incompetent.
  • Does not need to mention Darwin at all; "the Spartan way" and "soft men make hard times/hard times make hard men" are both very Darwinian attitudes. Prosperity theology is also an option, for a villain who considers weakness a sign of sin.
  • An extreme case might try to bring on the end of the world as we know it, creating a world where only the strong can survive.
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