Chapter 6: The Conditions of Social Progress
§ 1. Social inheritance and the individual
Social progress is possible through increase in knowledge of the principles governing social organization, increase in knowledge concerning the facts of individual and social life, and increase in the materials of culture. Along with this accumulation, an improvement in methods of training individuals in habits and ideals, and in methods of imparting information, is possible. The history of human institutions demonstrates the practicability of this method of progress.
The accumulations of learning, culture, and invention are passed on to our descendants as truly as capital and debts are transmitted. This is inheritance in the literal sense of the term. Coming generations will have the telephone, radio, and air-craft which have been produced in the last two generations, just as we have the alphabet and the printing press invented by earlier generations. Philosophy, religion, ethics, literature, and all the other materials of culture are also inherited. English speaking peoples today are especially fortunate in their inheritance from so many ancient and modern peoples.
As a result of social inheritance the child of today attains a vastly different development from that which he would have attained in the environment of Egypt of ten thousand years ago, or in the wilds of central Australia. A hereditary tendency is a tendency to develop into a certain type of individual in one environment, and into an individual of a different type in another environment. Our ancestors' tendencies to develop into unsanitary, rude, cruel barbarians were also tendencies to develop into sticklers for sanitation, kindliness, and culture in social environments like those of today. In spite of the rise of various nations and stocks, and the decline of others, social evolution proceeds, provided the social products of each age are preserved and transmitted. The rate of progress, however, is variable, and is maximal when highest social inheritance is in the hands of peoples of the best stocks; peoples, whose tendencies to devel-
( 155) -opment in the environment afforded by that inheritance are the highest.
The chief obstacle to progress seems to be the fact that each human generation begins exactly where all preceding generations began, with the same tendencies and capacities as their ancestors. With the increasing body of culture and inventions to be communicated, the education of the individual becomes more and more complicated. The period of training required by our children, and the labor involved in that training, are the same as would have been required to train our savage ancestors to the same level of attainments. Our progress in one generation seems to affect the next generation solely by modifying the environment to which the next generation is subjected.
It would seem that more rapid progress, and perhaps progress of a better sort, might be made if we could actually improve the capacities of the individuals in successive generations, so that these individuals would respond to the environment in better ways than their ancestors could have done. Then, instead of starting in each generation at the same level in infancy, and training each to a higher level than the preceding generation attained, each generation would start at a higher level, and progress would be accelerated.
Unfortunately, in spite of our general belief in evolution, there seems to be no evidence that any human individual has greater capacities mental or physical, than had his most remote ancestors of which we have any historical or archaeological evidence. If an individual is superior to some of his ancestors, it is apparently because he has inherited not from these, but from other ancestors, who were just as capable as he is. What may have happened millions of years ago is of little practical importance. In a few thousands of years, no appreciable change occurs. For the problem of social organization, what may happen millions of years from now is also negligible. We can usefully concern ourselves only with changes which may be brought about in a relatively few generations. The reasons why there is no appreciable change in inheritable characteristics from generation to generation are set forth below.
§2. Heredity and training
We have considered the individual, so far, as an organism which has definite tendencies toward response. Stimulated in certain ways
( 156) by the environment, it acts in certain ways, develops certain desires, and has certain types of consciousness. These reactions modify the individual, especially his nervous system, so that the tendencies present at one time may be replaced by other tendencies later. But at any given time, we assume, there are reaction tendencies in the nervous system, which, upon definite stimulation will produce definite responses.
The modifying process through which reaction tendencies are changed are designated as training, learning, acquisition, or habit-formation. The tendencies present at any given time in the individual, we call habits, or acquired tendencies. But since habits presuppose previous tendencies which have been modified, the question arises as to the "original" tendencies from which the process started. If acquisition, or training is the modification of a previously existing tendency; and if that tendency, if acquired, depends on still earlier tendencies, it would seem that there must have been, in the individual, at some earlier stage, tendencies of an original type, with which the series of modifications started. Such assumed "original" reaction tendencies have been commonly called "instinctive tendencies" or "instincts." On this assumption we have to consider two forces determining the life and development of any individual: his instinctive tendencies, or "nature," and his training, or "nurture."
The human individual, we know, is developed from an original single cell, the fertilized egg, which is formed by the union of two special cells, the egg (ovum), produced from a germ cell of the mother and the sperm cell (spermatazoon), produced from a germ cell of the father. This method of genesis is common to all the higher order of plant and animal life.
The fertilized egg has certain inherent tendencies to develop along definite lines. The egg of the cat develops into a cat, the egg of the human being into a human being. From the egg of blue-eyed parents, a blue-eyed individual develops) Obviously, the egg contains definite developmental tendencies, differing in different eggs, which must have been obtained from the germ cells of the parents. This transmission of tendencies from generation to generation is called heredity.
The actual tendencies of the fertilized egg are carried principally in the chromatin of the cell, or at certain stages of development, in the chromosomes into which the chromatin divides. Further than this, we know little about the mechanics of these tendencies.
In the mother's uterus the original cell divides into two, these again into four, and so on. A process of specialization of cells appears, and ultimately the cells of different type: muscle, nerve, gland, and so on, are formed, and are arranged in the typical tissues and structures of the human being.
At some time during the development of the embryo, activities of the response-type begin. Several months before birth, coördinated movements of the muscles of the legs, arms and trunk are noticeable, and it is probable that movements of other muscles occur also. At what stage these movements begin, whether they are from the beginning response-movements, and at what moment learning commences, we do not know. But we have no reason to doubt that the remarkably well coordinated responses of sucking and crying which are exhibited at birth are habits, developed by the modifications of movement which have commenced much earlier in utero.
Presumably, response cannot occur until the process of growth has perfected structures and their 'arrangement. Theoretically, there-fore, there might be a point in development at which the first, and therefore the truly "instinctive" or original response of the neuromotor mechanism, or a definite part of the mechanism, occurs. That there is any such definite beginning of response in the ordinary sense of the term may, however, be doubted. It may well be that growth itself is a process continuous with response-modification and subject to the same laws. But whether this be true or not, we may reasonably expect to find that the changes involved in the modification of structures in such a way as to make responses possible, are modifications of essentially the same type as those involved in habit-formation.
For the present, therefore, it is safest to regard all response-tendencies as habits, and to make no assumptions concerning "instinctive" or "original" responses, until detailed investigation of the development of responses in the embryo have been completed. So far as we are now concerned, the only certain "instinctive" response is the first response of the fertilized germ cell to its environment, and the only "instinctive" tendency of which we are certain is the tendency embodied in the structure of the fertilized egg cell itself.
Heredity, then, is structurally the organization of the fertilized egg cell, and dynamically it is the fact that different cells are fitted to respond differently to the same environment. Subject two different fertilized human eggs to the same conditions, during gestation and after, and they will develop into different types of individual, making different responses to the same stimuli. One may be blue eyed, fair haired, intelligent, and gentle; the other, dark eyed, dark haired, dull, and vicious. The details may differ slightly in some cases, but greatly in others.
Of course, no two individuals can ever be subjected to exactly the same environment. Even in the uterus, twins cannot be said to be nourished exactly alike, nor stimulated exactly alike. Hence, even identical twins could not be expected to be exactly alike at birth, even if in the beginning of foetal development the two were exactly alike, which, of course, is another improbability.
The developmental tendency is not, however, isolable from the environment. Along with the fact that fertilized eggs differently constituted would develop into individuals with different characteristics, we must consider the fact that eggs exactly alike would, in different environments, develop differently. This is manifestly true in the post-uterine life, as is demonstrated by the effects of training on the individual. Some characteristics can be very much modified by relatively small changes in the environment, and others are very slightly modified by large environmental changes, but nevertheless, growth and habit formation are, throughout, influenced by the stimulation applied. The child can be very readily made to
( 159) show fear reactions to situations which previously did not excite such reaction. Its height and weight can also be modified by control of nutrition and exercise, and even the color of its hair can be changed by exposure to, or protection from, the sunlight.
In the uterine life, there is no doubt that the same conditions obtain. Changes in nutrition manifestly influence the foetal development. If the fertilized egg of Scandinavian parents were trans-planted to the uterus of an Italian mother, it would undoubtedly develop into a child which at birth would show general Scandinavian characteristics; but that its characteristics would not in some way, however slight, differ from the characteristics it would have possessed if it had developed in the uterus of a Scandinavian mother, is entirely improbable.
Heredity, in short, cannot rationally be conceived as a force operating independent of environmental forces, but must be conceived as operating through them, and vice versa. A hereditary tendency is a tendency to develop in one way in one environment, in another way in another environment. For some tendencies, wide ranges of environmental variation produce little variation in results. For other tendencies, slight environmental changes produce large results. Conversely, differently constituted germs will have different tendencies just as the animals later have different habits. Heredity, as an isolable factor, must for the present be considered as confined to the process involved in the formation of germ cells and their union in fertilization.
