Eugenics: The Science of Breeding Men
Author of "The Adventitious Character of Women," "The Psychology of Woman's Dress," etc.
While the wise man is thinking of
getting married the fool has a
son born to him. -- Tartar Proverb.
The "visitor from Mars " whom we are in the habit of invoking when a disinterested opinion of mankind is involved had been I present in the early infancy of the human race he would hardly have picked man from among all the animal forms as the one destined either to tame or exterminate the others. For man has no great strength, size or swiftness, when compared for instance with the carnivorous animals. His teeth are neither long nor poisonous, he has no formidable claws, nor Heavy jaws for crushing, and his hand is very puny indeed when compared with the paw of the lion. Much of his time must have been spent in flight, but he is not a good runner. He is not naturally a swimmer, as the other animals are, he cannot burrow to hide himself, and he is not the best of climbers. His one great point of superiority was his power of calculation. He was not able to throttle or mangle the large animals, he could not crush an ox with his paw, but he observed that there were lying about him objects which he could make to do these things for him.
If he held in his hand a heavy and sharp-edged stone, or fixed it to a handle, he could crush or cleave though the bone to the brain of the larger animals. Or if he fixed the sharp point of flint to the limb of a tree he had an artificial tooth ten feet long, if you please, and capable of more desperate work than that in the mouth of the saber-toothed tiger. He could not overtake the swift deer with his own motion, and there were animals so violent in their disposition that he did not even wish to come close to them -- very wicked animals, the old French traveler called them, "which if attacked will defend the selves." But in his flights and pursuits through the forest, man had observed that the limb of a tree when displaced violently will back with stunning force. So he took advantage of this resiliency of wood and made the bow, and he modified his artificial tooth, to wit his spear, and made it very small, and so he had an object, the barbed arrow, which virtually did his running for him with an incredible rate of swiftness and carried a tooth at its forward end.
Man's Natural Distaste for Work
The superiority over the animal world which inventive contrivances of this nature gave man finally led to such a thinning out of game that he sometimes found himself reduced to cultivating plants, a very unexciting occupation when compared with hunting, but one which women had already taken up, owing to the uncertainty the chase. This predicament caused man's' inventive ingenuity to take a different turn. Brought face to face with the problem of work, -- and a very ugly problem it is in the rough -- he planned to avoid it as much as possible. He tamed, fed, tended, and bred the animal, drank its milk and ate its flesh, and above all he taught it to do the heavy and unstimulating part of his work. But the animal is not intelligent enough to do this alone, so man wherever possible caught other men and forced them do his work for him, reducing a part of his own species to the grade of animals. And, along with this, he gradually got control of the blind forces of nature, the winds and water streams, and steam and electricity, and he made ma-
( 191)-chines to be moved by these forces, which, when he had once set them going, could even do work which his hand and eye were not good enough to do. So while he reduced a portion of the human world to the animal status he raised a part of the inorganic world to a quasi-human status. A machine is an arrangement of materials and forces without a mind, but which works as though it had a mind.
Now it is to be observed that all this clever work of the mind of man implies looking backward and forward, comparison and calculation. Human supremacy is due to this indirect quality of mind. The other animals leave the world as they found it; man reconstructs it. The mind is quick to remedy intolerable and painful conditions, but to look a long way ahead and prevent their occurrence is not easy, and indeed not natural. In fact, man could not possibly calculate to prevent bad conditions until they had occurred and he had felt the painful consequences. Very certainly one of the greatest stimulations to looking ahead has been periodic shortage in food and the recurrence of famines. This led to economy, thrift, and systematic labor. The domestication of the animal, the use of its milk, harnessing it to the plough and putting off on it and the women as much of the particularly disagreeable task of cultivating the ground as possible, the capture of other men to do his work for him, the use of so unpromising creatures as the little bee and the silkworm to provide for his comfort, and the later resort to machines, to child labor, to capitalistic manipulation and industrial slavery, are inventions through which man helped himself out of disagreeable situations.
