Taboo and Genetics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about Taboo and Genetics.

In removing the economic handicaps at present connected with the reproductive function in women, care must also be taken that the very measures which insure this do not themselves become dysgenic influences.  Such schemes as maternity insurance, pensions for mothers, and most of the propositions along this line, may offer an inducement to women of the poorer classes to assume the burdens connected with their specialization for child-bearing.  But their more fortunate sisters, who find themselves so well adapted to modern conditions that they are even moderately successful in the competition for material rewards, will hardly find recompense thus for turning from their social to their biological functions.  To these highly individualized modern women must be presented more cogent reasons for taking upon themselves the burden of reproducing the group.

It is obvious that from just this energetic female stock we should obtain a large part of the next generation if we are at all concerned over the welfare of the group and its chances of survival.  One suggestion is that we may be able to turn their very individualism to account and use it as a potent factor in the social control of their reproductive activities.  If we can demonstrate on the basis of sound biological data that the bearing of children is necessary for the full and complete development of the individual woman, physically and mentally, we shall have gone a long way toward securing voluntary motherhood.  Only such argument will induce the highly individualized, who may also be the most vital, woman to turn of her own accord from competitive social activities to the performance of the biological function for which she is specialized.  This is especially true, as has been intimated above, since contraceptive knowledge now permits the exercise of sexual functions without the natural consequences, and the avoidance of motherhood no longer involves the denial of expression to the sexual urge.

Even if we are able to utilize this method of control, it will not obtain the requisite number of offspring to maintain the eugenic quality of the group, since the bearing of one or two children would be all that individual development would require.  If the group must have on the average three children from each of its women in order to replace itself, the larger part of the reproductive activities will still be confined to the more ignorant, or if they also make use of contraceptive knowledge, the group will simply die out from the effects of its own democratic enlightenment.  Thus it becomes apparent that we must find some more potent force than this narrow form of self-interest to accomplish the social purposes of reproduction.  When reproduction is generally understood to be as thoroughly a matter of group survival as for example the defensive side in a war of extermination, the same sentiment of group loyalty which now takes such forms as patriotism can be appealed to.  If the human

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Taboo and Genetics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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