RACIAL impoverishment is the plague of civilization. This insidious disease, with its twin symptoms the ex- tirpation of superior strains and the multiplication of inferiors, has ravaged humanity like a consuming fire, reducing the proudest societies to charred and squalid ruin. We have already examined the life process which per- petuates both superiors and inferiors according to their kind, so we can now pass to a practical consideration of inferior types. First of all, however, let us carefully distinguish between inferiority's two aspects: physical inferiority and mental inferiority. It is mental inferiority which is our chief concern. Physically, the human species seems equal to all demands which are likely to he made upon it. Despite civilization's deleterious aspects, and despite the combined action of modem medicine and philan- thropy in keeping alive physically weak individuals, humanity does not appear to be threatened with general physical decay. We are heirs of a physical selection which goes back tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of years to the very origin of life, and its beneficial in- fluence is so wide-spread and deep-going that a few mil- lennia of partial escape from its workings have pro- only superficial effects. 89 Far different is the case of mental inferiority. The special traits of intelligence which distinguish man from the animals appeared only a few hundred thousand years ago, and have developed strongly only in a few human stocks. Biologically speaking, therefore, high intelli- gence is a very recent trait, which is still comparatively rare and which may be easily lost. The rarity of mental as compared with physical sup- periority in the human species is seen on every hand. Existing savage and barbarian races of a demonstrably low average level of intelligence, like the negroes, are physically vigorous, in fact, possess an animal vitality apparently greater than that of the intellectually higher races. The same is true of intellectually decadent peoples like those about the Mediterranean, whose loss of ancient mental greatness has been accompanied by no corre- sponding physical decline. Finally, even among the more civilized and progressive present-day populations, the great disparity between physical and mental superiority is clear. The recent American army intelligence tests are a striking example of this. Those 1,700,000 young men who were examined were nearly all physically fine specimens, yet less than one out of twenty (4 1/2 per cent) possessed really high intelligence. From all this it is evident that mental superiority is comparatively rare, most men being mentally either mediocre or inferior. We have likewise seen how civilized life has hitherto tended to make mental superiority ever rarer and to increase the proportion of mediocre and inferior elements. Indeed, down to the biological discoveries of our own 90 days, this was believed to he a normal, rather than an abnormal, phenomenon. Our forebears considered so- ciety's withering away at the top and breeding from be- low as natural and inevitable. Take the attitude of the Romans, for example. Roman society was divided into six classes. The sixth, or lowest, social class, made up of paupers, vagabonds, and degenerates, was exempt from civic duties, military service, and the payment of taxes. But was this class debarred from having children? Not at all. On the contrary, it was positively encouraged to do so. These dregs of the Roman populace were termed "proletarians," "producers of offspring"! In other words, a man might be incapable of civic duties, incapable of bearing arms, incapable of paying taxes, but was considered not only capable but specially apt for bearing children, who were accepted as his contribution to society. Think what an attitude on racial matters this implies! No wonder Rome fell! And yet -- let us not forget that this was substantially the attitude of our grandfathers, and that it is still the attitude of millions of so-called "educated" persons. Here is once more evident the dead hand of the past, perpetuating old errors and blocking the effective spread of new truths. This mingling of old and new forces is, in fact, mainly responsible for the peculiarly acute nature of our social and racial problems. Traditional influences making for racial decay are as active as ever, perhaps more so. On the other hand, many new factors like universal educa- tion, high standards, preventive medicine, and birth control, all of which may become powerful agents of race 91 betterment, have thus far worked mainly in the direction of racial decay, by speeding up both the social steriliza- tion of superior individuals, and the preservation of in- feriors. Perhaps never before have social conditions been so "dysgenic," so destructive of racial values, as to-day. "In the earlier stages of society, man interfered little with natural selection. But during the last century the increase of the philanthropic spirit and the progress of medicine have done a great deal to interfere with the selective process. In some ways, selection in the human race has almost ceased; in many ways it is actually re- versed, that is, it results in the survival of the inferior rather than the superior. In the olden days the criminal was summarily executed, the weakly child died soon after birth through lack of proper care and medical at- tention, the insane were dealt with so violently that if they were not killed by the treatment they were at least left hopelessly 'incurable,' and had little chance of be- coming parents. Harsh measures, all of these; but they kept the germ-plasm of the race reasonably purified. "To-day, how is it? The inefficients, the wastrels, the physical, mental, and moral cripples are carefully preserved at public expense. The criminal is turned out on parole after a few years, to become the father of a family. The insane is discharged as 'cured,' again to take up the duties of citizenship. The feeble-minded child is painfully 'educated,' often at the expense of his normal brother or sister. In short, the undesirables of the race, with whom the bloody hand of natural selection 92 would have made short work early in life, are now nursed along to old age."(1) And, as already stated, factors like birth control, education, and high social standards are simultaneously extirpating the superior elements at an unprecedented rate. Such is the situation. Now, what is to he done? Re- turn to the grim methods of "natural selection"? Of course not. No sensible person could possibly advocate such a thing. It would not only outrage our moral sense, but it would also yield results far inferior to other methods of race betterment which science has already discovered and elaborated. That is the hopeful aspect of the situa- tion. Grave though our present plight may be, we do not have to waste precious time casting about for theo- retical solutions. Science, especially that branch of science known as "Eugenics" or "Race Betterment," shows us a way far more efficient as well as infinitely more humane than the crude, wasteful methods of natural selection, which, while killing out most of the bad, took many of the good at the same time. Science, there- fore, offers us a way of escape from impending perils, not by a return to natural selection, but by way of an improved social selection based upon natural law instead of, as hitherto, upon ignorance and haphazard. Detailed discussion of the eugenic programme will be