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“…It is certain, for example, that an imbecile which has arisen from homozygous defective germplasm carries only the determiner for imbecility in his own germ plasm and when two such recessives mate nothing but imbecile offspring can result, for recessives breed true. Nothing plus nothing equals nothing. (emphasis added)
For practical purposes, it is unimportant to know whether or not feeble mindedness or any similar defect is Mendelian in behavior. The fact that it is hereditary is enough.
Source, Genetics: an Introduction to the Study of Heredity
By Herbert Eugene Walter
As a matter of fact, defectives usually mate with defectives for the simple reason that normals ordinarily avoid them, so it comes about that streams of poor germplasm naturally flowing together tend to the inbreeding of like defects. Davenport lays down the following general eugenic rules for the guidance of those who would produce offspring wisely:
If the negative character is, as in polydactylism and night blindness, the normal character, then normals should marry normals and they may be even cousins. If the negative character is abnormal, as imbecility and liability to respiratory diseases, then the marriage of two abnormals means probably all children abnormal- the marriage of two normals from defective strains means about one quarter of the children abnormal, but the marriage of a normal of the defective strain with one of a normal strain will probably lead to strong children.
The worst possible marriage in this class of cases is that of cousins from the defective strain, especially if one or both have the defect. In a word, the consanguineous marriage of persons one or both of whom have the same undesirable defect is highly unfit and the marriage of even unrelated persons who both belong to strains containing the same undesirable defect is unfit. Weakness in any characteristic must be mated with strength in that characteristic and strength may be mated with weakness. In short the eugenical Cupid does not tell one so often whom to select for a partner as whom to avoid .
(1 Davenport Rep of Amer Breeders Assoc Vol VI p 431 1910)
HUMAN CONSERVATION 1. How Mankind may be Improved.
There are two fundamental ways to bring about human betterment, namely by improving the individual and by improving the race. The first method consists in making the best of whatever heritage has been received by placing the individual in the most favorable environment and developing his capacities to the utmost through education. Such enterprises may be included under this head as improving sanitation, controlling disease, insuring health, safe guarding human life, banishing child labor, lessening drudgery of all kinds, substituting something better for the slums, championing the weak, reforming penal institutions, maintaining charitable organizations, cultivating true temperance, dispelling ignorance, and lengthening life. [note: Observe lack of any mention of teaching personal responsibility, working with individual children on improving personal character- even ‘true temperance’ doesn’t mean what you think it means, it’s mainly about tee-totalling].
The second method consists in seeking a better heritage with which to begin the life of the individual. The first method is immediate and urgent for the present generation. The second method is concerned with ideals for the future, and consequently does not usually present so strong an appeal to the individual. 314
The first is the method of euthenics, or the science of learning to live well. The second is eugenics, which Galton defines as the science of being well born. Every gain in eugenics, it need hardly be said, will make euthenics more effective, but the reverse cannot be affirmed. These two aspects of human betterment, however, are inseparable. Any hereditary characteristic must be regarded, not as an independent entity, but as a reaction between the germplasm and its environment. The biologist who disregards the fields of educational endeavor and environmental influence is equally at fault with the sociologist who fails sufficiently to realize the fundamental importance of the germplasm. Without euthenic opportunity the best of heritages would never fully come to its own. Without the eugenic foundation the best opportunity fails of accomplishment. The euthenic point of view, however, must not distract the attention now, for the present chapter is particularly concerned with the program of eugenics.
2) Human Assets and Liabilities: In an attempt to take account of human stock, Dr HH Laughlin of the Eugenics Record Office has made the following eugenical classification based on the manner in which families assemble in their offspring heritable traits which determine for their possessors a. social adjustment and b. special talent or defect
I Persons of genius
II Persons of special skill, intelligence, courage, unselfishness, enterprise, or strength
III Persons constituting the great normal middle class, the people
IV Socially inadequate persons
The first three groups constitute those eugenically fit from sterling inheritance who produce the socially valuable nine tenths of humanity among civilized people and in the last group are the eugenically unfit from defective inheritance who produce the socially inadequate or the submerged tenth of humanity. Among persons of genius Dr Laughlin would include the 5000 persons most splendidly equipped by nature throughout historic times, as, for example, Aristotle in philosophy, Newton in science, Pasteur in medicine, Dante in poetry, Shakespeare in drama, and Cecil Rhodes in business. Reckoning that since civilization began, there have been born and reared in civilized countries approximately thirty billion persons, the expectation of a genius is about 1 /6,000,000.
In the second group are included the natural and acknowledged leaders in all lines of human endeavor, the Who’s Who people. The incidence of these in the total population is possibly 1 /6,000.
The third group the people constitute nine tenths of all, since the first two classes, although their influence is very great, are numerically negligible, while the fourth group is made up of the residue or the socially inadequate namely:
1 feeble minded
7 asthenic or weak
8 diathetic or predisposed to disease
10 [illegible] that is with defective sense organs
Laughlin concludes: ” The task of eugenics is 1 to encourage fit and fertile matings among those persons most richly endowed by nature and 2 to devise practicable means for cutting off the inheritance lines of persons of naturally meagre or defective inheritance….
All the above, and more, was once Consensus Science…. Search google books for ‘heredity’ and limit your search to published from around 1900 to 1930 and you’ll be astonished- and sickened. And while we moderns are appalled, this was what all the ‘best and brightest’ in America believed and taught in schools, in lecture halls, even in churches, published in influential magazines and textbooks. Certain words faded away in the wake of Nazi Germany, but these beliefs of the progressives (because it was entirely a progressive dominated field) didn’t disappear, but rather, camoflauged themselves.