Full text: Problems in eugenics

V. L. Kellogg. Sociology and Eugenics.223 
life. Throughout all the kingdom of life, plant as well as animal, the over­ 
production of individuals and their reduction by death to a fractional part 
of the original number is one of the basic conditions of progress, if 
Darwinism is a sound explanation of organic evolution. For this death 
will be in the nature of things selective, and hence will make for the 
modification of the species toward a condition of better adaptation to life 
conditions. Indeed, the upholders of war have used precisely the argument 
of war’s high mortality as a proof of war’s real beneficence to the race. 
Ammon, for example, consistently develops this thesis, cold-bloodedly, to its 
logical extreme, and Seeck and numerous others are attracted by it in certain 
degree. The crux in the matter and to my mind the whole answer to such 
argument is the character of the selection which this mortality determines. 
I believe it may be shown by two methods that the direct selection of war 
is not advantageous, but in almost all cases thoroughly disadvantageous to 
the race. The two methods are, first, the determination of the character 
of that part of the population especially exposed to the selective mortality of 
war, and, second, the determination of certain actual results of this 
selection. As to the first, one need only draw attention to the way in which an 
army is made up to make it seem certain that any considerable mortality in 
military service will of necessity result in a disadvantageous selection of 
greater or less seriousness. Those who point to the advantages of military 
selection as issuing from the selective struggle between the opposing armies 
and from the selective resuilts of the varying endurance and resistance to 
exposure, disease and wounds of the individuals in each army, do not suffici­ 
ently consider the fact that the whole of each army is a group of individuals 
not chosen at random from the population, representing both sexes, all ages, 
and weak and strong alike, but is already, by the very conditions of its 
organization, a part of the population selected first for sex and then for ripe 
youth, full stature and strength, and freedom from infirmity and disease. So 
that practically every individual lost from an army means the loss of a man of 
better physical condition than that possessed by one or more men left 
behind in the civil population. For the actual figures of present-day 
recruitment in the great European states show that of the men gathered by 
conscription as in France and Germany, or by voluntary enlistment as in 
Great Britain, from thirty to fifty per cent, are rejected by the examining 
boards as unfit for service because of undersize, infirmities, or disease. 
For example, in the decade 1893-1902 out of a total 679,703 men offering 
themselves for enlistment in England, 34.6 per cent, were rejected as unfit 
for service, .9 per cent, were rejected after three months’ provisional 
acceptance, and 2.1 per cent, were discharged as invalids within two 
years, making thus a total of 40 per cent, of all those applying that were 
turned back into the civil population as not physically fit men. Last year

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