A Eugenics Catechism

During my perusal of eugenic literature (primarily in the English language), I could find no work of simple questions and answers, in the form of a catechism, for instruction on the principles of eugenics, as well as responses to some of its most common misconceptions and concerns. This post hade been made with some attempt to redress this.

Its writing has developed out of a sense of personal obligation and from a realization of the need to refute some of the most popular claims made against the subject which we call eugenics. It is intended as a concise address to what I feel to be some of the most common questions on this vital and fascinating topic. In the light of new knowledge and inquiries, it is expected to be continually revised and expanded. 

If the reader has additional questions pertaining to matters of eugenic significance, I encourage him to ask them here and I shall answer them to the best of my ability and current understanding. All corrections, as well as questions and suggestions of a helpful nature will be considered and appreciated.

A list of references is included at the bottom of the answers. An attempt has been made to refer to the more common and accessible works. I strongly encourage the reader to refer to them for further information about the pertinent questions. Through these sources he may proceed to go as far as he wishes to on the topic. It is hoped that the reader will be drawn to the works of serious disciples of eugenics: Albert Edward Wiggam, Edward Murray East, Michael Frederic Guyer, Edwin Grant Conklin, David Starr Jordan, Samuel Jackson Holmes, Charles Davenport, Paul Popenoe, William McDougall, William Cecil Dampier Whetham, Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, Leonard Darwin – and in more modern times, Richard Lynn, who is our best living authority on this neglected and much abused subject – and other individuals who write from a wealth of knowledge and experience, from a genuine broad-mindedness and a sincerity and concern for future generations of humanity. (January 26, 2024: It is with regret that I mention our best authority in eugenics is now dead. The psychologist and eugenicist Richard Lynn died in July, 2023 at the age of 93. It is imperative that we youths living today who possess the courage and foresight see to it that the work in this field shall carry on.)

The writer, for one, is confident that as the intelligent reader becomes acquainted with the writings of these men, the soundness of a large part of their works will become apparent, and he will realize how much their views differed from that presented of them by Jewish propagandists and media. Suffice it to say, that the Wikipedia portrayal will often be found to be strikingly different from the real intentions of these men as evinced by their real words and works. All I can ask is to read them in their own works. Determine for yourselves whether these men were the impassioned and prejudiced thinkers these propagandists claim, or whether much of what they wrote was out of appreciated facts, of observation, and of common experience, a large part of which will continue to resonate with the more insightful men and women of the present generation.

As the American writer Albert Wiggam says, some of the works on eugenics “are quite as fascinating as any romance.” A few excellent works that will serve to introduce the beginner to a more thorough foundation of eugenics are Being Well-Born, second ed. (1927) by Michael F. Guyer, and The Social Direction of Human Evolution (1911) by William E. Kellicott. Eugenics: Twelve University Lectures (1914) contains a highly stimulating series of lectures by twelve men from the view of their fields of study. Also to be recommended are Fruit of the Family Tree (1924) by Albert Wiggam, and Applied Eugenics, rev. ed. (1933) by Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson. For an urgent call of the necessity of negative eugenics, I can recommend none more readable and forceful than Lothrop Stoddard’s work The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-Man (1922). For a contemporary treatment of eugenics, Richard Lynn’s Eugenics: A Reassessment (2001), and Dysgenics, second rev. ed. (2011) are the best known. All of these works may be understood and appreciated by the inquisitive reader lacking any special training in the subject.

What is eugenics?

Literally, eugenics comes from the Greek meaning “well-born”. In the words of Francis Galton (who introduced the term), it is “the study of agencies under social control, that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future generations, either physically or mentally”.

What are the two kinds of eugenics?

The two kinds of eugenics are positive eugenics and negative eugenics. [1] Positive eugenics is concerned with the preserving and spreading of desirable types. Negative eugenics seeks to restrict the spread of undesirable types.

[1] See, for example, Bertrand Russell, Marriage and Morals (1930), pp. 203 ff.

Who is the founder of eugenics?

