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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/524

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

training. Each community is but a microcosm of the whole human race, which, as I have endeavored to show, is bound by the same laws as the rest of the animal kingdom. One race becomes a master because of its superior physique, courage, brain power and morale; another sinks in the struggle or lags behind owing to its inferiority in the very qualities which have given the mastery to its rival. What is true of master races in relation to inferior races is equally true of the individuals in each community. The middle and upper classes are in the main sprung from ancestors with better physique, courage and morale, and who have generation after generation been brought up in a better moral atmosphere than the children of the masses. Their ranks are also continually being reinforced by the best of the working classes. But this is not due to any educational ladder provided in modern times, for the process has always been at work, though of course its action has been distinctly aided by modern legislation. Medieval history supplies many examples of those who, though sprung from the humblest parents, rose to high place in church and state. This was not due to any legislative enactments, but rather to a principle well known in the whole field of nature. Every one knows that the superior varieties of flowers and vegetables are commonly the "sports," as they are termed, from inferior species. The skillful gardener watches carefully for good "sports," for they may become very valuable additions to his répertoire of useful plants. So, too, the legislator must watch carefully for good human "sports," not for those with criminal propensities. In the medieval world the church provided a ladder by which the son of the peasant could rise to be the counsellor of kings and princes. In modern times the state provides an educational ladder by which the child of the humblest parents may rise, if it has the capacity, to the highest positions in the community. It is right—nay, essential—that such a ladder should be provided, but this ladder is not for the mass of children. The vast majority can never climb beyond its lowest rung, owing to their heredity, and in a less degree to their home environment. The ladder is for the good "sports," who by its aid are thus continually reinforcing with fresh blood the ranks of the middle and upper classes. It may be said that I underrate the number of the good "sports." Of course it is very difficult to get any exact statistics on so complex a subject; but according to information which I have obtained from one of our great industrial centers, where the educational ladder enables any child who passes the fourth standard in the primary schools before it is eleven to rise into the secondary schools, it is probable that no more than 5 or 6 per cent, of the children of the working classes have at the age of sixteen the same amount of brain power as the average children of the middle classes at the same age. But even all this 5 or 6 per cent, of "sports" can not be credited to parents of the working class