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The Pivot of Civilization

by Margaret Sanger

March, 1999  [Etext #1689]

Project Gutenberg Etext Pivot of Civilization, By Margaret Sanger
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The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Pivot of Civilization

By Margaret Sanger

To Alice Drysdale Vickery

Whose prophetic vision of liberated womanhood has been an inspiration

    ``I dream of a world in which the spirits of women are flames
    stronger than fire, a world in which modesty has become courage
    and yet remains modesty, a world in which women are as unlike
    men as ever they were in the world I sought to destroy, a world
    in which women shine with a loveliness of self-revelation as
    enchanting as ever the old legends told, and yet a world which
    would immeasurably transcend the old world in the self-sacrificing
    passion of human service.  I have dreamed of that world ever since
    I began to dream at all.''

Havelock Ellis


Introduction	By H. G. Wells

I      A New Truth Emerges
II     Conscripted Motherhood
III    ``Children Troop Down from Heaven''
IV     The Fertility of the Feeble-Minded
V      The Cruelty of Charity
VI     Neglected Factors of the World Problem
VII    Is Revolution the Remedy?
VIII   Dangers of Cradle Competition
IX     A Moral Necessity
X      Science the Ally
XI     Education and Expression
XII    Woman and the Future

Appendix:  Principles and Aims of the American Birth Control League


Birth control, Mrs. Sanger claims, and claims rightly, to be a
question of fundamental importance at the present time.  I do not know
how far one is justified in calling it the pivot or the corner-stone
of a progressive civilization.  These terms involve a criticism of
metaphors that may take us far away from the question in hand.  Birth
Control is no new thing in human experience, and it has been practised
in societies of the most various types and fortunes.  But there can be
little doubt that at the present time it is a test issue between two
widely different interpretations of the word civilization, and of what
is good in life and conduct.  The way in which men and women range
themselves in this controversy is more simply and directly indicative
of their general intellectual quality than any other single
indication.  I do not wish to imply by this that the people who oppose
are more or less intellectual than the people who advocate Birth
Control, but only that they have fundamentally contrasted general
ideas,--that, mentally, they are DIFFERENT.  Very simple, very
complex, very dull and very brilliant persons may be found in either
camp, but all those in either camp have certain attitudes in common
which they share with one another, and do not share with those in the
other camp.

There have been many definitions of civilization.  Civilization is a
complexity of count less aspects, and may be validly defined in a
great number of relationships.  A reader of James Harvey Robinson's
MIND IN THE MAKING will find it very reasonable to define a
civilization as a system of society-making ideas at issue with
reality.  Just so far as the system of ideas meets the needs and
conditions of survival or is able to adapt itself to the needs and
conditions of survival of the society it dominates, so far will that
society continue and prosper.  We are beginning to realize that in the
past and under different conditions from our own, societies have
existed with systems of ideas and with methods of thought very widely
contrasting with what we should consider right and sane to-day.  The
extraordinary neolithic civilizations of the American continent that
flourished before the coming of the Europeans, seem to have got along
with concepts that involved pedantries and cruelties and a kind of
systematic unreason, which find their closest parallels to-day in the
art and writings of certain types of lunatic.  There are collections
of drawings from English and American asylums extraordinarily parallel
in their spirit and quality with the Maya inscriptions of Central
America.  Yet these neolithic American societies got along for
hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.  they respected seed-time and
harvest, they bred and they maintained a grotesque and terrible order.
And they produced quite beautiful works of art.  Yet their surplus of
population was disposed of by an organization of sacrificial slaughter
unparalleled in the records of mankind.  Many of the institutions that
seemed most normal and respectable to them, filled the invading
Europeans with perplexity and horror.

When we realize clearly this possibility of civilizations being based
on very different sets of moral ideas and upon different intellectual
methods, we are better able to appreciate the profound significance of
the schism in our modern community, which gives us side by side,
honest and intelligent people who regard Birth Control as something
essentially sweet, sane, clean, desirable and necessary, and others
equally honest and with as good a claim to intelligence who regard it
as not merely unreasonable and unwholesome, but as intolerable and
abominable.  We are living not in a simple and complete civilization,
but in a conflict of at least two civilizations, based on entirely
different fundamental ideas, pursuing different methods and with
different aims and ends.

I will call one of these civilizations our Traditional or
Authoritative Civilization.  It rests upon the thing that is, and upon
the thing that has been.  It insists upon respect for custom and
usage; it discourages criticism and enquiry.  It is very ancient and
conservative, or, going beyond conservation, it is reactionary. The
vehement hostility of many Catholic priests and prelates towards new
views of human origins, and new views of moral questions, has led many
careless thinkers to identify this old traditional civilization with
Christianity, but that identification ignores the strongly
revolutionary and initiatory spirit that has always animated
Christianity, and is untrue even to the realities of orthodox Catholic
teaching.  The vituperation of individual Catholics must not be
confused with the deliberate doctrines of the Church which have, on
the whole, been conspicuously cautious and balanced and sane in these
matters.  The ideas and practices of the Old Civilization are older
and more widespread than and not identifiable with either Christian or
Catholic culture, and it will be a great misfortune if the issues
between the Old Civilization and the New are allowed to slip into the
deep ruts of religious controversies that are only accidentally and
intermittently parallel.

Contrasted with the ancient civilization, with the Traditional
disposition, which accepts institutions and moral values as though
they were a part of nature, we have what I may call--with an evident
bias in its favour--the civilization of enquiry, of experimental
knowledge, Creative and Progressive Civilization.  The first great
outbreak of the spirit of this civilization was in republican Greece;
the martyrdom of Socrates, the fearless Utopianism of Plato, the
ambitious encyclopaedism of Aristotle, mark the dawn of a new courage
and a new wilfulness in human affairs.  The fear of set limitations,
of punitive and restrictive laws imposed by Fate upon human life was
visibly fading in human minds.  These names mark the first clear
realization that to a large extent, and possibly to an illimitable
extent, man's moral and social life and his general destiny could be
seized upon and controlled by man. But--he must have knowledge.  Said
the Ancient Civilization--and it says it still through a multitude of
vigorous voices and harsh repressive acts: ``Let man learn his duty
and obey.'' Says the New Civilization, with ever-increasing
confidence: ``Let man know, and trust him.''

For long ages, the Old Civilization kept the New subordinate,
apologetic and ineffective, but for the last two centuries, the New
has fought its way to a position of contentious equality.  The two go
on side by side, jostling upon a thousand issues.  The world changes,
the conditions of life change rapidly, through that development of
organized science which is the natural method of the New Civilization.
The old tradition demands that national loyalties and ancient
belligerence should continue. The new has produced means of
communication that break down the pens and separations of human life
upon which nationalist emotion depends.  The old tradition insists
upon its ancient blood-letting of war; the new knowledge carries that
war to undreamt of levels of destruction.  The ancient system needed
an unrestricted breeding to meet the normal waste of life through war,
pestilence, and a multitude of hitherto unpreventable diseases. The
new knowledge sweeps away the venerable checks of pestilence and
disease, and confronts us with the congestions and explosive dangers
of an over-populated world.  The old tradition demands a special
prolific class doomed to labor and subservience; the new points to
mechanism and to scientific organization as a means of escape from
this immemorial subjugation.  Upon every main issue in life, there is
this quarrel between the method of submission and the method of
knowledge. More and more do men of science and intelligent people
generally realize the hopelessness of pouring new wine into old
bottles.  More and more clearly do they grasp the significance of the
Great Teacher's parable.

The New Civilization is saying to the Old now: ``We cannot go on
making power for you to spend upon international conflict.  You must
stop waving flags and bandying insults. You must organize the Peace of
the World; you must subdue yourselves to the Federation of all
mankind.  And we cannot go on giving you health, freedom, enlargement,
limitless wealth, if all our gifts to you are to be swamped by an
indiscriminate torrent of progeny.  We want fewer and better children
who can be reared up to their full possibilities in unencumbered
homes, and we cannot make the social life and the world-peace we are
determined to make, with the ill-bred, ill-trained swarms of inferior
citizens that you inflict upon us.'' And there at the passionate and
crucial question, this essential and fundamental question, whether
procreation is still to be a superstitious and often disastrous
mystery, undertaken in fear and ignorance, reluctantly and under the
sway of blind desires, or whether it is to become a deliberate
creative act, the two civilizations join issue now.  It is a conflict
from which it is almost impossible to abstain.  Our acts, our way of
living, our social tolerance, our very silences will count in this
crucial decision between the old and the new.

In a plain and lucid style without any emotional appeals, Mrs.
Margaret Sanger sets out the case of the new order against the old.
There have been several able books published recently upon the
question of Birth Control, from the point of view of a woman's
personal life, and from the point of view of married happiness, but I
do not think there has been any book as yet, popularly accessible,
which presents this matter from the point of view of the public good,
and as a necessary step to the further improvement of human life as a
whole.  I am inclined to think that there has hitherto been rather too
much personal emotion spent upon this business and far too little
attention given to its broader aspects.  Mrs. Sanger with her
extraordinary breadth of outlook and the real scientific quality of
her mind, has now redressed the balance.  She has lifted this question
from out of the warm atmosphere of troubled domesticity in which it
has hitherto been discussed, to its proper level of a predominantly
important human affair.

H.G. Wells
Easton Glebe,
Essex., England


CHAPTER I: A New Truth Emerges

    Be not ashamed, women, your privilege encloses the
        rest, and is the exit of the rest,
    You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of
        the soul.

Walt Whitman

This book aims to be neither the first word on the tangled problems of
human society to-day, nor the last.  My aim has been to emphasize, by
the use of concrete and challenging examples and neglected facts, the
need of a new approach to individual and social problems. Its central
challenge is that civilization, in any true sense of the word, is
based upon the control and guidance of the great natural instinct of
Sex.  Mastery of this force is possible only through the instrument of
Birth Control.

It may be objected that in the following pages I have rushed in where
academic scholars have feared to tread, and that as an active
propagandist I am lacking in the scholarship and documentary
preparation to undertake such a stupendous task.  My only defense is
that, from my point of view at least, too many are already studying
and investigating social problems from without, with a sort of
Olympian detachment.  And on the other hand, too few of those who are
engaged in this endless war for human betterment have found the time
to give to the world those truths not always hidden but practically
unquarried, which may be secured only after years of active service.

Of late, we have been treated to accounts written by well-meaning
ladies and gentlemen who have assumed clever disguises and have gone
out to work--for a week or a month--among the proletariat.  But can we
thus learn anything new of the fundamental problems of working men,
working women, working children?  Something, perhaps, but not those
great central problems of Hunger and Sex. We have been told that only
those who themselves have suffered the pangs of starvation can truly
understand Hunger.  You might come into the closest contact with a
starving man; yet, if you were yourself well-fed, no amount of
sympathy could give you actual insight into the psychology of his
suffering. This suggests an objective and a subjective approach to all
social problems.  Whatever the weakness of the subjective (or, if you
prefer, the feminine) approach, it has at least the virtue that its
conclusions are tested by experience.  Observation of facts about you,
intimate subjective reaction to such facts, generate in your mind
certain fundamental convictions,--truths you can ignore no more than
you can ignore such truths as come as the fruit of bitter but valuable
personal experience.