Why a Certain Eskimo Kept on Fishing
These devices were not always moral, for morality is not necessarily a part of mental life. Still we must not think of early man as without morality. He had even grasped more thoroughly than we have the idea that if men live in groups, as they must necessarily live if they are to live at all, the welfare of every man is bound up with the welfare of every other man. He never thought of letting a man go hungry. This would have weakened the whole society. Among the Indians of this country no one ever entered a lodge without being offered food, and any man, woman or child could enter any lodge and take food in the absence of the owner. It was even proper to take game from the trap of another man, courteously leaving him the better portions of the animal. Stefansson asked a prominent man of the Eskimo why he continued to fish when he already had frozen fish enough to last for years. He replied that some of his neighbors would probably not be so fortunate, that he had heard game was scarce in certain quarters and that he wished to have enough to feed everybody who needed food. "No man," he said, "who wants to be called a good man, stops fishing when he has just enough food for his own household." To have many and strong men, good hunters and fighters and workers, was also a definite tribal ideal, and the production of many and strong children thus became a definite tribal desire. This interest was so well defined in some Indian tribes that a relative inhaled the last breath of a dying man in the confidence that the spirit of the dead would thus be conserved within the tribe and in the course of time reborn. This was also the period when barrenness was considered a reproach to a woman.
The Morale of Savages
As society has become increasingly individualistic, it has become increasingly irresponsible for the condition of the individual. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost is the individualistic principle, and under it some men have reached heights of magnificence and other men have sunk to levels of squalor which savage society knew nothing of. Even our law which the "founder of jurisprudence" called "the perfection of reason" and "nothing else but reason," is perfectly negative in its moral quality. It does not demand that a man shall be good, only that he shall not be positively bad. This is perfectly expressed by Sir James Stephen:
"A sees B drowning and is able to help him by holding out his hand. A abstains from doing so in order that B may be drowned, and B is drowned. A has committed no offense."
That is, all the law requires of A is that he shall not push B into the water. Speaking in this connection recently on the injustice of the law to the poor man, the best a jurist could say was that "the poor man is treated no worse in the law than he is everywhere else." When we wish to say the worst of anything we are in the habit of calling it "savage," but in respect to the "rights of man," and even to "enlightened self-interest," we should do well to take a leaf from the moral code of the savage. As a result of our narrow, individualistic, incomplete and immoral calculation we have a vast amount of poverty, crime, intemperance, hereditary disease and insanity, and an average of civic worth, intelligence and in-
( 192)-tegrity so low, and public life so close to the anarchistic, that the best are happy if only they are not ruled by the bad. The completely rational and at the same time completely moral proposition is that society must look out for its own interests by looking out for the interests of all its members, and by anticipating and preventing evil conditions instead of awaiting their development.
I believe that disease, contagion and epidemics of sickness have done more than any one thing to bring home finally to meets business and bosoms the realization of the double truth that no man can calculate for his own welfare without calculating for that of everyone else, and that the best calculation of evils is to anticipate and prevent them, instead of awaiting them and fighting them after they have done their worst. To prohibit is to make the wiser calculation. We realize that the prevention of disease, crime, intemperance, accident, food adulteration, and poverty is not only more humane but vastly cheaper.
What Eugenics Means
This is the same quality of calculation used by primitive man in controlling the future but based on a larger scientific experience. And it is along this line that eugenics makes its proposal. Eugenics means primarily good reproduction, and to the degree that it is possible to carry it out, it will eliminate the congenital criminal, the insane the idiotic, the dipsomaniac, those tainted with hereditary disease, the violent, and, it is to be hoped, the Philistine. It would also encourage reproduction in stocks which have shown themselves of a high degree of "civic worth." And it would so surround life after it is produced that it cannot become bad. In this latter point eugenism becomes associated in its aims with politics and education.
At present eugenics is scarcely more than an idea and a sentiment. There is as yet no definite program to which even its own advocates would all subscribe. For this, indeed, a more perfect knowledge of biology is required; and to make any program effective changes in the present social order w ill be necessary. Certain things we do now know. Children are at present largely in the class of accidents, they are not universally desired, and marriages are not arranged with reference to producing the best specimens of our kind. The families of the economically better classes are not as large as they were fifty years ago, and the same is true of the more capable artisan and working classes. while the families of the very poor are not diminishing in numbers. Insanity, suicide, dumbness, dipsomania, erotism and violence are on the increase, both because they are bred rapidly and made possible by the bad social conditions.