§3. The modification of germ cells
In the development of the individual animal from the fertilized egg, through repeated cell division, and the specialization of later generations of cells, some cells remain unchanged throughout the divisions, and in the adult body the descendents of these cells, the germ cells, live in the testes of the male, or the ovaries of the female, having essentially (but not necessarily exactly) the same characteristics as the original fertilized egg cell from which they and the whole body have descended. From these germ cells in turn, sperm cells or egg cells are formed, and by the union of the sperm cell from one parent and the egg from another, a new fertilized egg cell is produced, and the whole process repeated. Germ cells, in other words, are not produced by the bodies they inhabit, but are the descendents of
( 160) endless lines of germ cells, which at various points produce animal bodies as side products, the bodies being useful to the germ cells, as houses and mechanical appliances are to men who build them.
As, in the same climate, successive generations of men build houses of the same type, because the men are of the same type; and yet the houses of one generation are not produced by the houses of the past; so the men themselves are alike because their germ cells are alike, and the bodies of one generation are not really descendents of the bodies of the preceding generation.
The fertilized egg cell from which an individual starts is not exactly like the fertilized egg cell from which either of his parents originated. Loosely speaking, half a germ cell from the father's line, unites with half a germ cell of the mother's line, to form the fertilized egg cell from which the child develops. In the process of division of germ cells to form spermatazoa and eggs, no two sperm cells from the father's germ cells, and no two eggs from the mother's germ cells will be exactly alike. Hence, no two of the children of two parents will be closely alike, unless they be identical twins; and in many cases brothers or sisters are very different. These variations are quite understandable in terms of the permutations and combinations of the various characters carried in the germ cells. The fact that characteristics of ancestors which are not apparent in parents may appear in their children is intelligible from the fact that when there are conflicting characters in the fertilized egg cell, derived from two different parents, one of these characters alone may express itself in the individual developed from the fertilized egg cell, but both characters may be transmitted to successive descendents of the germ cell.
If, in successive divisions of a germ cell, all its progeny were precisely like the original germ cell; and if in the division of a germ cell into spermatazoa or eggs, and the subsequent union of a spermatazoon and an egg into a fertilized egg cell, no changes were made in the characters transmitted, there would be various combinations in the species of the characteristics possessed by the individuals of the earlier generation, but no changes other than these could occur. There could be no further evolution, and the origin of the species itself would be unintelligible.
Mutations, or changes in the characters of germ cells, are believed
( 161) to occur most frequently at the divisions into sperm cells or eggs; or at the union of sperm cell and egg; but according to recent investigators, may occur at later stages of development also. Variations in the characteristics of individuals would then arise. The other possibility of change, whether of improvement or deterioration, in the germ cell, turns upon the possibility of the modification of the germ cell during its individual life time. There is no inherent improbability in such modification; for the germ cell is a living organism, whose activities are dependent upon its environment, and whose activities may modify its structure, even if the structure be not more directly modified by the environmental forces themselves. That such modifications may occur through changes in nourishment or temperature of the egg, or through chemical changes in its environment, is demonstrated by experimental work. But that such changes are of normal occurrence, or are important in the development of a species, is by no means demonstrable.
It is believed by some persons that individuals who have been trained along specific lines may transmit to their children the results of training as increased capacities for receiving training along the same specific lines. It is held, for example, that the training which a race horse receives not only increases his speed, but that his progeny, begotten later, are thereby given a greater capacity for speed. The studying of mathematics by an individual is popularly believed to increase the mathematical ability of his children. The same type of transmission of acquired characters has been assumed for a wide range of training, motor, mental, and emotional; and even for structural changes.
Reliable evidence for such training effects is not at hand. A few startling experiments are on record, but are not generally received as trustworthy. It is inconceivable, moreover, that the structure of the germ cells could be so modified by specific activities of the organism in which they reside that the same activities would be affected in the individuals developed from them. Mathematical work on a man's part could conceivably affect the nourishment of the germ cells in his testes; but that the effect would be different from that produced by intellectual work along any other line is not conceivable. The only influence would be exerted through materials carried in the blood stream, and the effect, if any, would probably be
( 162) of a general sort. Furthermore, the germ cells are especially well protected against influence even of the general nutritive sort. And such changes as might be brought about through extreme modification of the blood, by the introduction of poisonous substance, or by the withholding of essential nutrient materials, would undoubtedly be of a general nature, causing deterioration in many characteristics. In view of the absence of proof of the transmission of specific acquisitions, the possibility must be considered to be very remote. If there is any effect of bodily processes on the germ cells, it must be very general in its nature, and its existence and importance remain to be demonstrated.
There is no reason to suppose that training in politics and in tennis would affect the germ cells differently. But emotional differences, and differences in fatigue might have some effect, in conjunction with the same type of physical or cognitive activities, since emotion and fatigue affect the bodily metabolism, and hence the food supply of the germ cells. But that there are any specifically different chemical results from mathematical labor and the labor in copying manuscript is quite improbable. Musical training, through the emotions aroused, might conceivably have some influence on the germ cells, but there is no reason to assume that the effects on the germ cells would be to create a capacity for musical appreciation on the resultant individual rather than a capacity for interest in international politics.
The germ cell in the testis or ovary is literally a parasite upon the organism which supports and protects it, and so is the child in utero. "Prenatal influence," in the sense of an effect produced by the intellectual and emotional processes of the mother on the unborn child, can be only a matter of nutrition and chemical stimulation or poisoning. The 'current tales of birth marks produced by the mother's fright, or musical talent produced by the mother's application to musical study during the period of gestation, are without foundation in fact. We have no reason for supposing that any activity, or condition, of the mother could be the cause of an effect on the child which would resemble the cause. We have no more reason to suppose that intense application of the mother to any sort of labor would give the child a tendency to industriousness than we have to suppose that it would make the child, lazy.
The mother's study of mathematics may affect the nourishment
( 163) of the child. Undoubtedly it does in some way, if it affects the mother's metabolism at all. But there is no more reason to assume that the effect would be to increase the mathematical ability of the child than to increase its generosity or darken its hair. Continual fear on the part of the mother may very seriously alter the child's food supply, and may result in injurious components being added. It is possible that these changes may weaken the child in some respect; but there is no more reason to suppose that the result will be to increase the child's fear tendency than to make it dull and unresponsive, or irritable and quick to anger.
Individual improvement through heredity seems impossible. At least, it is negligible for the present. The training of the individual affects progeny only in so far as it changes the environment of the next generation: of course, the parent is a part of the child's environment. But social improvement through heredity is nevertheless possible. There are many strains in the human family; many strains even in any national group; and these strains differ in their physical and mental characteristics. Some individuals arc tall, others short; some thin, others fleshy; some blue eyed, others brown eyed; some lazy, others energetic; some highly intelligent, others feeble-minded. Each of these individuals tend to transmit to his descendents the characters which have caused him to develop these characteristics. From feeble-minded parents we expect feeble-minded children, or at least the tendency to develop feeble-mindedness.
Obviously, then, if we can increase the reproduction of the strain which possesses certain characteristics, and prevent the reproduction of the strains not possessing it, that strain will crowd the others out. Nothing new will have come into the race, but something will have been suppressed, and the average of the race changed. Similarly, if the reproduction of the more feeble-minded be decreased, or the reproduction of the more intelligent be increased, the average intelligence of the total group will be raised in succeeding generations. This average improvement or eugenic effect through the suppression of undersirable types, or the prevention of the deterioration or dysgenic effect, which would occur if the more desirable types were allowed to decrease, is the program of eugenics. The two problems
( 164) of eugenics concern, therefore, the repression of the reproduction of the unfit, and the increase of the reproduction of the fit; and the immediate concern is with methods by which these results may be brought about.
The most troublesome question for eugenics is Who are the "fit," or better? The almost universal answer is "We are!" "We" being the race, class, or group giving the answer. Fortunately, this answer is not quite unanimous. As concerns the immigration problem, this answer is satisfactory. We, in the United States, have certain average characteristics and average ideals, which are somewhat like the average characteristics and ideals of the peoples of Northern and Western Europe. We, or the majority of us, propose to maintain this average, and in pursuance of this purpose, to exclude those whose presence would materially change the average. The majority rules in a democracy, and we have an undoubted right to self-determination whatever other peoples may wish to change our average.
The American Indians, first in possession of the country, undoubtedly had the same right to exclude the undesirable aliens who would modify the average characteristics and upset their culture. And they made the attempt to assert this right, but unsuccessfully. That situation has vanished, and we do not want what happened to the Indians to happen to us.
But this answer is not satisfactory for eugenics. If we want to maintain an average within a population, we must know what that average is, and if we want to raise the average we must agree upon what we shall consider an improvement. If this agreement cannot be reached by the majority, any further discussion of eugenics is futile. We must therefore consider the possible answers to the question.
1. The fittest race. With the possible exception of the black races, each race considers itself the best. We are familiar with the conceptions of "Nordic" superiority as held by those who consider themselves representatives of that rather indefinite group of races. Within that group, the Germans, the English, and the Scandinavians have little doubt as to the superiority of their own racial groups. On the other hand, the Irish, the Dutch, the Scotch and the Italians are just as certain of the exceeding values of their own particular stocks. And the Jews are convinced that they are the chosen people.
( 165) Among the Hindus, the Arabs and the Turks, the same conceptions prevail. There is no hope of unanimity of opinion concerning any of these races, and the only solution of the rivalry is through one of these races becoming powerful enough to crush the others out. And the one which succeeds is obviously the "best" race.