The credit for laying the scientific foundations of eugenics lies with Francis Galton, who coined the term in Inquiries Into Human Faculty and Its Development (1883). Eugenics in theory, however, is much older, and was recognized by the Ancient Greeks. [1]

[1] Allen G. Roper, Ancient Eugenics (1913). See also Lothrop Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization: The Menace of the Under-Man (1922), pp. 36-37.

Isn’t the aim of eugenics to create a new breed of fashion models or athletes? To result in more blonde, blue-eyed people?

This is one aspect of propaganda – silly and unfounded, but nevertheless widespread and harmful – that gives eugenics such a bad name among large numbers of the public. Eugenics’ primary concern is not physical beauty, but is mainly concerned with the preservation and perpetuation of desirable mental and temperamental traits. [1] This is because what brings society on a truly higher plane – mental ability and moral appreciation – are on the decline. One of the aims of eugenics is to prevent this. [2]

[1] Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 88-89.

[2] It is probably true, however, that physical beauty is more often associated with greater intelligence than is its opposite (see, for instance, Albert Wiggam, The Fruit of the Family Tree, 1924, ch. 16). This is because good traits, like intelligence, moral sense, conscientiousness, and physical beauty and fitness, are to some extent associated (correlated) with each other.

Wouldn’t selection for one trait lead to a more lopsided humanity? For example, it’s known that geniuses are often physically weak, live shorter lives, and are often insane, epileptic, or immoral.

The belief that genius usually shows great one-sidedness in ability, or that high ability in one field involves weaknesses in others, is not borne out by the facts. [1] In general, desirable qualities show a tendency to be correlated together (at least to some degree), and in the extreme cases of the genius, it holds true as well. A study of the lives of the greatest men of science, of literature, of music, etc., shows a moral life considerably beyond that displayed by the average person. [2] In physical vigor and in length of life, too, geniuses are above the average. [3] 

Different intellectual abilities (spatial, mathematical, and verbal) are likewise positively correlated: The stronger a person is in one, the stronger he tends to be in others. [4] Poets are more talented at mathematics than the average person, while the average physician will be more competent in literary production than a person of average intelligence. The average lawyer will show more promise in science or medicine, music or poetry than the typical man. [5] 

Further, psychological and genetic investigations lend little credence to the belief that truly creative manifestations in music, art, or literature work independent from intellectual ability. Rather, it has become clear that high intelligence is one of the most important requisites for outstanding creative or artistic achievement. [6]

[1] Albert Wiggam, The Next Age of Man (1927), p. 184; and Edward Thorndike, “Eugenics: With Special Reference to Intellect and Character”, in Eugenics: Twelve University Lectures (1914), p. 329.

[2] Wiggam, The Next Age of Man, pp. 185-193. See also Frederick Adams Woods, Mental and Moral Heredity in Royalty (1906), ch. 17, who finds a significant correlation between intellect and morality in European royalty.

[3] Wiggam, The Next Age of Man, pp. 193-198. See also James Frederick Rogers, “The Intellectual and the Physical Life”, Popular Science Monthly, vol. 83 (1913).

It is true that the domain of eminence is dependent to some degree on the physical vigor of the person: Men of literature tend to be less physically vigorous than men of science, who in turn are less vigorous than statesmen and military generals. See Leonard Darwin, The Need for Eugenic Reform (1926), p. 252.

[4] Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson, Applied Eugenics, rev. ed (1933), pp. 55-56. 

[5] See Wiggam, The Next Age of Man, pp. 177-178.

[6] Albert Wiggam, Exploring Your Mind With the Psychologists (1928), pp. 233-235.

Won’t eugenics just result in more intelligent criminals?

Criminals are not typically derived from the more intelligent strata of society. In fact, a striking proportion of delinquents and inmates of prisons have been shown to be mentally deficient. [1] Raising the intelligence of a society will tend to reduce crime rather than increase it. Furthermore, even were it true that eugenics would lead to the production of more intelligent criminals, it is obvious that the people on the side of the law would be more intelligent also, this effect, therefore, being essentially negated. There is little doubt that one of the benefits of raising the average intelligence of a nation will be a decrease in rates of transgression.