Regarding myself, I may say that my experience in the course of the
past twelve or fifteen years has been of a type to force upon me
certain convictions that demand expression.  For years I had believed
that the solution of all our troubles was to be found in well-defined
programmes of political and legislative action.  At first, I
concentrated my whole attention upon these, only to discover that
politicians and law-makers are just as confused and as much at a loss
in solving fundamental problems as anyone else.  And I am speaking
here not so much of the corrupt and ignorant politician as of those
idealists and reformers who think that by the ballot society may be
led to an earthly paradise.  They may honestly desire and intend to do
great things.  They may positively glow--before election--with
enthusiasm at the prospect they imagine political victory may open to
them. Time after time, I was struck by the change in their attitude
after the briefest enjoyment of this illusory power.  Men are elected
during some wave of reform, let us say, elected to legislate into
practical working existence some great ideal.  They want to do big
things; but a short time in office is enough to show the political
idealist that he can accomplish nothing, that his reform must be
debased and dragged into the dust, so that even if it becomes enacted,
it may be not merely of no benefit, but a positive evil.  It is
scarcely necessary to emphasize this point.  It is an accepted
commonplace of American politics.  So much of life, so large a part of
all our social problems, moreover, remains untouched by political and
legislative action.  This is an old truth too often ignored by those
who plan political campaigns upon the most superficial knowledge of
human nature.

My own eyes were opened to the limitations of political action when,
as an organizer for a political group in New York, I attended by
chance a meeting of women laundry-workers who were on strike.  We
believed we could help these women with a legislative measure and
asked their support.  ``Oh! that stuff!'' exclaimed one of these
women.  ``Don't you know that we women might be dead and buried if we
waited for politicians and lawmakers to right our wrongs?''  This set
me to thinking--not merely of the immediate problem--but to asking
myself how much any male politician could understand of the wrongs
inflicted upon poor working women.

I threw the weight of my study and activity into the economic and
industrial struggle. Here I discovered men and women fired with the
glorious vision of a new world, of a proletarian world emancipated, a
Utopian world,--it glowed in romantic colours for the majority of
those with whom I came in closest contact. The next step, the
immediate step, was another matter, less romantic and too often less
encouraging.  In their ardor, some of the labor leaders of that period
almost convinced us that the millennium was just around the corner. 
Those were the pre-war days of dramatic strikes.  But even when most
under the spell of the new vision, the sight of the overburdened wives
of the strikers, with their puny babies and their broods of under-fed
children, made us stop and think of a neglected factor in the march
toward our earthly paradise.  It was well enough to ask the poor men
workers to carry on the battle against economic injustice.  But what
results could be expected when they were forced in addition to carry
the burden of their ever-growing families?  This question loomed large
to those of us who came into intimate contact with the women and
children.  We saw that in the final analysis the real burden of
economic and industrial warfare was thrust upon the frail, all-too-
frail shoulders of the children, the very babies--the coming
generation.  In their wan faces, in their undernourished bodies, would
be indelibly written the bitter defeat of their parents.

The eloquence of those who led the underpaid and half-starved workers
could no longer, for me, at least, ring with conviction.  Something
more than the purely economic interpretation was involved.  The bitter
struggle for bread, for a home and material comfort, was but one phase
of the problem.  There was another phase, perhaps even more
fundamental, that had been absolutely neglected by the adherents of
the new dogmas.  That other phase was the driving power of instinct, a
power uncontrolled and unnoticed.  The great fundamental instinct of
sex was expressing itself in these ever-growing broods, in the
prosperity of the slum midwife and her colleague the slum undertaker. 
In spite of all my sympathy with the dream of liberated Labor, I was
driven to ask whether this urging power of sex, this deep instinct,
was not at least partially responsible, along with industrial
injustice, for the widespread misery of the world.

To find an answer to this problem which at that point in my experience
I could not solve, I determined to study conditions in Europe. Perhaps
there I might discover a new approach, a great illumination.  Just
before the outbreak of the war, I visited France, Spain, Germany and
Great Britain.  Everywhere I found the same dogmas and prejudices
among labor leaders, the same intense but limited vision, the same
insistence upon the purely economic phases of human nature, the same
belief that if the problem of hunger were solved, the question of the
women and children would take care of itself.  In this attitude I
discovered, then, what seemed to me to be purely masculine reasoning;
and because it was purely masculine, it could at best be but half
true.  Feminine insight must be brought to bear on all questions; and
here, it struck me, the fallacy of the masculine, the all-too-
masculine, was brutally exposed.  I was encouraged and strengthened in
this attitude by the support of certain leaders who had studied human
nature and who had reached the same conclusion: that civilization
could not solve the problem of Hunger until it recognized the titanic
strength of the sexual instinct.  In Spain, I found that Lorenzo
Portet, who was carrying on the work of the martyred Francisco Ferrer,
had reached this same conclusion.  In Italy, Enrico Malatesta, the
valiant leader who was after the war to play so dramatic a rôle, was
likewise combating the current dogma of the orthodox Socialists.  In
Berlin, Rudolph Rocker was engaged in the thankless task of puncturing
the articles of faith of the orthodox Marxian religion.  It is quite
needless to add that these men who had probed beneath the surface of
the problem and had diagnosed so much more completely the complex
malady of contemporary society were intensely disliked by the
superficial theorists of the neo-Marxian School.

The gospel of Marx had, however, been too long and too thoroughly
inculcated into the minds of millions of workers in Europe, to be
discarded.  It is a flattering doctrine, since it teaches the laborer
that all the fault is with someone else, that he is the victim of
circumstances, and not even a partner in the creation of his own and
his child's misery. Not without significance was the additional
discovery that I made.  I found that the Marxian influence tended to
lead workers to believe that, irrespective of the health of the poor
mothers, the earning capacity of the wage-earning fathers, or the
upbringing of the children, increase of the proletarian family was a
benefit, not a detriment to the revolutionary movement.  The greater
the number of hungry mouths, the emptier the stomachs, the more
quickly would the ``Class War'' be precipitated.  The greater the
increase in population among the proletariat, the greater the
incentive to revolution.  This may not be sound Marxian theory; but it
is the manner in which it is popularly accepted.  It is the popular
belief, wherever the Marxian influence is strong.  This I found
especially in England and Scotland.  In speaking to groups of
dockworkers on strike in Glasgow, and before the communist and co-
operative guilds throughout England, I discovered a prevailing
opposition to the recognition of sex as a factor in the perpetuation
of poverty.  The leaders and theorists were immovable in their
opposition.  But when once I succeeded in breaking through the surface
opposition of the rank and file of the workers, I found that they were
willing to recognize the power of this neglected factor in their

So central, so fundamental in the life of every man and woman is this
problem that they need be taught no elaborate or imposing theory to
explain their troubles.  To approach their problems by the avenue of
sex and reproduction is to reveal at once their fundamental relations
to the whole economic and biological structure of society.  Their
interest is immediately and completely awakened.  But always, as I
soon discovered, the ideas and habits of thought of these submerged
masses have been formed through the Press, the Church, through
political institutions, all of which had built up a conspiracy of
silence around a subject that is of no less vital importance than that
of Hunger.  A great wall separates the masses from those imperative
truths that must be known and flung wide if civilization is to be
saved. As currently constituted, Church, Press, Education seem to-day
organized to exploit the ignorance and the prejudices of the masses,
rather than to light their way to self-salvation.

Such was the situation in 1914, when I returned to America,
determined, since the exclusively masculine point of view had
dominated too long, that the other half of the truth should be made
known.  The Birth Control movement was launched because it was in this
form that the whole relation of woman and child--eternal emblem of the
future of society--could be more effectively dramatized.  The amazing
growth of this movement dates from the moment when in my home a small
group organized the first Birth Control League. Since then we have
been criticized for our choice of the term ``Birth Control'' to
express the idea of modern scientific contraception. I have yet to
hear any criticism of this term that is not based upon some false and
hypocritical sense of modesty, or that does not arise out of a semi-
prurient misunderstanding of its aim. On the other hand: nothing
better expresses the idea of purposive, responsible, and self-directed
guidance of the reproductive powers.

Those critics who condemn Birth Control as a negative, destructive
idea, concerned only with self-gratification, might profitably open
the nearest dictionary for a definition of ``control.''  There they
would discover that the verb ``control'' means to exercise a
directing, guiding, or restraining influence;--to direct, to regulate,
to counteract.  Control is guidance, direction, foresight.  it implies
intelligence, forethought and responsibility. They will find in the
Standard Dictionary a quotation from Lecky to the effect that, ``The
greatest of all evils in politics is power without control.''  In what
phase of life is not ``power without control'' an evil?  Birth
Control, therefore, means not merely the limitation of births, but the
application of intelligent guidance over the reproductive power. It
means the substitution of reason and intelligence for the blind play
of instinct.

The term ``Birth Control'' had the immense practical advantage of
compressing into two short words the answer to the inarticulate
demands of millions of men and women in all countries.  At the time
this slogan was formulated, I had not yet come to the complete
realization of the great truth that had been thus crystallized.  It
was the response to the overwhelming, heart-breaking appeals that came
by every mail for aid and advice, which revealed a great truth that
lay dormant, a truth that seemed to spring into full vitality almost
over night--that could never again be crushed to earth!

 Nor could I then have realized the number and the power of the
enemies who were to be aroused into activity by this idea.  So
completely was I dominated by this conviction of the efficacy of
``control,'' that I could not until later realize the extent of the
sacrifices that were to be exacted of me and of those who supported my
campaign.  The very idea of Birth Control resurrected the spirit of
the witch-hunters of Salem.  Could they have usurped the power, they
would have burned us at the stake.  Lacking that power, they used the
weapon of suppression, and invoked medieval statutes to send us to
jail.  These tactics had an effect the very opposite to that intended. 
They demonstrated the vitality of the idea of Birth Control, and acted
as counter-irritant on the actively intelligent sections of the
American community.  Nor was the interest aroused confined merely to
America.  The neo-Malthusian movement in Great Britain with its
history of undaunted bravery, came to our support; and I had the
comfort of knowing that the finest minds of England did not hesitate a
moment in the expression of their sympathy and support.

 In America, on the other hand, I found from the beginning until very
recently that the so-called intellectuals exhibited a curious and
almost inexplicable reticence in supporting Birth Control.  They even
hesitated to voice any public protest against the campaign to crush us
which was inaugurated and sustained by the most reactionary and
sinister forces in American life.  It was not inertia or any lack of
interest on the part of the masses that stood in our way.  It was the
indifference of the intellectual leaders.

Writers, teachers, ministers, editors, who form a class dictating, if
not creating, public opinion, are, in this country, singularly
inhibited or unconscious of their true function in the community.  One
of their first duties, it is certain, should be to champion the
constitutional right of free speech and free press, to welcome any
idea that tends to awaken the critical attention of the great American
public. But those who reveal themselves as fully cognizant of this
public duty are in the minority, and must possess more than average
courage to survive the enmity such an attitude provokes.