Our problem, therefore, reduces to the question of the fittest stock within a race, aside from racial determinations. The possible answers turn upon financial status, social standing, intelligence, other mental abilities, social contributions, sanity, morality, and physical characteristics.
2. Judgment by financial status at first seems reasonable. Our successful citizens are obviously fit for their environment, otherwise they would not succeed. Moreover, they are actually leaders in accomplishment. Our captains of industry and finance may be morally reprehensible, but they are men of ability who have contributed very greatly to national progress. They correspond to the barons and dukes of older times who grasped and wielded power through their personal ability; and they compare very favorably with these noble lords.
The greater number of wealthy men today, like the majority of the nobility, are not men who have attained their status through their own efforts, but are those who have inherited their advantages, and who, for the most part, show little evidence of having inherited the personal characteristics which made their progenitors great. Instead of contributing largely to social progress, they are merely parasites upon the social organism, and without value to it. Obviously the possession of wealth is no index of social value, and the ability to acquire wealth, if transmissible, is not linked necessarily with any socially valuable qualities.
3. Social standing. The indefinable, but real, characteristic called "social standing," as distinguished from the wealth, title, or accomplishments which sometimes determine it, is sometimes seriously proposed as a mark of social value. But here also the characteristics which gain standing must be distinguished from the standing itself; the latter being frequently inherited without the characteristics. As concerns the personal characteristics which gain social standing; these are best considered apart from the standing itself, which is a badge of such doubtful meaning.
4. Intelligence. It is argued that the more intelligent persons are the better for stock purposes, since intelligence is really hereditary. This may be true, and we might even persuade those who are low in intelligence to agree to the proposition, if we could agree on the definition and determination of intelligence. Intelligence is, how-ever, a term covering a wide range of characteristics, according to various definitions.
In its most important, and most generally accepted use, intelligence means capacity to learn. There are various forms of learning, variously measurable, and we cannot assume that a certain grade of learning ability in one line would necessarily involve equivalent ability in other lines of learning. For many practical purposes, therefore, we measure the capacity in several lines, and averaging the capacities as measured, arrive at what is arbitrarily called a measure of "general" intelligence, without making any assumption as to the existence of a real "general" capacity. The capacities are actually determined by measuring, or rather by sampling, the acquisitions of knowledge, that is, what has been learned along the lines selected. The measurements as thus carried out are called "intelligence tests."
In intelligence testing by the conventional method, we are dealing with complex conditions. The actual acquisitions measured, or sampled, obviously depend on the interest the individual has taken in the sampled line of investigation, and "learning capacity" really covers this complex of capacity and interest. The acquisition depends, moreover, very distinctly on the opportunities for acquisition which have been offered. If, for example, we measure the acquisition which has been made by two individuals in arithmetic, the differences may depend upon actual differences in learning capacity, upon the interest taken in, and application to, the subject, and upon the actual extent and nature of the course in arithmetic, or other arithmetical training to which the individuals have been subjected. In all comparison of individuals with regard to intelligence as tested, therefore, we must assume that the opportunities of the individuals for acquisition have been equal, or else make direct corrections for the differences in opportunity.
Obviously, then, intelligence testing is useful only when the tests are devised specifically for the classes of persons to whom they are to
( 167) be applied; and the more generally applicable the tests, the less useful they are. College matriculants, having been subjected to courses of training which are essentially similar, (high school training), and being about to be subjected to conditions in college essentially similar, may be tested with a high degree of efficiency in result of prediction as to their success in college. But even so, the actual differences in high school and home training introduce serious difficulties into the use of test scores, and differences in college conditions may operate to prevent a test which has good predictive value for one college from having the same predictive value in another college.
If the intelligence test designed for college matriculants is applied to men of a quite different class as regards training and professional requirements, it may be of little value. Experimentally it has been found that the same tests may be used with equal advantage on freshmen and office clerks, (although not as adequate for either as specially designed tests for each), but fail completely with business men, (other than clerks), upon whom the requirements of practical success are different, and who require apparently different training, or else a different kind of "intelligence."
Although paradoxical in form, the statement that tests of "general intelligence" are efficient in proportion as they are made special, is true enough. For use on children, the tests are made special in that they are not really applicable to adults, but general in that they involve knowledge that the average child may have been expected to have acquired at certain ages. But even with these special tests for children, the results are useless unless interpreted with reference to the special training of each child. For adults, "general" tests which may be applied to various classes of persons indiscriminately are successful only in so far as very rough divisions of the groups are required.
So far as present means of grading intelligence go, we can do no more than to pick out the individuals of very bad stock from the larger group. The individuals who show up as exceptionally high in intelligence tests may be good breeding stock; or they may be bad. It is impossible at present to determine this point. But the very bad, the feeble-minded, it seems quite clear, are bad stock, transmitting their deficiency to their posterity, and with no compensating advantages.
5. Records of contributions which individuals have made to society, quite apart from the wealth or social standing which may be attained by these individuals, have been assumed to be evidence of "fitness." Statesmen, authors, inventors, organizers, scientists, and men and women of many other classes, make important contributions to the social inheritance of mankind; and the multiplication of men of genius and exceptional ability is certainly desirable. These persons are unquestionably "fit" in one sense of the term, but that they are the fittest from the eugenic point of view is not so certain.
Sometimes the son of a man of exceptional ability in one of these specialized lines of endeavor has as great ability as, or even greater than, his father. Occasionally, the grandson may also show a high measure of the same ability. But these are, after all, exceptional cases, and in the great majority of instances, the immediate descendents of exceptional men appear to be of only mediocre ability.
This failure of genius to reproduce itself may be due in large part to the chances of mating. Brilliant literary men, great scientists, and geniuses in other lines, do not usually marry women of ability in these same lines, and the children may inherit from either parent in regard to the characteristics in question. It might be maintained, therefore, that if male geniuses were mated with female geniuses, the children would tend to be geniuses. On this theory, the child of a man and woman of exceptional mathematical ability, ("native" ability, not training), would be a mathematical genius in a far greater proportion of cases than would the child of parents of whom one or both were of only average mathematical ability. We have to admit the theoretical possibility; but there is not at hand evidence to substantiate it, or to contradict it. Many cases would have to be analyzed, and means found for the determination of capacity in various lines, in cases in which this capacity had not been developed. For it is obvious that so far as transmission of genius is concerned, it makes no difference whether the individual has the capacity developed by training, or has it entirely undeveloped and indiscernible by ordinary means of observation. The "mute inglorious Milton" could transmit literary ability to his posterity as readily as the Milton who had published renowned volumes. Many "ordinary" women mated with geniuses may be the possessors of latent genius, but latent genius would be as transmissible as the developed, if genius is transmissible at all.
Studies have been made of noteworthy families, extending over many generations, in the attempt to show that genius is transmissible. It has been shown that in certain families, generation after generation, men of exceptional ability have appeared; the proportions of genius to the total number of the family being far greater than in the population at large.
Many difficulties are found in the interpretation of these genealogical studies. In the first place, the later generations of the same "family" are, of course, the descendents of many other "families" also. The great grandson of Ebenezer Smith may belong to the "Smith family;" but he has four great-grandfathers and an equal number of great grandmothers: a total of eight different ancestral lines in the third ascending generations, with as great probability of inheritance from any one of these as from any other. If he happens to bear the name of "Smith," or for other reasons be classed in the "Smith" family, rather than in one of the others, that does not in the least affect his biological inheritance. But it may affect his social inheritance: an important matter.
There is no doubt that there are often practical advantages of "belonging" to a distinguished family: advantages sometimes in education, sometimes in other practical matters, so that the one who "belongs" has a better chance to make his mark in life. Beyond this, the social inheritance of culture in the family is valuable, and the traditions and prestige are powerful stimuli to accomplishment. The remarkable thing would seem to be not that in a few families a certain percentage of successive generations "live up" to the families' reputations, but rather the fact that it occurs in so few families.
On the other hand, in the families with "traditions" of exceptional ability, it is apparently seldom that the exceptionally able individuals in successive generations are lineal descendents. Instead of father, son, grandson and great grandson appearing as exceptional, we find rather oftener such relationships as uncle and nephew between the geniuses of successive generations. In such families, a stock of moderate ability puts out offshoots of genius, generation after generation, the geniuses of one generation rarely descending from the geniuses of the preceding. From this point of view, it would seem that genius is an evidence, not of fitness of the individual for procreating posterity, but of fitness of the stocks from which he is an offshoot:
( 170) that the preferable line of breeding may go around him and not through him.
The situation is still further complicated by the fact that "families" may flourish generation after generation, showing no exceptionable abilities, and then begin to produce exceptional men. Most of the "exceptional" families in America which rose in colonial times can be traced back to mediocrity of attainment in the British Islands. Obviously, either the proper combination of various stocks, which eventually occurred, was a necessary condition to the production of genius, or else the opportunities and stimuli of a changed environment must be held accountable. Which of the humdrum mediocre "families" of today will produce the geniuses of three or four generations hence, we cannot at present determine.