We cannot, of course, be sure that genius criminals or moral defectives will not also appear – and eugenics must properly deal with these aberrant cases too. But these are aberrant and exceptional and not the rule. [2]

[1] Lewis Terman, The Measurement of Intelligence (1916), pp. 7-9; and Samuel Jackson Holmes, Human Genetics and Its Social Import (1936), p. 173.

It is probable, however, that part of this phenomenon is explained by the less intelligent criminals being those more likely to be caught, while the more intelligent offenders often escape detection. Fritz Lenz, Menschliche Erblehre, fourth ed. (1936), p. 753.

[2] In the remarkable case of the Jews, in particular, we may be forced to admit that intelligence and morality are not positively associated as is true for mankind. See, for instance, Theodor Fritsch, The Riddle of the Jew’s Success (1927), pp. 207-209.

Hasn’t the idea of the “born criminal” been discredited? Obviously, it’s wrong to say that someone will turn out to be a criminal simply because his family was poor. Couldn’t we make these people just work harder?

The concept of the “born criminal” was introduced by the Jewish criminologist Lombroso. It is true that his theory has been discredited. [1] However, it is persons who are incapable of meeting the standards of a society who are the ones apt to commit crimes – and these are drawn in large part from the dull, improvident, idle, and immoral elements of the population. That such persons are born to commit crimes, which have a legal and not a biological foundation, is obviously untenable. But the weight of civilization is too great a burden for a part of our population, and this makes them particularly liable to a life of crime and of rebellion against the social order. [2]

The criminal who is capable of genuine reform should be welcomed and encouraged to work at the highest capacity in which he is capable of excelling. [3] But we cannot expect equality of attainment from equality of opportunity. [4] We simply cannot expect much in terms of quality of work from a person who lacks the intelligence to benefit greatly from his surroundings and from the opportunities available to him. Those people belonging to a low mental level must almost inevitably be relegated to menial and repetitive work.

Further, if we wish to perpetuate diligence, it would be in vain to search for resounding examples of this trait among the feeble-minded. Tenacity is far commoner among the higher levels of intellectual ability, while shiftlessness and apathy characterize the feeble-minded. [5]

[1] Ernst Kretschmer, Physique and Character, trans. second ed. (1925), p. 39; and Charles Goring, The English Convict (1913), p. 15.

[2] Stoddard mentions this in striking fashion in Revolt Against Civilization; see especially pp. 100-101.

[3] This statement is open to objection, and is merely an assertion of my own opinion at the present moment. Further research will have to be done to reach a more definite judgment on the matter.

[4] Samuel Jackson Holmes, The Trend of the Race (1921), pp. 105-106.

[5] Clarence Yoakum and Robert Yerkes, Army Mental Tests (1920), p. 24; also Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 93-94.

Won’t eugenics result in discrimination against poor and neglected communities?

The serious eugenicist would desire that every man, woman, and child should be encouraged to rise as far as his capacity permits him, regardless of his place of birth or family origins. But in most, if not all advanced societies of the present day, this already occurs to a substantial degree.

There is long-standing confusion regarding the relation of class and eugenics. Many assume that a person does not fare well in society because of the fact that he was born to a lower social level. But there is probably no society with class structures that are so rigid that social mobility (i.e., moving from one social level to another) is impossible. [1] Sufficient numbers of people drawn from the lower classes have shown themselves capable of succeeding and rising to the middle and upper class, to disprove the claim that the social classes in America and other advanced countries are closed to those born outside its ranks. [2] The differences we see in environment and in attainment between the various social and economic classes is to a large extent a product of their heredity; no environmental influence is known that satisfactorily explains their occurrence. [3]

It is true that a disproportionate number of defectives and inferiors are recruited from poorer communities. But it is absurd to suggest that all the members of the lower classes are undesirable from a eugenic point of view. That is unquestionably false. What the eugenicist speaks of are relative and average differences in inherent ability between socio-economic classes. [4]

[1] Richard Lynn, Dysgenics, second rev. ed. (2011), pp. 299-300.