deferred till the concluding chapter of this book. At present, let us continue our survey of human inferiority, in order better to appreciate how imperative the speedy application of eugenic measures to society has come to be. _____________________________________________________ (1) Popenoe and Johnson, pp. 148-149 93 Inferiority is most plainly manifest in what are known as the "defective classes" -- the feeble-minded, the in- sane, and certain categories of the deformed and the diseased. Most of these "defectives" suffer from hered- itary defects -- in other words, from defects which are passed on in the germ-plasm from generation to generat- tion. The "defective classes" are not really sundered by any natural line of demarcation from the rest of the population. They are merely terms used to denote those groups of persons who are so obviously afflicted that they can be classified as such. Besides these acute de- fectives, however, there are vast numbers of persons who show only slight taints, while still others reveal no out- ward trace whatever, yet carry the defect in their germ- plasm as a latent or "recessive" quality which may come out in their children, especially if they marry persons similarly tainted. Defectiveness (or, as it is frequently termed, "de- generacy") is thus seen to be a problem as complex and far-reaching as it is serious. Defective persons are more or less unfit for holding useful places in the social order and tend to sink into the social depths, where they form those pauper, vagabond, and criminal elements which are alike the burden and the menace of society. Few persons who have not studied the problem of degeneracy have any idea how serious it is. Let us consider these "de- fective classes." First of all, the feeble-minded. Feeble-mindedness is a condition characterized by such traits as dull intel- ligence, low moral sense, lack of self-control, shiftlessness, 94 improvidence, etc. It is highly hereditary, and unfor- tunately it is frequently associated with great physical strength and vitality, so that feeble-minded persons usually breed rapidly, with no regard for consequences. In former times the numbers of the feeble-minded were kept down by the stern processes of natural selection, but modem charity and philanthropy have protected them and have thus favored their rapid multiplication. The feeble-minded are becoming an increasingly serious problem in every civilized country to-day. The number of obviously feebleminded persons in the United States is estimated to be at least 300,000. During the last few decades, to be sure, many of the worst cases have been segregated in institutions, where they are of course kept from breeding; but even to-day the number of the segre- gated is only about 10 or 15 per cent of those who should clearly be under institutional care -- the balance, mean- while, causing endless trouble for both the present and future generations. The rapidity with which feeble-minded stocks spread, and the damage they do, are vividly illustrated by nu- merous scientific studies which have been compiled. Both in Europe and America these studies tell the same story: feebleminded individuals segregating in "clans," spread- ing like cancerous growths, disturbing the social life and infecting the blood of whole communities, and thriving on misguided efforts to "better their condition," by charity and other forms of "social service." (1) _______________________________________________________ (1) Summaries of several of the best-known of these studies may be found in Holmes, pp. 27-40; Popenoe and Johnson, pp. 159-161. 95 A typical case is that of the "Juke family," which was first investigated in the year 1877, and re-investi- gated in 1915. To quote from the original study: "From one lazy vagabond nicknamed 'Juke,' born in rural New York in 1720, whose two sons married five degen- erate sisters, six generations numbering about 1,200 per- sons of every grade of idleness, viciousness, lewdness, pauperism, disease, idiocy, insanity, and criminality were traced. Of the total seven generations, 300 died in infancy; 310 were professional paupers, kept in alms- houses a total of 2,300 years; 440 were physically wrecked by their own 'diseased wickedness'; more than half the woman fell into prostitution; 130 were convicted criminals; 60 were thieves; 7 were murderers; only 20 learned a trade, 10 of these in state prison, and all at a state cost of over $1,250,000."(1) By the year 1915, the clan had reached its ninth generation, and had greatly lengthened Its evil record. It then numbered 2,820 in- dividuals, half of whom were alive. About the year 1880 the Jukes had left their original home and had scattered widely over the country, but change of environment had made no material change in their natures, for they still showed "the same feeble-mindedness, indolence licentiousness, and dishonesty, even when not handi- capped by the associations of their bad family name and despite the fact of their being surrounded by better social conditions." (2) The cost to the state had now risen to about $2,500,000. As the investigator remarks, all this evil might have been averted by preventing the repro- ________________________________________________________ (1) Quoted by Popenoe and Johnson, p. 159. (2) Ibid., pp. 159-160 96 duction of the first Jukes. As it is, the Jukes problem is still with us in growing severity, for in 1915, "out of ap- proximately 600 living feeble-minded and epileptic Jukes, them are only three now in custodial care." (1) A striking illustration of how superiority and degen- eracy are alike rigidly determined by heredity is afforded by the "Kallikak Family," of New Jersey.(2) During the Revolutionary war, one Martin "Kallikak," a young soldier of good stock, had an illicit affair with a feeble minded servant-girl, by whom he had a son. Some years later, Martin married a woman of good family by whom he had several legitimate children. Now this is what happened: Martin's legitimate children by the woman of good stock all turned out well and founded one of the most distinguished families in New Jersey." In this family and its collateral branches we find nothing but good representative citizenship. There are doctors, law yers, judges, educators, traders, landholders, in short, respectable citizens, men and women prominent in every phase of social life. They have scattered over the United States and are prominent in their communities wherever they have gone. . . . There have been no feebleminded among them; no illegitimate children; no immoral women; only one man was sexually loose." (3) In sharp contrast to this branch of the family stand the descen- _______________________________________________________ (1) Ibid. (2) This is of course, not the real name of the family. It is a scientific nickname, compounded from the Greek words "good" and "bad" -- in short, "The Good-Bad Family," to characterize the strongly divergent character of its two branches. (3) Holmes, p.31. 