Whatever the importance of mental deficiency as a sign of eugenic "unfitness," exceptional mental ability cannot at the present time be assumed to be a sign of eugenic "fitness." We cannot even be certain that it may not be a sign of eugenic "unfitness."
6.Physical superiority is more plausible, at present, as a sign of eugenic "fitness," than is mental superiority. The stock which degenerates physically, is lost, no matter how high its mental attainment in the meantime. It is, however, in the complex of physical and mental characteristics which are commonly classed as "beauty" that the greater hope lies eugenically. Not mere strength of bone and muscle, and vigor of vital processes, but balanced, coordinated structure and strength, together with organic vigor and resistance, with accuracy and fine control of movement, are important characteristics of "fitness," whether they are the most important or not. These are subsumed under the general attribute of beauty, which includes not merely approved form of body and texture of skin, and similar structural characteristics, but also grace and vigor of movement, and poise in repose as well. Some of the accepted standards of beauty, e.g., smallness of ankle, may seem irrelevant to eugenic fitness, but these details are demonstrably inheritable, and undoubtedly do con-tribute to efficiency of movement.
Grace, poise, and accurate coördination of movements are in them-selves to be classed as mental rather than physical. And they are probably indices of still higher mental reactions, or at least of the possibility of development there. It is highly significant that among
( 171) the efficient tests of mental deficiency today, tests of motor coördination have a high rank, and that the carriage, general movements, and facial expressions are useful, although not infallible evidence on the same traits.
§5. The eugenically unfit
The determination of those who are eugenically above the average, that is, the preëminently "fit," is indeed a difficult matter, and involves many unsettled problems. When we turn to the other end of the scale we find the possibilities somewhat more definite. In the first place, those who are definitely "feeble-minded," or low in the mental scale, are generally agreed to be undesirable; and since their defect is transmissible to their offspring, we may consider them, provisionally at least, as definitely "unfit." Further, the insane, and those afflicted with certain nervous diseases such as epilepsy, are "unfit" because they also transmit their affliction. Even those who, while not actually exhibiting the sign of insanity or nervous disease, are lineal descendents of persons who have shown the symptoms, even to the third or fourth ascending generation, may transmit the taint, and are not desirable breeding stock. There is a possibility that even functional nervous disorders (neuroses) such as neurasthenia and hysteria, are symptoms of transmissible weaknesses; but this is by no means certain.
Certain physical defects such as hairlip and deformation of the limbs, and certain types of deafness, are transmissible. Predisposition to certain diseases, such as tuberculosis, may also be transmissible. Certainly all those who possess inheritable defects are "unfit" eugenically, and if intelligent, will themselves agree to this classification.
Obviously, the program of eugenics, for the present, must be concerned largely with the elimination of these undesirables, and little with the problem of the "fittest." We must therefore consider these programs with reference chiefly to the elimination of the "unfit."
§6. Sexual selection
Among human and some lower animals, mates are chosen more or less deliberately, from among a number of possible mates. Of course, the choosing is limited in many cases, and in most cases is largely determined by chance, propinquity, and economic considerations. Sometimes religious restrictions or class restrictions are imposed,
( 172) and racial limitations are frequently important. But in spite of these limitations, the man usually chooses for a wife the woman he prefers from among a number of women, and the woman likewise exercises a certain amount of personal preference. Not infrequently, personal preference is strong enough to cause the limitations of class, race, or religion to be broken. The question has been long since raised, whether or not through this sexual selection, the characteristics of a group might not be appreciably changed, at least in the average. It is conceivable that whatever the characteristics, or group of characteristics, in respect to which mates are selected, successive generations of such selections might cause these characteristics to increase in the group, either by increase in the number of individuals possessing the characteristics, or by a general change in the direction indicated. For example, if blue-eyed mates were preferred, and more sought than brown-eyed, might not, in the course of generations, the relative number of blue-eyed persons in the population increase? Or, if the tall are preferred and more sought than the short for mates, might not the general average of the height of the population slowly be raised? The actual effect of such sexual selection has been, and still is, a matter for debate.
In order that sexual selection might produce any change in the population, in regard to the characteristics for which selection is made, three considerations would have to be satisfied:
1. The characteristics for which selection is made must be hereditary. If blue-eyed individuals did not have a greater tendency to beget blue-eyed progeny than do brown-eyed, selection of blue-eyed parents in preference to brown could not possibly influence the relative proportions of blue and brown eyes in succeeding generations.
2. The standards of selection must remain constant for a number of generations. Assuming, for the sake of the explanation, that selection based on preference for slender mates, or for fat mates, could produce a change in the average plumpness of the population; no important change could be produced unless the preference remained the same a number of generations. If plump mates are preferred and selected in one generation, and slender mates in the next, and so on alternately, it is not conceivable that any appreciable change in the average plumpness of the population would be produced.
3. The effects of sexual selection must be such as to modify the relative
( 173) numbers of progeny of individuals differing in regard to the characteristics by which selection is made; or else some other means of selection must be added to the sexual, if the average of the stock is to be modified. The change in reproductive ratio might be brought about by failure of certain individuals to mate at all, or by change in the number of children per family; but if the various types of individuals, under a selective mating system have the same average number of children as they would without the selection, it is difficult to see how, in the long run, the average characteristics of the population could be modified by sexual selection alone. However, it is possible that sexual selection might assist the application of other selective measures, as will be indicated below.
In order to analyze the possible effect of sexual selection it is necessary to consider its operation in the several historic forms of marriage, for it could not be assumed that the effect would be the same under all systems. It is necessary also to consider the possible effects when one sex alone is selected by the other, and when both sexes are selected for the same characteristic.
A. Sexual selection in monogamy. In normal circumstances, the number of males is approximately equal to the number of females. If all mate, the average of the population in respect to a given characteristic will not be affected by any system of mating, except in so far as a recessive characteristic may be hidden, while still "carried" in heredity.
With double selection, as when, for example, both males and females prefer the taller of the opposite sex, the preferred will mate with the preferred (taller with taller), leaving the non-preferred (shorter) of the one sex to mate with the non-preferred of the other. This is assortative mating. The average thereby will not be changed, but the height will eventually be more uniform in each of various stocks, and the height of future generations of specific families will become more closely predictable. If a weakness, such as mental defect, were selected against, in this assortative mating, the lower grades of defect might become concentrated in certain family stocks, and this might be an advantage in handling these types by sterilization or segregation (as described below). But aside from the effect of such measures in addition to sexual selection, the average of the population would not change,
If, however, the less favored of both sexes, being rejected by the more favored of the opposite sex, tended not to mate with each other, the reproductive ratios would be altered. Unfortunately, this seldom happens unless compulsion is used. Even the deaf and dumb mate with the deaf and dumb, and the deformed with the deformed, al-though rejected by the normal, unless forced by the larger group to refrain.
If selection is single, one sex being selected and the other not, the conditions are not essentially different. If, for example, men prefer and choose, if possible, blue-eyed women as against brown-eyed, but women have no preference in respect to male eye color, the more fortunate blue- and brown-eyed males will secure the blue-eyed women, but the residual blue- and brown-eyed males will mate with the brown-eyed women. The average heredity will not be changed, unless the brown-eyed women are so disliked that the males refuse to mate with them—an improbable situation, not only in respect to eye colors, but in respect to all characteristics which might be bases of selection.
Under certain conditions, such as prolonged warfare, the males are relatively fewer than the females. In monogamy, therefore, a certain proportion of the females will not be able to mate. If there is definite selection of females, the less desirable will be unmated, and the cutting off of their progeny may conceivably raise the average of future generations with regard to the selected characteristics. Warfare may have had an important effect in modifying the characteristics of the human races; and its possible benefits along that line have not heretofore been given sufficient consideration. On the other hand, with female infanticide, the females being fewer, a certain proportion of the males will not mate. If the females are given opportunity of selection, the less preferred males will be unmated, and here also there is a chance of modifying the future population in respect to the selected characteristics. In general, however, women in monogamy have had little opportunity to exercise sexual selection, so that this method of human improvement has probably been negligible. Selection occurs in such circumstances, but it is economic and political rather than sexual, the wealthier and most powerful (socially) males being the fortunate ones. In so far as personal characteristics have made the male wealthy or powerful, economic and political selection probably does modify the average
( 175) of the population in the direction of these characteristics. But this selection is not "sexual" in the proper sense of the term.
Monogamy, however, has not been strict among any civilized peoples, but has always been largely tempered by prostitution. Since prostitutes as a class produce relatively few children, a modification of the characteristics of the population is quite possible if prostitutes are consistently selected, or selected against, with regard to any specific characteristics.
In modern civilization, there is some evidence that the less intelligent and less personally beautiful woman has had less chance of marrying, and more chance of becoming a prostitute, than the more intelligent and beautiful. Wherever this condition exists for a long period, prostitution has undoubtedly a eugenic effect, although that effect may be far outweighed by the dysgenic effects of venereal disease which prostitution promotes. In ancient civilizations, the same conditions may not have prevailed. Whereas the intelligence of woman today leads her to avoid prostitution, as less advantageous than marrying, in some ancient civilizations the upper class prostitutes (hetairae) were more respected, and in many ways more favorably situated than wives, and the profession was taken up by some of the most intelligent and accomplished women.
