Full text: Problems in eugenics

170Section IIa. F. C. S. Schiller. 
commoner than ability. Hence the Scholarship System, as it stands, acts 
as a distinct eugenical inducement, which, in these days, when the most 
valuable classes are bisected in every generation, is not to be despised : it 
could, moreover, be enormously extended and strengthened, and made into a 
pillar of “ positive ” eugenics. 
The infusing of an eugenical spirit into the Athletic Branch of British 
education would so evidently be comparatively easy that it need not be 
enlarged on in great detail. The ideals of fitness and efficiency merely 
need to be broadened, so as to include moral and intellectual qualities and 
various forms of skill, instead of being restricted as now to expertness in 
two or three officially selected “ games.’’ The youthful mind is naturally 
prone to hero-worship, and could easily be taught to recognize this ideal of 
fitness. And what is more, its appeal would be universal, and, even if 
society did not honour it as it should and would, it would be its own 
reward. For no one could admire it, without striving to achieve it, nor 
attempt it without benefiting himself and improving the level of the race. 
Every one would feel that whatever his endowment, he could make himself 
fitter than he was and that it was worth while to do so in some direction in 
which his ability and bent indicated; he would not feel, as many boys do 
now, that they were not cut out for distinction in cricket and football, and 
conclude that they were utterly useless and give up trying. 
Hence we should go some way towards solving the problem of 
supplying the highest classes with an ideal and a personal incentive to self- 
improvement. It is possible even that this ideal would appeal particularly 
to them : for they are not, on the whole, deficient in the qualities that would 
enable them to approach it, if they chose. If so, there might gradually 
arise out of them, and out of the eugenically best of the whole community, 
a new and real nobility, based on real superiority, and not as now recruited 
by the proceeds of unhallowed unions of wealth and politics, and this 
would absorb, or perhaps suppress, our present sham nobility, which has 
become a social institution that means nothing biologically. Such a real 
nobility would support itself on its intrinsic merits, and no doubt engender 
a well-founded pride of birth that would keep it both pure and prolific: 
for to have a large family would be approved of and admired only in the 
fit, and hence afford a more striking display of social ostentation than 
dresses or jewellery : and thus the spirit of Cornelia, the mother of the 
Gracchi, might return to earth. 
And let it not be said that the eugenical ideal is anti-democratic : it is 
anti-egalitarian, but it will be anti-democratic only if the intrinsic 
inequalities of men are such that some must have all power and others none. 
But this there is much reason to doubt. On the other hand it is morally 
beneficial to every man to acknowledge superiority, and conducive to the 
stability of society; nor does this even hurt a man’s self-esteem, if he can 
feel himself as superior in some respects as he is inferior in others. Thus

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