97 dants of the feebleminded girl. Of those 480 have been traced. Their record is: 143 clearly feebleminded, 36 illegitimate, 33 grossly immoral (mostly prostitutes), 24 confirmed alcoholics, 3 epileptics, 82 died in infancy, 3 criminals, 8 kept houses of ill fame. Here are two family lines, with the same paternal ancestor, living on the same soil, in the same atmosphere, and under the same general environment; "yet the bar sinister has marked every generation of one and has been unknown in the other." (1) Melancholy genealogies like these might be cited al- most indefinitely. And, be it noted, they represent only direct and obvious damage. The indirect and less ob- vious damage done by feeblemindedness, though harder to trace, is far more wide-spread and is unquestionably even more serious, as we shall presently show. Before discussing this point, however, let us consider some of the other acutely defective classes. The insane, though differing in character from the feebleminded, present an even graver problem in many respects. Insanity is, of course, a term embracing all sorts of abnormal mental states, some of which are transient, while others, though incurable, are not in- heritable, and, therefore, have no racial significance. But many forms of insanity are clearly hereditary,(2) and the harm done by these unsound strains, spreading through the race and tainting sound stocks, is simply incalculable. __________________________________________________________ (1) Popenoe and Johnson, p. 160 (2) For a discussion of the forms of insanity, see Holmes, pp. 27-72; Popenoe and Johnson, pp. 157-160; 176-183. 98 Unlike feeblemindedness, insanity is often associated with very superior qualities,(1) which may render the af- fected individuals an acute menace to society. The feeble-minded never overturned a state. An essentially negative element, they may drag a civilization down toward sodden degeneracy, but they have not the wit to disrupt it. The insane, on the other hand, are apt to be intensely dynamic and to misuse their powers for de- structive ends. We shall presently see how many apostles of anarchic violence and furious discontent have been persons of ill-balanced mind. Such persons are, of course, rarely "insane" in the technical sense of being clearly "committable" to an asylum. They represent merely one aspect of that vast "outer fringe" of mental us- soundness which is scattered so widely through the gen- eral population. But even the acute "asylum cases" are lamentably numerous. In the United States, for example, the asylum population numbers over 200,000, and it is well known that besides those actually in insti- tutions there are multitudes of equally afflicted persons in private custody or even at large. Another class of pronounced defectives are the epi- leptics. Epilepsy is clearly hereditary, being probably ________________________________________________________ (1) An extraordinary idea used to he widely held that genius was a form of insanity. Careful scientific investigation has clearly disproved this notion. For one thing, elaborate statistical studies of eminent persons have shown them to be less liable to insanity than is the general population. Of course, a considerable number of eminent men can be listed who unquestionably suffered from various neuropathic traits. But it was not those traits that made then eminent; on the contrary, these were handicaps. Somewhere back in their ancestry a taint was introduced into a sound superior strain, and produced this disharmonic combination of qualities. 99 due, like feeble-mindedness and hereditary insanity, to some factor in the germ-plasm which causes abnormal development. Like insanity, it is often associated with superior mental qualities, but it is even more often asso- ciated with feeble-mindedness, and its victims tend to be dangerously antisocial, epilepsy being frequently con- nected with the worst crimes of violence. The spreading of epileptic strains among sound stocks is unquestionably disastrous, causing grave social dangers and lamentable racial losses. Besides these outstanding cases of degeneracy there are some other forms of defect which, though individually not so serious, represent in the aggregate a distinct bur- den to society and drain upon the race. Among these may be classed congenital deafness and blindness, some types of deformity, and certain crippling diseases like Huntington's chorea. All such defects, being hereditary, inflict repeated damage from generation to generation, and tend to spread into sound stocks. So ends our melancholy survey of the "defective classes." In every civilized country their aggregate num- bers are enormous, and, under present social conditions, they are rapidly increasing. In the United States, for example, the total number of the patently feebleminded, insane, and epileptic is estimated to be fully 1,000,000. And, as already stated, even this alarming total repre- sents merely those persons suffering from the more ex- treme forms of taints which extend broadcast through the general population. The extent of such contamina- tion is revealed by several estimates made independently 100 by competent investigators who all consider that over 30 per cent of the entire population of the United States carries some form of mental defect.(1) In great part, to be sure, defect is latent in the germ-plasm and does the bearers no harm. Yet the taints are there, and are apt to come out in their children, especially if they marry persons carrying a similar defect in their inheritance. And, even if we exclude from consideration all purely latent defects, the problem presented by those actually suffering from less acute forms of defect than those pre- viously described is one of almost incalculable gravity for both society and the race. There can be no question that inefficiency, stupidity, pauperism, crime, and other forms of antisocial conduct are largely (perhaps mainly) due to inborn degeneracy. The careful scientific inves- tigations conducted in many countries on paupers, tramps, criminals, prostitutes, chronic inebriates, drug fiends, etc., have all revealed a high percentage of mental defect.(2) When to these out-and-out social failures we add the numberless semi-failures, grading all the way from the "unemployable" casual laborer to the "erratic genius" wasting or perverting his talents, we begin to realize the truly terrible action of inherited degeneracy, working generation after generation, tainting and spoil- _______________________________________________________ (1) Such is the opinion of some of the members of the Eugenics Record Office, the leading American scientific investigation centre on these problems. The well-known psychiatrists Rosanoff and Orr believe that over 31 per cent of apparently normal people are carriers of neuropathic defect. (2) For summaries of several of these investigations, both American and European, see Popenoe and Johnson, pp. 157-160; 176-183; Holmes, pp. 73-97. 