EUGENICS AS A CREED AND THE LAST DECADE OF GALTON'S LIFE
"No custom can be considered seriously repugnant_ to human feelings that has ever prevailed extensively in a contented nation, whether barbarous or civilised. Any custom established by a powerful authority soon becomes looked upon as a duty, and before long as an axiom of conduct which is rarely questioned." Francis Galton, 1894.
(1) Introductory. The careful reader of this work will have realised how deeply impressed Galton was by the idea that with man himself lies the possibility of improving his race ; and this impression existed long before Galton initiated active propaganda for Eugenics as a social and political creed. Indeed, although Galton's earlier writings reached a limited and partly prepared audience, it was not till the beginning of the present century that he considered the time ripe for a more general public appeal, or sought proselytes to the new faith. There are some creeds, and more sciences, of which it is nearly impossible to name a single individual as the creator. When we speak of Christianity we forget, or wilfully disregard, Paul ; Einstein was not the first to see material phenomena in the curvature of space; nor did Darwin stand alone when he propounded evolution through natural selection. But what student of evolution before Galton, realising the past ascent of man, grasped that his future lies with himself, if he be willing to study and control his own breeding? It is given to few men to name a new branch of science and lay down the broad lines of its development ; it is the lot of fewer still to forecast its future as a, creed of social conduct. In the thirty years which have elapsed, since Galton started his public teaching, what gratifying progress has been made, not only in establishing institutes and laboratories for research in Eugenics*, but also in familiarising the people at large with the code of conduct which an acceptance of eugenic principles involves ! It is as if the Great War had so thoroughly demonstrated the pitiable failure of humanity, that its thinkers and leaders felt that the old man must be replaced by a newborn Apollo-, the worn-out creed which had failed him by a more adequate
* Institutes primarily for Eugenics research exist to my knowledge in England, America, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and probably elsewhere. Popular Journals or Eugenics Societies have been started in England, America, Germany, France, Italy and Russia.
t "Grief overcame,
And I was stopping up my frantic ears,
" When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands, "A voice came, sweeter, sweeter than all tune, "And still it cried, 'Apollo! young Apollo!
"The morning-bright Apollo ! young Apollo!'
"I fled, it follow'd me, and cried 'Apollo!"' Keats, Hyperion.
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