Wallace's Theory of
Environmental Government Published
by Jeff Provine
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Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this
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On August 20th 1858,
one of the most important biological and philosophical ideas of modern
society was published on this day in the "The Journal of the Proceedings
of the Linnean Society of London". In this work, "The Father of Evolution"
Alfred Russel Wallace (pictured) outlined his ideas of the environment
acting as a government for the directed control of the transmutation of
species, an idea already old by the mid-nineteenth century.
The body of the paper was presented while Wallace was away from London,
still observing nature in Borneo, by biologists Charles Lyell and Joseph
Hooker and had been recommended by Wallace's friend Charles Darwin,
another biologist who died of scarlet fever just before the presentation.
The paper was not immediately recognized as significant, in fact it was
said by Dublin's Professor Haughton that "all that was new in them was
false, and what was true was old". Despite the lack of immediate
recognition, Wallace continued to determine speciation by means of
"natural selection", a term he borrowed from the late Darwin. He bundled
data from his experiments and observations over decades to argue against
the alternate view of "sexual selection" and instead explore the effects
of environment on survival. In 1889, he published On the Origin of
Species, a work that combined his biological data with many of his
Spiritualist beliefs. The theory was expanded to include humans in The
Origin of Human Races and the Antiquity of Man Deduced from the Theory of
"Natural Selection". Though derided by biologists such as Hooker, other
biologists such as Lyell picked up the ideas, which were to work their way
into the public's general understanding of the world.
Taking into account the influence of nature, people were able to
understand much of the social psychology that plagued poor living
conditions. However, with such non-adaptive mental phenomena as music,
mathematics, and art, it was proven that men were more than just advanced
animals. The "the unseen universe of Spirit" (which was embraced as the
Christian God, though has become more general in modern times) agreed with
the story of Creation: cellular life on Day 3 (Genesis 1:10), animals on
Day 5 and 6 (Genesis 1:20-25), and consciousness in higher animals
(Genesis 1:26). Combining the two, science joined with religion to
persuade the mind of man toward creating a beneficial governing
environment for all humanity. On the political and economic front, many
would also find similar ideals in the writings of the philosopher Marx,
but the idea of communism would be superseded.
Social activists (one of whom was Wallace himself) campaigned for
engineered societies to free the spirit of man rather than restrict it or
sharpen the species by point of the lesser-known theory of eugenics. In
the reshaping of Europe in the 1920s and the economic turmoil of the
1930s, many countries found their chances. Wallacism (a form of democratic
socialism) rebuilt Germany, pervaded America and British beyond
Progressivism, and served as the basis for revolution in Italy, Spain, and
elsewhere. The Soviet Union under Stalin's rule put down several Wallacist
uprisings while Japan continued its hold on regimented Imperialism.
With the Pacific War from December 1941 to May 1944, propaganda and public
sentiment would shift Wallacism into a demand for paternalism. Recalling
Woodrow Wilson's words that "the world must be made safe for democracy,"
the Allies launched into a campaign to organize the "world environment"
through the United Nations, formed after the Soviet Liberation of 1955-60.
Enforced immunizations, guaranteed resource development and management,
and environmental resettling camps for offenders (called by many as
"brainwashing" camps) became required throughout the globe.
Though naysayers exist, high standards of living and technological
development are proof that the Human Spirit is triumphing through
says in reality, Darwin did not die from scarlet fever, though his son
did. Distraught, Darwin did not attend the conference but soon began work on
his On the Origin of Species, which was published in 1859. Wallace would
disagree with Darwin upon the abstract mental facilities of mankind, which
Darwin argued could be described scientifically through sexual selection.
Though often untrusted for his delving into spiritualism, Wallace stands as
the "Father of Biogeography" as one of the greatest biologists of the
nineteenth century. Named for Wallace are the Wallace Line (a separation of
biodiversity through Indonesia between Australian and Asian influence) and
the Wallace Effect of warning coloration in animals.
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