101 ing good stocks, imposing heavier social burdens, and threatening the future of civilization. For degeneracy does threaten civilization. The pres- ance of vast hordes of congenital inferiors -- incapable, unadaptable, discontented, and unruly -- menaces the social order with both dissolution and disruption. The biologist Humphrey well describes the perils of the situation. "So," he writes, "the army of the poorly endowed grows in every civilized land, by addition as new incompetency is revealed, and by its own rapid multi- plication; and to this level the human precipitate from every degenerative influence in civilization eventually settles. It is a menace already of huge proportions, but we succeed well in America in covering the extent and rapidity of its growth with soothing drafts of charity. And most of us rather like to remain blind to the increas- ing proportion of poor human material. Human interest centres upon vigor, strength, achievement. Its back is toward those who fail to achieve -- until, perhaps, their sheer force of numbers brings them into unpleasant view. "As one reviews the latter days of the Roman Empire and reads of the many devices in the way of public enter- tainments for amusing and controlling the hordes of the unsocial who had accumulated most grievously, the ques- tion arises: How soon will we arrive at the time when our unsocial masses shall have become unwieldy? One thing is certain: our more humanitarian methods are bringing the fateful day upon us at a more rapid rate. And our boasted Americanism is not a cure for mental incompetency. The police blotters of our cities will show 102 that the mobs which spring up from nowhere at the slight- est let-up in police control are mostly American-born, with scarcely an illiterate among them; yet they revert to the sway of their animal instincts quite as spon- taneously as benighted Russians. "It is folly to keep up the delusion that more democ- racy and more education will make over these all-born into good citizens. Democracy was never intended for degenerates, and a nation breeding freely of the sort that must continually be repressed is not headed toward an extension of democratic liberties. Rather, it is inevitable that class lines shall harden as a protection against the growing numbers of the underbred, just as in all previous cultures. However remote a cataclysm may be, our present racial trend is toward social chaos or a dictator- ship. "Meanwhile, we invite social turmoil by advancing muddled notions of equality. Democracy, as we loosely idealize it nowadays, is an overdrawn picture of earthly bliss; it stirs the little-brained to hope for an impossible levelling of human beings. The most we can honestly expect to achieve is a fair levelling of opportunity; but every step toward that end brings out more distinctly those basic inequalities of inheritance which no environ- mental effort can improve. So discontent is loudest in those least capable of grasping opportunity when it is offered." (1) In this connection we must never forget that it is the "high-grade" defectives who are most dangerous to ______________________________________________ (1) Humphrey, pp. 77-80 103 the social order. It is the "near-genius," the man with the fatal taint which perverts his talents, who oftenest rouses and leads the mob. The levelling social revolu- tionary doctrines of our own day, like Syndicalism, An- archism, and Bolshevism, superficially alluring yet basic- ally false and destructive, are essentially the product of unsound thinking -- by unsound brains. The sociologist Nordan ably analyzes the enormous harm done by such persons and doctrines, not only by rousing the degenerate elements, but also by leading astray vast numbers of average people, biologically normal enough yet with in- telligence not high enough to protect them against clever fallacies clothed in fervid emotional appeals. Says Nordau: "Besides the extreme forms of de- generacy there are milder forms, more or less inconspic- uous, not to be diagnosed at a first glance. These, however, are the most dangerous for the community, because their destructive influence only gradually makes itself felt; we are not on our guard against it; indeed, in many cases, we do not recognize it as the real cause of the evils it conjures up -- evils whose serious importance no one can doubt. "A mattoid or half-fool, who is full of organic feelings of dislike, generalizes his subjective state into a system of pessimism, of 'Weltschmertz' -- weariness of life. An- other, in whom a loveless egoism dominates all thought and feeling, so that the whole exterior world seems to him hostile, organizes his antisocial instincts into the theory of anarchism. A third, who suffers from moral insensibility, so that no bond of sympathy links him 104 with his fellow man or with any living thing, and who is obsessed by vanity amounting to megalomania, preaches a doctrine of the Superman, who is to know no consideration and no compassion, be bound by no moral principle, but 'live his own life' without regard for others. When these half-fools, as often happens, speak an excited language -- when their imagination, un- bridled by logic or understanding, supplies them with odd, startling fancies and surprising associations and images -- their writings make a strong impression on un- wary readers, and readily gain a decisive influence on thought in the cultivated circles of their time. "Of course, well-balanced persons are not thereby changed into practising disciples of these morbid cults. But the preachings of these mattoids are favorable to the development of similar dispositions in others; serve to polarize, in their own sense, tendencies of hitherto un- certain drift, and give thousands the courage openly, impudently, boastfully, to confess and act in accordance with convictions which, but for these theorists with their noise and the flash of their tinsel language, they would have felt to be absurd or infamous, which they would have concealed with shame; which in any case would have remained monsters known only to themselves and imprisoned in the lowest depths of their consciousness. "So, through the influence of the teachings of degen- erate half-fools, conditions arise which do not, like the cases of insanity and crime, admit of expression in figures, but can nevertheless in the end be defined through their political and social effects. We gradually observe a 105 general loosening of morality, a disappearance of logic from thought and action, a morbid irritability and vacil- lation of public opinion, a relaxation of character. Offenses are treated with a frivolous or sentimental in- dulgence which encourages rascals of all kinds. People lose the power of moral indignation, and accustom them- selves to despise it as something banal, unadvanced, inelegant, and unintelligent. Deeds that would formerly have disqualified a man forever from public life are no longer an obstacle in his career, so that suspicious and tainted personalities make it possible to rise to respon- sible positions, sometimes to the control of national busi- ness. Sound common sense becomes more rarely and less worthily appreciated, more and more meanly rated. Nobody is shocked by the most absurd proposals, mea- sures and fashions, and folly rules in legislation, adminis- tration, domestic and foreign politics. Every demagogue finds a following, every fool collects adherents, every event makes an impression beyond all measure, kindles ridiculous enthusiasm, spreads morbid consternation, leads to violent manifestations in one sense or the other and to official proceedings that are at least useless, often deplorable and dangerous. Everybody harps upon his 'rights' and rebels against every limitation of his arbi- trary desires by law or custom. Everybody tries to escape from the compulsion of discipline and to shake off the burden of duty." Such is the destructive action of degeneracy, spreading _________________________________________________________ (1) Max Nordau, "The Degeneration of Classes and Peoples," Hibbert Journal, July, 1912. 