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Comment 160 by guwest :

Great programme and who was the left wing commentator who thought Dawkins' work led to Thatcher's election, as mentioned in it?

The following is from A Devil's Chaplain

I should be allowed a personal word here because I am tired of being identified with a vicious politics of ruthless competitiveness: accused of advancing selfishness as a way of life. Soon after Mrs Thatcher’s election victory of 1979, Professor Steven Rose wrote, in New Scientist, as follows:

I am not implying that Saatchi and Saatchi engaged a team of sociobiologists to write the Thatcher scripts, nor even that certain Oxford and Sussex dons are beginning to rejoice at this practical expression of the simple truths of selfish genery they have been struggling to convey to us. The coincidence of fashionable theory with political events is messier than that. I do believe though, that when the history of the move to the right of the late 1970s comes to be written, from law and order to monetarism and to the (more contradictory) attack on statism, then the switch in scientific fashion, if only from group to kin selection models in evolutionary theory, will come to be seen as part of the tide which has rolled the Thatcherites and their concept of a fixed, 19th century competitive and xenophobic human nature into power.

The ‘Sussex don’ was John Maynard Smith, and he gave the apt reply in a letter to the next issue of New Scientist: What should we have done, fiddled the equations?

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 05:22:11 UTC | #938102