[2] See Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 79 ff.

[3] See Frederick Adams Woods, “Laws of Diminishing Environmental Influence”, Popular Science Monthly, vol. 76 (1910), p. 335.

[4] Edwin Grant Conklin, “The Purposive Improvement of the Human Race”, Human Biology and Racial Welfare (1930), pp. 578 ff.

Won’t eugenics lead to the killing of disabled persons?

No such practice is necessary, desirable, or even feasible for eugenics. [1] What we call euthanasia, if it were legalized, would usually apply to persons so hopelessly afflicted that the possibility of their procreation would be minimal. The main purpose in such cases, were it permitted, would be to free the individual from a life of pain and suffering – it would not be so much a eugenic obligation, as an individual and family one. 

Negative eugenics aims for the cutting off of defective strains through segregation and sterilization, and also through an increased sense of moral obligation to prevent the appearance of defective offspring, whose inadequacies would be such as to render them and others a life of suffering and misery. Euthanasia is not one of its methods. Its practice has been endorsed by few, if any, serious students of eugenics.

[1] See Fritz Lenz, Menschliche Auslese und Rassenhygiene (Eugenik), fourth ed. (1932), pp. 306-307.

What evidence is there that mental traits are inherited?

The amount of literature demonstrating the heritability of intelligence and temperament is vast. As early as the 1900s, the problem of ascertaining the influence of heredity on mental traits was already attacked in several significant ways, all pointing to the powerful influence of genes. [1] I will briefly describe but two of the most compelling studies.

In a study of the royal families in Europe, the American biologist Frederick Adams Woods studied [2] a group of persons born to an environment obviously conducive to success. Under the “environmentalist” assumption, most of these royal men and women should have been expected to be distinguished. But even in royalty, where opportunities for success are readily offered, intellect and morality, distinction and success were found to be clustered in certain families and lacking in others. Degeneracy and dullness were likewise a “family matter” in the royal families of Europe.

In a study of young twins reared together [3], the American psychologist Edward Thorndike discovered that skills that were subject to training and education, such as multiplication and division, showed no more resemblance among pairs of twins than in tests not subject to training, such as marking off the capital As in a printed sheet of letters. Twins who were born unlike (i.e., fraternal twins, who are genetically no more closely related than ordinary siblings) and observed at the age of nine were found to be no more alike when re-examined at the age of fourteen. If environment were really responsible for the similarities and differences between humans, the resemblance between the twins would have been expected to converge because of the influence of shared surroundings. This is a startling refutation of the common belief that early environment plays much of a role in determining the similarities and differences between humans.

[1] See Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 48-52, for a brief summary of some of these researches. See also Holmes, The Trend of the Race, pp. 103-109.

[2] Mental and Moral Heredity in Royalty. For short summaries of Woods’ investigation, see the works cited above.

[3] “Measurements of Twins”, Archives of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, no. 1, 1905. A summary of this research can be found in the author’s Educational Psychology, vol. 3 (1914), pp. 247-251.

What are the most important defects eugenics has to deal with?

The most important defects from the view of negative eugenics are mental defects. [1] Some of the most important mental defects which negative eugenics has to deal with are genetic feeble-mindedness, various types of insanity [2], and epilepsy. [3] The individuals suffering from such conditions are not usually a benefit to society and impose heavy burdens on civilization. [4] Moreover, there is strong evidence that persons suffering from feeble-mindedness tend to be unusually prolific. [5]

[1] Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 88-89.

[2] Insanity encompasses a variety of conditions, not all of which have a hereditary basis. Of the many types of insanity, schizophrenia and manic-depressive insanity are probably the most serious from the eugenicist’s view. See Popenoe and Johnson, Applied Eugenics, pp. 124-126.

[3] For a description of the burdens imposed on society by these defects, see Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, ch. 3.

Of course, it must be kept in mind that not all cases of these defects are hereditary. Some have been acquired in the life of the individual through accident or injury and are, therefore, of little eugenic significance.