106 like a cancerous blight and threatening to corrode society to the very marrow of its being. Against these assaults of inferiority; against the cleverly led legions of the de- generate and the backward; where can civilization look for its champions? Where but in the slender ranks of the racially superior -- those "A" and "B" stocks which, in America for example, we know to-day constitute barely 13 1/2 per cent of the population? It is this "thin red line" of rich, untainted blood which stands between us and barbarism or chaos. Them alone lies our hope. Let us not deceive ourselves by prating about government," "education," "democracy": our laws, our constitutions, our very sacred books, are in the last analysis mere paper barriers, which will hold only so long as there stand be- hind them men and women with the intelligence to under stand and the character to maintain them. Yet this life-line of civilization is not only thin but is wearing thinner with a rapidity which appalls those fully aware of the facts. We have already stated that prob- ably never before in human history have social conditions been so destructive of racial values as to-day, because of both the elimination of superior stocks and the multi- plication of inferiors. One dangerous fallacy we must get out of our heads; the fallacy of judging human populations by what we see among wild varieties of plants and animals. Among these latter we observe a marked stability of type, and we are apt to conclude that, for man as for other life forms, "evolution is a slow process" in which a few gen- erations count for little, and therefore that we need not 107 worry overmuch about measures of race betterment be- cause we have "plenty of time." A perilous delusion, this! and a further indication of our unsound thinking and superficial knowledge of the laws of life. A trifle more intelligent reflection would show us the profound unlikeness of the two cases. Ani- mals and plants (where not "domesticated" by man) live in the "state of nature," where they are subjected to the practically unvarying action of "natural selec- tion." Their germ-plasm varies in quality just like hu- man germ-plasm (as skilful breeders like Luther Burbank have conclusively proved); but with them natural selec- tion eliminates all but a narrow range of characteristics which keeps the breed at a fixed level; whereas civilized man, living largely under self-made conditions, replaces natural selection by various social selections which pro- duce the most profound -- and rapid modifications. There is a point which we must keep in mind: the rapidity with which the qualities of a species can be altered by a change in the character of biological selec- tion. It is literally amazing to observe how mankind has for ages been wasting its best efforts in the vain attempt to change existing individuals, instead of changing the race by determining which existing individuals should, and should not, produce the next generation. Of course, racial change by means of social selection have not waited for man to discover them; they have been going on from time immemorial. The trouble is that, instead of lifting humanity to the heights, as they might have done if intelligently directed, they have been 108 working haphazard and have usually wrought decadence and ruin. The startling rapidity with which a particular stock may be either bred into, or out of, a given population can be accurately determined by discovering its rate of increase compared to that of the rest of the population. And the ultimate factor in this rate of increase is what is known as the "differential birth-rate." It has long been known that populations breeding freely tend to in- crease extremely fast. But what is true of a population as a whole applies equally to any of its constituent ele- ments. Thus, in any given population, those elements which reproduce themselves the fastest will dominate the average character of the nation--and will do so at an increasing rate. Let us take a rather moderate ex- ample of a differential birth-rate to show how differences barely noticeable from year to year may in a few genera- tions entirely transform the racial scene. Take two stocks each consisting of 1,000 individuals, the one just failing to reproduce itself while the other increases at, say, the rate of the general English population -- by no means an extreme level of fecundity. At the end of a year the first stock will have become 996, at the end of a century it will have declined to 687, while after two centuries it will number only 472. On the other hand, the second stock will after a year number 1,013, in a century 3,600, and in two centuries about 13,000. In other words, at the end of a hundred years (from three to four genera- tions) the more prolific stock would outnumber the less prolific by 6 to 1, and in two centuries by 3 to 1. As- 109 suming that the decreasing stock possessed marked abil- ity while the prolific stock was mediocre or inferior, the impoverishment of the race and the setback to civiliza- tion can be estimated. Now the example above offered has been purposely simplified by combining other factors like differential death and marriage rates which should be separately considered in estimating the relative rates of increase between different groups or stocks. But it does give a fairly accurate idea of the present average difference in net fecundity between the very superior and the mediocre elements in the leading nations of the civilized world, while it greatly understates the fecundity of the distinctly inferior elements. The alarming truth is that in almost all civilized countries the birth-rate of the superior ele- ments has been declining rapidly for the past half cen- tury, until to-day, despite a greatly lowered death-rate, they are either stationary or actually decreasing in num- bers; whereas the other elements are increasing at rates proportionate to their mediocrity and inferiority. These facts have been conclusively proved by a multitude of scientific researches conducted throughout Europe and in the United States. (1) We can accurately determine the point at which a group should just reproduce itself by discovering its death and marriage rates end then estimating the average number of children that should be born to those persons ______________________________________________ (1) For many of these researches, including reproductions of statistical tables and other data, see Holmes, pp. 118-180, 231-234; Whetham, pp. 59-73; McDougall, pp. 154-168. 110 who marry. Taking the civilized world as a whole, it has been found that about four children should be born per marriage if a stock is to reproduce itself. In a few countries like Australia and New Zealand, and in certain high-grade groups, where the death-rates are very low, an average of three children per marriage may be enough to reproduce the stock, but that seems to be about the absolute minimum of fecundity which will ever suffice. Now bearing in mind these reproductive minima, what do we actually find? We find that in Europe (excluding the more backward countries) the superior elements of the population average from two to four children per marriage; that the mediocre elements average from four to six children per marriage, that the inferior elements, considered as a whole, average from six to seven and one- half children per marriage; while the most inferior ele- ments like casual laborers, paupers, and feeble-minded defectives, considered separately, average about seven to eight children (illegitimate births of course included). The differential birth-rates in the different quarters of the great European cities are typical. Some years before the late war, the French sociologist Bertillon found that in Paris and Berlin the births in the slum quarters were more than three times as numerous as the births in the best residential