Man Will Always Be Old Adam
The idea of eugenics does not imply that the family is to be interfered with or in any; modified, except that the family situation may be improved, as indeed it should be. Marriage should not only not be undertaken without a view to good offspring, but the family should be the place where the sentiment for eugenism should be developed most acutely. A sentiment and a calculation with reference to maximizing the number of efficient individuals in the family and in society is all that eugenics implies. And this interest would cover not only the conditions of the reproduction of children, but a more fundamental interest in their rearing.
It would be unfortunate if those who are hospitable to the idea of eugenics should expect more of it than could be realized. The idea of breeding men is not altogether new, and so eminent a man and evolutionist as Alfred Russel Wallace has stated a view -- which is at the same time a popular though certainly a mistaken one -- that it is possible by the selection of stock to produce a race from which the old Adam is eliminated, whose disposition resembles that of angels and whose intelligence approaches in absoluteness that of the Deity. This is the wildest sort of a dream. All the instincts and qualities which man has are natural and useful to him. A creature without capacity for anger and resentment, an interest in conflict and success, without some degree of fallibility and infirmity would be a very poor human creature indeed, or rather he would not be human at all. The true ideal and the only one realizable is an individual of eminently marked human traits, with strong sympathies and intelligence, with that balance which we call normality, under full control of himself and dominated by the finest social feeling. By breeding out characteristic stimulations we should also breed out characteristic expressions of activity. Moreover, biology practical stock breeding hold out no encouragement that a new Species can be created by selection.
What We Know From Stock-Breeding
Nature has been working a long time at species and they are now practically finished.
( 193) It has been calculated that historical time compares with geological time (if the former is reckoned at 6,000 years) as five seconds to a day of twenty-four hours. At a late but still distant point in geological time life appeared on the earth, and in countless places, during, hundreds of thousands of years, nature has through trial and error developed millions of animal species, and among them man. In him she seems to have practically reached the limit of her materials. Great men lived before Agamemnon, and modern times have produced no greater minds than those of Plato and Socrates. The general average of health, vigor, manhood and mentality can be raised by breeding, and possibly the percentage of illustrious minds, but the general pattern of mind cannot be changed. I think what I have said about primitive man's power of invention is enough to indicate that he had a very good mind indeed, and personally I see no reason to think that the mind has improved since those prehistoric times. That the number and range of mental acts has vastly extended there can be no doubt, and the sum of knowledge is immensely enlarged, but this means merely an improved state of knowledge, not a different quality of mind.
In the field of domestic animals there has been no limit to the nature of experiments which man was able to try, and no end of experiments tried, in the effort to produce new forms, but even under conditions so favorable to control, the results have been very far from radical, especially so far as mental qualities are concerned. The dog approaches man in intelligence, and the horse is among the intelligent animals, but no horse or dog has ever been able to speak or count. The owner of Clever Hans actually thought this horse could count. If the owner asked him to add two and three he would move his hoof five times, and he would do this if a stranger proposed it. But what he actually did was to observe that the man made a slight, unintentional and almost imperceptible inclination of the head when five was reached. The man knew when to stop, and the horse got the cue from him. When two scientists, each ignorant of the number the other would give, whispered two numbers in either ear of the horse, neither of the men knew when to stop and neither did the horse. He went on stamping. It was very clever of the horse to notice the movement of the head, but it was not counting.
Great variety in size and disposition has been secured in dogs by selection, and this could be done in man also, but it is significant that for all-around intelligence and as an all-around dog, the cur is hardly surpassed. We also use the word "thoroughbred" as denoting the highest degree of excellence, but the thoroughbred racing horse is the poorest animal of its species ever bred for general uses. Mr. Speed says: "The thoroughbred horse is far from a good animal for anything but racing. He is a long-legged fellow, very nervous, lacking in stamina, and notoriously unsound, so that . . . he usually runs to the end of his career before he is four years old, very frequently, indeed, before he is three. " The stock-breeder breeds for points, not for general utility, and the disproportionate development of a single point is usually at the sacrifice of other qualities. Stock-breeding, therefore, does not encourage us to hope that the human mind will be revolutionized by breeding.