In all civilizations, however, the more sexually ardent women, and those whose sexual desires were most like the average male type, have had a greater chance of becoming prostitutes than their "colder" sisters, or those whose sexual desires were more different from the masculine in the direction of the average female of today. That prostitution may have been the important agent in differentiating the average type of sexual desires of the civilized female from the male average, cannot be definitely concluded. This is possible, however; and it is significant that savage peoples, among whom prostitution has not flourished, are said to lack this differentiation of desire between male and female. At any rate, prostitution merits, on this account, more careful consideration as a possible factor in
( 176) modifying the characteristics of a population. But in the case under consideration, the effect would be dysgenic, not eugenic.
In another way, prostitution, in a monogamous system, may have a eugenic effect through sexual selection, since it tends to increase the number of unmarried women who will be, in general, of the less desirable types. There is always, in such a system, a considerable number of males who will confine themselves to patronage of prostitutes, instead of marrying; and since the number of patrons is relatively large in proportion to the number of prostitutes, the number of potential husbands is thereby reduced. If the classes of patrons were consistently distinguished from marrying men by any specific characteristics, rather than by fortuitous circumstances of life, the fact that this group of men leave practically no progeny would in itself tend to have a eugenic effect. The existence of specific distinguishing characteristics in this group, is, however, not highly probable.
B. Sexual selection in polygyny. In a polygynous system, if males were selected sexually, modifications of the population in the direction of the selected characteristics would be more pronounced than in monogamous systems. If, for example, women freely selected their husbands, preferring the more handsome, vigorous, or intelligent men to those possessing these characteristics in less degree, many of these less preferred males would be left wifeless (or would have to engage in polyandrous marriage together with other ill favored males), so that the procreation of the ill-favored males would be significantly reduced, and the procreation of the highly favored males with their numerous wives would be signally increased. The general average of the population would be gradually raised, even if some of the selected characteristics were sex-linked, and a differentiation of the sexes in those respects produced.
Unfortunately, in polygynous systems of the past, the females have been able to exercise no selection, the distribution of wives among the males having been on an economic and political basis. Polygyny has without doubt exercised an important influence in modifying population characteristics, but the selection has not been sexual.
Selection of females in polygyny has, of course, no eugenic effect on the average. The wealthier and more powerful male will, of
( 177) course, have the more desirable wives. But the less desirable have more chance of mating than in monogamy, since in a polygynous system a certain proportion of the males must be wifeless, unless the proportion of females to males in the population is excessively large. On the other hand, it is possible that selection of females for desirable qualities may tend, in polygamy, to have a slight dysgenic effect, because of the reduction of the birth rate per wife in polygynous marriages. The average number of children per wife decreases on the average as the number of wives per husband increase, although not in the same ratio. This is in part due to economic reasons, and in part to natural causes. Since the men who are able to obtain and support several wives are the wealthier, they have the advantage in the selection of the more desirable women, who will therefore be those whose rate of reproduction is decreased, relative to the single wives. How far this feature of selection has actually affected the population is conjectural, but it is possible that in some stages of society it may have been important.
C. Sexual selection in polyandry. In polyandrous marriage, either of the Thibetan form, or one of the other forms, the conditions of selection of females would not be effectually different from the conditions in monogamy. An effective change would be produced only if the less desirable women did not mate at all: a condition which apparently does not occur. Selection of husbands, on the other hand, occurring along with selection of wives, should tend to have a more decidedly dysgenic effect than selection of wives in polygyny, for increasing the number of husbands of a woman decreases the number of children each husband will have. The more desirable women, under such a system, will tend to have more husbands than the others, and these will be of the more desirable type. The selection will, therefore, tend to decrease, relatively, the progeny of the more desirable husbands.
There is, however, a new factor introduced through the intercourse of several males with the same female, which may be somewhat effectual. The more desirable of the husbands will undoubtedly be given preference by the wife in sex relations, and thus their chances of procreation will be slightly greater. In most of the systems, however, the privileges of the husbands are rather formally arranged, so that the preferential selection by the wife among her actual hus-
( 178) -bands is reduced to a minimum. The total effect of polyandry would seem, therefore, to be rather dysgenic.
D. Sexual selection in primitive society. In primitive society of the Indo-European peoples, there was, apparently, an elastic marriage system, typified by the motu and benna systems of the early Semites, in which personal inclinations were the most important factors in the choice of mates, and the marriages were entered upon, and continued, only in so far as they were personally satisfactory to both parties. Under such conditions, there would be assortative mating, determined by the personal characteristics of men and women, and little interfered with by economic considerations, since the children and the women were charges upon the larger family group, not on the individuals. Selection of women would have little general eugenic or dysgenic effect, since all women would mate, and have no difficulty in obtaining mates for periods of time sufficient to ensure a rate of reproduction practically equivalent to that of the more desirable women. But the selection of husbands would ensure that the more desirable male would mate with a larger number of women than would the less desirable. Hence, the chances of procreation by the "better" males would be greater, and the number of their progeny would be relatively greater. At the same time, the relative number of progeny of the "better" women would not be reduced as it is in polygyny, since they would mate at least as frequently as the less desirable. Under such conditions, sexual selection could have a definite and important eugenic effect; and it is impossible to escape the conclusion that the characteristics of the so-called Indo-European races have been largely modified by such selection during the period of free marriages, these characteristics of the males, at least, which were most highly valued by the women, being heightened in the race.
Among the male characteristics which have in primitive times been the basis of selection of husbands, have been certainly the characteristics of strength, agility, and motor control, and bodily structure contributory to these. Intelligence and intellectual ability have also been preferred, not only because they condition success in hunting, war, and leadership, always attractive to women; but also because of the greater stimulus supplied by the intelligent male. Emotional characteristics which make the man agreeable are also valued, although in primitive society the practical considerations have the greater weight.
E. Possibilities of sexual selection in the future. With increasingly strict monogamy, and the repression of war, pestilence, and infanticide, and with the chance of accidental death more and more equalized between the sexes, the possibilities of sexual selection are more and more restricted to assortative mating, which in itself produces neither eugenic nor dysgenic effects, but which may furnish a basis for other eugenic measures. Obviously it would be advantageous to have the "best" males mate with the "best" females, and the "worst" males with the "worst" females, and this holds for sexual desirability as for other characteristics. Sexual desirability is in general racial desirability, for the strength, agility, form, poise, and intelligence which constitute "beauty," i.e., sexual desirability, are characteristics of value to the race.
Sexual selection is inhibited, at the present time, chiefly by economic factors, so far as the selection of husbands is concerned; and by a certain trade-unionism of women, so far as the selection of wives is concerned. Feminine clothing and cosmetics arc devices which tend to equalize the sexual attractiveness of women. Naturally, the beautiful and graceful form is preferred to the ungainly and misshapen one: and the clear, fine skin to the coarse, or rough, or discolored. But in the civilized costumes of the immediate past, the well-formed woman has been put more nearly on a par with the ill-formed, by the concealment of the forms of both. Artificial distortion of figure, as by corsets; changing the walk to a hobble by high heeled shoes; and artificial complexions, have still further leveled the ugly and the beautiful. Every step in the freeing of women from these disguises has been bitterly fought because it destroys the fictitious equality and gives the really more beautiful an advantage. Nevertheless, the process goes on slowly, and women probably never will return to bustles, hoopskirts, corsets and vast masses of hair.
From the standpoint of eugenics, anything which aids sexual selection is a benefit. Whether social conditions will eventually be so modified that the economic restrictions on selection of husbands will be removed, is an important problem. But this must occur if sexual selection is to be made again effective, since selection of wives alone is eugenically of no consequence. Selection must be exercised by both sexes to be effectual eugenically, or to contribute assortatively to eugenic measures.
§7. The control of reproduction
Sexual selection, if it can have an effect on modifying the characteristics of a people, can do so only through a modification of the rates of reproduction of certain types, so that the increase of one type is changed relative to the increase of a different type. This, in fact, is the only way in which the "hereditary" characteristics of a population can be changed. Reproductive selection, therefore, is the only measure which can be directly eugenic, or directly dysgenic.
With respect to any assigned characteristic, which is "hereditary" and which it is desired to increase in the stock, the eugenic possibilities are two-fold. 1. The rate of reproduction of those of high rank with respect to the characteristics may be accelerated, or, 2. The rate of reproduction of those low in respect to the characteristics may be decreased. Eugenics, as a definite program, is therefore interested in the methods which may be practically available for the promotion of either or both of these results.
Obviously, the other conditions being equal, the number of offspring produced by any group of people will increase with the number of marriages, provided these marriages take place during the period of sexual vigor of the individuals. The positive program of eugenics, therefore, is to encourage and promote as much as possible the marriage of the "fit," and encourage them to marry as early as the in-escapable economic, physiological, and psychological conditions permit. Such encouragement has been proposed as a solution of eugenic problems, and various persons have engaged in propaganda for the early marriage of the "better" classes.
