Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/416
4IO POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
We may find it difficult to define the socially fit, although physique and ability will carry us far ; but when we turn to the habitual criminal, the professional tramp, the tuberculous, the insane, the mentally defective, the alcoholic, the diseased from birth or from excess, there can be little doubt of their social unfitness. Here every remedy which tends to separate them from the community, every segregation which reduces their chances of parentage, is worthy of consideration. Strange as it may seem, we are not much beyond the cure suggested by Plato — what is " euphemistically termed a colony," for the degenerates of each sex. The duty of the man of science is to find out the law, and if possible waken the conscience of his countrymen to its existence. It is the function of the statesman to discover the feasible social remedy which is not at variance with that law.
But, thus far, I have touched on only one side of the problem, the reduction in bad stock. Is not something more to be insisted upon with regard to the increase of good stock? Have we not treated the birth of children as something that concerned the individual and not the state ? May not a source of racial greatness lie in a national spirit, like that of Japan, which demands the healthy able child from fitting parents, and looks with sinister eye on those who provide the state with the halt and diseased? I may have overlooked the point, but I have not noticed that this first principle of duty to the race, of national morality, has been fully insisted upon by our ethical writers. I have often heard false pride of ancestry condemned, but I have not seen the true pride of ancestry explained and commended. Surely the man who is conscious that he comes of a stock sound in body, able in mind, tested in achievement, and who knows that, mating with like stock and main- taining himself in health, he will hand down that heritage to his chil- dren — surely such a man may have a legitimate pride in ancestry, and is worthy of honorable mention in eugenic records? It seems to me that those who have the welfare of the nation, and our racial fitness for the world-struggle, at heart must recognize that this is the ideal which the racial conscience demands of its saner members.
A clean body, a sound if slow mind, a vigorous and healthy stock, a numerous progeny, these factors were largely representative of the typical Englishman of the past; and we see to-day that one and all these characteristics can be defended on scientific grounds ; they are the essentials of an imperial race.
As we have found an antinomy between high civilization and race purification by natural selection, so there appears to be a corresponding antagonism between individual comfort and race welfare. It is again the tendency of higher civilization to suspend the more drastic phases of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fitter. The man of education, or made position, says " the chances of my children are better if I have but few of them," and we reach the startling condition