[4] See Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, ch. 3.

[5] See, for instance, Holmes, The Trend of the Race, pp. 130-131. Fertility is especially high among the “abler” grades of the mentally dull and feeble-minded, who are not so afflicted as to warrant confinement at an institution, and are thus free to perpetuate their stock.

What evidence is there that intelligence (and other mental traits) is declining?

One of the most common ways this question has been studied is by the birth rate of groups belonging to different educational attainment and socio-economic status. It first must be shown that mental differences exists, on average, between those who attain a college education and those who do not, between middle and lower class families, and so on. This has been demonstrated to be the case. [1] We must also keep in mind that education attainment not only demands intelligence, but diligence, or what the psychologist calls “conscientiousness”. Both intelligence and conscientiousness have been proven to be highly hereditary. [2] If so, the lowered birth rate among the higher educated will result in a decrease in the appearance of several desirable traits in the future population.

Moreover, there have been several studies that serve to show, in a more direct way (i.e., by the relation between IQ and number of children), that the more intelligent have fewer children, while the less intelligent have more. [3]

[1] Lynn, Dysgenics, chs. 9 and 11.

It is dubious to what extent university schooling may be viewed as an indication of morality in today’s world. It is clear that with the increased Jewish domination of the education system, the proportion of undesirable persons, who would have been excluded in the more rigid educational standards of the past, are more freely given entry to the institutions of higher learning today. Sexual looseness, for instance, is now even encouraged and promoted in the university setting, whereas in the past such behavior was likely to result in discipline or expulsion. It is possible that the universities today, with their lowered standards of morality, are apt to encourage the aberrant type which combines intelligence above the average with a low moral sense. Nevertheless, it cannot be disputed that the average level of intelligence and conscientiousness of college graduates remains considerably greater than that of the average person. If good qualities are associated (as has been shown), the average university student must be above the average in moral standards as well. Of course, this correlation is by no means perfect.

From the prolonged and unwise mingling of sound family strains with inferior ones, as well as the continued influx of Jewish blood into all human populations – and the apathy or incredulity of the public towards true eugenic thought and action – we can only expect this “tainted” intellectual type to become more prevalent in the future, and to occupy our universities in ever greater proportions. By no means can we expect the result to be a hopeful one for mankind. For information on the danger of the “tainted genius” to society, see Stoddard’s The Revolt Against Civilization.

[2] Richard Lynn, Eugenics: A Reassessment (2001), pp. 155 ff.

[3] Lynn, Dysgenics, ch. 6.

I don’t believe in the importance of heredity. Look at Lincoln, Franklin, or Beethoven, for example. They didn’t grow up in the best of surroundings, but they turned out amazing. Is it really suggested that these people should never have been born?

The exceptions prove the rule. Although there undoubtedly exist a number of great men who were born from undistinguished families, the one percent which comprises a population’s intellectual elite is about as likely to produce a genius as all the remaining 99 percent. [1]

The widely held belief that many eminent men and women have come from poor family stock is usually made untenable upon more detailed investigation. [2]

Furthermore, what we tend to forget is the fact that a number of distinguished persons grew up in bad environments – but it was the force of heredity that impelled them away from it and towards better, more congenial surroundings. If the early surroundings of Abraham Lincoln were what made him great, shall we make every boy split rails, deprive him of his mother during boyhood, and limit the aggregate of his schooling in childhood to less than twelve months? The thing about good heredity is that it overcomes adverse obstacles to find, or create, a better environment for itself. [3] On the other hand, no amount of schooling, good nutrition, or healthy surroundings can make genius out of mediocrity, or good ability from inborn dullness. [4]

[1] Frederick Adams Woods, “Heredity and the Hall of Fame”, Popular Science Monthly, vol. 82 (1913).

[2] In the case of Abraham Lincoln, for example, see Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 52-53. Furthermore, Ludwig van Beethoven’s family exhibited substantial musical ability on the paternal side. On the whole, his ancestry was hardly defective enough to have warranted preventing his birth on eugenic grounds. Lenz, Menschliche Auslese und Rassenhygiene (Eugenik), pp. 287-288. 