sections, while in London and Vienna they were about two and one-half times as numerous. In the United States conditions are no better than in Europe -- in some respects they seem to be rather worse. Outside of the South and parts of the West the old native American stock is not reproducing itself, the birth-rates 111 of immigrant stocks from northern and western Europe are rapidly falling, while the birth-rates among the im- migrant stocks from southern and eastern Europe remain high and show comparatively slight diminution. The American intellectual groups are much less fertile than similar European groups. The average number of chil- dren per married graduate of the leading American col- leges like Harvard and Yale Is about two, while among the leading women's colleges it is about one and one-half. Furthermore, the marriage-rates of college men and women are so low that, considering married and single graduates together, the statistical average is about one and one-half children per college man and something less than three-fourths of a child per college woman. Pro- fessor Cattell has investigated the size of families of 440 American men of science, choosing only those cases in which the ages of the parents indicated that the family was completed. Despite a very low death-rate, the birth- rite was so much lower that, as he himself remarks, "it is obvious that the families are not self-perpetuating. The scientific men under fifty, of whom there are 261 with completed families, have on the average 1.88 chil- dren, about 12 per cent of whom die before the age of marriage. What proportion will marry we do not know; but only about 75 per cent of Harvard and Yale graduates marry; only 50 per cent of the graduates of colleges for women marry. A scientific man has on the average about seven-tenths of an adult son. If three-fourths of his sons and grandsons marry, and their families continue to be of the aame size, 1,000 scientific men will leave about 112 350 grandsons to marry and transmit their names and their hereditary traits. The extermination will be still more rapid in female lines." In sharp contrast to these figures, note the high birth- rates in the tenement districts of America's great cities. In New York, for example, the birth-rate on the East Side is over four times the birth-rate in the smart residential districts. Commenting on similar conditions in Pittsburg, where the birth-rate in the poorest ward is three times that of the best residential ward, Messrs. Popenoe and Johnson remark: "The significance of such figures in natural selection must be evident. Pittsburgh, like probably all large cities in civilized countries, breeds from the bottom. The lower a class is in the scale of in- telligence, the greater is its reproductive contribution. Recalling that intelligence is inherited, that like begets like in this respect, one can hardly feel encouraged over the quality of the population of Pittsburgh a few genera- tions hence." (1) Furthermore, it must not be forgotten that such dif- ferential birth-rates imply for America problems more complex even than those in Europe; because, whereas in Europe they involve mainly shifts in group-intelligence, in America they mean also changes of race with all that that implies in modifications of fundamental national temperaments, ideals, and institutions. And that is precisely what is taking place in many parts of America to-day. New England, for example, once the prolific nursery of the ambitious, intelligent "Yankee stock," ______________________________________________ (1) Popenoe and Johnson, p. 139. 113 which trekked forth in millions to settle the West, is fast ceasing to be Anglo-Saxon country. In Massachusetts the birth-rate of foreign-born women is two and one-half times as high as the birth-rate among the native-born; in New Hampshire two times; in Rhode Island one and one-half times -- the most prolific of the alien stocks being Poles, Polish and Russian Jews, South Italians, and French-Canadians. What this may mean after a few generations is indicated by a calculation made by the biologist Davenport, who stated that, at present rates of reproduction, 1000 Harvard graduates of to-day would have only fifty descendants two centuries hence, whereas 1,000 Rumanians to-day in Boston, at their present rate of breeding, would have 100,000 descendants in the same space of time. To return to the more general aspect of the problem, it is clear that both in Europe and America the quality of the population is deteriorating, the more intelligent and talented strains being relatively or absolutely on the decline. Now this can mean nothing less than a deadly menace both to civilization and the race. Let us consider how the psychological experts who formulated the Amer- ican army intelligence tests characterized the upper in- telligence grades. "A" men were described as possessed of "the ability to make a superior record in college"; "B" men "capable of making an average record in col- lege"; "C" men "rarely capable of finishing a high- school course," and, on the basis of the army ratings, nearly 75 per cent of the whole population of the United States is to-day below the C+ level! 114 Since the American population (with the exception of its south and east European immigrant stocks and its negroes) probably average about as high in intelligence as do the north European peoples, it is not difficult to foresee that if intelligence continues to be bred out of the race at its present rate, civilization will either slump or crash from sheer lack of brains. The fatal effects of a brain famine are well described by Professor McDougall in the following lines: "The civilization of America depends on your con- tinuing to produce A and B men in fair numbers. And at present the A men are 4 per cent, the B men 8 per cent, and you are breeding from the lower part of the curve. The A men and B men, the college-bred, do not maintain their numbers, while the population swells enormously. If this goes on for a few generations, will not the A men, and even the B men, become rare as white elephants, dropping to a mere fraction of 1 per cent? It is only too probable. "The present tendency seems to be for the whole carve to shift toward the wrong end with each successive gen- eration. And this is probably true of moral qualities, as well as intellectual stature. If the time should come when your A and B men together are no more than 1 per cent, or a mere fraction of 1 per cent, of the popula- tion what will become of your civilization? "Let me state the ease more concretely, in relation to one of the great essential professions of which I have some inside knowledge; namely, the medical profession. Two hundred or one hundred years ago, the knowledge 115 to be acquired by the medical student, before entering upon the practice of his profession, was a comparatively small body of empirical rules. The advance of civiliza- tion has enormously multiplied this knowledge, and the very existence of our civilized communities depends upon the continued and effective application of this vast body of medical art and science. The acquiring and the ju- dicious application of this mass of knowledge makes very much greater demands upon the would-be practitioner than did the mastery of the body of rules of our fore- fathers. Accordingly the length of the curriculum pre- scribed for our medical students has constantly to be drawn out, till now its duration is some six years of post- graduate study. "The