Undoubtedly, early marriage, where conditions are favorable, is in itself a benefit to society and the individuals. Development of personality is promoted; permanency and stability of the marriage relation is increased through the greater possibilities in the way of mutual adaptation during youth; and social vices are decreased, when the average age of marriage in the group is lowered, provided certain disadvantageous factors are not thereby introduced. The conditions which must be observed are as follows:
1. A certain stage of physiological and psychological maturity must be attained. No one could, at the present day, advocate the marriage of children. On account of individual differences in development
( 181) there is no fixed minimum age limit possible for marriage, but it is probable that all who are not sufficiently well developed, physiologically and psychologically, at the age of twenty, are pathological cases and should not marry at any time later. An absolute legal mini-mum age at 18, with consent of parents required for both sexes until the age of citizenship at 21, is as much restraint as the law can afford to give on this point. It is not assumed that complete "maturity" is reached even at the latter age: nor is it desirable that marriage shall be postponed until such complete maturity be reached.
2. Sufficient social education must be assured before marriage, to make intelligent adaptation possible. The youth of twenty-one with little social knowledge of his fellows and of the opposite sex, has low chance of success in marriage; and so has the ignorant person of thirty or forty. There are individual differences in ability to make up deficiences, and the possibilities of learning are not necessarily checked at marriage. But, a certain minimum of social training is essential: a minimum which cannot be arbitrarily prescribed, but which must be determined empirically.
3. Cultural and professional education must not be checked. In the majority of individuals from eighteen to twenty, schooling is over, and further learning is acquired by general social contact, reading, and the actual work of trades and professions. With these, marriage does not interfere with, but rather facilitates the general educational process. For the smaller group, who pursue professional training in various lines into later life, marriage is a serious handicap, especially for women. This, however, is not an intrinsic incident of matrimony, but is due to peculiarities of our economic system. There can be little question, however, that a man and woman who have finished college at twenty-one, look forward to three or four years each of graduate work, at the end of which they propose to marry, would be better off in every way if they should marry at once, provided it were economically possible.
4. The economic handicap of marriage is of course the serious one, and can overcome all the advantages of marriage, whether it occurs at twenty, thirty or fifty. While it might be argued theoretically, that aside from the problem of children, there should be no such handicap: that two persons married to each other should be maintained as easily as the same two unmarried; the present economic
( 182) system which prescribes that the husband maintain the wife, introduces a practical consideration which cannot be escaped. The advent, or possibility of advent, of children, on the other hand, adds a fixed economic factor, which is even more serious; and the ad-vantages of youthful marriage must frequently be forgone because of this.
As a eugenic measure, the encouragement of early marriage by propaganda of any sort is ineffective, as the same measures which might slightly encourage the "fit" will obviously much more encourage certain classes of the "unfit," to whom the educational and economic disadvantages of early marriage make less appeal. Encouragement by measures other than propaganda—bonuses, tax exemption, or any other possible means—would have the same lack of effect.
The other possible method of positive eugenics is the increase in number of children per marriage. Obviously, even if the number of marriages of the fit are not increased, if the average number of children per marriage is increased, a eugenic effect is produced. This method has been publicly urged within recent years, but probably not with any serious purpose beyond its political effect, since upon examination it is seen to be as futile as the attempt to increase the number of marriages, and would be actually pernicious in its effects if it should succeed.
Bonuses for children have always been futile and always will be. No state could possibly pay enough to be an incentive to reproduction, without raising taxes so that the increased cost of living would reduce the effect of the bonus to zero. Moreover, no system of bonuses which would apply to the "fit," and not to the "unfit" has ever been devised.
Propagandizing, or appealing to the "group spirit" of the classes which are apparently not reproducing rapidly, is apparently in-effective. If it had any effect, it would affect the opposite class as well, since no such propaganda can be carried on secretly; but it has actually no effect at all, for reasons which are clear.
The appeal to group spirit, in respect to progeny, is appeal to the desire that the group shall continue, and grow. Each member in a disappearing group (let us say, the "old New England Stock") desires the group represented by his stock to flourish and increase. But, it is the group he is interested in, not his particular family. And the
( 183) eugenic appeal is to his interest in the group. Hence, his social desire is that some persons in the group shall produce more children: not necessarily his but any one's, so long as they belong to the group. As soon as the need for progeny is put on the group basis, there is no inconsistency in urging more copious reproduction, while avoiding it one's self. Hence, the eugenic propaganda for increased reproduction is absolutely without effect, so far as can be observed.
Furthermore, it may well be doubted whether the success of the propaganda for increased reproduction of the declining classes of the population would not be a serious evil. In the first place, it is by no means certain that these declining classes represent the desirable stocks for future generations. The more carefully we consider the families in which women devote themselves to idleness or social pastimes, becoming mere "kept" women rather than mothers, the more doubtful we become whether we wish these stocks preserved and multiplied. On the other hand, in many families where children are wanted and born, but where the number is restricted to two or three, an increase in the number would be disastrous to the educational and cultural standards of the classes represented by these families, and such disaster would react injuriously on society generally. It may seriously be doubted whether, if the number of children in such families were doubled, the total group of children would be as useful to the nation, as efficient members of society, as are the fewer number.
If the desire for children is an inheritable character; and there is no reason to doubt this; then it would seem that the multiplication of the stocks which possess this desire strongly would be one of the most certain protections of the race. Stocks with the desire might be otherwise "unfit," but stocks without the desire would be unfit, whatever other characteristics they might possess.
Assuming that relatively high economic standards of living (including the comforts, conveniences, and intellectual advantages), are commendable, then the stocks which, while holding these standards, also desire children so strongly that they will make efforts and sacrifices to maintain their standards while raising children, are manifestly "fit" stocks; and stocks which have not sufficient reproductive desire to offset the tendencies to ease and comfort are less fit, and society should be grateful to them for their self extinguishment. Increased reproduction of the classes which do not
( 184) wish children is always more probably a dysgenic than a eugenic measure.
Finally, on account of the fact that the world is in general over-populated, and that over-population is the most serious problem the human race has to meet, the eugenic emphasis must for the future be on repression of reproduction of the less fit, not on increase of the reproduction of the more fit, even if the latter program were feasible.
§8. The negative program
The only practicable program for eugenics is at the same time the only safe one, namely, the encouragement and increase of limitations of the reproduction of the least "fit." This program is practicable, because there are several classes of the population which are, by majority vote, designated as eugenically "unfit." These classes are the mentally defective, those with taint of insanity, and those with inherited physical weakness. Furthermore, there are other applications of the negative problem which offer distinctly promising prospects. In the present discussion, we shall consider first the possibilities in handling the unfit classes mentioned. Various methods for the restriction of propagation have been employed or proposed at various times. These methods are: 1, Lethal treatment; 2, Sterilization; 3, Prevention of mating; 4, Contraception, or so-called "Birth Control."
1. The lethal method. One of the simplest ways of preventing the multiplication of "unfit" stock is to exterminate the stock. While modern eugenists do not advocate this treatment, even for the extreme cases of mental and physical defect, it has nevertheless been applied extensively and on relatively large scales at times. Leaders of the ancient Hebrews enjoined their armies to slay' certain conquered enemies, both male and female. These peoples, from the Jewish standpoint, were eminently "unfit," and it was reasonable, therefore, that their breed should be drastically reduced. Slaying the males, and saving the females for wives and concubines, reduces the reproduction of the stock one-half, and obviates merely political and cultural difficulties. Both males and females must be exterminated, if the breed is to be eliminated. Many other ancient peoples practiced this eugenic measure upon their enemies, and doubtless many stocks have perished almost completely in this way. In
( 185) modern times, the French revolutionists, and more recently the Russian revolutionists, have practiced the same method upon the aristocratic stocks in those countries, partly to eliminate the individuals, but in part for deliberate purpose of effectually stopping future multiplication of these stocks.
2. Sterilization has been extensively advocated for the feeble-minded, has been legalized in a number of states for this purpose, and actually applied in several of these states. Sterilization as practiced on the male consists in the cutting of the vas deferens (the duct which conveys the spermatozoa from the testes to the seminal vesicles). The operation is simple, and almost painless, even without anesthetic. The individual is rendered sterile, that is, incapable of producing offspring, although no other change is introduced in either his sexual functions or general functions. In fact, if the operation were per-formed under general anesthetic, and no information were given to the individual, he would have no certain means of knowing that it had been performed at all.
The operation as performed on the female consists in cutting the fallopian tubes, which convey the ova from the ovaries to the uterus. This operation is more serious than the one of the male, since the abdominal cavity must be opened. But the subsequent effects are practically the same as in the other sex. There is no disturbance of sex or other organic functions, except in the one fact, that pregnancy cannot occur.
From the purely eugenic point of view, sterilization is an ideal measure, since the life and freedom of the individual need not be otherwise interfered with. There are, however, practical difficulties in the administration of the measure; and legal difficulties such that the sterilization laws have been declared unconstitutional in several states, and doubtless will be in every state where brought to the Supreme Court. No hopes can be entertained of sterilization as an
( 186) effective eugenic measure for the feeble-minded for the immediate future, and its application to other classes has not been seriously considered. As an operation to be performed on those who voluntarily choose it, it may be of importance at some future time, and might perhaps even be prescribed as a prerequisite for marriage for seriously defective classes, without constitutional objections.