[3] Wiggam, Fruit of the Family Tree, p. 192.

[4] Holmes, The Trend of the Race, p. 116.

I think eugenics puts too much a damper on things. If you tell someone they can’t accomplish something because of their ancestry, won’t that discourage them from trying their best?

What the eugenicist says to the individual is: Do you best and follow your strongest bent to contribute to your individual happiness and the benefit of society. As for ancestry, it is only a statement of probabilities and a statistical fact that exceptional ability tends to spring from families of a high average of ability. He readily admits that this is not always the case, and that a number of persons of unusual capacity have sprung from sources that have not yet been analyzed sufficiently or which showed but scant indication of producing a son or daughter of eminence. [1] However, it would be folly to attempt to make the rules on the basis of the exceptions!

[1] For a plausible hereditary explanation for this phenomenon, see Holmes, The Trend of the Race, pp. 115-116.

With human civilization and knowledge making such great strides, doesn’t this mean the human brain must be progressing also?

The idea that acquired knowledge and experiences can be passed on by inheritance to the offspring was popularized by the zoologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and his theory of the “inheritance of acquired characters”. The theory has been discredited by geneticists. [1] Any progress that has resulted from human knowledge and experience is acquired only. It is not inherited, so it must be repeated in the next generation. [2] In terms of intellectual ability and imagination, no modern society can be said to surpass or even approach that displayed by the Ancient Greeks over two thousand years ago. [3]

Despite their falsity, Lamarckist beliefs are still popularly held and popularized today. Incidentally, there is evidence that the Lamarckist idea is being disproportionately promoted by Jews. [4]

[1] See Popenoe and Johnson, Applied Eugenics, pp. 22-25; and also Hermann W. Siemens, Race Hygiene and Heredity (1924), pp. 1-9.

[2] William E. Kellicott, The Social Direction of Human Evolution: An Outline of the Science of Eugenics (1911), pp. 17-19.

[3] Francis Galton, Hereditary Genius (1869), pp. 340-342; and Reginald Ruggles Gates, Human Ancestry (1948), p. 145.

[4] See Fritz Lenz, Human Heredity (English trans., second ed. (1931)) pp. 674-5).

Isn’t eugenics a dead field?

It is only as dead as we wish to make it. If what society desires is permanent progress rather than temporary political and social reform, it must look for this in the improvement of the germ-plasm, or hereditary material. It cannot look for these by influences such as schooling or nutrition, because the influence of these will cease the moment the person who carries or acquires it dies. [1]

[1] See Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 39-46; and Kellicott, The Social Direction of Human Evolution, pp. 17-19.

Isn’t eugenics racist? Weren’t the eugenicists themselves racist?

If by the term “racist” we mean one who acknowledges innate differences in both capacity and tendency between the different races, then we must confess this as largely true. But it must be kept in mind that a person can state the truth, and yet be called a “racist” simply for his acknowledging the existence of a fact.

It is not the purpose of this text to discuss racial differences. Suffice it to say that they do exist, and it is in our best interests not to ignore them. [1] Nearly all serious eugenicists recognized the existence of different racial groups. It would be dishonest to say that significant mental differences between the races did not exist. [2]

[1] For a fundamental summary of some of these differences and their significance, see John Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, second abridged ed. (2000). For a more thorough treatment of this topic, consult the author’s unabridged work Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, third ed. (2000). As in eugenics, the work of Richard Lynn in contemporary racial psychology must be recommended also; see especially Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis, second rev. ed. (2015).

[2] See, for example, Reginald Ruggles Gates, Heredity in Man (1929), pp. 266-267.

Of course, this does not necessitate that intelligent cooperation between humans of all races is impossible. But we must first come to a frank realization of racial differences.