students who enter upon this long and severe course of study are already a selected body; they have passed through high school and college successfully. We may fairly assume that the great majority of them be- long to the A or B or at least the C+ group in the army scale of intelligence. "What proportion of them, do you suppose, prove capable of assimilating the vast body of medical knowl- edge to the point that renders them capable of applying it intelligently and effectively? If I may venture to generalize from my own experience, I would say that a very considerable proportion, even of those who pass their examinations, fail to achieve such effective assimi- lation. The bulk of modern medical knowledge is too vast for their capacity of assimilation, its complexity too great for their power of understanding. Yet medical 116 science continues to grow in bulk and complexity, and the dependence of the community upon it becomes ever more intimate. "In this one profession, then, which makes such great and increasing demands on both the intellectual and the moral qualities of its members, the demand for A and B men steadily increases; and the supply in all prob- ability is steadily diminishing with each generation. "And what is taking place in this one profession is, it would seem, taking place in all the great professions and higher callings. Our civilization, by reason of its increasing complexity, is making constantly increasing demands upon the qualities of its bearers; the qualities of those bearers are diminishing or deteriorating, rather than improving." (1) The larger aspects of the problem are ably stated by Whetham, who writes: "When we come to consider the birth-rate as at present affecting our social structure, we find that it is highest in those sections of the community which, like the feebleminded and the insane, are devoid of intelligent personality, or, like many of the unemployed and casual laborers, seem to be either without ideals or without any method of expressing them. In all the social groups which have hitherto been distinguished for co- herence, for industry, for good mental and physical ca- pacity, for power of organization and administration, the birth-rate has fallen below the figures necessary to main- tain the national store of these qualities. Great men are scarce; the group personality is becoming indistinct and ________________________________________________________ (1) McDougall, pp. 163-168. 117 the personality of the race, by which success was attained in the past, is therefore on the wane, while the force of chaos are once more being manufactured in our midst ready to break loose and destroy civilization when the higher types are no longer sufficient in numbers and ef- fectiveness to guide, control or subdue them." (1) The unprecedented rapidity of our racial impoverish- ment seems due, as already stated, to many causes, some old and others new. We have seen that the stressful complexity of high civilizations has always tended to eliminate superior stocks by diverting their energy from racial ends to individual or social ends, the effects show- ing in an increase of celibacy, late marriage, and few children. Most of the phenomena underlying these racially destructive phenomena can be grouped under two heads: the high cost of living and the cost of high living. Behind those two general phrases stand a multi- tude of special factors, such as rising prices, higher stand- ards, desire for luxury, social emulation, inefficient gov- ernment, high taxation, and (last but not least) the pres- sure of ever-multiplying masses of low-grade, incompetent humanity, acting like sand in the social gears and con- suming an ever-larger portion of the national wealth and energy for their charitable relief, doctoring, educat- ing, policing, etc. Now all these varied factors, whatever their nature, have this in common: they tend to make children more and more of a burden for the superior individual, however necessary such children may be for civilization and the ______________________________________________ (1) Whetham, p. 72. 118 race. The fact is that, under present conditions, com- paratively few people of the right sort can afford to raise large families of well-born, well-cared-for, and well-edu- cated children. This is the basic reason for that sharp drop in the birth-rates of the upper and middle classes of all civilized lands which has occurred during the past half century. Of course, the drop has been hastened by the simultaneous discovery of various methods for pre- venting conception which are collectively termed "birth- control." However, it was not so much the new methods as the insistent economic and social pressure to employ them which accounts for the rapidity in the fecundal decline. Under the conditions of modern life a pro- nounced decline in the birth-rate was inevitable. To cite only one of several reasons, the progress of medical science had greatly reduced the death-rate and had thus made possible an enormous net increase of population. To have maintained an unchecked birth-rate would have meant for the Western nations congested masses of hu- manity like those of Asia, dwelling on a low level of poverty. To escape this fate, the more intelligent and farsighted elements in every civilized land began quickly to avail themselves of the new contraceptive methods and to limit the size of their families in this manner. That raised a great public outcry (largely on religious grounds), and in most countries (1) the imparting of contraceptive knowl- ___________________________________________________________ (1) In a few enlightened communities, notably Australia, Holland, and New Zealand, contraceptive methods were welcomed and birth-control knowledge is freely imparted to all classes. The social and racial results have been excellent, particularly in minimizing differential birth-rates and thus averting sudden group shifts in the population. 119 edge was legally prohibited. Such action was extremely stupid -- and very disastrous. To farsighted communi- ties it should have been evident that with the appearance of new social factors like lowered death-rates, higher liv- ing costs, and rising standards, a lower birth-rate was simply inevitable; that civilized peoples could not, and would not, go on breeding like animals, as they had done in the old days of cheap living and low standards, when a high birth-rate was offset by the unchecked ravages of death. But, a reduced birth-rate being inevitable, the only questions which remained were: How, and by whom, should it be reduced? Should it be by the traditional methods of celibacy (tempered by illicit sex-relations and prostitution), deferred marriage, infanticide, and abor- tion; (1) or should it be by the new contraceptive methods? Again: Should all sections of the population lower their birth-rates, or should only the more intelligent classes? Unfortunately for the race, it was the latter alternative which prevailed. Instead of spreading contraceptive knowledge among the masses and thus mitigating as far as possible the evils of a racially destructive differen- tial birth-rate, society succeeded in keeping the masses in ignorance and high fecundity, whereas it emphatically did not succeed in keeping contraceptive knowledge from the more intelligent, who increasingly practised birth- _______________________________________________________ (1) Abortion must be carefully distinguished from prevention of conception. Methods of preventing conception are recent discoveries; abortion has been practised since very ancient times. Some of the most primitive surviving peoples, like the Australian blacks and the South African bushmen, are highly skilled in procuring abortions. 