Exactly What You Can Hand Down to Your Child
There is still another limit to the possibilities of breeding which the eugenists are prepared to accept, but which I believe the general public is not. There is no hope that the improvement made in the individual during his life will be transmitted to his children. No development of the body through healthful exercise, no improvement in aesthetic taste or moral feeling, and no skill attained by long practice will leave a mark on the next generation. If you cut off the tails of twenty generations of mice, as Weismann did, there will be never a tailless mouse born of them all. If a man is born with six fingers. it is entirely probable that his children will have six fingers. He brought these fingers into the world with him and they will pass on in his line or tend to do so. But you might prune all the limbs of both parents without affecting so much as one digit of the child. There are men, in this country even, whose ancestors in direct line for eight generations or more have been college men, but these men have not heaped Ossa on Pelion, intellectually speaking. If the results of the training of their forefathers had come down to them they would be at least intellectual giants, forming an aristocracy of learning so elevated that the son of the unlettered man could not hope to enter it. As a matter of fact, they are usually ordinary gentlemen of intelligence and civic worth, but it is more than probable that the son of the immigrant, or the country boy, if he comes within striking distance of college at all, will make a more brilliant record. To him the college represents an unusual opportunity, and he is stimulated profoundly by it. while the traditional college goer
( 194) takes the matter very calmly and even indifferently.
The only exception admitted at present to the rule that individual practice and experience are not transmitted is in such cases as chronic alcoholism and syphilis, where the poison drenches the system so thoroughly as to reach the reproductive germ itself. Of course, if the parents are ill-nourished or in feeble health the child will probably be born ill-nourished or even dead. In that case the reproductive germ has been ill-nourished, but this is quite a different thing from the transmission of practice. So far as reproduction is concerned our acquired characters lie on us almost as lightly as our clothing -- more lightly, in fact, than some of it, for the corset of the mother leaves no furrow on the waist of the child, though it may impair the child's general vitality. All of the novels and all the psychology and pedagogy assuming the transmission of the memory of definite acts to the child are without foundation in fact, and all stories of "prenatal influence," or the marking of the child by an accident to the mother, are "old wives' fables."
Just Where Hereditary Influence Comes In
This is not to deny at all the fact of hereditary influence. It simply means that children tend to be born as their parents were at birth, and not as they were in later life. But to many minds it seems a very hopeless view, and even Herbert Spencer was peculiarly distressed when it was definitely set forth and emphasized in the works of August Weismann. What hope have we then of progress, he asked, if the effects of education are not transmitted ? But the answer is simple enough. Intellectual progress will be secured if each generation adds something to the knowledge already on hand and transfers more of it and by better methods to the child. This would be progress even if all children were born- alike. The only other way is to breed for " congenital" qualities, as the stock breeders do, and this is the principle on which eugenics is based. The breeder of animals merely watches for what happens in reproduction, and mates those animals which have the qualities which he desires to perpetuate and develop. Certainly a racing mare has to be tested to determine whether she has extraordinary racing talents, and it is even advisable to see whether she has the speed to lower records, but whether the horse is raced much or little has no effect on the colt.
So far as breeding is concerned eugenics must therefore content itself with the selection of congenital characters. And there is no doubt that in this respect the limits of variation are very wide, though the: bad variations are as conspicuous as the good ones.
