Eugenics as a Creed and the Last Decade of Galton's Life 233
my knowledge taken any serious step to solve this important problem, though the value of the present elaborate system of examinations cannot be . rightly estimated until it is solved." (pp. 533-4.)
Here Galton's judgment, must appeal to every thoughtful man. Educational methods both in teaching and examination are put into practice on the balance of opinion in committees, or even by the arbitrary will of particular headmasters, and when the system is developed no attempt is made to determine statistically whether it really achieves what it professes to do. The preparatory schools prepare for the public schools' examinations, the public schools are again in their teaching controlled by the examinations on which the universities distribute their prizes, and finally distinction in the academic graduation examinations is an all-important factor in many lucrative appointments. Our educational system may be the very best available, as apparently its administrators believe it to be ; but public confidence in it would be based on a firmer footing if those administrators would occasionally take stock and prove to us that the promise of youth has been fulfilled in adult performance. We debate and we legislate, we educate and we examineand never take the trouble to inquire after a few years whether the results we aimed at have been achieved !
Galton next turns to the question of the augmentation of favoured stock. It is clear that the improvement of the stock of a nation depends on our power of increasing the productivity of its best members. He considers this of more importance than repressing the productivity of the worst stock ; he does not give his reasons for this view, possibly he holds the production of one superman to be in the long run more profitable to a nation than the repression of fifty subhumans; it is better to spend all available funds in the production of men of outstanding civic worth, rather than in the reduction of the number of undesirables. Galton's -main proposal certainly would involve considerable expense ; it is that his youths and maidens, selected for all types of outstanding civic worth, should be put under conditions where early marriage is feasible and large families are not detrimental to success. He holds that with able and cultured women in particular there might be a reduction in the age at marriage from 28 or 29 to 21 or 22, thus prolonging marriage by seven years. This would not only save from barrenness the earlier part of the childbearing period of these women, but would shorten each generation by some seven years. Galton considers that it is no absurd idea that outside influences should hasten the age of marriage or lead the best to marry the best. " A superficial objection is sure to be urged that the fancies of young people are so incalculable and so irresistible that they cannot be guided." So they are-in the exceptional case which only proves the contrary rule*. But the anthropologist is only too familiar with the fact that marriage is the most customridden institution of humanity, and the variations in its customs are as wide as the races of mankind. At least 95 °/o of men and women marry not only according to the custom of their nation, but according to the habits of
Galton cites as such the lady who scandalised her domestic circle by falling in love with the undertaker at her father's funeral and insisting on marrying him !
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