Full text: papers communicated to the first International Eugenics Congress held at the University of London, July 24th to 30th, 1912

22Section IIa,S. G. Smith. 
EUGENICS AND THE NEW SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS. 
(Abstract.) 
By Samuel George Smith. 
The new social consciousness is indicated; first, by the larger powers 
and duties assumed by the State: second, by the new sense of social 
solidarity affecting persons and groups of persons within the State. The 
exclusion from parenthood of such wards of the State as the feeble-minded, 
the insane, and the pauper has gone beyond debate; and for all that are 
legally excluded from parenthood, custodial care is required. There is need 
to develop a new ethical sense of the individual in regard to his own 
relations to the social group. We have not yet sufficient facts to establish 
a definite relation between physical fitness and social efficiency. This is 
the place for caution. 
Questions of maternity among the poor: (a) Hard labour must be 
forbidden to the expectant mother : (b) she must have nourishing food; (c) 
surroundings must be wholesome. The economic problem is solved in the 
increased vitality and consequent earning power of the coming generation. 
Problem of the parenthood of the better classes : just as important and 
more difficult. The question is not only vital and economic; it is also 
ethical. The ignorance of parents and the defects of children. The State has 
invaded the home, and has set standards, both physical and moral, for the 
family. It is the duty of the State to secure the proper physical environ­ 
ment for the home. It is a municipal problem. It is a problem of public 
health. The whole movement looks to the triumph of a vital democracy, 
which is more important than either political or industrial democracy. 
Relations of alcoholism to neurasthenia, of tuberculosis to feeble­ 
mindedness, of bad social and labour conditions to both, indicate cross 
sections in the problem. Vices of the rich in most countries are greater than 
the vices of the poor. A vital democracy cannot be based upon pyhsical 
tests and material comfort. Its deepest foundations are psychical and ethical.
        

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