To begin with the most unfit variations, we have the idiots who have not
enough equipment to do normal work, the imbeciles who have a little more mental
outfit but still not sufficient, though they may perhaps be taught to do a
third, a half or even two-thirds of the work of a normal person, and the insane
whose minds are often brilliant enough, but defective, unbalanced or injured, so
that they do not correspond to the world as it is actually made up and carried
on. Next above the insane, in the possession of remarkable mental qualities, are
the prodigies in whom some one faculty is overdeveloped to the disadvantage or
sacrifice of the others. Notable among the prodigies are the lightning
calculators. Prodigious mathematical ability is not always associated with
defective mentality along other but it is usually associated with at least
Some Interesting Mathematical Minds
Above the prodigies we next find true genius, and strongly marked expressions of this are also found along mathematical lines. Between 400 and 450 students take degrees at the University of Cambridge annually, and of these about 100 gain honors in mathematics. About forty of these honor men are distinguished by the title of "wranglers," and it is very creditable to be even a low wrangler. The examinations are marked by points, and there is practically no limit to the number of points a man may make, because the work is of such a nature that no one can possibly do it all in the time allowed. In one of these examinations, reported by Professor Galton, the senior wrangler obtained 9,422 points, the second man 5,642 and the lowest honor man 309. In another year the senior wrangler obtained 7,634 points, the second wrangler 4,123, and the lowest man in the list of honors only 237. " "Consequently the senior wrangler obtained nearly twice as many marks as the second wrangler and more than thirty-two times as many as the lowest man." The examiners say that the system is fair so far as the lower candidates are concerned, but unfair to the higher, for the lower man has to work his way to his conclusions, while the man of genius sees his way through, and merely set down the result.
What is Genius ?
Some of these students have, of course, gone in for mathematics more heavily than others, but, taking any view you please of it, there is an immense difference between individuals in respect to mathematical aptitude. And similar differences are found in other fields, particularly the artistic. Now the perilous point about genius, taken in this sense, is that it is the result of bad balance m the mental faculties and approaches the danger line which insanity has crossed. The social value of the genius lies in the fact that he is a specialist by destiny. Other specialists have chosen their line of work. He can do but one thing. All specialists, indeed, work in imitation of the genius -- that is, they do not use all their faculties, and they lead on that account a pathological life. We regard specialization so highly that we never think of it as anything out of the way, but to the Oriental who has not gone in for it, gluing your eye to a microscope day in and day out or collecting and classifying insects, always insects and nothing but insects, seems a sort of madness.
I would even go so far as to say, as Seneca said many hundred years ago, that "there is no great genius without a mixture of madness." There are men of illustrious talents, generous natural endowment, extraordinary capacity for concentration, and that "infinite capacity for taking pains" which Carlyle calls genius, who are not geniuses at all. They are such men as Washington, Lincoln and Darwin Their work simulates that of genius, and has been of more value on the whole to society than that of genius, but they are not predestined and limited to any one line of mental work. They are sound -- that is, under their own control.
The Kind of Men We Ought to Breed
Now, admitting that there is great variability among men, and that mental qualities tend to transmit themselves by precisely the same laws as physical qualities, it still remains a very delicate question for the eugenists to formulate a program for breeding men which will represent what society most needs. Will it breed for the genius or for the man of all around ability, for the unstable or the stable product? The human mind is a highly unstable arrangement under any circumstances when compared with what Schopenhauer calls the "dry seriousness of the horse." Its efficiency depends on its instability. But to breed for instability would be dangerous. I venture to think that the most important thing is to breed for high grade all-around ability. The bias in this or that direction is bound to be present in some degree. In horse phraseology, the thoroughbred is not so desirable as the Kentucky saddle-horse well bred, but not excessively, of good disposition and great endurance, and capable of going as many as five gaits.
There is also a natural but short-sighted and mistaken tendency to associate "civic worth" with success and social distinction, and to identify poverty and failure with inferior biological worth and unfitness to reproduce the species. And there is an element of truth in this view, for the more efficient persons do tend to better their social position. Naturally, also, the unfit elements of society tend to locate themselves among the poor, unless sustained by inherited wealth, but it is also true that in the lower social grades, imperfect nutrition, defective hygiene, inadequate clothing, bad surroundings and bad family influences are enough to doom the best germ from the start.