One of the chief aims of the present volume is to stimulate American
intellectuals to abandon the mental habits which prevent them from
seeing human nature as a whole, instead of as something that can be
pigeonholed into various compartments or classes. Birth Control
affords an approach to the study of humanity because it cuts through
the limitations of current methods.  It is economic, biological,
psychological and spiritual in its aspects.  It awakens the vision of
mankind moving and changing, of humanity growing and developing,
coming to fruition, of a race creative, flowering into beautiful
expression through talent and genius.

As a social programme, Birth Control is not merely concerned with
population questions. In this respect, it is a distinct step in
advance of earlier Malthusian doctrines, which concerned themselves
chiefly with economics and population.  Birth Control concerns itself
with the spirit no less than the body.  It looks for the liberation of
the spirit of woman and through woman of the child.  To-day motherhood
is wasted, penalized, tortured.  Children brought into the world by
unwilling mother suffer an initial handicap that cannot be measured by
cold statistics.  Their lives are blighted from the start.  To
substantiate this fact, I have chosen to present the conclusions of
reports on Child Labor and records of defect and delinquency published
by organizations with no bias in favour of Birth Control. The evidence
is before us.  It crowds in upon us from all sides.  But prior to this
new approach, no attempt had been made to correlate the effects of the
blind and irresponsible play of the sexual instinct with its deep-
rooted causes.

The duty of the educator and the intellectual creator of public
opinion is, in this connection, of the greatest importance.  For
centuries official moralists, priests, clergymen and teachers,
statesmen and politicians have preached the doctrine of glorious and
divine fertility. To-day, we are confronted with the world-wide
spectacle of the realization of this doctrine. It is not without
significance that the moron and the imbecile set the pace in living up
to this teaching, and that the intellectuals, the educators, the
archbishops, bishops, priests, who are most insistent on it, are the
staunchest adherents in their own lives of celibacy and non-fertility. 
It is time to point out to the champions of unceasing and
indiscriminate fertility the results of their teaching.

One of the greatest difficulties in giving to the public a book of
this type is the impossibility of keeping pace with the events and
changes of a movement that is now, throughout the world, striking root
and growing.  The changed attitude of the American Press indicates
that enlightened public opinion no longer tolerates a policy of
silence upon a question of the most vital importance.  Almost
simultaneously in England and America, two incidents have broken
through the prejudice and the guarded silence of centuries.  At the
church Congress in Birmingham, October 12, 1921, Lord Dawson, the
king's physician, in criticizing the report of the Lambeth Conference
concerning Birth Control, delivered an address defending this
practice.  Of such bravery and eloquence that it could not be ignored,
this address electrified the entire British public.  It aroused a
storm of abuse, and yet succeeded, as no propaganda could, in
mobilizing the forces of progress and intelligence in the support of
the cause.

Just one month later, the First American Birth Control Conference
culminated in a significant and dramatic incident.  At the close of
the conference a mass meeting was scheduled in the Town Hall, New York
City, to discuss the morality of Birth Control.  Mr. Harold Cox,
editor of the Edinburgh Review, who had come to New York to attend the
conference, was to lead the discussion.  It seemed only natural for us
to call together scientists, educators, members of the medical
profession, and theologians of all denominations, to ask their opinion
upon this uncertain and important phase of the controversy.  Letters
were sent to eminent men and women in different parts of the world. 
In this letter we asked the following questions:--

    1.  Is over-population a menace to the peace of the world?
    2.  Would the legal dissemination of scientific Birth Control
        information, through the medium of clinics by the medical
        profession, be the most logical method of checking the problem
        of over-population?
    3.  Would knowledge of Birth Control change the moral attitude of
        men and women toward the marriage bond, or lower the moral
        standards of the youth of the country?
    4.  Do you believe that knowledge which enables parents to limit
        their families will make for human happiness, and raise the
        moral, social and intellectual standards of population?

We sent this questionnaire not only to those who we thought might
agree with us, but we sent it also to our known opponents.

When I arrived at the Town Hall the entrance was guarded by policemen. 
They told me there would be no meeting.  Before my arrival r
executives had been greeted by Monsignor Dineen, secretary of
Archbishop Hayes, of the Roman Catholic archdiocese, who informed them
that the meeting would be prohibited on the ground that it was
contrary to public morals.  The police had closed the doors.  When
they opened them to permit the exit of the large audience which had
gathered, Mr. Cox and I entered.  I attempted to exercise my
constitutional right of free speech, but was prohibited and arrested. 
Miss Mary Winsor, who protested against this unwarranted arrest, was
likewise dragged off to the police station.  The case was dismissed
the following morning.  The ecclesiastic instigators of the affair
were conspicuous by their absence from the police court.  But the
incident was enough to expose the opponents of Birth Control and the
extreme methods they used to combat our progress.  The case was too
flagrant, too gross an affront, to pass unnoticed by the newspapers. 
The progress of our movement was indicated in the changed attitude of
the American Press, which had perceived the danger to the public of
the unlawful tactics used by the enemies of Birth Control in
preventing open discussion of a vital question.

No social idea has inspired its advocates with more bravery, tenacity,
and courage than Birth Control.  From the early days of Francis Place
and Richard Carlile, to those of the Drysdales and Edward Trulove, of
Bradlaugh and Mrs. Annie Besant, its advocates have faced imprisonment
and ostracism.  In the whole history of the English movement, there
has been no more courageous figure than that of the venerable Alice
Drysdale Vickery, the undaunted torch-bearer who has bridged the
silence of forty-four years--since the Bradlaugh-Besant trial.  She
stands head and shoulders above the professional feminists. Serenely
has she withstood jeers and jests. To-day, she continues to point out
to the younger generation which is devoted to newer palliatives the
fundamental relation between Sex and Hunger.

The First American Birth Control Conference, held at the same time as
the Washington Conference for the Limitation of Armaments, marks a
turning-point in our approach to social problems.  The Conference made
evident the fact that in every field of scientific and social
endeavour the most penetrating thinkers are now turning to the
consideration of our problem as a fundamental necessity to American
civilization.  They are coming to see that a QUALITATIVE factor as
opposed to a QUANTITATIVE one is of primary importance in dealing with
the great masses of humanity.

Certain fundamental convictions should be made clear here.  The
programme for Birth. Control is not a charity.  It is not aiming to
interfere in the private lives of poor people, to tell them how many
children they should have, nor to sit in judgment upon their fitness
to become parents.  It aims, rather, to awaken responsibility, to
answer the demand for a scientific means by which and through which
each human life may be self-directed and self-controlled.  The
exponent of Birth Control, in short, is convinced that social
regeneration, no less than individual regeneration, must come from
within.  Every potential parent, and especially every potential
mother, must be brought to an acute realization of the primary and
individual responsibility of bringing children into this world.  Not
until the parents of this world are given control over their
reproductive faculties will it be possible to improve the quality of
the generations of the future, or even to maintain civilization at its
present level.  Only when given intelligent mastery of the procreative
powers can the great mass of humanity be aroused to a realization of
responsibility of parenthood.  We have come to the conclusion, based
on widespread investigation and experience, that education for
parenthood must be based upon the needs and demands of the people
themselves.  An idealistic code of sexual ethics, imposed from above,
a set of rules devised by high-minded theorists who fail to take into
account the living conditions and desires of the masses, can never be
of the slightest value in effecting change in the customs of the
people.  Systems so imposed in the past have revealed their woeful
inability to prevent the sexual and racial chaos into which the world
has drifted.

The universal demand for practical education in Birth Control is one
of the most hopeful signs that the masses themselves to-day possess
the divine spark of regeneration.  It remains for the courageous and
the enlightened to answer this demand, to kindle the spark, to direct
a thorough education in sex hygiene based upon this intense interest.

Birth Control is thus the entering wedge for the educator.  In
answering the needs of these thousands upon thousands of submerged
mothers, it is possible to use their interest as the foundation for
education in prophylaxis, hygiene and infant welfare.  The potential
mother can then be shown that maternity need not be slavery but may be
the most effective avenue to self-development and self-realization.
Upon this basis only may we improve the quality of the race.

The lack of balance between the birth-rate of the ``unfit'' and the
``fit,'' admittedly the greatest present menace to the civilization,
can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition
between these two classes. The example of the inferior classes, the
fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-
stricken, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and
physically fit, and therefore less fertile, parents of the educated
and well-to-do classes.  On the contrary, the most urgent problem to-
day is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally
and physically defective.  Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be
forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage
the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid,
cruel sentimentalism.

To effect the salvation of the generations of the future--nay, of the
generations of to-day--our greatest need, first of all, is the ability
to face the situation without flinching; to cooperate in the formation
of a code of sexual ethics based upon a thorough biological and
psychological understanding of human nature; and then to answer the
questions and the needs of the people with all the intelligence and
honesty at our command.  If we can summon the bravery to do this, we
shall best be serving the pivotal interests of civilization.

To conclude this introduction: my initiation, as I have confessed, was
primarily an emotional one.  My interest in Birth Control was awakened
by experience.  Research and investigation have followed.  Our effort
has been to raise our program from the plane of the emotional to the
plane of the scientific.  Any social progress, it is my belief, must
purge itself of sentimentalism and pass through the crucible of
science.  We are willing to submit Birth Control to this test.  It is
part of the purpose of this book to appeal to the scientist for aid,
to arouse that interest which will result in widespread research and
investigation.  I believe that my personal experience with this idea
must be that of the race at large.  We must temper our emotion and
enthusiasm with the impersonal determination of science.  We must
unite in the task of creating an instrument of steel, strong but
supple, if we are to triumph finally in the war for human

CHAPTER II: Conscripted Motherhood

    ``Their poor, old ravaged and stiffened faces, their poor,
    old bodies dried up with ceaseless toil, their patient souls
    made me weep.  They are our conscripts. They are the venerable
    ones whom we should reverence. All the mystery of womanhood
    seems incarnated in their ugly being--the Mothers! the Mothers!
    Ye are all one!''

From the Letters of William James

Motherhood, which is not only the oldest but the most important
profession in the world, has received few of the benefits of
civilization.  It is a curious fact that a civilization devoted to
mother-worship, that publicly professes a worship of mother and child,
should close its eyes to the appalling waste of human life and human
energy resulting from those dire consequences of leaving the whole
problem of child-bearing to chance and blind instinct. It would be
untrue to say that among the civilized nations of the world to-day,
the profession of motherhood remains in a barbarous state.  The bitter
truth is that motherhood, among the larger part of our population,
does not rise to the level of the barbarous or the primitive.
Conditions of life among the primitive tribes  were rude enough and
severe enough to prevent the unhealthy growth of sentimentality, and
to discourage the irresponsible production of defective children.
Moreover, there is ample evidence to indicate that even among the most
primitive peoples the function of maternity was recognized as of
primary and central importance to the community.

If we define civilization as increased and increasing responsibility
based on vision and foresight, it becomes painfully evident that the
profession of motherhood as practised to-day is in no sense civilized.
Educated people derive their ideas of maternity for the most part,
either from the experience of their own set, or from visits to
impressive hospitals where women of the upper classes receive the
advantages of modern science and modern nursing.  From these charming
pictures they derive their complacent views of the beauty of
motherhood and their confidence for the future of the race.  The other
side of the picture is revealed only to the trained investigator, to
the patient and impartial observer who visits not merely one or two
``homes of the poor,'' but makes detailed studies of town after town,
obtains the history of each mother, and finally correlates and
analyzes this evidence.  Upon such a basis are we able to draw
conclusions concerning this strange business of bringing children into
the world.

