LETTER : The origin of Darwin

GALEN Strawson's view in "Going ape over insects" (Review, 7 May) of Darwin's "unexceptional patriotism" misses the point. For Darwin, racial inequality was a commonplace which he felt his theory could explain. His notion of "civilised races" and "lower races" was indeed unexceptional. To describe this as patriotism, however, is erroneous. Strawson's dogmatic ahistoricism is insensitive to the way in which the Origin of the Species, with its language of struggle and individualism, can be related to the ambience of a laissez-faire political economy.

Chris Curtis

Twickenham, Middlesex