Main Question or Discussion Point
Is there any proven validity to Herbert Spencer's theory of social Darwinism? Or is it purely theory and conjecture?
The guy in this video (who is not me) explains social Darwinism in a very frank and straightforward way.I hate to answer with a question rather than an answer, but I'm not all that familiar with Spencer other than having heard of "Social Statics" as being a precursor to libertarian anarcho-capitalism. His wikipedia page is a bit over-saturated and the section on "Social Darwinism" is relatively unspecific, talking about attribution and responses to it rather than his actual remarks.
Would you be so kind as to expand on the specific claims of his theory?
Indeed. The scientific idea of isolating variables is usually impossible in the social sciences. Coincidentally, this was one of the reasons I became fed up with economics my freshman year and finally transferred into physics; I couldn't stand the insistence by economics professors that what they did was on par with a science.Of course, it is very difficult to "prove" social theories given the complexity and non-linear nature of socio-economics.
For the very same reason we would be labeled crackpots if we were seriously discussing those things that I mentioned above. I know of not one single reputable learned sociologist of the last hundred years who thought there was any validity to Spencer's arguments. It has, however, been used in bits and pieces by various crackpots and sociopaths to justify genocides, eugenics, imperialism, and a variety of other self serving endeavors.Doesn't look like a joke/crackpottery to me. Why do you think it is crackpottery?
Yes, you are correct.For the very same reason we would be labeled crackpots if we were seriously discussing those things that I mentioned above. I know of not one single reputable learned sociologist of the last hundred years who thought there was any validity to Spencer's arguments. It has, however, been used in bits and pieces by various crackpots and sociopaths to justify genocides, eugenics, imperialism, and a variety of other self serving endeavors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism#Criticism_and_controversySome pre-twentieth century doctrines subsequently described as social Darwinism appear to anticipate state imposed eugenics  and the race doctrines of Nazism. Critics have frequently linked evolution, Charles Darwin and social Darwinism with racialism, nationalism, imperialism and eugenics, contending that social Darwinism became one of the pillars of fascism and Nazi ideology, and that the consequences of the application of policies of "survival of the fittest" by Nazi Germany eventually created a very strong backlash against the theory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinismsocial Darwinism, especially after the atrocities of the Second World War (including the Holocaust), few people would describe themselves as Social Darwinists and the term is generally seen as pejorative.
Social Darwinism is generally understood to use the concepts of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest to justify social policies which make no distinction between those able to support themselves and those unable to support themselves. Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism; but the ideology has also motivated ideas of eugenics, scientific racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism and struggle between national or racial groups.
Opponents of evolution theory have often maintained that social Darwinism is a logical entailment of a belief in evolutionary theory, while biologists and historians maintain that it is rather a perversion of Charles Darwin's ideas. While most scholars recognize historical links between Darwin's theory and forms of social Darwinism, they also maintain that social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of the principles of biological evolution and that using biological evolution as a justification for policies of inequality amounts to committing the naturalistic fallacy.