"A Girl for the Brothel -- a Boy for the Penitentiary "
Let us look at the facts about the life of the poor. 'The conditions in the bad quarters of our cities are so horribly bad that life could not exist if they were worse. In his great work on London, Mr. Charles Booth has divided the population of East London (909,000) into eight classes on the basis of family incomes. Not until he reaches the fifth class (337,000) does he find families with a weekly income of from 22 to 30 shillings, and regularly enough to eat. The fourth class (129,000) he calls "poor," none of the families rising above poverty unless by the earnings of the children. The third class (75,000) is poorer still. The second class (100,000) with family incomes falling much below 18 to 21 shillings weekly, he calls " very poor," and "living in a state of chronic want." For the first class (11,000) he finds no adequate description. "Their life is the life of savages. ...From these come the battered figures who slouch through the streets, and play the beggar or the bully, or help to soil the record of the unemployed.... They degrade whatever they touch, and as individuals are perhaps incapable of improvement."
The head master of one of the London schools, containing above 400 children, reported to the County Council for 1905 that the clothing of 7.4 per cent. of the boys was "the scantiest possible -- e.g., one ragged coat
( 196) buttoned up and practically nothing found beneath it; and boots either absent or represented by a mass of rags tied upon the feet"; that the clothing of 34.8 per cent. was "insufficient to retain animal heat and needed urgent remedy"; of 45.9 it was "poor but passable, an old and perhaps ragged suit with some attempt at proper underclothing." On the score of cleanliness he reported 11 per cent. of the boys as "very dirty and verminous"; 34.7 per cent whose "clothes and body dirty but not verminous"; 42.5 per cent. were "passably clean for boys"; and "12 per cent. clean above the average." In 1906 the " Ringworm " nurses who visit the London schools to inspect for dirt and disease reported that of 119,762 children examined, 67,387 were clean, 8,365 partially cleansed, and 44,010 were verminous. Of the 42,140 infants examined, 29,675 were verminous. Would any man think of raising stock under such conditions? And yet it is the English who have raised the loudest cry that the worst elements of society are increasing and that their race is deteriorating.
In America conditions in the country are comparatively good, but a police justice in New York city recently said: " There are thousands of families in this city -- I had almost said a majority -- where the rearing of two more children means a girl for the brothel and a boy for the penitentiary." School officials have recently reported to the Board of Education that 5,000 children who attend the schools of Chicago are habitually hungry, and at least 10,000 other children attend school without having sufficient nourishment. One of the officers also reports that "many have no beds to sleep in; that the majority of the indigent children live in damp, unclean or overcrowded homes that lack proper ventilation or sanitation, that children often beg merchants for decayed fruit and even for dead fowl in crates, and that they search for stray crusts."
Now, it is almost as hopeless to attempt to grow human life in the slums as to grow grain among rank weeds or in a cellar. Some scientists, indeed, take the extreme view that the only important side of eugenics is the economic. In a communication to the Eugenic Society, Dr. Nordau says:
Actually every European nation represents a mixture, different in proportion only, of all the races of Europe and probably some of Asia and Northern Africa. Probably every European has in his ancestry representatives of a great number of human types, good and indifferent ones. He is the bearer of all the potentialities of the species. . . . Place him in favorable conditions and there is a fair chance of his developing his potentialities and of his growing into resemblance with the best of his ancestors. The essential thing therefore is not so much the selection of particular individuals (every individual having probably latent qualities of the best kind) as creating of favorable conditions for the development of the good qualities. Marry Hercules with Juno, and Apollo with venue, and put them in slums -- their children will be stunted in growth, rickety and consumptive. On the other hand, take the miserable slum dwellers out of their noxious surroundings house, feed, and clothe them well, give them plenty of light, air and leisure, and their grandchildren, perhaps already their children, will reproduce the type of the fine tall Saxons and Danes of whom they are the offspring. Eugenics, in order to modify the aspect and value of the nation must ameliorate not some select groups, but the bulk of the people, and this aim is not to be attained by trying to influence the love-life of the masses. It can be approached only by elevating their standard of life. Redeem the millions of their harrowing care, give them plenty of good food and rational hygienics, and allow their natural sympathies to work out their matrimonial choice, and you will have done all the eugenics that is likely to strengthen, embellish and ennoble the race. In one word: Eugenics, to be largely efficient, must be considered not as a biological, but as an economical question.
This is also what Emerson means when he says: "If a man is sick, is unable, is meanspirited and odious, it is because there is so much of his nature which is unlawfully withholden from him." And the man who suffers injustice from society is also a danger to society.
