54 RESTRICTIONS IN MARRIAGE.
of their sexual desire for one another, and are apt to consort with mongrels. (3) Contrast is an element in sexual attraction which has not yet been discussed quantitatively. Great resemblance creates indifference, and great dissimilarity is repugnant. The maximum of attractiveness must lie somewhere between the two, at a point not yet ascertained. (4) The harm due to continued interbreeding has been considered, as I think, without sufficient warrant, to cause a presumed strong natural and instinctive repugnance to the marriage of near kin. The facts are that close and continued interbreeding invariably does harm after a few generations, but that a single cross with near kinsfolk is practically innocuous. Of course a sense of repugnance might become correlated with any harmful practice, but there is no evidence that it is repugnance with which interbreeding is correlated, but only indifference; this is equally effective in preventing it, but is quite another thing. (5) The strongest reason of all in civilised countries appears to be the earnest desire not to infringe the sanctity and freedom of the social relations of a family group, but this has nothing to do with instinctive sexual repugnance. Yet it is through the latter motive alone, so far as I can judge, that we have acquired our apparently instinctive horror of marrying within near degrees.
Next as to facts. History shows that the horror now felt so strongly did not