All this implies that … the so-called classical liberals, who nowadays call themselves neo-liberals or libertarians, claim Mill’s ideas and contend they follow in his footsteps. The Dutch historian Cor Hermans modifies this image thoroughly in his highly readable book Een Engelsman in Frankrijk …. In it he doesn’t deny that the famous philosopher played an important role in the history of European liberalism, but he demonstrates … that [Mill] was also influenced, and substantially so, by the Romantic Movement, socialism, and positivism.
Mr Hermans sets out … to discover the essence of social Darwinism. This results in an a-historic approach …. [Still] the investigation of Mr Hermans certainly is worth reading. For those who will not worry too much about the formulation of the historical problem to solve, this book offers a fine survey, nicely written, of the many variants of social Darwinism. It’s a valiant undertaking to add a fresh contribution to the so-called ‘Darwin industry’, even venturing to come up with something novel to it.