Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/487

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


ECONOMIC FACTORS IN EUGENICS 483

in-arms and let themselves also be exploited in tlie factory, so as to keep the wolf from the door. Does any society that is callous to such waste of human life deserve to be called civilized? Is this heartless and protracted starvation of infants by depriving them of their natural food much more worthy of a civilized and so-called Christian nation than was the deliberate exposure of infants to a more merciful death by the ancients ? The United States is, alas ! no less guilty of such unde- signed "slaugliter of the innocents" than Europe, possibly even more so, for we do not even provide our women factory workers with a month's maternity insurance, as is done by Austria, Germany and Spain.

I have no space in the present paper to consider the economic factors of other racial problems; much less to point out in detail what eco- nomic changes I think would aid most in " improving the racial quali- ties of future generations." I can not conclude, however, without stating my conviction that the most thorough-going economic measures are urgently demanded, and at the earliest possible moment, before the rapid degeneration of our people shall have brought us to the danger point.

Sir Francis Galton must have foreseen the need of economic reform when he said : " The economic burden of raising a family is such as to discourage many, whose qualities should be continued to other genera- tions, and there can he no doubt that it would pay society to furnish ample means for the industry of child raising to those who are espe- cially fitted to engage in it." The philanthropy of even our American millionaires would be hopelessly inadequate to furnish "ample means" to a quarter of the American families, "who are especially fitted to engage in child raising." Only the state, that is the nation, could foster practical eugenics on such a grand scale. There is no doubt whatever that state support of mothers and children would solve the race-suicide problem, and I see no reason to hope that anything else will. As an editorial in The Populae Science Monthly recently said, "Chil- dren are no longer a financial asset to their parents, but they are this to the state and to the world; the state must ultimately pay for their birth and rearing." It is absurd to fear over population in America for centuries to come, since, as Professor Herbert Miller has ably shown in the same journal for December, 1911, the law of diminishing returns is obsolete and "the resources of production show no more signs of exhaustion than the heat of the sun." Finally, as soon as public opinion has been educated sufficiently to appreciate the justice as well as the desirability of such legislation, there seems to be no reason why an intelligent cooperative commonwealth could not or would not prevent the conspicuously unfit from marrying or reproducing at all, discourage the relatively unfit, and encourage the fit, in every way consistent with humanity.

�� �