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Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1914. RACIAL DEGENERATION.

i The Medical Congress recently held at Auckland shattered some cherished ideals of the good folk who consider that because a subject is unpleasant it should be .referred to with bated breath. For some quaint reason, the idea still prevails that the diseases that the human body is subject to are ,sacrosanct, and that it is exceptionally bad taste to refer to them in public. The members of the Congress do not share this compunction, and there ,\^as evidence during the discussions on various tabooed subjects that the conspiracy of silence that has held sway for so many years has proved a splendid aid to the spread of certain diseases. Dr. Truby King's exposition of eugenics put this delicate subject in quite a new light so far as many laymen are concerned, and even the Premier of New South Wales, who was an interested listener to the address:,, confessed that though he had always viewed eugenics with suspicion, nothing in Dr^ Truby King's paper drew from him anything but warm adniiratidn. Though New Zealand moves faster in some directions than Great .Britain does, our legislators have been strangely averse ,to grappling with the social evils that the Homeland is making efforts to check. And so convinced are the authorities that the salvation of the race rests to a great extent on a rigid adherence to eugenic laws, that they have framed the initial legislation in -the campaign against racial I degeneracy on the formulas laid down by the advocates of that, modern, science. The Mental Deficiency Bill, which passed its { second reading in the House 01 Commons by ' 242 votes to, 19,. makes it a criminal offence for a man or woman to marry a congenitally defective person. It also, provides- for the- case of neglected persons, habitual inebriates,, and those who may be a danger to the community, for the registration and supervision of feeble-minded people, and for the maintenance of such State institutions for their care as may be necessary. The Bill has of course excited a good deal of opposition, and it-has in the main come from people, who might be expected to recognise the plain facts of everyday life. At a recent Poor Law conference in London, the Rev. Hi Stanley argued that it was a disgrace to the country that they should be talking about segregating the feeble-minded and pre- | venting parenthood among a section of the community; and Miss Emily Fortey declared that the statement that the feeble-minded were increasing out of proportion ,to-the rest of the population was lin direct contradiction to evidence. The President of the Eugenics Education ; Society (Major Darwin) took a different point of view, and indicated that investigations ' had shown an alarming preponderance of physically and mentally deficient children who were the progeny.of parents. The Royal Commission on Poor Laws issiied, in 1909, a report in which it was „ stat§.d that, in spite of the enormous annual. expenditure son poor relief, education, anrd public, health, "we' still have a vast army of persons quartered upon us'unable to support themselves, and a,n army which in numbers lias recently, shown signs of increase rather than decrease." The commissioners found that in one workhouse, out of 229 births in 1 five years, in 176 cases the mothers were mentally weak, and in most cases approaching imbecility. It is nothing short ■ of criminal neglect' for such facts to be ignored. Children- of " siicii parentage are undesirable from | every point' of view, for they grow !up to perpetuate their kind and to hugely swell the ranks of the unemployable. It must_ not be supposed that the eugenists contend that the wholesale application of the science would solve the problems of racial degeneracy. Indeed, one of the foremost of its advocates, Professor Wheth,am, frankly admits that "except in the case of the feeble-minded, where State interference is glaringly/ overdue, probably in the case of hopeless habitual criminals, and possibly in the case of

sufferers; from certain types of blindness and deaf-mutism, there is no direction in which, as yet, general interference would be justified." But that there is urgent need lor the beginning of a human reform campaign the Medical Congress' has fully proved.

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG19140223.2.11

Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1914. RACIAL DEGENERATION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8801, 23 February 1914

Word Count
712

Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1914. RACIAL DEGENERATION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8801, 23 February 1914

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