3. Prevention of mating. Legal prohibitions of marriage might be effective for the congenitally deaf and dumb. For other "unfit" classes it is useless, either because of the impossibility of enforcing it, or because it would be ineffectual in limiting mating, even if enforced. For the lower grades of the feeble-minded, it would have no restraining value, because these classes will mate any way, marriage or no marriage, if opportunity is given.
The most effective method of prevention of mating is segregation of the seriously unfit in institutions where they are under such supervision as will restrain their sexual tendencies. Institutions for the feeble-minded, for the insane, and for defectives of certain other types, are already caring for many individuals of these classes. The numbers of feeble-minded persons which can be maintained in such institutions, even with large expansion beyond present provisions, is small, relative to the total number in society. In general, only the most helpless cases can be permanently taken care of in this way. Segregation cannot, therefore, be expected to be more than a minor eugenic measure, even in regard to the feeble-minded.
With regard to defectives of most types, the policy of institutions is to retain them only for such periods of time as are necessary to restore them to a condition such that they are able to return to their former conditions of life. Their hereditary and transmissible characteristics are, of course, not changed by this period of detention.
4. Contraception. Although enforced sterilization is eventually impracticable because of constitutional difficulties and because of strongly entrenched prejudices; and although relatively few persons will be willing to have the operation performed because of its irrevocable nature, vast numbers of individuals are willing to avoid procreation by temporary measures to prevent conception. The low birth rates prevailing among the wealthier and better educated classes of society today are due to this measure of prevention of conception, or contraception, and not to a decline in actual fertility.
( 187) The higher birth rates among the poorer and less educated classes are due to lack of facilities for contraception, not to greater natural fertility, nor greater desire for children, nor to any considerable extent to religious prejudices, except in so far as the prejudice of a minority keep the majority from obtaining the contraceptive facilities.
From the eugenic point of view, it would be much better if contraceptive knowledge and facilities were more uniformly distributed throughout the various classes of society. The more intelligent and better educated classes are bound to possess the knowledge and facilities, and to employ them. The differential of rate of reproduction is, therefore, enormously in favor of the ignorant and less intelligent, and although ignorance is in itself not inheritable and is not a certain evidence of inferior stock, it is dependent upon low intelligence in a large percentage of cases. The keeping from the poorer and less educated classes the information possessed by the middle and upper classes is, therefore, fraught with dangerous possibilities.
Contraception has important eugenic possibilities which have been, until recently, overlooked. The limitation of offspring practiced by the upper and middle classes is undoubtedly a eugenic benefit in itself, since the really "better" stocks among these classes include the individuals who limit their offspring only to an adequate number, and the "poorer" stocks extinguish themselves. The only evil, eugenically, is in the failure to apply the same selection to the economically and educationally lower social classes.
For the worst grades of feeble-minded, eugenic contraception is out of the question, since their mentality precludes their taking the proper measures systematically. For the somewhat higher grades, the conditions are different. They do not strongly desire children, although they do desire sex gratification; and their desires for comfort and ease are strong enough to make them wish to limit their offspring, if the means are simple and convenient enough to be available to them. The negro population in cities and towns is in the same situation, and the making of contraception available to negroes generally would undoubtedly solve the "negro problem" by decimating the negro generations. All the defectives other than the feeble-minded are easily amenable to education as to the desirability of not producing offspring to perpetuate their infirmities, provided the limitation involves contraception, and not refraining from marriage. And it is
( 188) not desirable that any classes of human beings should refrain from marriage provided they can maintain themselves economically, and provided the defective types mate assortatively and do not produce offspring.
In view of the general eugenic advantages of contraception, it is necessary to inquire into the objections which have withheld it, and have resulted in the present grave situation. These objections are all psychological. A. Religious prejudices have undoubtedly had their effect, but these are largely incidental. When any religion puts a tabu or ban on any human activity, there is always a reason (and every activity of man has been under the ban of some religion: even eating has been only grudgingly permitted by some). The religious tabu, in other words, is a form of regulation, but never the reason for the rise of the regulation. The reasons must be sought elsewhere. Practically, at the present time, the religious objections do not prevent many of those who possess contraceptive knowledge and facilities from employing them. B. Need of rapid increase in the population, regardless of quality. This is the prime source of objection to contraception. Where each nation and group is in arms against other nations and groups, the larger crushes the smaller. The nation which reproduces fastest may be the stronger. At any rate, almost all modern nations have believed this, and have feared the decline of the birth rate as a decline in effective strength against the enemy. Undoubtedly, there is a tendency for the fastest breeders to crush out the slower: a tendency to sacrifice human quality and human comfort and progress to mere breeding rate. This martial stimulus to breeding is undoubtedly the main source of the religious prejudice against contraception. C. It is, believed by many that contraception is "unnatural;" and hence detestable. It can easily be shown, however, that "unnaturalness" is never a reason for denunciation, but merely a form of denunciation for other reasons. Nothing that man can do is "unnatural." The laws of nature cannot be broken, but limit and prescribe every human act. But some acts are disadvantageous, or evil; and those acts we call "unnatural." We do not think them evil because unnatural, but we call them unnatural because we think them evil. Is the cooking of food, or the use of antiseptic dressings in surgery, or communication by radio unnatural in any literal sense? Then neither is contraception.
D. Many persons sincerely believe that increased facility for contraception would very much increase sexual immorality. Widespread knowledge of contraception among married persons is not possible without the unmarried possessing the same information and tending to use it; and the married also will apply it to extra-marital matings. This is, indeed, a serious supposition in many ways. If it were true, we should find that the "upper" and "middle" classes, who practise contraception so extensively, are far more immoral than the "lower" classes. This, however, is not the case. But what is more serious, we should be assuming that sexual morals are almost solely matters of fear of the immediate consequences of coitus in the way of conception, and not based on any more complex considerations. If this were true, then it would seem that the obviation of this danger would dispose of the moral question entirely.
As a matter of fact, close observers of human life are rather unanimous in their conviction that contraception has little effect on sexual irregularity. It has some, of course; but in general, those who tend to overstep the sexual conventions are not deterred by consequences so uncertain as pregnancy. What contraception outside of marriage undoubtedly does is to reduce markedly the cases of abortion, of infanticide, and suicide, and the number of cases of irretrievably wrecked girls' lives. But that the actual number of extra-marital matings is increased to any important extent is not apparent.
E. Back of all these specious objections to contraception, there is a real objection which is of vital importance. This is, that all contraceptive methods employed up to the present time fall into one or both of two classes: the ineffectual, and the harmful. There is truth in this. Some popular methods are of slight efficacy. Almost all are psychologically objectionable, and some are physiologically deleterious. And some of these lead eventually to serious trouble, affecting the family relations disastrously. This is the real difficulty in the way of contraception, and the obstacle to its wider spread. With the development of harmless and effectual as well as simple methods, (which are well under way at the present time), the apparently vital objections, (including the religious), will melt away. For it is a fact that in so far as means are available, people will use them, in spite of their theoretical views; and as they use the means, their theoretical views change. Neither laws nor religious interdic-
( 190) -tions can seriously affect such a vital matter. From present indications, what is now a partly dysgenic force, with other attendant evils, will be in ten years time a mighty eugenic force, assisting in the solution of many problems that now threaten society.
Among the immediate effects of more widespread knowledge of and confidence in contraception, we will find still further reduction in abortion, infanticide, "ruined women," and, therefore, in prostitution. Increased marriage and lowering of the average age of marriage, through removal of probability of children before the parents are economically able to care for them, will increase the expectation of marriage among the young, and tend therefore to decrease illicit mating. Undoubtedly, an industrial revolution will be produced, through the change in the "labor market" when the rate of reproduction of the "laboring classes" rapidly drops. But there are no predictable effects of a deleterious sort.
§9. Various classes of undesirables
In connection with the negative program, which is the only practical program of eugenics, we have considered definitely only four classes of the "unfit": the feeble-minded, the insane, those with inheritable physical defects, or defects of sensory or motor nature, and those who are deficient in desire of progeny. Manifestly, there are really many more classes of the unfit. Hereditary emotional defects, and moral deficiencies undoubtedly exist. But we have at present no adequate means for the determination of these deficiencies. Hence it is useless to discuss them.
There are, however, certain determinable types of people which are commonly classed as undesirable, and who have even been classed as "unfit" in the eugenic sense, which it is worth while to discuss briefly. These types are the criminal, the poor, the neurotic, and the ugly.
1. Criminals. Confusion arises in the consideration of criminals because the term has two applications, first, to those who commit crime, or break laws, and second to those who are caught by the law and convicted of crime. So far as the problem of heredity is involved, therefore, there are two questions: first, concerning the hereditary tendency to break laws, and second, concerning the hereditary tendency to get caught at law-breaking.
The actual consideration of the problem in the past has concerned criminals in the second sense almost exclusively. It was supposed by Lombroso and his followers that there was a "criminal type," possessing hereditary tendencies to crime (in the second sense); and distinguishable by certain structural characteristics, such as the shape of the ear and conformation of the jaw. This theory of the "criminal type" has, however, been generally abandoned, and it is not believed now that any distinguishable anatomical signs of criminal tendency exist.
