Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

 

A discriminating regard to the quality of offspring will act beneficially 

on the side of positive eugenics by substituting the pernicious tendency 

to put a premium on excess of childbirth by the more rational method of 

putting a premium on the quality of the child. It has been one of the most 

unfortunate results of the mania for protesting against that decline of 

the birthrate which is always and everywhere the result of civilization, 

that there has been a tendency to offer special social or pecuniary 

advantages to the parents of large families. Since large families tend to 

be degenerate, and to become a tax on the community, since rapid 

pregnancies in succession are not only a serious drain on the strength of 

the mother but are now known to depreciate seriously the quality of the 

offspring, and since, moreover, it is in large families that disease and 

mortality chiefly prevail, all the interests of the community are against 

the placing of any premium on large families, even in the case of parents 

of good stock. The interests of the State are bound up not with the 

quantity but with the quality of its citizens, and the premium should be 

placed not on the families that reach a certain size but on the individual 

children that reach a certain standard; the attainment of this standard 

could well be based on observations made from birth to the fifth year. A 

premium on this basis would be as beneficial to a State as that on the 

merely numerical basis is pernicious. 

 

This consideration applies with still greater force to the proposals for 

the "systematic endowment of motherhood" of which we hear more and more. 

So moderate and judicious a social reformer as Mr. Sidney Webb writes: "We 

shall have to face the problem of the systematic endowment of motherhood, 

and place this most indispensable of all professions upon an honorable 

economic basis. At present it is ignored as an occupation, unremunerated, 

and in no way honored by the State."[459] True as this statement is, it 

must always be remembered that an indispensable preliminary to any 

proposal for the endowment of motherhood by the State is a clear 

conception of the kind of motherhood which the State requires. To endow 

the reckless and indiscriminate motherhood which we see around us, to 

encourage, that is, by State aid, the production of citizens a large 

proportion of whom the State, if it dared, would like to destroy as unfit, 

is too ridiculous a proposal to deserve discussion.[460] The only sound 

reason, indeed, for the endowment of motherhood is that it would enable 

the State, in its own interests, to further the natural selection of the 

fit. 

 

As to the positive qualities which the State is entitled to endow in its 

encouragement of motherhood, it is still too early to speak with complete 

assurance. Negative eugenics tends to be ahead of positive eugenics; it is 

easier to detect bad stocks than to be quite sure of good stocks. Both on 

the scientific side and on the social side, however, we are beginning to 

attain a clearer realization of the end to be attained and a more precise 

knowledge of the methods of attaining it.[461] 

 

Even when we have gained a fairly clear conception of the stocks and the 

individuals which we are justified in encouraging to undertake the task of 

producing fit citizens for the State, the problems of procreation are by 

no means at an end. Before we can so much as inquire what are the 

conditions under which selected individuals may best procreate, there is 

still the initial question to be decided whether those individuals are 

both fertile and potent, for this is not guaranteed by the fact that they 


Page 4 from 5:  Back   1   2   3  [4]  5   Forward