Every year I receive thousands of letters from women in all parts of
America, desperate appeals to aid them to extricate themselves from
the trap of compulsory maternity.  Lest I be accused of bias and
exaggeration in drawing my conclusions from these painful human
documents, I prefer to present a number of typical cases recorded in
the reports of the United States Government, and in the evidence of
trained and impartial investigators of social agencies more generally
opposed to the doctrine of Birth Control than biased in favor of it.

A perusal of the reports on infant mortality in widely varying
industrial centers of the United States, published during the past
decade by the Children's Bureau of the United States Department of
Labor, forces us to a realization of the immediate need of detailed
statistics concerning the practice and results of uncontrolled
breeding.  Some such effort as this has been made by the Galton
Laboratory of National Eugenics in Great Britain. The Children's
Bureau reports only incidentally present this impressive evidence.
They fail to coordinate it.  While there is always the danger of
drawing giant conclusions from pigmy premises, here is overwhelming
evidence concerning irresponsible parenthood that is ignored by
governmental and social agencies.

I have chosen a small number of typical cases from these reports.
Though drawn from widely varying sources, they all emphasize the
greatest crime of modern civilization--that of permitting motherhood
to be left to blind chance, and to be mainly a function of the most
abysmally ignorant and irresponsible classes of the community.

Here is a fairly typical case from Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  A woman
of thirty- eight years had undergone thirteen pregnancies in seventeen
years.  Of eleven live births and two premature stillbirths, only two
children were alive at the time of the government agent's visit.  The
second to eighth, the eleventh and the thirteenth had died of bowel
trouble, at ages ranging from three weeks to four months.  The only
cause of these deaths the mother could give was that ``food did not
agree with them.''  She confessed quite frankly that she believed in
feeding babies, and gave them everything anybody told her to give
them.  She began to give them at the age of one month, bread,
potatoes, egg, crackers, etc. For the last baby that died, this mother
had bought a goat and gave its milk to the baby; the goat got sick,
but the mother continued to give her baby its milk until the goat went
dry. Moreover, she directed the feeding of her daughter's baby until
it died at the age of three months.  ``On account of the many children
she had had, the neighbors consider her an authority on baby care.''

Lest this case be considered too tragically ridiculous to be accepted
as typical, the reader may verify it with an almost interminable list
of similar cases.[1]  Parental irresponsibility is significantly
illustrated in another case:

A mother who had four live births and two stillbirths in twelve years
lost all of her babies during their first year.  She was so anxious
that at least one child should live that she consulted a physician
concerning the care of the last one.  ``Upon his advice,'' to quote
the government report, ``she gave up her twenty boarders immediately
after the child's birth, and devoted all her time to it.  Thinks she
did not stop her hard work soon enough; says she has always worked too
hard, keeping boarders in this country, and cutting wood and carrying
it and water on her back in the old country. Also says the carrying of
water and cases of beer in this country is a great strain on her.''
But the illuminating point in this case is that the father was furious
because all the babies died.  To show his disrespect for the wife who
could only give birth to babies that died, he wore a red necktie to
the funeral of the last. Yet this woman, the government agent reports,
would follow and profit by any instruction that might be given her.

It is true that the cases reported from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, do
not represent completely ``Americanized'' families.  This lack does
not prevent them, however, by their unceasing fertility from producing
the Americans of to-morrow.  Of the more immediate conditions
surrounding child-birth, we are presented with this evidence, given by
one woman concerning the birth of her last child:

On five o'clock on Wednesday evening she went to her sister's house to
return a washboard, after finishing a day's washing.  The baby was
born while she was there.  Her sister was too young to aid her in any
way. She was not accustomed to a midwife, she confessed.  She cut the
cord herself, washed the new-born baby at her sister's house, walked
home, cooked supper for her boarders, and went to bed by eight
o'clock.  The next day she got up and ironed.  This tired her out, she
said, so she stayed in bed for two whole days. She milked cows the day
after the birth of the baby and sold the milk as well.  Later in the
week, when she became tired, she hired someone to do that portion of
her work.  This woman, we are further informed, kept cows, chickens,
and lodgers, and earned additional money by doing laundry and
charwork.  At times her husband deserted her.  His earnings amounted
to $1.70 a day, while a fifteen-year-old son earned $1.10 in a coal

One searches in vain for some picture of sacred motherhood, as
depicted in popular plays and motion pictures, something more normal
and encouraging.  Then one comes to the bitter realization that these,
in very truth, are the ``normal'' cases, not the exceptions. The
exceptions are apt to indicate, instead, the close relationship of
this irresponsible and chance parenthood to the great social problems
of feeble-mindedness, crime and syphilis.

Nor is this type of motherhood confined to newly arrived immigrant
mothers, as a government report from Akron, Ohio, sufficiently
indicates.  In this city, the government agents discovered that more
than five hundred mothers were ignorant of the accepted principles of
infant feeding, or, if familiar with them, did not practise them.
``This ignorance or indifference was not confined to foreign-born
mothers....A native mother reported that she gave her two-weeks-old
baby ice cream, and that before his sixth month, he was sitting at the
table `eating everything.'''  This was in a town in which there were
comparatively few cases of extreme poverty.

The degradation of motherhood, the damnation of the next generation
before it is born, is exposed in all its catastrophic misery, in the
reports of the National Consumers' League. In her report of living
conditions among night-working mothers in thirty-nine textile mills in
Rhode Island, based on exhaustive studies, Mrs. Florence Kelley
describes the ``normal'' life of these women:

``When the worker, cruelly tired from ten hours' work, comes home in
the early morning, she usually scrambles together breakfast for the
family.  Eating little or nothing herself, and that hastily, she
tumbles into bed--not the immaculate bed in an airy bed-room with dark
shades, but one still warm from its night occupants, in a stuffy
little bed-room, darkened imperfectly if at all.  After sleeping
exhaustedly for an hour perhaps she bestirs herself to get the
children off to school, or care for insistent little ones, too young
to appreciate that mother is tired out and must sleep. Perhaps later
in the forenoon, she again drops into a fitful sleep, or she may have
to wait until after dinner.  There is the midday meal to get, and, if
her husband cannot come home, his dinner-pail to pack with a hot lunch
to be sent or carried to him.  If he is not at home, the lunch is
rather a makeshift.  The midday meal is scarcely over before supper
must be thought of.  This has to be eaten hurriedly before the family
are ready, for the mother must be in the mill at work, by 6, 6:30 or 7
P.M....Many women in their inadequate English, summed up their daily
routine by, ``Oh, me all time tired.  TOO MUCH WORK, TOO MUCH BABY,

``Only sixteen of the 166 married women were without children; thirty-
two had three or more; twenty had children on year old or under.
There were 160 children under school-age, below six years, and 246 of
school age.''

``A woman in ordinary circumstances,'' adds this impartial
investigator, ``with a husband and three children, if she does her own
work, feels that her hands are full.  How these mill-workers, many of
them frail-looking, and many with confessedly poor health, can ever do
two jobs is a mystery, when they are seen in their homes dragging
about, pale, hollow-eyed and listless, often needlessly sharp and
impatient with the children.  These children are not only not
mothered, never cherished, they are nagged and buffeted.  The mothers
are not superwomen, and like all human beings, they have a certain
amount of strength and when that breaks, their nerves suffer.''

We are presented with a vivid picture of one of these slave-mothers:
a woman of thirty-eight who looks at least fifty with her worn,
furrowed face.  Asked why she had been working at night for the past
two years, she pointed to a six-months old baby she was carrying, to
the five small children swarming about her, and answered laconically,
``Too much children!''  She volunteered the information that there had
been two more who had died.  When asked why they had died, the poor
mother shrugged her shoulders listlessly, and replied, ``Don't know.''
In addition to bearing and rearing these children, her work would sap
the vitality of any ordinary person. ``She got home soon after four in
the morning, cooked breakfast for the family and ate hastily herself.
At 4.30 she was in bed, staying there until eight.  But part of that
time was disturbed for the children were noisy and the apartment was a
tiny, dingy place in a basement.  At eight she started the three
oldest boys to school, and cleaned up the debris of breakfast and of
supper the night before.  At twelve she carried a hot lunch to her
husband and had dinner ready for the three school children.  In the
afternoon, there were again dishes and cooking, and caring for three
babies aged five, three years, and six months.  At five, supper was
ready for the family.  The mother ate by herself and was off to work
at 5:45.''

Another of the night-working mothers was a frail looking Frenchwoman
of twenty-seven years, with a husband and five children ranging from
eight years to fourteen months. Three other children had died.  When
visited, she was doing a huge washing.  She was forced into night work
to meet the expenses of the family.  She estimated that she succeeded
in getting five hours' sleep during the day.  ``I take my baby to bed
with me, but he cries, and my little four-year-old boy cries, too, and
comes in to make me get up, so you can't call that a very good

The problem among unmarried women or those without family is not the
same, this investigator points out.  ``They sleep longer by day than
they normally would by night.'' We are also informed that pregnant
women work at night in the mills, sometimes up to the very hour of
delivery.  ``It's queer,'' exclaimed a woman supervisor of one of the
Rhode Island mills, ``but some women, both on the day and the night
shift, will stick to their work right up to the last minute, and will
use every means to deceive you about their condition.  I go around and
talk to them, but make little impression.  We have had several narrow
escapes....A Polish mother with five children had worked in a mill by
day or by night, ever since her marriage, stopping only to have her
babies.  One little girl had died several years ago, and the youngest
child, says Mrs. Kelley, did not look promising.  It had none of the
charm of babyhood; its body and clothing were filthy; and its lower
lip and chin covered with repulsive black sores.

It should be remembered that the Consumers' League, which publishes
these reports on women in industry, is not advocating Birth Control
education, but is aiming ``to awaken responsibility for conditions
under which goods are produced, and through investigation, education
and legislation, to mobilize public opinion in behalf of enlightened
standards for workers and honest products for all.''  Nevertheless, in
Miss Agnes de Lima's report of conditions in Passaic, New Jersey, we
find the same tale of penalized, prostrate motherhood, bearing the
crushing burden of economic injustice and cruelty; the same blind but
overpowering instincts of love and hunger driving young women into the
factories to work, night in and night out, to support their procession
of uncared for and undernourished babies.  It is the married women
with young children who work on the inferno-like shifts.  They are
driven to it by the low wages of their husbands. They choose night
work in order to be with their children in the daytime.  They are
afraid of the neglect and ill-treatment the children might receive at
the hands of paid caretakers. Thus they condemn themselves to eighteen
or twenty hours of daily toil.  Surely no mother with three, four,
five or six children can secure much rest by day.

