and the conspicuously brave are particularly liable to be killed. The point need not be labored: what Darwin said of even ancient times is true to-day:
Our suspicion that war has a dysgenic influence grows when we think of countries with a voluntary system of military service. In the making of our armies there is a process of discriminate selection which works in the wrong way from the eugenic point of view. The call of their country attracts a larger proportion of the more chivalrous, the more virile, the more courageous. In the patriotic response not only in this country, but throughout the Empire, we are proud to recognize a multitude of men of character that is precious. We have to face the fact, of which we are socially proud, that Britain is sending to the battlefields large numbers of the best of her sons, whose early death would mean an impoverishment of the race. They will not all come home. Already one knows of many irreparable losses in fine families.
It is so important to avoid exaggeration that one wishes to hear the other side. It is pointed out quite justly that a large nucleus of genuinely brave men must stay at home to keep things going, and that they form a eugenic bulwark. This is true, but after gratefully allowing for these we can not shut our eyes to the large body of men of military age who can not fight or who will not fight, whose ranks, therefore, will not be thinned as those of the combatants are.
It is said again that elimination is confined to the men, so that the women remain, as they usually are, a eugenic safeguard. But they can not directly act in this way unless they have children, and it is to be feared that the war will seriously increase the disharmony already involved in the unwholesomely large number of unmarried women. Moreover we have only to think of the mothers in Belgium and Servia to see that the terrible sifting is not confined to the men. Severe and protracted war tends to lower physical vigor throughout wide circles of non-combatants; the maternal depression, like that induced by famine, tends to result in arrests of development and in the production of under-average types. We have no reason to believe that the germ-plasm is specifically affected, yet it is quite conceivable that very unfavorable nurtural conditions may induce prejudicial germinal variations of a heritable sort.We are told that many join the ranks simply in a desire for adventure. This is very difficult to prove, but even if it be true, what then? The adventurous spirit is no bad thing, often implying, for instance, a healthy-minded lack of preoccupation with one’s precious self. It is