We cannot stress the significance of heredity in human affairs without mentioning the Jews, who have played the strongest role, in the writer’s belief, in the decline of eugenics. It was the Jews, naturally, who were the most inclined to deny the significance or even existence of hereditary differences in man, particularly in the mental and moral domain. The intelligent reader who analyzes the most publicized statements and assertions by Jewish popularizers, and compares them with sober works dealing with the subject by non-Jews, will be struck by how much of the denial of the importance of heredity probably has its basis in emotional and propagandic impulses and purposes as opposed to intelligent or rational ones. Their voices are always heard, that of their real criticizers or opponents, however reasonable they may be, never, or far less often.

Can eugenics be applied to all races of man?

There is no doubt that eugenic-based selection can improve ability within any human race or society. [1] In the more primitive societies, however, nature continues to work to weed out the unfit and preserve superior strains. In societies that may be called more advanced, genetic deterioration has mainly been the rule. [2]

[1] Gates, Human Ancestry, p. 145.

[2] The reason for this is that in a more “primitive” environment, natural selection places great value on the more intelligent and enterprising members of society, who tend to have the most children. In the more “developed” societies, there is no such association. Rather, through the manifold burdens and diversions of civilization, the superiors are socially “sterilized”. See Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 16-19.

It probably would not be in the domain of reality to hope that eugenic practices will equalize any racial differences that may exist between humans. Significant evidence against this view is seen by the fact that among races that may be called more “primitive” a selective process has been happening up to recent times where dysgenic fertility has been minimal or nonexistent. Nevertheless, this process appears to have had but little effect in bringing these peoples up to the standards of the more “civilized” races, where the advance of civilization has had dysgenic consequences. It is likely that the racial differences will continue to persist. Average differences in ability between the races will still have to be reckoned with.

I think eugenics interferes too much in personal matters. Wouldn’t eugenics weaken the freedom of the individual? Why can’t we just leave everyone to make their own decisions?

Because those who are the least fit mentally are also least inclined to appreciate and support eugenic measures. Those who are least mindful of eugenics and least desirable from a eugenic view are the ones having the most children. [1]

[1] See Lynn, Dysgenics, chs. 6 and 14, for studies showing dysgenic fertility for intelligence and conscientiousness, respectively.

Isn’t eugenics undemocratic?

In a democracy, every citizen takes part in governance. In America, which is a representative democracy (as are most of the democracies of the world), each person votes for elected representatives in government.

The democratic idea, including its derivative, representative democracy, has much of its basis in “natural equality” and the immense power of the environment in molding the life of the individual, beliefs discredited by scientific investigation. [1] It is doubtful whether serious eugenic reforms are possible in a democracy, which derives its power from the opinions of the masses, which are so often derived from emotions and prejudices and from the stimuli of irrational propaganda as opposed to reason. [2] The very idealism of eugenics would seem to make too little appeal to the majority to expect them to do much with it in a conscious way. [3]

[1] For a brief summary of some of these investigations, see Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, pp. 46-52. See also Holmes, The Trend of the Race, pp. 103-109.

[2] For some comments on the infeasibility of state-enforced eugenics in democracies, see Lynn, Eugenics, ch. 19. For a stimulating discussion on the position of democracy in the light of scientific discovery and some suggestions for a new political philosophy, see Stoddard, The Revolt Against Civilization, ch. 8.

[3] See, for instance, Albert G. Keller, Through War to Peace, rev. ed. (1921), pp. 74-75.

What is the relation of eugenics to religion?

If we take the general purpose of religion to uplift man, ennoble him, and bring him to a higher position of endeavor and fulfillment, and if what we wish for is an increased appreciation for the things that religion offers, eugenics is possibly the best way to accomplish this. [1] If we ultimately desire for our future a people, a humanity with a sound intellect and good natural impulses, there is no other way such outcomes can be effected except by the improvement of the inherent qualities of man that is the domain of eugenics.

[1] See, for example, Albert Wiggam, The Marks of an Educated Man (1925), pp. 199-200. The works of Wiggam in general are to be commended for the author’s penchant for combining eugenic truth with Christian wisdom. It is unfortunate that he draws so much from the Old Testament.

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