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- Problems of Conduct - 68/68 -


to those instinctive affinities and preferences which will in any case continue to be the deciding causes for the strong and educated and well-to-do to beget and rear children; the tendency to "race-suicide" among the upper classes is a matter for serious alarm. That portion of the population that is least able to give proper nurture to children, and to train them up to American ideals, is producing them in overwhelmingly greatest numbers. The older stocks in this country are dying out and being replaced by the large families of the east and south European immigrants. In England also, we are told, one sixth of the population, and this the least desirable sixth, is producing half of the coming generation. In 1790 the American family averaged 5.8 persons; in 1900 the average was 4.6. Among native Americans the average is lower still. College graduates are failing to reproduce their own numbers. Everywhere the Western peoples are breeding more and more slowly, while the Orientals, Negroes, and, in general, the less civilized peoples, are multiplying rapidly. Unless the upper classes in western Europe and America cease their selfish refusal to rear citizens, the earth will be inherited by the more backward peoples. This means, plainly, a perpetual clog upon progress. We may now ask what the State should demand in the interests of race- improvement.

(1) Health certificates may be required from both parties at marriage i.e., marriage may be prohibited without a guarantee from a licensed physician of freedom from communicable or inheritable disease, or inheritable defects. This seems the minimum of protection due the contracting parties themselves, as well as due the next generation.

(2) Marriage restrictions are easily evaded, however; unscrupulous physicians can usually be found to sign certificates. And where marriage is prohibited, illegitimacy is sure to flourish. Hence the segregation (with proper care) of those obviously unfit to become parents seems necessary. Great as would be the initial expense, the rapid reduction in the number of idiots, epileptics, etc, would in a generation or two counterbalance it and greatly diminish the problem. It is estimated that there are some three hundred thousand feeble- minded persons in the United States, only twenty thousand of whom are segregated in institutions, the rest being free to propagate-which they do with notorious rapidity. Most of them can be made self-supporting; and real as the hardship to some of them may be in confining them from sex relations, the sacrifice seems demanded by the welfare of coming generations.

(3) An alternative to segregation (for inheritable, but not for communicable, diseases) is sterilization. The operation when performed on adults seems to have no effects upon character or the enjoyment of life, not even interfering with ordinary sex gratification. It is not painful, and perfectly harmless, to man; for women there is a risk, which is said, however, to be slight.[Footnote: Cf. Dr. E. C. Jones, in Woman's Medical Journal, December, 1912.] Sterilization permits the unfit to be entirely at liberty, to marry, if they can find mates, and to have all the pleasures of life except that of parenthood. A number of the American States have passed laws permitting the compulsory sterilization of certain very restricted classes of people undesirable as parents, at the discretion of the proper authorities; and this seems, on the whole, at least in the case of men, the best solution.

(4) Of an entirely different nature is the movement to secure state support for mothers; a movement, however, which is also eugenic in its intent. At present those parents who are zealous to maintain a high standard of living, those with talents which they are ambitious to develop, and those who realize keenly the care and expense that children need, are deterred from having many, or any; while the shiftless and happy-go-lucky propagate without scruple. There is, for all except the rich, a premium on childlessness, which the natural desire for parenthood cannot wholly discount. But this ought not to be so. Childbearing and rearing is a very necessary and arduous vocation, in which all the best women should be enlisted. In a socialistic regime the State would as a matter of course pay for this work as well as for all other productive work. But state endowment of motherhood, the payment of "maternity benefits," may be practiced apart from industrial socialism. It may be objected that the removal of economic pressure would bring an undue increase in population and the evils that Malthus feared. But the tendency of advancing civilization seems to be so strikingly toward a declining birth-rate-a phenomenon unrecognized in this country because of the tide of immigration, but apparent in western Europe-that the net outcome may be attained of a stationary population. Moreover, the scheme in question would not only tend to increase the number of children born to the prudent among the middle classes, it would enable mothers and prospective mothers to save themselves from that overwork which enfeebles so many children today; it would insure them the means to care properly for the children. State inspectors would visit homes and examine the children of state supported mothers; the amount granted might vary in proportion to the care apparently given to the children, their cleanliness, health, progress in education, the clothing, food, air, and space provided for them; if the nurture of a child was judged too inadequate, it might, after warning, be removed to an institution and the parents punished.[Footnote: See, besides the books referred to later, H. G. Wells, "The Endowment of Motherhood" (in Social Forces in England and America); or, New Worlds for Old, chap. III. F. W. Taussig, Principles of Economics, chap. 65, sec. 1. Survey, vols. 29 and 30, many articles.] recruiting of coming generations from the diseased and feeble-minded, to prevent the handicapping of poor children through the overwork and poverty of their parents, and gradually to raise the level of inherited human nature. When coupled with improved environment and with universal and rational education, it will surely mean the existence of a happier race of men-which should be the ultimate goal of all human endeavor. What are the gravest moral dangers of our times? In conclusion, we may venture a judgment as to which, out of the many evils we have noted in contemporary life, are most serious, and where our moral energies should most earnestly be directed.

