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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/487

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481
RELATION OF EUGENICS TO EUTHENICS

again the statistics have shown that this factor alone is not sufficient as a corrective. Is not this a fertile field for eugenic research? And may the eugenist not hope to offer suggestions of value? It may be some time before we can hope to do much directly to stimulate the birth rate among the better classes, but is it not time steps were taken to check it among the worse?

Economic conditions must be held in considerable part responsible for the decreasing birth rate of the professional and artisan classes. The long period of preparation necessary for a profession and the average comparatively low return, the congestion and complex social relations of our cities, the employment of only unmarried and unencumbered persons in certain positions, such as that of women teachers in many of our schools, the increasing activity of women in affairs which necessitate their continued attention and often take them much from home, laws like the Employers Liability Act, which have "led to discrimination against married persons by large employers of labor with a premium thus put upon non-marriage," and even child labor legislation—these and many other factors of our complicated social conditions have had their effect on the birth rate. It is not my purpose at this time to discuss how this trend of affairs may be arrested or changed. It might perhaps even be argued that upon biological analogy, as the race becomes more specialized and its adaptations more complex, a lower birth rate, accompanied by greater care and preparation given to the offspring, may be a necessity. However this may be, it will be an impossibility if this part of the race allows itself to become swamped in the grim struggle for existence which is ruthlessly going on despite the efforts of many well-intentioned people to stop its progress.

While our survey of the eugenics field has of necessity been very incomplete, I trust I have succeeded in presenting an idea of its diversity and richness. And now let us return for a moment to consider again our relations to our euthenist neighbor. We have seen that we can not expect from the betterment of the environment alone the Utopia often figured in his prospectus. Must we then, as some maintain, abandon all efforts in that line and let "nature" take its course without euthenic interference? It seems to me rather, that with enlightened direction the two methods may work in harmony; with intelligent cooperation the two fields may be tilled for a common crop and to mutual advantage, and we may live at peace. For environment is the lodestone which distinguishes the pure metal from the dross; it is the sieve which, properly used, will enable us to winnow the chaff and the weed seed from the grain. What we as eugenists wish to make plain is that after the bad has been separated from the good they shall not be mixed together again in the sowing, for verily what ye sow, that shall ye reap.