The Democracy of the Human Mind
I have presented the view of Nordau thus fully not because I think he is right in denying the possibility of improving the race by breeding (and I think the considerations I have presented up to this point indicate that he is not), but because I think it is possible to overestimate biological heredity in comparison with social heredity. I think the masses of humanity are essentially sound, but starved mothers produce starved offspring, vicious surroundings produce criminals, and much disease, intemperance, bad morals and intellectual and social unfitness are the symptoms of evil social conditions. There are biological variations toward the good and toward the bad in all the social grades, and the eugenists must give a great part of their interest to social hygiene, along with their efforts to select the germ. If all members of society had equal opportunities, then it would perhaps be good eugenics to breed from the higher social In a profound sense all races are selected stock, very rigorously selected in the struggle
( 197) for existence. There is no man living to-day who did not have superior ancestors. The inferior did not live and produce. There are few things in the world so democratic as the human mind -- that is, so evenly distributed through the whole population in its fitness and unfitness and so inclined to preserve its normality. If the reproductive germ is so deep seated that it is not harmed by bodily mutilations neither is it touched by outrageous fortune. The mind may remain ignorant and the body underfed for centuries and yet come to their own finally with proper education and feeding. And it is fortunate that, like Job, they can wait until their change cometh -- until institutions become as truly democratic as the mind itself. For if those families which in historical time have risen to eminence and wealth, or have been thrust upward, sometimes through the laudable thrift and energy of one of their members, sometimes through his unscrupulousness and violence, had inherited the results of their special opportunities along with their wealth, and if the minds of those who have been thrust downward into hunger, disease and drink by the manipulation of the capitalistic class had become as bad as their surroundings, there would be indeed an aristocracy of mind which would make a democracy unthinkable. Instead of being a matter of regret, the non-inheritability of acquired characters and superficial nature of poverty are the only sure guarantees of our present democracy.
Eugenics and Marriage
Eugenics must join with the other branches of sociology, and with economics, medicine, civics and education in the development of sentiments and measures for the better nurture of children. And when this is done much that is positively bad and threatening in society will disappear. On the side of selective reproduction it will have to develop a program answering to all the social facts and to the facts of heredity. In addition it will have to develop a sentiment for those marriages which have good reproduction in view. It is thought by some that the. development of this latter sentiment will be difficult or impossible, owing to the unwillingness of the young people to act on other than sentimental and romantic impulses in marriage. But the history of society shows fortunately that there is no sentiment too difficult for introduction and acceptance.
Many of the feelings which seem to us most fundamental and innate are of the nature of acquired tastes. Most of our food sentiments are acquired, as is apparent in our acceptance of the hog and rejection of the horse as food. He was indeed "a bold dog who first swallowed an oyster." Some savage tribes have a horror of fish as food, and others who eat human flesh without any qualms have as deep a prejudice against eating an egg as we have against cannibalism. An egg does not seem to them an object to be eaten, and if you think of it a moment it is quite possible to take that view of an egg. The feelings about marriage are equally variable. The women of some tribes will if possible have it made part of the marriage agreement that the husband will marry an additional wife as soon as possible. They want the company and help of another woman. Our sentiment against the marriage of brother and sister is stronger than it could be made by any legal enactment, and even the feeling against marriage of first cousins is so strong that few persons so related fall in love with each other. Exogamy was a sentiment in tribal society as strong as our feeling of incest, and prevented a man's marrying any woman within his clan. If the whole feeling about marriage is thus movable, it is evidently psychologically possible for eugenics to become a compelling sentiment.
It may seem that I have had more to say against eugenics than for it, but nothing which I have said detracts in any way from the importance of the idea of a more scientific and sentimental interest in the child before and after birth. And if the proposals of eugenics seem vague and even its knowledge of heredity imperfect, we must remember that the main thing in progress is the possession of important general ideas. The whole history of progress shows that the general idea comes first, and its detailed and practical applications are worked out slowly. Electricity, evolution, and the germ theory of disease are among the ideas which have been of great social value. But they became working ideas of considerable importance only recently, and they are not even yet completely understood.