Full text: Problems in eugenics

V. L. Kellogg. Sociology and Eugenics.221 
and Wales for the quinquennial periods 1861-1865 and 1905-1909, shows 
that the death rate of children under one year of age was but 23 per cent, 
less in the second or present-day period than in the early one, while there 
was a difference of 48 per cent, in the mortality in the second year of life, 
of 59 per cent, in the third, and of 61 per cent, in the fourth. That is, if 
children can really start living we can now give them a good chance to go 
on. If, however, they are born actually inadequate to live, no degree 
of progress in that branch of medicine known as the “ care and health of 
children ” can have much interest for them. What they demand, if not 
for themselves, because it is too late, but for those who are to come, is 
some radical progress in the care and condition of parents. 
But perhaps worse than death to the child, and certainly worse to the 
race, are those horrible ills of congenital idiocy, pronounced diathesis of 
disease, inevitable deafmutism and all the rest that the modern study of 
heredity has shown to be the unescapable fate of the child born of defective 
parents. So that figures of infant mortality due to pre-natal influences pale 
into insignificance for the eugenist in the face of the figures of the living 
doomed to suffering and incapacity and to be a drag on the race. Hence 
it is that the attention of the eugenist is bound to be attracted to any 
institution in present human life which may seem to contribute either to the 
advantage or disadvantage of the eugenic ideal, the well-born child. Any 
human institution that may increase or decrease that peril in child life, 
which we may call the peril of parentage, is legitimate field of our interest 
and study. Such a human institution of great age, great development and 
great prestige is war. 
What would seem logically to be the inevitable consequence of the 
human selection exercised by war in its actual removal from a given 
population of an undue proportion of sturdy men by death from wounds 
and disease, and in its removal in both war and peace times of still larger 
numbers of its stronger young men from their normal and needed function 
of race perpetuation, has been pointed out by a few writers from the times 
of the Greeks to the present. Perhaps the logic of the matter has been 
more clearly and strongly stated by two philosophical biologists than by 
most of the others. Herbert Spencer, thirty years ago, and David Starr 
Jordan, in the very present days, enunciate and emphasize the thesis that 
the removal by war of the strongest and the leaving at home of the weakest 
men to propagate the race is bound to have as result a physical deterioration 
of the population concerned. It is, these men claim, a simple, easily 
understood phenomenon of artificial selection. 
President Jordan has for the last five years made veritable propaganda 
of this thesis, and thereby drawn to it a fresh and more considerable 
attention than it has ever before had. Yet during the whole of the last 
oentury the thesis has been supported by a succession of men, as Tenon, 
Dufau, Foissac, Tschouriloff, de Lapouge, Richet and others in France;

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