Full text: Problems in eugenics

Exhibit C 45—46.17 
Though a large majority of the members of all three generations 
(2-4th) have good health and attain to an exceptionally high age, 
most of the female lines also die out. Only in two branches, which 
spring from the marriage of an aristocratic daughter with a man from 
the people, there are children in the fifth generation of whom at 
least a part promise a healthy progeny. Fahlbeck, too, has drawn 
attention to the fact that the dying out Swedish aristocracy shows 
no signs of striking degeneracy in the individual. 
This fact is of the greatest theoretical and practical importance 
because it proves that there exists, up to a certain degree, an inde­ 
pendent degeneration of the germ plasm, even as the germ plasm may 
remain unaffected by damage to the soma. That such a one­ 
sided degeneration of the germ plasm with respect to the power of 
reproduction may take place among animals has been known for a 
long time. 
In particular, Chs. Darwin has collected facts of this kind in 
his “Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication.” For 
civilised peoples it is a matter for reflection that with animals even 
slight deviations from their customary “ natural ” mode of living 
may lead to such serious consequences. 
As the nature and aims of race-hygiene are still unknown in wide C 46 & 47 
circles it will be useful to show in Tables C 46 and C 47, by A. Ploetz, 
what its position is amongst other sciences and what the various 
branches of its activity consist in. 
Many theoretical workers hold that the most important mission 
or race-hygiene is to light against Therapeutics and Hygiene of the 
individual, for about these they have the most serious misgivings. 
They consider, that by maintaining inferior variations up to the age 
of reproduction, the average quality of the race must suffer and 
that to certain defects—which otherwise would rapidly disappear— 
an opportunity is given to spread through an entire people. This 
point of view, short sighted as it may be, must be examined into. 
It appears to be forgotten that on the one hand hygiene is powerless 
in cases of a high degree of degeneration and that on the other hand 
hygiene, by prevention of illness, does away with a number of 
causes of inferiority. Finally it appears to be entirely overlooked 
that with the best inherent qualities and unfavourable surroundings 
the individual development may be poor and stunted. Of what use 
are the highest potentialities if they rerrain latent ? The main point

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