Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/415

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PSM V71 D415 Distribution of criminals in family.png

Fig. 6, c.

picture of racial dangers. Those dangers are not wholly recent, if they are increasing in intensity; they are not peculiar to England, as a brief acquaintance with French and German conditions will suffice to show. Nay, even in the new world men are awaking to the peril which high civilizations risk from their treatment of degenerates. What we leave to private effort, the establishment of a eugenics laboratory, they propose in the United States to do by a government office. The American proposal to establish a laboratory in the Department of the Interior for the study of the abnormal classes and the collection of sociological and pathological data, has only one, but that a grave defect. No eugenics laboratory which confines its attention to the study of the abnormal can fulfil its functions. The positive side is as important as the negative side, and the application of the laws of inheritance to the betterment of the good is as vital as and far more likely to inspire us with hope of achievement than concentrating our investigations on the excision of the bad.

If we realize the antinomy which eugenics brings to our notice between high civilization and racial purgation, we ask: How can the dominant fertility of the fitter social stocks be maintained when natural selection has been suspended? I do not think any wise man would be prepared with a full answer to this question to-day. There is no sovereign remedy for degeneracy. Every method is curative which tends to decrease the fertility of the unfit and to emphasize that of the fit.