The most prominent of prevalent vices are certainly sex incontinence and the use of alcohol; the lure of wine and the lure of women have from time immemorial been man's undoing. Alcohol is being vigorously fought, and is probably doomed to general prohibition, together with opium and morphine and the other narcotics. The sex dangers are not to be so easily overcome, and we are probably in for an increase of license and its inevitable evils. There will be need for every farsighted and earnest man and woman to stand firm, in spite of enticing promises of liberty, for the great ideal of faithful marriage that makes in the end for man's deepest happiness.

The most prominent sins of today are, selfish moneymaking, selfish money spending, selfish idleness; the chief sinners we may label pirates, prodigals, parasites. By pirates are meant the dishonest dealers, the grafters, the vice caterers, the unscrupulous competitors, the pilers-up of exorbitant profits at the expense of employees and public; by prodigals, the spendthrift rich, the wasters of wealth, those who lavish in luxury or ostentation money that is sorely needed by others; by parasites, the idle rich, the lazy poor, the tramps, all who take, but do not give a return of honest work. There are also the jingoes, the preachers of lawlessness, the demagogues, and many less common types of sinners. But the particularly flagrant wrongs of our day have to do with the getting and spending of money; and the peril of the near future which looms now most menacingly on the horizon is the irritation of the wronged classes to the point of civil warfare and revolution. Such a calamity might, of course, be ultimately a means of great social advance; but it is a highly dangerous and uncertain method, involving great moral damage as well as great individual suffering, and to be averted by every possible means. The hope for averting it lies not only in the growth of public condemnation of lawlessness, but in the substitution of an ideal of service for the ideal of personal gain, and in the growing willingness of the community to check by progressive legislative measures the various means which resourceful men have discovered for advantaging themselves at the expense of society. Necessary initial steps are the securing of international peace and the construction of an efficient political system. When these ends have been attained and a just industrial order evolved, the citizens of the future will take pride in using the powers of the State to bring the greatest possible health and happiness to all.

Our forefathers had great wrongs to right-political tyranny to overthrow, human slavery to eradicate, civil and religious liberty to win, a system of popular education to inaugurate, and with it all the wilderness to tame and a new land to develop. For these ends they sacrificed much. It is for us to attack with equal courage the evils of the present. Life has outwardly become easy for many of us; our spiritual muscle easily becomes flabby. But there are new tasks equally importunate, equally worthy of our loyalty and sacrifice, hard enough to stir our blood. The times call for new idealism, new courage, new effort; the purpose of this book will not be attained unless the reader carries away from its perusal some new realization of the moral dangers that confront our civilization, and some new determination to have a hand in meeting them.

Environment: J. Nolen, Replanning Small Cities. T. C. Horsfelt, The Improvement of the Dwellings and Surroundings of the People. E. Howard, Garden Cities of To-Morrow. The City Beautiful (magazine). Literature of the National League of Improvement Associations, the American Civic Association (914 Union Trust Building, Washington, D.C.), the City Club of New York, Metropolitan Improvement League of Boston, etc. The Civic Federation of Chicago, What it has Accomplished (Hollister, Chicago, 1899). Atlantic Monthly, vol. 113, p. 823. World's Work, vol. 15, p. 10022. Outlook, vol. 92, p. 373; vol. 97, p. 393; vol. 103, p. 203. National Municipal Review, vol. 1, p. 236.

Education: H. Home, Idealism in Education. G. Spiller, Moral Education in Eighteen Countries. International Journal of Ethics, vol. 20, p. 454; vol. 22, pp. 146, 335. I. King, Social Aspects of Education. E. Boutroux, Education and Ethics. Proceedings of the National Education Association, Religious Education Association, International Moral Education Congresses. C. R. Henderson, The Social Spirit in America, chap, xn, xm. S. Nearing, Social Adjustment, chaps, in, xv. World's Work, vol. 15, p. 10105. Outlook, vol. 85, pp. 664, 943; vol. 89, p. 789; vol. 94, p. 701.

Eugenics: C. B. Davenport, Eugenics; Heredity in Relation to Eugenics. W. D. McKim, Heredity and Human Progress. E. Schuster, Eugenics. C. W. Saleeby, Parenthood and Race Culture. H. G. Wells, Mankind in the Making, chap. in. New Tracts for the Times (various authors, Moffat, Yard Co.). Reports of International Eugenic Congresses. Atlantic Monthly, vol. 110, p. 801. Forum, vol. 51, p. 542. Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 26, p. 1.


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