``Take almost any house''--we read in the report of conditions in New
Jersey--``knock at almost any door and you will find a weary, tousled
woman, half-dressed, doing her housework, or trying to snatch an hour
or two of sleep after her long night of work in the mill. ...The facts
are there for any one to see; the hopeless and exhausted woman, her
cluttered three or four rooms, the swarm of sickly and neglected

These women claimed that night work was unavoidable, as their husbands
received so little pay.  This in spite of all our vaunted ``high
wages.''  Only three women were found who went into the drudgery of
night work without being obliged to do so.  Two had no children, and
their husbands' earnings were sufficient for their needs.  One of
these was saving for a trip to Europe, and chose the night shift
because she found it less strenuous than the day.  Only four of the
hundred women reported upon were unmarried, and ninety-two of the
married women had children.  Of the four childless married women, one
had lost two children, and another was recovering from a recent
miscarriage.  There were five widows. The average number of children
was three in a family.  Thirty-nine of the mothers had four or more.
Three of them had six children, and six of them had seven children
apiece.  These women ranged between the ages of twenty-five and forty,
and more than half the children were less than seven years of age.
Most of them had babies of one, two and three years of age.

At the risk of repetition, we quote one of the typical cases reported
by Miss De Lima with features practically identical with the
individual cases reported from Rhode Island. It is of a mother who
comes home from work at 5:30 every morning, falls on the bed from
exhaustion, arises again at eight or nine o'clock to see that the
older children are sent off to school.  A son of five, like the rest
of the children, is on a diet of coffee,--milk costs too much.  After
the children have left for school, the overworked mother again tries
to sleep, though the small son bothers her a great deal. Besides, she
must clean the house, wash, iron, mend, sew and prepare the midday
meal.  She tries to snatch a little sleep in the afternoon, but
explains:  ``When you got big family, all time work.  Night-time in
mill drag so long, so long; day-time in home go so quick.''  By five,
this mother must get the family's supper ready, and dress for the
night's work, which begins at seven.  The investigator further
reports:  ``The next day was a holiday, and for a diversion, Mrs. N.
thought she would go up to the cemetery:  `I got some children up
there,' she explained, `and same time I get some air.  No, I don't go
nowheres, just to the mill and then home.'''

Here again, as in all reports on women in industry, we find the
prevalence of pregnant women working on night-shifts, often to the
very day of their delivery.  ``Oh, yes, plenty women, big bellies,
work in the night time,'' one of the toiling mothers volunteered.
``Shame they go, but what can do?''  The abuse was general.  Many
mothers confessed that owing to poverty they themselves worked up to
the last week or even day before the birth of their children.  Births
were even reported in one of the mills during the night shift.  A
foreman told of permitting a night-working woman to leave at 6.30 one
morning, and of the birth of her baby at 7.30.  Several women told of
leaving the day-shift because of pregnancy and of securing places on
the nightshift where their condition was less conspicuous, and the
bosses more tolerant.  One mother defended her right to stay at work,
says the report, claiming that as long as she could do her work, it
was nobody's business.  In a doorway sat a sickly and bloodless woman
in an advanced stage of pregnancy.  Her first baby had died of general
debility.  She had worked at night in the mill until the very day of
its birth.  This time the boss had told her she could stay if she
wished, but reminded her of what had happened last time.  So she had
stopped work, as the baby was expected any day.

Again and again we read the same story, which varied only in detail:
the mother in the three black rooms; the sagging porch overflowing
with pale and sickly children; the over-worked mother of seven, still
nursing her youngest, who is two or three months old. Worn and
haggard, with a skeleton-like child pulling at her breast, the women
tries to make the investigator understand.  The grandmother helps to
interpret.  ``She never sleeps,'' explains the old woman, ``how can
she with so many children?''  She works up to the last moment before
her baby comes, and returns to work as soon as they are four weeks

Another apartment in the same house; another of those night-working
mothers, who had just stopped because she is pregnant.  The boss had
kindly given her permission to stay on, but she found the reaching on
the heavy spinning machines too hard.  Three children, ranging in age
from five to twelve years, are all sickly and forlorn and must be
cared for. There is a tubercular husband, who is unable to work
steadily, and is able to bring in only $12 a week.  Two of the babies
had died, one because the mother had returned to work too soon after
its birth and had lost her milk. She had fed him tea and bread, ``so
he died.''

The most heartrending feature of it all--in these homes of the mothers
who work at night--is the expression in the faces of the children;
children of chance, dressed in rags, undernourished, underclothed, all
predisposed to the ravages of chronic and epidemic disease.

The reports on infant mortality published under the direction of the
Children's Bureau substantiate for the United States of America the
findings of the Galton Laboratory for Great Britain, showing that an
abnormally high rate of fertility is usually associated with poverty,
filth, disease, feeblemindedness and a high infant mortality rate.  It
is a commonplace truism that a high birth-rate is accompanied by a
high infant-mortality rate.  No longer is it necessary to dissociate
cause and effect, to try to determine whether the high birth rate is
the cause of the high infant mortality rate.  It is sufficient to know
that they are organically correlated along with other anti-social
factors detrimental to individual, national and racial welfare.  The
figures presented by Hibbs [2] likewise reveal a much higher infant
mortality rate for the later born children of large families.

The statistics which show that the greatest number of children are
born to parents whose earnings are the lowest,[3] that the direst
poverty is associated with uncontrolled fecundity emphasize the
character of the parenthood we are depending upon to create the race
of the future.

A distinguished American opponent of Birth Control some years ago
spoke of the ``racial'' value of this high infant mortality rate among
the ``unfit.''  He forgot, however, that the survival-rate of the
children born of these overworked and fatigued mothers may
nevertheless be large enough, aided and abetted by philanthropies and
charities, to form the greater part of the population of to-morrow. As
Dr. Karl Pearson has stated:  ``Degenerate stocks under present social
conditions are not short-lived; they live to have more than the normal
size of family.''

Reports of charitable organizations; the famous ``one hundred neediest
cases'' presented every year by the New York Times to arouse the
sentimental generosity of its readers; statistics of public and
private hospitals, charities and corrections; analyses of pauperism in
town and country--all tell the same tale of uncontrolled and
irresponsible fecundity. The facts, the figures, the appalling truth
are there for all to read.  It is only in the remedy proposed, the
effective solution, that investigators and students of the problem

Confronted with the ``startling and disgraceful'' conditions of
affairs indicated by the fact that a quarter of a million babies die
every year in the United States before they are one year old, and that
no less than 23,000 women die in childbirth, a large number of experts
and enthusiasts have placed their hopes in maternity-benefit measures.

Such measures sharply illustrate the superficial and fragmentary
manner in which the whole problem of motherhood is studied to-day.  It
seeks a LAISSER FAIRE policy of parenthood or marriage, with an
indiscriminating paternalism concerning maternity.  It is as though
the Government were to say:  ``Increase and multiply; we shall assume
the responsibility of keeping your babies alive.''  Even granting that
the administration of these measures might be made effective and
effectual, which is more than doubtful, we see that they are based
upon a complete ignorance or disregard of the most important fact in
the situation--that of indiscriminate and irresponsible fecundity.
They tacitly assume that all parenthood is desirable, that all
children should be born, and that infant mortality can be controlled
by external aid.  In the great world-problem of creating the men and
women of to-morrow, it is not merely a question of sustaining the
lives of all children, irrespective of their hereditary and physical
qualities, to the point where they, in turn, may reproduce their kind.
Advocates of Birth Control offer and accept no such superficial
solution.  This philosophy is based upon a clearer vision and a more
profound comprehension of human life. Of immediate relief for the
crushed and enslaved motherhood of the world through State aid, no
better criticism has been made than that of Havelock Ellis:

``To the theoretical philanthropist, eager to reform the world on
paper, nothing seems simpler than to cure the present evils of child-
rearing by setting up State nurseries which are at once to relieve
mothers of everything connected with the men of the future beyond the
pleasure--if such it happens to be--of conceiving them, and the
trouble of bearing the, and at the same time to rear them up
independently of the home, in a wholesome, economical and scientific
manner.  Nothing seems simpler, but from the fundamental psychological
point of view nothing is falser. ...A State which admits that the
individuals composing it are incompetent to perform their most sacred
and intimate functions, and takes it upon itself to perform them
itself instead, attempts a task that would be undesirable, even if it
were possible of achievement.[4]'' It may be replied that maternity
benefit measures aim merely to aid mothers more adequately to fulfil
their biological and social functions.  But from the point of view of
Birth Control, that will never be possible until the crushing
exigencies of overcrowding are removed--overcrowding of pregnancies as
well as of homes.  As long as the mother remains the passive victim of
blind instinct, instead of the conscious, responsible instrument of
the life-force, controlling and directing its expression, there can be
no solution to the intricate and complex problems that confront the
whole world to-day.  This is, of course, impossible as long as women
are driven into the factories, on night as well as day shifts, as long
as children and girls and young women are driven into industries to
labor that is physically deteriorating as a preparation for the
supreme function of maternity.

The philosophy of Birth Control insists that motherhood, no less than
any other human function, must undergo scientific study, must be
voluntarily directed and controlled with intelligence and foresight.
As long as we countenance what H. G. Wells has well termed ``the
monstrous absurdity of women discharging their supreme social
function, bearing and rearing children, in their spare time, as it
were, while they `earn their living' by contributing some half-
mechanical element to some trivial industrial product'' any attempt to
furnish ``maternal education'' is bound to fall on stony ground.
Children brought into the world as the chance consequences of the
blind play of uncontrolled instinct, become likewise the helpless
victims of their environment.  It is because children are cheaply
conceived that the infant mortality rate is high.  But the greatest
evil, perhaps the greatest crime, of our so-called civilization of to-
day, is not to be gauged by the infant-mortality rate.  In truth,
unfortunate babies who depart during their first twelve months are
more fortunate in many respects than those who survive to undergo
punishment for their parents' cruel ignorance and complacent
fecundity.  If motherhood is wasted under the present regime of
``glorious fertility,'' childhood is not merely wasted, but actually
destroyed.  Let us look at this matter from the point of view of the
children who survive.

[1]  U.S. Department of Labor: Children's Bureau. Infant Mortality Series,
     No. 3, pp. 81, 82, 83, 84.
[2]  Henry H. Hibbs, Jr.  Infant Mortality:  Its Relation to Social and
     Industrial Conditions, p. 39.  Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1916.
[3]  Cf. U. S. Department of Labor.  Children's Bureau:  Infant Mortality
     Series, No. 11. p. 36.
[4]  Havelock Ellis, Sex in Relation to Society, p. 31.

CHAPTER III: ``Children Troop Down From Heaven....''

Failure of emotional, sentimental and so-called idealistic efforts,
based on hysterical enthusiasm, to improve social conditions, is
nowhere better exemplified than in the undervaluation of child-life.
A few years ago, the scandal of children under fourteen working in
cotton mills was exposed.  There was muckraking and agitation.  A wave
of moral indignation swept over America.  There arose a loud cry for
immediate action.  Then, having more or less successfully settled this
particular matter, the American people heaved a sigh of relief,
settled back, and complacently congratulated itself that the problem
of child labor had been settled once and for all.

Conditions are worse to-day than before. Not only is there child labor
in practically every State in the Union, but we are now forced to
realize the evils that result from child labor, of child laborers now
grown into manhood and womanhood.  But we wish here to point out a
neglected aspect of this problem. Child labor shows us how cheaply we
value childhood.  And moreover, it shows us that cheap childhood is
the inevitable result of chance parenthood.  Child labor is
organically bound up with the problem of uncontrolled breeding and the
large family.

