Full text: Problems in eugenics

A. Loria.Sociology and Eugenics,25 
to-day takes place precisely amongst individuals of the same class, or be­ 
longing to the same standard of income, so that persons of the upper classes 
always marry exclusively amongst each other. So then these marriages, 
which, according to the theory, ought to give more splendid results, give, on 
the contrary, more wretched results. Galton’s same law of return to 
the mean,” or the fact that the descendants of persons of high class some­ 
times have inferior endowments as compared with the average of the race, 
could not be fulfilled if persons of the upper classes who marry with each 
other were really select persons, physically and mentally. 
There would also be in this case a falling off from the super-normal 
qualities of an exceptionally gifted parent, but in that case the characters of 
the children would always be superior to those of the descendants of the 
lower classes. If this does not happen, if the children of the upper classes 
show qualities inferior to those of the average of children of the lower 
classes, this proves conclusively that married people of the superior classes 
were not in the least endowed with specially high aptitudes, but, on the 
contrary, presented the opposite characteristics. Thus, the same law of 
Galton, properly interpreted, shows the absolute independence of largeness of 
income and excellence of individual qualities, hence the absurdity and danger 
of Eugenics upon an economic foundation, such as many desire. 
The researches of Fahlbeck upon the Swedish nobility, which show 
the rapid extinction of the upper classes who practise Economic Eugenics, 
is a further proof of the absence of any link between economic superiority 
and psycho-physical superiority; since if the wealthier people, who usually 
intermarry, were really the better endowed, their descendants would never 
show those phenomena of extinction which betray a leaven of inner 
degeneration I conclude that Economic Eugenics is already practised to-day upon a 
large scale, and hence it is already possible to form an accurate judgment 
upon its results—which are those of return to the mean—degeneration and 
extinction of race. Now, these same results show that the economically 
superior classes are not at all the best endowed, and often even degenerate, 
and that, therefore, the only method calculated to effect a conjugal selection 
which would be socially useful is not to unite in marriage the richer people, 
but individuals really possessing superior qualities, and to exclude from mar­ 
riage those who do not possess them.

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