Full text: Problems in eugenics

396Section IV.H. E. Jordan. 
By H. E. Jordan 
(Chairman of the Eugenics Section of the American Association for the 
Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality). 
If the possibilities now exist for developing a physically, mentally and 
morally stronger and healthier race, true social progress demands that such 
end be quickly achieved. The possibilities undoubtedly do exist; and 
the need for racial improvement is urgent. The ultimate ideal sought is a 
perfect society constituted of perfect individuals. Logically, and from 
the higher viewpoint, it is more desirable to be able to prevent the 
production of social inferiors than to raise such elements to physical, 
mental and moral par. Social therapy is economically much more expensive 
than social prophylaxis. 
Modern medicine, yielding to the demands of real progress, is 
becoming less a curative and more a preventive science. From an art of 
curing illness, it is becoming a science of health. It is safe to predict, I 
believe, that in several centuries medical men generally will be more of the 
order of guardians of the public health than doctors of private diseases. 
This represents the medical aspect of the general change from individualism 
to collectivism. Medicine, in many of its present phases, notably the more 
purely therapeutic, will be greatly altered. Its surgical and obstetrical 
phases, however, will become only relatively less important. 
It would seem that the sooner this high end be realized the better for 
all concerned; and the greater the economic saving. Eugenic conduct is 
undeniably a factor in attaining the speedy achievement of the end of 
racial health. The status of the medical situation, accordingly, seems to 
be this : Medicine is fast becoming a science of the prevention of weakness 
and morbidity; their permanent not temporary cure, their racial eradication 
rather than their personal palliation. Not that the latter ends be not 
accomplished wherever and whenever cause requires, and as effectively as 
at present, but merely as incidental to the greater endeavour in the interests 
of the race. Eugenics, embracing genetics, is thus one of the important 
disciplines among the future medical sciences. The coming physician 
must have adequate training in matters relating to heredity and eugenics. 
And the medical curriculum that includes these subjects (properly 
combined as one) and provides for their clear scientific presentation is, other 
things being equal, the one which best meets the needs of the very near 
future. For, as the general population becomes better educated in matters 
of personal and racial health and hygiene, it will more and more demand 
help along these lines and such advice regarding the prevention of weakness 
in themselves and their offspring. The physicians are logically the men 
who must supply the information and give the help sought.

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