The selective draft of 1917--which was designed to choose for military
service only those fulfiling definite requirements of physical and
mental fitness--showed some of the results of child labor.  It
established the fact that the majority of American children never got
beyond the sixth grade, because they were forced to leave school at
that time.  Our overadvertised compulsory education does not compel--
and does not educate.  The selective-draft, it is our duty to
emphasize this fact, revealed that 38 per cent. of the young men (more
than a million) were rejected because of physical ill-health and
defects.  And 25 per cent. were illiterate.

These young men were the children of yesterday.  Authorities tell us
that 75 per cent. of the school-children are defective.  This means
that no less than fifteen million schoolchildren, out of 22,000,000 in
the United States, are physically or mentally below par.

This is the soil in which all sorts of serious evils strike root.  It
is a truism that children are the chief asset of a nation.  Yet while
the United States government allotted 92.8 per cent. of its
appropriations for 1920 toward war expenses, three per cent. to public
works, 3.2 per cent. to ``primary governmental functions,'' no more
than one per cent. is appropriated to education, research and
development. Of this one per cent., only a small proportion is devoted
to public health.  The conservation of childhood is a minor
consideration.  While three cents is spent for the more or less
doubtful protection of women and children, fifty cents is given to the
Bureau of Animal Industry, for the protection of domestic animals. In
1919, the State of Kansas appropriated $25,000 to protect the health
of pigs, and $4,000 to protect the health of children. In four years
our Federal Government appropriated--roughly speaking--$81,000,000 for
the improvement of rivers; $13,000,000 for forest conservation;
$8,000,000 for the experimental plant industry; $7,000,000 for the
experimental animal industry; $4,000,000 to combat the foot and mouth
disease; and less than half a million for the protection of child

Competent authorities tell us that no less than 75 per cent. of
American children leave school between the ages of fourteen and
sixteen to go to work.  This number is increasing.  According to the
recently published report on ``The Administration of the First Child
Labor Law,'' in five states in which it was necessary for the
Children's Bureau to handle directly the working certificates of
children, one-fifth of the 25,000 children who applied for
certificates left school when they were in the fourth grade; nearly a
tenth of them had never attended school at all or had not gone beyond
the first grade; and only one-twenty-fifth had gone as far as the
eighth grade.  But their educational equipment was even more limited
than the grade they attended would indicate.  Of the children applying
to go to work 1,803 had not advanced further than the first grade even
when they had gone to school at all; 3,379 could not even sign their
own names legibly, and nearly 2,000 of them could not write at all.
The report brings automatically into view the vicious circle of child-
labor, illiteracy, bodily and mental defect, poverty and delinquency.
And like all reports on child labor, the large family and reckless
breeding looms large in the background as one of the chief factors in
the problem.

Despite all our boasting of the American public school, of the equal
opportunity afforded to every child in America, we have the shortest
school-term, and the shortest school-day of any of the civilized
countries.  In the United States of America, there are 106 illiterates
to every thousand people.  In England there are 58 per thousand,
Sweden and Norway have one per thousand.

The United States is the most illiterate country in the world--that
is, of the so-called civilized countries.  Of the 5,000,000
illiterates in the United States, 58 per cent. are white and 28 per
cent. native whites.  Illiteracy not only is the index of inequality
of opportunity.  It speaks as well a lack of consideration for the
children.  It means either that children have been forced out of
school to go to work, or that they are mentally and physically

One is tempted to ask why a society, which has failed so lamentably to
protect the already existing child life upon which its very
perpetuation depends, takes upon itself the reckless encouragement of
indiscriminate procreation.  The United States Government has recently
inaugurated a policy of restricting immigration from foreign
countries.  Until it is able to protect childhood from criminal
exploitation, until it has made possible a reasonable hope of life,
liberty and growth for American children, it should likewise recognize
the wisdom of voluntary restriction in the production of children.

Reports on child labor published by the National Child Labor Committee
only incidentally reveal the correlation of this evil with that of
large families.  Yet this is evident throughout.  The investigators
are more bent upon regarding child labor as a cause of illiteracy.

But it is no less a consequence of irresponsibility in breeding.  A
sinister aspect of this is revealed by Theresa Wolfson's study of
child-labor in the beet-fields of Michigan.[2]  As one weeder put it:
``Poor man make no money, make plenty children--plenty children good
for sugar-beet business.''  Further illuminating details are given by
Miss Wolfson:

``Why did they come to the beet-fields? Most frequently families with
large numbers of children said that they felt that the city was no
place to raise children--things too expensive and children ran wild--
in the country all the children could work.''  Living conditions are
abominable and unspeakably wretched. An old woodshed, a long-abandoned
barn, and occasionally a tottering, ramshackle farmer's house are the
common types.  ``One family of eleven, the youngest child two years,
the oldest sixteen years, lived in an old country store which had but
one window; the wind and rain came through the holes in the walls, the
ceiling was very low and the smoke from the stove filled the room.
Here the family ate, slept, cooked and washed.''

``In Tuscola County a family of six was found living in a one-room
shack with no windows.  Light and ventilation was secured through the
open doors.  Little Charles, eight years of age, was left at home to
take care of Dan, Annie and Pete, whose ages were five years, four
years, and three months, respectively.  In addition, he cooked the
noonday meal and brought it to his parents in the field. The filth and
choking odors of the shack made it almost unbearable, yet the baby was
sleeping in a heap of rags piled up in a corner.''

Social philosophers of a certain school advocate the return to the
land--it is only in the overcrowded city, they claim, that the evils
resulting from the large family are possible. There is, according to
this philosophy, no overcrowding, no over-population in the country,
where in the open air and sunlight every child has an opportunity for
health and growth. This idyllic conception of American country life
does not correspond with the picture presented by this investigator,
who points out:

 ``To promote the physical and mental development of the child, we
forbid his employment in factories, shops and stores.  On the other
hand, we are prone to believe that the right kind of farm-work is
healthful and the best thing for children.  But for a child to crawl
along the ground, weeding beets in the hot sun for fourteen hours a
day--the average workday--is far from being the best thing. The law of
compensation is bound to work in some way, and the immediate result of
this agricultural work is interference with school attendance.''

How closely related this form of child-slavery is to the over-large
family, is definitely illustrated:  ``In the one hundred and thirty-
three families visited, there were six hundred children.  A
conversation held with a ``Rooshian-German' woman is indicative of the
size of most of the families:

``How many children have you?'' inquired the investigator.

``Eight--Julius, und Rose, und Martha, dey is mine; Gottlieb und
Philip, und Frieda, dey is my husband's;--und Otto und Charlie--dey
are ours.''

 Families with ten and twelve children were frequently found, while
those of six and eight children are the general rule.  The advantage
of a large family in the beet fields is that it does the most work.
In the one hundred thirty-three families interviewed, there were one
hundred eighty-six children under the age of six years, ranging from
eight weeks up; thirty-six children between the ages of six and eight,
approximately twenty-five of whom had never been to school, and eleven
over sixteen years of age who had never been to school.  One ten-year-
old boy had never been to school because he was a mental defective;
one child of nine was practically blinded by cataracts.  This child
was found groping his way down the beet-rows pulling out weeds and
feeling for the beet-plants--in the glare of the sun he had lost all
sense of light and dark.  Of the three hundred and forty children who
were not going or had never gone to school, only four had reached the
point of graduation, and only one had gone to high school.  These
large families migrated to the beet-fields in early spring. Seventy-
two per cent. of them are retarded. When we realize that feeble-
mindedness is arrested development and retardation, we see that these
``beet children'' are artificially retarded in their growth, and that
the tendency is to reduce their intelligence to the level of the
congenital imbecile.

Nor must it be concluded that these large ``beet'' families are always
the ``ignorant foreigner'' so despised by our respectable press. The
following case throws some light on this matter, reported in the same
pamphlet:  ``An American family, considered a prize by the agent
because of the fact that there were nine children, turned out to be a
`flunk.'  They could not work in the beet-fields, they ran up a bill
at the country-store, and one day the father and the eldest son, a boy
of nineteen, were seen running through the railroad station to catch
an out-going train.  The grocer thought they were `jumping' their
bill.  He telephoned ahead to the sheriff of the next town.  They were
taken off the train by the sheriff and given the option of going back
to the farm or staying in jail.  They preferred to stay in jail, and
remained there for two weeks.  Meanwhile, the mother and her eight
children, ranging in ages form seventeen years to nine months, had to
manage the best way they could.  At the end of two weeks, father and
son were set free....During all of this period the farmers of the
community sent in provisions to keep the wife and children from
starving.''  Does this case not sum up in a nutshell the typical
American intelligence confronted with the problem of the too-large
family--industrial slavery tempered with sentimentality!

Let us turn to a young, possibly a more progressive state.  Consider
the case of ``California, the Golden'' as it is named by Emma Duke, in
her study of child-labor in the Imperial Valley, ``as fertile as the
Valley of the Nile.''[3]  Here, cotton is king, and rich ranchers,
absentee landlords and others exploit it. Less than ten years ago
ranchers would bring in hordes of laboring families, but refuse to
assume any responsibility in housing them, merely permitting them to
sleep on the grounds of the ranch.  Conditions have been somewhat
improved, but, sometimes, we read, ``a one roomed straw house with an
area of fifteen by twenty feet will serve as a home for an entire
family, which not only cooks but sleeps in the same room.''  Here, as
in Michigan among the beets, children are ``thick as bees.'' All kinds
of children pick, Miss Duke reports, ``even those as young as three
years!  Five-year-old children pick steadily all day.... Many white
American children are among them--pure American stock, who have
gradually moved from the Carolinas, Tennessee, and other southern
states to Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and on into the Imperial
Valley.''  Some of these children, it seems, wanted to attend school,
but their fathers did not want to work; so the children were forced to
become bread-winners.  One man whose children were working with him in
the fields said, ``Please, lady, don't send them to school; let them
pick a while longer.  I ain't got my new auto paid for yet.''  The
native white American mother of children working in the fields proudly
remarked: ``No; they ain't never been to school, nor me nor their
poppy, nor their granddads and grandmoms.  We've always been
pickers!''--and she spat her tobacco over the field in expert fashion.

 ``In the Valley one hears from townspeople,'' writes the
investigator, ``that pickers make ten dollars a day, working the whole
family. With that qualification, the statement is ambiguous.  One
Mexican in the Imperial Valley was the father of thirty-three
children--`about thirteen or fourteen living,' he said. If they all
worked at cotton-picking, they would doubtless altogether make more
than ten dollars a day.''

One of the child laborers revealed the economic advantage--to the
parents--in numerous progeny: ``Us kids most always drag from forty to
fifty pounds of cotton before we take it to be weighed.  Three of us
pick.  I'm twelve years old and my bag is twelve feet long.  I can
drag nearly a hundred pounds. My sister is ten years old, and her bag
is eight feet long.  My little brother is seven and his bag is five
feet long.''

Evidence abounds in the publications of the National Child Labor
Committee of this type of fecund parenthood.[4]  It is not merely a
question of the large family versus the small family.  Even
comparatively small families among migratory workers of this sort have
been large families.  The high infant mortality rate has carried off
the weaker children.  Those who survive are merely those who have been
strong enough to survive the most unfavorable living conditions.  No;
it is a situation not unique, nor even unusual in human history, of
greed and stupidity and cupidity encouraging the procreative instinct
toward the manufacture of slaves.  We hear these days of the
selfishness and the degradation of healthy and well-educated women who
refuse motherhood; but we hear little of the more sinister selfishness
of men and women who bring babies into the world to become child-
slaves of the kind described in these reports of child labor.

