Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/20

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16
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
EUTHENICS AND EUGENICS
By Dr. C. B. DAVENPORT
COLD SPRING HABBOR, L. I.

OF late years the reading, thinking public has been awakened to a realization that sickness, poverty and crime are great and perhaps growing evils. It does not seem right that there should always be about 3 per cent, of our population on the sick list, that our alms houses should support over 80,000 paupers, not to mention the hundreds of thousands that receive outdoor relief or are barely able to earn a living; and that there should be 80,000 persons in prison. It ought not to be* that the nation should have to support half a million insane, feeble-minded, deaf and blind and that a hundred million dollars should be spent annually by institutions in this country for the care of the sick, degenerate, defective and delinquent. It is a hopeful sign of the times that people are asking: "What can we do about it? What is the cause and what the remedy for this state of things? "

The answers to this inquiry take two general trends. One set of reformers urges that the socially unfit are the product of bad conditions and that they will disappear with the establishment of some modern Utopia. The other set of reformers urges that the trouble lies deeper—in the blood—and is the outcome of bad breeding; the trouble will disappear if marriage matings are made more wisely.

The point of view of the first set of reformers may be made clear by some quotations from their works. Thus Henry George, Jr., in his book, "The Menace of Privilege," after stating that there is an increase of insanity, suicides and crime asks: "From what does all this proceed?" and he replied: "Poverty. It means privation. . . insanity, suicide, crime." Mrs. Ellen H. Richards has stated the position of these reformers so well that I am constrained to make numerous quotations from her valuable book entitled "Euthenics"—a name that may well be applied to the point of view that is contrasted with eugenics. She says: "Of all our dangers that of uncleanliness leads" (p. 19). "The necessity of judicious, wholesome food is paramount" (p. 22). "Mr. Robert Hunter says: 'Perhaps more than any other condition of life it [food supply] lies at the door of the social and mental inequalities among men'" (p. 23). "A strong, well man, whose work is muscular and carried on in the open air, as is that of the farmer and of the fisherman, will have the power to assimilate almost anything" (p. 24). "Just as soon as the individual fully realizes that he himself is to blame for his suffering or his poverty in human energy, he