A more recent theory has held that criminality is in large part due to defective intelligence. If this were true, there would be here an important hereditary aspect of crime, in the inheritance of intelligence. Plausibility has been lent to this theory by the obvious fact that the man of low intelligence has less chance of eluding detection, if he breaks laws, than has the man of higher intelligence, so that convicted law breakers (criminals in the second sense) might reasonably be expected to average lower in intelligence than law breakers in general, and perhaps lower than the population at large.
This expectation was apparently justified by the earlier results of intelligence tests on criminals and minor offenders of various sorts. Some groups of convicts in state prisons, and groups of female delinquents were actually found to be low in intelligence by the standards adopted. But extension of the work to larger groups, with wider inclusions of crime and misdemeanors, and with more adequate normal standards of comparison, fails to show any such general conditions.
Apparently, the mentally deficient are either more disposed than "normal" individuals to certain petty offenses like pilfering, wanton destruction of property, and to minor sex offenses like peeping and exhibitionism, and towards sex perversion; or else a higher percentage of these offenders of low mentality are apprehended. Very likely, both of these propositions are true. The average mentality of apprehended prostitutes and "female delinquents" is low, by any reasonable standard, but this merely indicates the greater ease with which the feeble-minded loose women are caught in the traps set for them, and does not indicate the mental condition of the larger uncaught group. Major sexual crimes, such as rape and seduction, are at least as characteristic of the intelligent as of the feeble-minded,
( 192) and burglary, robbery, swindling, fraud, and murder are likewise not characteristically dependent on low intelligence.
The most recent comparison of the intelligence of criminals in penitentiaries in six states, with the norms of the draft, fails to show an essential difference between the draft average and the prison average intelligence, although decided differences are shown between groups convicted for different types of crime. The norms from the army draft may be said to be too low to represent fairly the average of the male population within the draft ages, since large numbers of the more intelligent males avoided the draft by previous enlistment, or by obtaining commissions or office positions. At the same time, we may assume that an equally effective selection of law breakers has taken place, the more intelligent escaping arrest and conviction in far greater numbers than do the less intelligent. We have no reason to suppose, therefore, that law breakers in general, (criminals in the first sense), are on the average any lower in intelligence than the general population.
The average for the total draft should not be far different from the average for the large sample tested. In view of the relative numbers of officers and men, the addition of the officers to the draft army would probably not raise the total average to a point where its deviation from the prison average would be significant. The measures used are rough: what better measures might show cannot be conjectured.
Further comparative work on the intelligence of criminals and non-criminals is highly important. In the meantime, there are practical considerations which tend to lessen our emphasis on the hereditary factor in crime. Australia and certain American colonies were primarily settled by "criminals" from Great Britain deported to those places. Yet the descendents of these colonists show no excess of criminality which could be attributed to that source. Undoubtedly, many hereditary characteristics, especially high intel-
( 193) -ligence, and certain emotional traits, do contribute to crime, or at least to law breaking, under favorable circumstances. But these circumstances vary so from era to era and from place to place that no persistent criminal tendency results. Furthermore, it is quite possible that the same characteristics which under certain economic and political circumstances conduce to lawlessness, may also conduce to initiative and useful social contributions under proper circumstances and proper educational directions. It is not, in general, the hereditary tendencies which are at fault, although there are, undoubtedly, certain tendencies, (such as feeble mindedness), which always conduce to specific sorts of crime.
Eugenics, therefore, has but a minor rôle to play in connection with the lessening of crime. The larger part must be accomplished by cultural progress and moral education.
2. Poverty, like crime, is socially undesirable. And the poor usually reproduce more rapidly than the economically better classes because of their more limited possession of adequate contraceptive information and means. While it is desirable that the same selective limitation of offspring which occurs in the wealthier classes should occur in the poorer as well, it is not to be assumed that the poor, as such, are eugenically less "fit" than the wealthy. Some non-success in life is due to physical weaknesses and susceptibilities to serious disease, such as tuberculosis; and some of these weaknesses and susceptibilities are inheritable. Some, perhaps a considerable proportion, of non-success is due to low intelligence, disposition to indolence, and similar mental characteristics, which are also probably inheritable. Moral deficiency is probably not a factor contributing to poverty, but perhaps the contrary. There are, moreover, many mental characteristics which are strongly contributory to poverty in particular circumstances, which are nevertheless extremely desirable, and should be preserved in the stock.
No adequate analysis of the social value of the descendents of poverty stricken ancestors, as compared with the descendents of the economically well off, has been made; nor would it be feasible to make such an analysis. The comparison is made difficult by the complicating lack of educational and other opportunities of the poor, the greater difficulty in tracing descent, and the different ratio of reproduction. The numerous instances of highly valuable men and
( 194) women emerging from poverty can be taken only as an indication that it would be unwise and dangerous to assume that poverty is per se an indication of eugenic unfitness. The improbability of such an assumption is further indicated by the fact that the descendents of English debtors and other economic unfortunates who were colonized in America show no less economic ability and success than the descendents of other colonists.
3. Neurotic tendencies and neurotic individuals present an important problem in modern society. These individuals, quite distinct from the feebly intelligent and the insane, are characterized by relative inability to withstand the conflicts and emotional stresses of life, and show evidence of this inability in various degrees of neurasthenia, hysteria, nervous breakdown, "instability" and inefficiency. Apparently, some of the characteristics which underly the neurotic tendency are inheritable, but it is not certain what these characteristics are. Perhaps they may be organic weakness, as of certain glands; but this remains to be determined. But concerning the larger range of neurotic manifestations, it is by no means certain that the characteristics which determine them, whether inheritable or not, may not be such as are most valuable to the race under proper conditions of education and general environment. We must re-member that many characteristics which are desirable for certain environments may be serious disadvantages in other environments. Social progress consists, to such a large extent, in the shaping of the environment, that we can definitely label any human characteristic as undesirable only when we can assure ourselves that any environment in which the characteristic would be an advantage to the social group is either impossible, or in itself undesirable, or that its attainment will be so long deferred that the characteristic will in the mean time have done irreparable damage.
4. Personal ugliness may seem to be so much a matter of evanescent taste that it can have no dysgenic value. The standards of male and female beauty are notably different for different races, and differ somewhat from age to age among civilized races. Among certain barbarous and savage races, fatness to an extent which we would count deformity is a mark of great beauty in the female. Among European races, the exact degree of fatness or lankiness which is most fashionable varies somewhat from generation to generation, and
( 195) various deformities of the waist and feet, produced by corsets and high heeled shoes, have had their vogue. These considerations, however, prevent our giving as much weight to these fluctuations in standard as has popularly been accorded them. In the first place, we must set standards of "civilized" peoples above those of savages and barbarians in respect to beauty just as much as we do in matters of intellect and of morals. The fact that some savage races have valued highly tendencies to violence and cruelty, does not prevent our holding opposed standards, and attempting to mold social conditions and personal development to agree with those standards. Nor do we value less the civilized standards of naturalism of feature, in spite of savage tendencies toward mutilation of ears, nose, and mouth, towards tattooings, scarifications, and hideous paintings; nor are we disposed to abandon our standards merely because of periodic outbreaks among civilized females of the savage tendencies.
In the second place, the standards of male beauty are relatively fixed in the European races, and vary in the other races only in accordance with the physical limitations of these races. Strength, agility, grace and ease of movement, poise and perfection of body and limb contributing to these and to general organic efficiency, are everywhere attributes of male beauty, and no race which possesses these characteristics in low degree fails to admire them in the races which possess them in higher degree. In particular, the "superior" male, can always win the female of another race from the males of her own race, if these are inferior in personal beauty.
In the third place, the variations in standards of female beauty among civilized races are almost wholly variations in female opinions, due to the complex factors which determine female fashions, including the "trade unionism" already referred to. The male opinion is disturbed somewhat by male eagerness for female approval, and still more by eagerness for approval by other females of his chosen female. Every man wishes his women to be "fashionable," in order that they may not be disdained or adversely criticized, however little he may care for the particular fashions intrinsically. Aside from this, the intrinsic male standards of female beauty vary little from generation to generation, and the Dianas and Aphrodites of the ancient Greek ideals are still the same ideals of the men of today. The fact that feminine fashions in regard to personal charm fluctuates about these same standards as means also indicates their permanence.
Moreover, there are many details of form in respect to which there has never been any variation in opinion. Thick ankles; large feet and hands; bow legs; knock knees; taperless and too fat or too thin calves; skinny legs, hips, and bosoms; muddy skin; awkwardness of movement and lack of poise; and a multitude of lesser characteristics, are unanimously reprehended as ugly, and detract from the sexual desirability of any woman to any man.
One can hardly doubt that conformity to the generally accepted standards of
beauty, by both male and female, is a sign of "fitness;" and since these
structural and motor qualifications are certainly inheritable, of eugenic
"fitness." With our present understanding cf mental processes as
essentially based on activities, we can also understand that efficiency in motor
coördination is an important basis for mental processes, although the motor
efficiency may be present without the mental. We can understand, therefore, the
importance of maintaining and increasing the motor fitness of the race, and its
organic vitality, not merely for the efficiency of the reproductive process as
such, but also as a foundation for every kind of social progress.