The history of child labor in the English factories in the nineteenth
century throws a suggestive light on this situation.  These child-
workers were really called into being by the industrial situation.
The population grew, as Dean Inge has described it, like crops in a
newly irrigated desert.  During the nineteenth century, the numbers
were nearly quadrupled. ``Let those who think that the population of a
country can be increased at will, consider whether it is likely that
any physical, moral, or psychological change came over the nation co-
incidentally with the inventions of the spinning jenny and the steam
engine.  It is too obvious for dispute that it was the possession of
capital wanting employment, and of natural advantages for using it,
that called those multitudes of human beings into existence, to eat
the food which they paid for by their labor.''[5]

But when child labor in the factories became such a scandal and such a
disgrace that child-labor was finally forbidden by laws that possessed
the advantage over our own that they were enforced, the proletariat
ceased to supply children.  Almost by magic the birth rate among the
workers declined.  Since children were no longer of economic value to
the factories, they were evidently a drug in the home. This movement,
it should not be forgotten however, was coincident with the agitation
and education in Birth Control stimulated by the Besant-Bradlaugh

Large families among migratory agricultural laborers in our own
country are likewise brought into existence in response to an
industrial demand.  The enforcement of the child labor laws and the
extension of their restrictions are therefore an urgent necessity, not
so much, as some of our child-labor authorities believe, to enable
these children to go to school, as to prevent the recruiting of our
next generation from the least intelligent and most unskilled classes
in the community.  As long as we officially encourage and countenance
the production of large families, the evils of child labor will
confront us.  On the other hand, the prohibition of child labor may
help, as in the case of English factories, in the decline of the birth

when we are confronted with the evils of the latter, in the form of
widespread illiteracy and defect, we should seek causes more deeply
rooted than the enslavement of children.  The cost to society is
incalculable, as the National Child Labor Committee points out.  ``It
is not only through the lowered power, the stunting and the moral
degeneration of its individual members, but in actual expense, through
the necessary provision for the human junk, created by premature
employment, in poor-houses, hospitals, police and courts, jails and by
charitable organizations.''

To-day we are paying for the folly of the over-production--and its
consequences in permanent injury to plastic childhood--of yesterday.
To-morrow, we shall be forced to pay for our ruthless disregard of our
surplus children of to-day.  the child-laborer of one or two decades
ago has become the shifting laborer of to-day, stunted, underfed,
illiterate, unskilled, unorganized and unorganizable.  ``He is the
last person to be hired and the first to be fired.''  Boys and girls
under fourteen years of age are no longer permitted to work in
factories, mills, canneries and establishments whose products are to
be shipped out of the particular state, and children under sixteen can
no longer work in mines and quarries. But this affects only one
quarter of our army of child labor--work in local industries, stores,
and farms, homework in dark and unsanitary tenements is still
permitted.  Children work in ``homes'' on artificial flowers,
finishing shoddy garments, sewing their very life's blood and that of
the race into tawdry clothes and gewgaws that are the most
unanswerable comments upon our vaunted ``civilization.'' And to-day,
we must not forget, the child-laborer of yesterday is becoming the
father or the mother of the child laborer of to-morrow.

``Any nation that works its women is damned,'' once wrote Woods
Hutchinson.  The nation that works its children, one is tempted to
add, is committing suicide.  Loud-mouthed defenders of American
democracy pay no attention to the strange fact that, although ``the
average education among all American adults is only the sixth grade,''
every one of these adults has an equal power at the polls.  The
American nation, with all its worship of efficiency and thrift,
complacently forgets that ``every child defective in body, education
or character is a charge upon the community,'' as Herbert Hoover
declared in an address before the American Child Hygiene Association
(October, 1920): ``The nation as a whole,'' he added, ``has the
obligation of such measures toward its will yield to
them an equal opportunity at their start in life.  If we could grapple
with the whole child situation for one generation, our public health,
our economic efficiency, the moral character, sanity and stability of
our people would advance three generations in one.''

The great irrefutable fact that is ignored or neglected is that the
American nation officially places a low value upon the lives of its
children.  The brutal truth is that CHILDREN ARE CHEAP.  When over-
production in this field is curtailed by voluntary restriction, when
the birth rate among the working classes takes a sharp decline, the
value of children will rise. Then only will the infant mortality rate
decline, and child labor vanish.

Investigations of child labor emphasize its evils by pointing out that
these children are kept out of school, and that they miss the
advantages of American public school education. They express the
current confidence in compulsory education and the magical benefits to
be derived from the public school.  But we need to qualify our faith
in education, and particularly our faith in the American public
school.  Educators are just beginning to wake up to the dangers
inherent in the attempt to teach the brightest child and the mentally
defective child at the same time.  They are beginning to test the
possibilities of a ``vertical'' classification as well as a
``horizontal'' one. That is, each class must be divided into what are
termed Gifted, Bright, Average, Dull, Normal, and Defective.  In the
past the helter-skelter crowding and over-crowding together of all
classes of children of approximately the same age, produced only a
dull leveling to mediocrity.[6]

An investigation of forty schools in New York City, typical of
hundreds of others, reveals deplorable conditions of overcrowding and
lack of sanitation.[7]  The worst conditions are to be found in
locations the most densely populated.  Thus of Public School No. 51,
located almost in the center of the notorious ``Hell's Kitchen''
section, we read: ``The play space which is provided is a mockery of
the worst kind.  The basement play-room is dark, damp, poorly lighted,
poorly ventilated, foul smelling, unclean, and wholly unfit for
children for purposes of play.  The drainpipes from the roof have
decayed to such a degree that in some instances as little as a quarter
of the pipe remains.  On rainy days, water enters the class-rooms,
hall-ways, corridors, and is thrown against windows because the pipes
have rotted away.  The narrow stairways and halls are similar to those
of jails and dungeons of a century ago.  The classrooms are poorly
lighted, inadequately equipped, and in some cases so small that the
desks of pupils and teachers occupy almost all of the floor-space.''

Another school, located a short distance from Fifth Avenue, the
``wealthiest street in the world,'' is described as an ``old shell of
a structure, erected decades ago as a modern school building.  Nearly
two thousand children are crowded into class-rooms having a total
seating capacity of scarcely one thousand. Narrow doorways, intricate
hallways and antiquated stairways, dark and precipitous, keep ever
alive the danger of disaster from fire or panic.  Only the eternal
vigilance of exceptional supervision has served to lessen the fear of
such a catastrophe.  Artificial light is necessary, even on the
brightest days, in many of the class-rooms.  In most of the
classrooms, it is always necessary when the sky is slightly
overcast.''  There is no ventilating system.

In the crowded East Side section conditions are reported to be no
better.  The Public Education Association's report on Public School
No. 130 points out that the site at the corner of Hester and Baxter
Streets was purchased by the city years ago as a school site, but that
there has been so much ``tweedledeeing and tweedleduming'' that the
new building which is to replace the old, has not even yet been
planned!  Meanwhile, year after year, thousands of children are
compelled to study daily in dark and dingy class-rooms. ``Artificial
light is continually necessary,'' declares the report.  ``The
ventilation is extremely poor.  The fire hazard is naturally great.
There are no rest-rooms whatever for the teachers.''  Other schools in
the neighborhood reveal conditions even worse.  In two of them, for
example; ``In accordance with the requirements of the syllabus in
hygiene in the schools, the vision of the children is regularly
tested.  In a recent test of this character, it was found in Public
School 108, the rate of defective vision in the various grades ranged
from 50 to 64 per cent.!  In Public School 106, the rate ranged from
43 to 94 per cent.!''

The conditions, we are assured, are no exceptions to the rule of
public schools in New York, where the fatal effects of overcrowding in
education may be observed in their most sinister but significant

The forgotten fact in this case is that efforts for universal and
compulsory education cannot keep pace with the overproduction of
children. Even at the best, leaving out of consideration the public
school system as the inevitable prey and plundering-ground of the
cheap politician and job-hunter, present methods of wholesale and
syndicated ``education'' are not suited to compete with the unceasing,
unthinking, untiring procreative powers of our swarming, spawning

Into such schools as described in the recent reports of the Public
Education Association, no intelligent parent would dare send his
child. They are not merely fire-traps and culture-grounds of
infection, but of moral and intellectual contamination as well.  More
and more are public schools in America becoming institutions for
subjecting children to a narrow and reactionary orthodoxy, aiming to
crush out all signs of individuality, and to turn out boys and girls
compressed into a standardized pattern, with ready-made ideas on
politics, religion, morality, and economics.  True education cannot
grow out of such compulsory herding of children in filthy fire-traps.

Character, ability, and reasoning power are not to be developed in
this fashion.  Indeed, it is to be doubted whether even a completely
successful educational system could offset the evils of indiscriminate
breeding and compensate for the misfortune of being a superfluous
child.  In recognizing the great need of education, we have failed to
recognize the greater need of inborn health and character.  ``If it
were necessary to choose between the task of getting children educated
and getting them well born and healthy,'' writes Havelock Ellis, ``it
would be better to abandon education. There have been many great
peoples who never dreamed of national systems of education; there have
been no great peoples without the art of producing healthy and
vigorous children.  The matter becomes of peculiar importance in great
industrial states, like England, the United States and Germany,
because in such states, a tacit conspiracy tends to grow up to
subordinate national ends to individual ends, and practically to work
for the deterioration of the race.''[8]

Much less can education solve the great problem of child labor.
Rather, under the conditions prevailing in modern society, child labor
and the failure of the public schools to educate are both indices of a
more deeply rooted evil.  Both bespeak THE UNDERVALUATION OF THE
CHILD.  This undervaluation, this cheapening of child life, is to
speak crudely but frankly the direct result of overproduction.
``Restriction of output'' is an immediate necessity if we wish to
regain control of the real values, so that unimpeded, unhindered, and
without danger of inner corruption, humanity may protect its own
health and powers.

[1]  I am indebted to the National Child Labor Committee for these statistics,
     as well as for many of the facts that follow.
[2]  ``People Who Go to Beets'' Pamphlet No. 299, National Child Labor Committee.
[3]  California the Golden, by Emma Duke.  Reprinted from The American Child,
     Vol. II, No. 3.  November 1920.
[4]  Cf. Child Welfare in Oklahoma; Child Welfare in Alabama; Child Welfare
     in North Carolina; Child Welfare in Kentucky; Child Welfare in Tennessee.
     Also, Children in Agriculture, by Ruth McIntire, and other studies.
[5]  W. R. Inge:  Outspoken Essays: p. 92
[6]  Cf. Tredgold:  Inheritance and Educability.  Eugenics Review, Vol. Xiii,
     No. I, pp. 839 et seq.
[7]  Cf. New York Times, June 4, 1921.
[8]  ``Studies in the Psychology of Sex,'' Vol. VI. p. 20.

