He and they basically rejected his key idea that evolution was totally directionless and that the variants that selection acted upon were thrown up totally by chance.
But elites everywhere seized upon the idea that they and not Darwin had actually invented : that Life was not a linked chain of being with every species needed to keep all the other species alive, as supposed for centuries.
Instead they took up the new claim that life was actually an enormous one-time track meet, entitled the Survival of the Fittest ---- with all the losers destined to slowly starve away.
That simply wasn't so - or at the very least, Darwin never actually said that.
Admittedly, in a very long lifetime of words, he totally buried the lede, but ultimately Darwin did say that Life was actually about a million races a year, each and every year, from the beginnings of Life in the yesteryear on into eternity.
Darwin-the-scientist said that each tiny little niche held its own race and as the niche changed, so a new race was run within it.
But Darwin-the-Manchester-Liberal, like almost all modern elites in the 1860s, tended to deny these claims and instead to fall in with Herbert Spencer's views about the survival of the fit instead.
I believe it can all, Auschwitz,Hunger Plan East and all, can be put down to an unfortunate coincidence in timing - or mis-timing.
Mid Victorian families, like all earlier families, had lots of pregnancies because most kids died before birth or before the age of five.
Ten pregnancies to get five kids to survive to youth, so their labour could add to the income of the family farm or other human labour oriented family business.
Now in the 1860s, more of the traditional ten pregnancies were surviving to birth and even beyond the age of five, because of fewer reoccurring national famines and purer drinking water,etc.
National populations were soaring.
But once families realized that (a) more kids were surviving to their teen years and (b) less and less labour, including child labour, was going to be needed, they would reduce their pregnancies way way down.
But connecting the dots would take time - introducing a critical "lag".
Overcoming that demographic lag in understanding changing circumstances could take decades - it took exactly 100 years for birthrates to fall in rural Antigonish, for example, as my partner Rebecca can personally attest!
At the very same time, smart minds among the greedy and ambitious were realizing that with cheap abundant hydrocarbon energy about, machines (machine energy slaves) would be much cheaper, much more reliable, much less tireless, much less likely to demand unions or vote for anti-capitalist governments, than human slave labourers.
But the rising national human survival rates were producing much more human labourers at the exact time the elites were deciding they needed much less.
A much older, much less hypocritical age might have just led the surplus labourers out into a wintry howling wilderness to die out of sight, but modern mass media and modern photography made that solution, as marxist-latte-lapping-academics are wont to say, "problematic".
The optics - and there would always be optics ( Aylan Kurdi as a recent example) - would look as "bad", as morally bad as this effort really was.
So Evolution cum 'The Survival of the Fittest' emerged just at the right time.
Now Evolutionary failure and Mother Nature could be blamed for Man's evil doings --- basically his finding as many ways as possible to speed Nature's reduction in the number of human "useless mouths", without getting caught at it.
But of course, as Hitler, Stalin and Tojo discovered during WWI and as we are still re-discovering in 2015, humanity's replacement, the mechanized slaves, can't always do many things (usually downmarket manual things, ironically enough) as well as people paid minimum wage and kept on unpaid 'call' for all hours.
Human Labour Shortage Looming
In fact, I predict that by the 2060s, the world will face a simply enormous human labour shortage.
Another mistimed coincidence, in fact the exact reverse side of the 1860s situation.
Only now we will be running out of (cheap) hydrocarbons to do our dirty hard work just at the very time as our world fills up with retired ancients like me, demanding to be maintained in the swell lifestyle to which cheap hydrocarbons have accustomed us ...