Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/283

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tion, and elements of it get into men even if, as a masculine trait, we try to suppress it. If drunkenness eliminated all the round-faced men it would not make the race immune. Alcohol does not, to any extent, eliminate women, and the round-faced type married to long-faced men would continue to breed round-faced men. We could thus have one fourth of the men of each generation die from alcohol, and still have no immunity arise to protect the race.

In contrast to this, a disease like tuberculosis mainly affects the long-faced type. Instead of letting elimination operate against them, it would seem more fitting to put them in upland regions and dry climates where they would not suffer from this disease. Better housing, food, clothing, recreation or amusements may guard against an inherited defect and give a useful life to those who, a generation ago, would have been exterminated by disease. The humanitarian and philanthropist may have been wrong in their remedies, but every discovery in science or medicine proves the soundness of their general view and puts them into a position to be of aid to the uplift of mankind. We can not, as yet, spare either the long-faced or the round-faced types. While this is true, elimination that acts on types and not on single traits must be a bungling means of social progress hurting more than it helps. When men are relocated, eat what they should and live as hygiene demands, our social traits can be reconstructed to meet the demands of a higher civilization. Disease, poverty, vice and inequality can be eliminated. Why leave the tried paths of progress for methods that might work among tigers and wolves, but which humanity has outgrown?

The gist of my argument may be put in a single question. Are we to eliminate men because of the lack of single traits, or should social elimination be the weeding out of bad types? Let me illustrate by a bit of personal experience. I recently went to an oculist, who found that I could read letters so distant that he had to use an opera glass to find that I was right. On the other hand, I had bad muscular adjustment. I combined the best eyesight with the worst muscular adjustment that in each case his practise had yielded. I would, therefore, ask, am I to be eliminated because of bad muscular adjustment, or perpetuated because of my good eyesight? Is, also, Carlyle to be eliminated because he suffers from "eye strain," or to be preserved because of his literary expression? Is John Stuart Mill to be eliminated because of tubercular tendencies, or encouraged because of his logical powers? My answer to these questions is that single defects should be remedied by action on the individual even if this remedy, say eye-glasses, must be applied to succeeding generations. It is only where we have a combination of many inherited characters in one family or group, thus forming an undesirable type, that elimination becomes a necessity. Every innate character is good; it becomes bad only in undesirable combinations or unfavorable situation