Full text: Problems in eugenics

484Appendix.S. G. Smith. 
child born into the world should have an adequate physical, intellectual, 
and industrial opportunity; but the movement looking to the triumph of a 
vital democracy, in which the child of the cottage shall be as much in the 
thought of the State as the child of the palace, is more important to every 
group than the political or the industrial democracy. We please ourselves 
by seeking to throw some light upon the gloom of poverty; the pinched and 
pale-faced boy in the arms of a ragged woman are the new Madonna and 
Child of our generation. 
This is a company of frank men and women, and we must be ready 
to face the fact that the problem of the child in the home of the better 
classes is just as important and much more difficult of solution. We can 
defend municipal activity in behalf of the poor, by saying that the economic 
cost of caring for the mother is more than paid to the State in the in­ 
creased vitality and consequent earning power of the coming generation. 
But who will see to it that the children of the better classes are well-born 
and furnished with a sufficient stock of vitality for human leadership? 
It is well enough to deplore that too many children come into the homes of 
squalor, and that the poor and the ignorant do not and cannot properly care 
for them. But what voice can make itself understood when it declares 
that the problem of the upper classes is always the greatest problem of any 
people. The problem of parenthood from this point of view becomes 
fundamentally an ethical problem. It is one that defies legislation, that 
mocks at literature, and that ignores religion. We mourn over the vices of 
the poor, but it is still true that the vices of the rich are more serious and 
more numerous. Hence it is that the solution of the problem of Eugenics 
must at last be psychical and ethical. 
We shall make faster progress in work represented by this Congress if 
we frankly recognise some of our limitations. The first I shall indicate 
rather than discuss. It is the fact generally recognised that the population 
expands to the food supply. It were, perhaps, a closer statement to say 
that it expands to the economic limit indicated by the standard of 
living. If conditions are easy, marriages are early and prolific, and the 
vital human force does not yield to either law or reason. 
Another limitation with which we have to do is the chaotic condition 
of present opinion on the subject of heredity among normal beings. A 
great deal of investigation and discussion has already taken place with 
reference to heredity among the abnormal classes, but the real problem is 
not here. The social group is actually composed of those whom we call 
normal, who are able to earn their own living, manage their own affairs, 
and associate upon some terms with their fellow men. 
Very little progress has been made, and very little dependable data 
secured pointing to an improvement of the race by conscious choice. The 
outstanding facts of heredity are the gift of strength or weakness, owing 
sometimes to the organisation of the parent—particularly the mother, but

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