Full text: Problems in eugenics

224Section III.V. L. Kellogg. 
(1911), of the 64,538 men who offered themselves for enlistment in England, 
Scotland and Wales, 28,900 or 44.78 per cent, were rejected for physical 
unfitness by the examining board. 
And these figures by no means reveal the closeness of this selection, for 
the requirements of height and chest measurements are so well known that 
men obviously under size or obviously infirm do not offer themselves, or if 
they do are at once rejected by the recruiting sergeants, so that they never 
reach the regular examining boards. Evidence presented to the Inter- 
Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration in the United Kingdom 
indicates that out of every one hundred men who offer to enlist in the 
British Army only forty are accepted, sixty being returned to the civil 
population as physically unfit. And although it may be objected that the 
flower of the British working classes do not offer themselves for enlistment, 
yet it is admittedly true that the British Army is not composed exclusively, 
nor, indeed, by any means, largely of British riff-raff. 
This possible criticism of the shunning of the Army by the better classes 
of young men can at any rate have no bearing in the case of the French 
and German conditions, where compulsory service obtains. In these coun­ 
tries the whole body of young men arriving at military age each year is 
liable to service, a certain proportion from it being chosen by lot to join the 
colours. For nearly a hundred years now France has regularly rejected as 
physically unfit, from 30 to 40 per cent, of those examined each year. 
Prussia rejects from 35 to 40 per cent. (This is, of course, I should mention 
in passing, no basis of comparison between the male youth of France and 
that of Prussia, for any slight difference in the requirements as to height 
or bodily condition, or in the rigor of applying the recruiting regulations, 
would account for the differences in proportion of rejected.) 
The point of all that I am now saying is simply that military selection 
occurs chiefly before the fighting ever begins, and results in the temporary 
or permanent removal from the general population of a special part of it, 
and the deliberate exposure of this part to death and disease, disease that 
may have a repercussion on the welfare of the whole population to a possibly 
much greater degree than apparent at first glance. And this part of the 
people, so removed and injured, is in quite a special way a part of great 
importance to the preservation of the racial integrity of the population. 
For in the first place it is composed exclusively of men, its removal thus 
tending to disturb the sex equilibrium of the population, and to prevent 
normal and advantageous sexual selection. Next, these men are both all of 
the age of greatest life expectancy, after reaching maturity, and of greatest 
sexual vigor and fecundity. Finally, they are all men, none of whom fall 
below and most of them exceed a certain desirable standard of physical 
vigor and freedom from infirmity and disease. And for each of these men 
so removed from the general population, at least one other man, falling 
below this standard, has been retained in the civil population.

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