Full text: Problems in eugenics

480Appendix.S. G. Smith. 
Section 11 a. 
EUGENICS AND THE NEW SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS. 
By Samuel G. Smith, 
Professor of Sociology, Minnesota University, U.S.A. 
Eugenics is a new word, but it is not a new idea. The Greeks and 
Hebrews were both interested in the subject, but it finds itself to-day in 
new company. Formerly it was dealt with by philosophers, theologians, 
poets, and prophets. In our time its guardianship has been assumed by 
men of science. When Plato wrote his Republic it was a treatise on 
Eugenics, and the aspiration for a better race was the foundation of the 
message of Jesus when he preached the Kingdom of God. Plato thought 
it could be achieved by new organization. Jesus preached repentance as its 
gateway. Modern Science has taken largely, perhaps too largely, its in­ 
spiration from biology, and wishes to produce a better man by making him 
an animal of finer breed. 
In the section devoted to Public Education it is not so needful to find 
out exactly what we know, although that is important, but our chief interest 
is in discovering what we can wisely teach. It would be unfair to indicate 
that the! scientific appeal is paramount, for the philanthropist and the states­ 
man, as well as the whole brood of reformers, are equally interested. As 
science seeks to find out what the fact is, and philosophy to show what it 
means, so the present practical aim is to discover what useful thing may 
be done in view of the knowledge that we have and the social circumstances 
in which we are placed. 
My countryman, Mr. Lester F. Ward, who, I think, was the first writer 
to point out the importance of psychical forces in the development of society, 
somewhere states that human history has hitherto progressed by the forces 
of human passions which were largely unconscious and uncontrolled, but 
that the time has come for the conscious guidance of future life and action, 
of which movement sociology is to be the prophet. It may not be quite true 
that men in the past did not see more than a step at a time, but it is widely 
true that modern life is characterised by a social consciousness hitherto 
unknown; and this has much to do with making the half developed science 
of eugenics a practical art among associated men and women. 
The new social consciousness finds itself first in the larger powers and 
duties assumed by the modern State. Without attempting to trace the 
history of institutions, it is evident that the relation of the three primary 
forms of human society—the Family, the Church, and the State—have 
undergone profound modifications in modern times. Broadly speaking,
	        

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