Searchlights on Health/Small Families and the Improvement of the Race
SMALL FAMILIES AND THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE RACE.
1. MARRIED PEOPLE MUST DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES.—It is the fashion of those who marry nowadays to have few children, often none. Of course this is a matter which married people must decide for themselves. As is stated in an earlier chapter, sometimes this policy is the wisest that can be pursued.
2. Diseased people who are likely to beget only a sickly offspring, may follow this course, and so may thieves, rascals, vagabonds, insane and drunken persons, and all those who are likely to bring into the world beings that ought not to be here. But why so many well-to-do folks should pursue a policy adapted only to paupers and criminals, is not easy to explain. Why marry at all if not to found a family that shall live to bless and make glad the earth after father and mother are gone? It is not wise to rear too many children, nor is it wise to have too few. Properly brought up, they will make home a delight, and parents happy.
3. POPULATION LIMITED.—Galton, in his great work on hereditary genius, observes that "the time may hereafter arrive in far distant years, when the population of this earth shall be kept as strictly within bounds of number and suitability of race, as the sheep of a well-ordered moor, or the plants in an orchard-house; in the meantime let us do what we can to encourage the multiplication of the races best fitted to invent and conform to a high and generous civilization."
4. SHALL SICKLY PEOPLE RAISE CHILDREN?—The question whether sickly people should marry and propagate their kind, is briefly alluded to in an early chapter of this work. Where father and mother are both consumptive the chances are that the children will inherit physical weakness, which will result in the same disease, unless great pains are taken to give them a good physical education, and even then the probabilities are that they will find life a burden hardly worth living.
5. NO REAL BLESSING.—Where one parent is consumptive and the other vigorous, the chances are just half as great. If there is a scrofulous or consumptive taint in the blood, beware! Sickly children are no comfort to their parents, no real blessing. If such people marry, they had better, in most cases, avoid parentage.
6. WELFARE OF MANKIND.—The advancement of the welfare of mankind is a most intricate problem: all ought to refrain from marriage who cannot avoid abject poverty for their children; for poverty is not only a great evil, but tends to its own increase by leading to recklessness in marriage. On the other hand, as Mr. Galton has remarked, if the prudent avoid marriage, while the reckless marry, the inferior members will tend to supplant the better members of society.
7. PREVENTIVES.—Remember that the thousands of preventives which are advertised in papers, private circulars, etc., are not only inefficient, unreliable and worthless, but positively dangerous, and the annual mortality of females in this country from this cause alone is truly horrifying. Study nature, and nature's laws alone will guide you safely in the path of health and happiness.
8. NATURE'S REMEDY.—Nature in her wise economy has prepared for overproduction, for during the period of pregnancy and nursing, and also most of the last half of each menstrual month, woman is naturally sterile; but this condition may become irregular and uncertain on account of stimulating drinks or immoral excesses.