120 control -- and diminished their contributions to the popu- lation. Here, then, was a great potential instrument of race betterment perverted into an agent of race decadence. With blind insistence upon mere numbers and an utter disregard of quality, society deliberately fettered the in- ferior elements at the expense of the superiors. The re- sults are such as we have already examined in our study of the differential birthrates of to-day. So ends our survey of the general factors of race im- poverishment. Before closing, however, we must note one special factor of the most melancholy significance -- the Great War. The Great War was unquestionably the most appalling catastrophe that ever befell mankind. The racial losses were certainly as grave as the material losses. Not only did the war itself destroy immeasurable racial values, but its aftermath is proving only slightly less unfavorable to the race. Bad social conditions and the frightfully high cost of living continue to depress the birth-rates of all save the most reckless and improvident elements, whose increase is a curse rather than a blessing. To consider only one of the many causes that to-day keep down the birth-rate of the superior elements of the population, take the crushing burden of taxation through- out Europe, which hits especially the increase of the upper and middle classes. The London Saturday Review ex- plained this very clearly when it wrote editorially: "From a man with £2,000 a year the tax-gatherer takes £600. The remaining £1,400, owing to the decreased value of money, has a purchasing power about equal to £700 a 121 year before the war. No young man will, therefore, think of marrying on less than £2,000 a year. We are thinking of the young man in the upper and middle classes. The man who starts with nothing does not, as a rule, arrive at £2,000 a year until he is past the marrying age. So the continuance of the species will be carried on almost exclusively by the class of manual workers of a low aver- age caliber of brain." In similar vein the London Times describes in the fol- lowing words what it terms "The Death of the Middle Classes": "The fact is, that with the present cost of living, the present taxation, the present price of houses, a 'family,' as that term used to be understood, is impos- sible. It means, not discomfort, but privation, with con- sequent deterioration of health. It is, therefore, far better to bring up one healthy child and afford it a reasonable education than to attempt to bring up three children on insufficient food and without the hope of being able to afford them a training for their life's work. But the mis- chief does not stop there by any means. It is common knowledge that marriages, especially middle-class mar- rages being postponed at present on account of hous- ing and food difficulties, and there can be no doubt that many men are avoiding marriage altogether because of the severe financial strain which it imposes. The world is in a gay mood; the attractions of domestic life on a salary barely enough for two are not conspicuous. As a bachelor, a man may indulge his tastes, preserve his free- dom of action, and can afford to amuse himself with his friends. He shrinks from the alternative of stern hard 122 work, frugal living, a minimum of pleasure, and a maxi- mum of anxiety." Although the war did not hit America as hard as it did Europe, its racially evil effects are evident here also. A recent editorial of the New York Times well describes not merely some of the effects of war, but likewise some of the results of that short-sighted philanthropy which penalizes the thrifty and the self-respecting elements to coddle the charity-seeking and the improvident. Says this editorial; "Health Commissioner Copeland's state- ment that the birth-rate of native Americans is declining in comparison with that of the foreign element in our population contains nothing new, except it be his remark that the decline has been accelerated by the war. That such a result was inevitable has long been evident. A vast preponderance of the foreign element are wage- earners, whose incomes rose doggedly, step by step, with the cost of living. Natives of native parentage are pre- ponderantly brain workers, whose salaries remained much what they had been. The result was a sharp lowering of their standard of living, which could only have checked their already low birth-rate. During the war the Com- missioner of Charities, Bird S. Coler, reported that, for the first time in the history of his commission, educated people who had hitherto been self-sustaining and self- respecting members of the middle class brought him their children, saying that they could no longer provide food and clothing. "Doctor Copeland's statistics of infant mortality tell a similar story. Among infants of native-born mothers 123 the rate is 90 per 1,000 -- as against 79 for French mothers, 75 for Bohemian, 69 for Austro-Hungarian, 64 for Rus- sian, 58 for Swedish, and 43 for Scotch. This difference Doctor Copeland attributes to the fact that American mothers are less inclined to make use of the Baby Health Stations which are conducted by his department. For- eign-born mothers are 'accustomed to depend on these and other governmental agencies.' It is only under the bitterest compulsion, such as led middle-class parents to bring their children to the Commissioner of Charities, that Americans apply for public aid in their family life. Meantime, these people of native birth pay largely in taxes for the many 'governmental agencies' that aid the immigrant laborer and his family. During the war Henry Fairfield Osborn protested against this inequity on the ground that it was making life impossible for the edu- cated American, whose home is the stronghold of our national traditions. "How serious the situation has become is evident in the statistics of our population. In 1910, there were in New York 921,318 native Americans of native parentage. Of natives of foreign or mixed parentage there were 1,820,141, and of the foreign-born 1,927,703 -- a total of 3,747,844, as against the 921,318 natives of native parent- age. Complete figures for 1920 are not yet available, but Doctor Copeland is authority for the statement that the proportion of those whose traditions are of foreign origin is rapidly increasing. His statement ends with an exhor- tation against birth-control, the spirit of which is ad- mirable though its logic is not clear. What he has in 124 mind, evidently, is not birth-control but birth-release among Americans of the older immigrations. That, as he apparently believes, is a merely moral matter, but his own statement shows that it has a deeper basis in modern economic conditions. These were doubtless emphasized by the war, but they had been operating for many dec- ades before it and continue to exercise their influence with increasing force." That is precisely it. The war, terrible as it was, merely hastened a racial impoverishment which had been long at work; wore somewhat thinner the life-line of civiliza- tion which was already wearing thin, and spurred to fiercer energy those waxing powers of barbarism and chaos which we shall now directly consider.
Back to Patrick Henry On-Line or
Table of Contents?