Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/92

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is temporarily standardized for the upper classes, it will soon become the model elsewhere, and when one child takes the place of two, as it is already doing, the contagion will not be limited to the class in which it originates.

It may be that the population of the western world increased during the nineteenth century as rapidly as it could be assimilated. If Malthus had been correct in his theories it might be as anti-social and be made as illegal to have six children as to have two wives. But Malthus was a false prophet; thanks to the applications of science the means of subsistence have increased more rapidly than the population. If the density of population in the United States were equal to that in Great Britain, all the people in the world could live here; and they could live in comfort. There is a complete lack of the constructive imagination which might lead to bitter mourning for the hundreds of millions of human beings that might have been but are not, and to boundless regret for the science and art they might have produced for the benefit of all; but the decline and extinction of the race can not well be dismissed as a matter of no consequence.

It is now only to a limited extent the case that there are vigorous races waiting to take the place of those decayed. The Teutons may supplant the Celts, and be supplanted by the Slavs. If the negroes maintain their fertility and decrease their morbidity, and the eastern nations maintain their family sanctions, they may supplant the white races. But an extension of rationalism and a tolerably uniform world civilization will tend toward similar conditions everywhere in regard to the family and the birth rate. The past history of the human race is probably longer than its future history will be. Physicists tell us that the earth may be uninhabitable in twenty million years; it may be uninhabited by man in twenty centuries.

The disintegration of the family and the decline of the birth rate are due to many causes of which we need here concern ourselves with but two—the city and the school—for the object of this article is to offer a constructive suggestion intended to make these factors less destructive.

The modern city is surely subversive of the home and the family. Houses without individuality, dark and ugly, tenements and apartments, boarding houses and hotels, not owned by those who live in them, inhibit the instinct to form a home. Children do not stay in the house and can be put to no use about it. They are away at school and on the street; later they earn money for themselves. Women are not physiologically fit to bear and nurse children. The father is away all day, and the mother is often away. The parents and the children do not have work, amusements or interests in common. There are no family traditions and sanctions. A certain irresponsibility in the