Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/486

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immigration of the poor peoples (in the material sense) of other nations, as such, that we need to fear. Many of our best classes of citizenship have come from this type. These are usually the ones who have been our pioneers—they did not come to America merely to find an easier life, but to obtain greater freedom and scope for development. It required a distinct effort on their part to seek new and better conditions under almost certain hardships in a new land; and this very effort marked a virility and fortitude in their make-up which is not manifest in those refugees from justice who seek our shores to escape the consequences of crimes committed or are drifted here along the lines of least resistance. What kind of philanthropist is he who, though he gives his millions to charity (well intentioned but perhaps misdirected) dilutes and contaminates the very structure of our commonwealth by importation of the scum of Europe to enable him to amass the millions? Cheaper labor may be an economic necessity, but can we afford it at the price? The danger would, perhaps, not be quite so great if there were not the possibility of the control of affairs falling ultimately into the hands of these undesirables; but after a short period every man among them is entitled to a vote, and the vote of one man has equal weight with that of another. Furthermore, the political demagogue makes it his business to see that all these votes are polled. Heredity and eugenic principles play no part here; but if suffrage is to be equal, should we not devote our attention to bettering the quality of the voter? With political control in the hands of the inferior, there will be little chance for eugenic legislation.

Of late years several nations have been viewing with alarm their rapidly diminishing birth rates. It has not been generally recognized, however, wherein the danger really lies. The fact of a decreasing population may in itself be of serious economic import; and even though the total population is being maintained or is growing on account of immigration, accession from without then means the swamping of the native stock. But immigration aside, the greatest cause for alarm is revealed upon an analysis of the statistics on the decrease in the number of children born. Such analysis shows that the decrease is not proportional for the total population, but that it is greatest among those classes of society which are the more desirable, namely, the professional classes, the artisans and the so-called middle classes generally. Statistics show that whereas in London the birth rate was higher sixty years ago among the classes just mentioned, fifty years later the conditions had become exactly reversed, and that the paupers, the defectives and the undesirable generally were reproducing at a greater rate than the other civic elements. The outcome of such a state of affairs, without the intervention of other forces, would be easy to predict. One modifying factor exists in the differential death rate, which falls most heavily on the physically and morally unfit; but here