CHAPTER IV: The Fertility of the Feeble-Minded

    What vesture have you woven for my year?
    O Man and Woman who have fashioned it
    Together, is it fine and clean and strong,
    Made in such reverence of holy joy,
    Of such unsullied substance, that your hearts
    Leap with glad awe to see it clothing me,
    The glory of whose nakedness you know?

``The Song of the Unborn''
Amelia Josephine Burr

There is but one practical and feasible program in handling the great
problem of the feeble-minded.  That is, as the best authorities are
agreed, to prevent the birth of those who would transmit imbecility to
their descendants.  Feeble-mindedness as investigations and statistics
from every country indicate, is invariably associated with an
abnormally high rate of fertility.  Modern conditions of civilization,
as we are continually being reminded, furnish the most favorable
breeding-ground for the mental defective, the moron, the imbecile.
``We protect the members of a weak strain,'' says Davenport, ``up to
the period of reproduction, and then let them free upon the community,
and encourage them to leave a large progeny of `feeble-minded': which
in turn, protected from mortality and carefully nurtured up to the
reproductive period, are again set free to reproduce, and so the
stupid work goes on of preserving and increasing our socially unfit

The philosophy of Birth Control points out that as long as civilized
communities encourage unrestrained fecundity in the ``normal'' members
of the population--always of course under the cloak of decency and
morality--and penalize every attempt to introduce the principle of
discrimination and responsibility in parenthood, they will be faced
with the ever-increasing problem of feeble-mindedness, that fertile
parent of degeneracy, crime, and pauperism.  Small as the percentage
of the imbecile and half-witted may seem in comparison with the normal
members of the community, it should always be remembered that feeble-
mindedness is not an unrelated expression of modern civilization.  Its
roots strike deep into the social fabric.  Modern studies indicate
that insanity, epilepsy, criminality, prostitution, pauperism, and
mental defect, are all organically bound up together and that the
least intelligent and the thoroughly degenerate classes in every
community are the most prolific.  Feeble-mindedness in one generation
becomes pauperism or insanity in the next.  There is every indication
that feeble-mindedness in its protean forms is on the increase, that
it has leaped the barriers, and that there is truly, as some of the
scientific eugenists have pointed out, a feeble-minded peril to future
generations--unless the feeble-minded are prevented from reproducing
their kind. To meet this emergency is the immediate and peremptory
duty of every State and of all communities.

The curious situation has come about that while our statesmen are busy
upon their propaganda of ``repopulation,'' and are encouraging the
production of large families, they are ignoring the exigent problem of
the elimination of the feeble-minded.  In this, however, the
politicians are at one with the traditions of a civilization which,
with its charities and philanthropies, has propped up the defective
and degenerate and relieved them of the burdens borne by the healthy
sections of the community, thus enabling them more easily and more
numerously to propagate their kind.  ``With the very highest
motives,'' declares Dr. Walter E. Fernald, ``modern philanthropic
efforts often tend to foster and increase the growth of defect in the
community....The only feeble-minded persons who now receive any
official consideration are those who have already become dependent or
delinquent, many of whom have already become parents.  We lock the
barn-door after the horse is stolen. We now have state commissions for
controlling the gipsy-moth and the boll weevil, the foot-and-mouth
disease, and for protecting the shell-fish and wild game, but we have
no commission which even attempts to modify or to control the vast
moral and economic forces represented by the feeble-minded persons at
large in the community.''

How the feeble-minded and their always numerous progeny run the gamut
of police, alms-houses, courts, penal institutions, ``charities and
corrections,'' tramp shelters, lying-in hospitals, and relief afforded
by privately endowed religious and social agencies, is shown in any
number of reports and studies of family histories.  We find cases of
feeble-mindedness and mental defect in the reports on infant mortality
referred to in a previous chapter, as well as in other reports
published by the United States government.  Here is a typical case
showing the astonishing ability to ``increase and multiply,''
organically bound up with delinquency and defect of various types:

``The parents of a feeble-minded girl, twenty years of age, who was
committed to the Kansas State Industrial Farm on a vagrancy charge,
lived in a thickly populated Negro district which was reported by the
police to be the headquarters for the criminal element of the
surrounding State....The mother married at fourteen, and her first
child was born at fifteen. In rapid succession she gave birth to
sixteen live-born children and had one miscarriage. The first child, a
girl, married but separated from her husband....The fourth, fifth and
sixth, all girls, died in infancy or early childhood.  The seventh, a
girl, remarried after the death of her husband, from whom she had been
separated.  The eighth, a boy who early in life began to exhibit
criminal tendencies, was in prison for highway robbery and burglary.
The ninth, a girl, normal mentally, was in quarantine at the Kansas
State Industrial Farm at the time this study was made; she had lived
with a man as his common-law wife, and had also been arrested several
times for soliciting.  The tenth, a boy, was involved in several
delinquencies when young and was sent to the detention-house but did
not remain there long.  The eleventh, a the age of seventeen
was sentenced to the penitentiary for twenty years on a charge of
first-degree robbery; after serving a portion of his time, he was
paroled, and later was shot and killed in a fight.  The twelfth, a
boy, was at fifteen years of age implicated in a murder and sent to
the industrial school, but escaped from there on a bicycle which he
had stolen; at eighteen, he was shot and killed by a woman.  The
thirteenth child, feeble-minded, is the girl of the study.  The
fourteenth, a boy was considered by police to be the best member of
the family; his mother reported him to be much slower mentally than
his sister just mentioned; he had been arrested several times.  Once,
he was held in the detention-home and once sent to the State
Industrial school; at other times, he was placed on probation.  The
fifteenth, a girl sixteen years old, has for a long time had a bad
reputation.  Subsequent to the commitment of her sister to the Kansas
State Industrial Farm, she was arrested on a charge of vagrancy, found
to by syphilitic, and quarantined in a state other than Kansas.  At
the time of her arrest, she stated that prostitution was her
occupation.  The last child was a boy of thirteen years whose history
was not secured....''[1]

The notorious fecundity of feeble-minded women is emphasized in
studies and investigations of the problem, coming from all countries.
``The feeble-minded woman is twice as prolific as the normal one.''
Sir James Crichton-Browne speaks of the great numbers of feeble-minded
girls, wholly unfit to become mothers, who return to the work-house
year after year to bear children, ``many of whom happily die, but some
of whom survive to recruit our idiot establishments and to repeat
their mothers' performances.'' Tredgold points out that the number of
children born to the feeble-minded is abnormally high. Feeble-minded
women ``constitute a permanent menace to the race and one which
becomes serious at a time when the decline of the birth-rate
is...unmistakable.''  Dr. Tredgold points out that ``the average
number of children born in a family is four, whereas in these
degenerate families, we find an average of 7.3 to each.  Out of this
total only a little more than ONE-THIRD--456 out of a total of 1,269
children--can be considered profitable members of the community, and
that, be it remembered, at the parents' valuation.

Another significant point is the number of mentally defective children
who survive. ``Out of the total number of 526 mentally affected
persons in the 150 families, there are 245 in the present generation--
an unusually large survival.''[2]

Speaking for Bradford, England, Dr. Helen U. Campbell touches another
significant and interesting point usually neglected by the advocates
of mothers' pensions, milk-stations, and maternity-education programs.

``We are also confronted with the problem of the actually mentally
deficient, of the more or less feeble-minded, and the deranged,
epileptic...or otherwise mentally abnormal mother,'' writes this
authority.  ``The `bad mothering' of these cases is quite unimprovable
at an infant welfare center, and a very definite if not relatively
very large percentage of our infants are suffering severely as a
result of dependence upon such `mothering.'''[3]

Thus we are brought face to face with another problem of infant
mortality.  Are we to check the infant mortality rate among the
feeble-minded and aid the unfortunate offspring to grow up, a menace
to the civilized community even when not actually certifiable as
mentally defective or not obviously imbecile?

Other figures and studies indicate the close relationship between
feeble-mindedness and the spread of venereal scourges.  We are
informed that in Michigan, 75 per cent. of the prostitute class is
infected with some form of venereal disease, and that 75 per cent. of
the infected are mentally defective,--morons, imbeciles, or ``border-
line'' cases most dangerous to the community at large.  At least 25
per cent. of the inmates of our prisons, according to Dr. Fernald, are
mentally defective and belong either to the feeble-minded or to the
defective-delinquent class.  Nearly 50 per cent. of the girls sent to
reformatories are mental defectives.  To-day, society treats feeble-
minded or ``defective delinquent'' men or women as ``criminals,''
sentences them to prison or reformatory for a ``term,'' and then
releases them at the expiration of their sentences.  They are usually
at liberty just long enough to reproduce their kind, and then they
return again and again to prison.  The truth of this statement is
evident from the extremely large proportion in institutions of
neglected and dependent children, who are the feeble-minded offspring
of such feeble-minded parents.

Confronted with these shocking truths about the menace of feeble-
mindedness to the race, a menace acute because of the unceasing and
unrestrained fertility of such defectives, we are apt to become the
victims of a ``wild panic for instant action.'' There is no occasion
for hysterical, ill-considered action, specialists tell us.  They
direct our attention to another phase of the problem, that of the so-
called ``good feeble-minded.'' We are informed that imbecility, in
itself, is not synonymous with badness.  If it is fostered in a
``suitable environment,'' it may express itself in terms of good
citizenship and useful occupation.  It may thus be transmuted into a
docile, tractable, and peaceable element of the community. The moron
and the feeble-minded, thus protected, so we are assured, may even
marry some brighter member of the community, and thus lessen the
chances of procreating another generation of imbeciles.  We read
further that some of our doctors believe that ``in our social scale,
there is a place for the good feeble-minded.''

In such a reckless and thoughtless differentiation between the ``bad''
and the ``good'' feeble-minded, we find new evidence of the
conventional middle-class bias that also finds expression among some
of the eugenists.  We do not object to feeble-mindedness simply
because it leads to immorality and criminality; nor can we approve of
it when it expresses itself in docility, submissiveness and obedience.
We object because both are burdens and dangers to the intelligence of
the community. As a matter of fact, there is sufficient evidence to
lead us to believe that the so-called ``borderline cases'' are a
greater menace than the out-and-out ``defective delinquents'' who can
be supervised, controlled and prevented from procreating their kind.
The advent of the Binet-Simon and similar psychological tests
indicates that the mental defective who is glib and plausible, bright
looking and attractive, but with a mental vision of seven, eight or
nine years, may not merely lower the whole level of intelligence in a
school or in a society, but may be encouraged by church and state to
increase and multiply until he dominates and gives the prevailing
``color''--culturally speaking--to an entire community.

The presence in the public schools of the mentally defective children
of men and women who should never have been parents is a problem that
is becoming more and more difficult, and is one of the chief reasons
for lower educational standards.  As one of the greatest living
authorities on the subject, Dr. A. Tredgold, has pointed out,[4] this
has created a destructive conflict of purpose.  ``In the case of
children with a low intellectual capacity, much of the education at
present provided is for all practical purposes a complete waste of
time, money and patience....On the other hand, for children of high
intellectual capacity, our present system does not go far enough. I
believe that much innate potentiality remains undeveloped, even
amongst the working classes, owing to the absence of opportunity for
higher education, to the disadvantage of the nation.  In consequence
of these fundamental differences, the catchword `equality of
opportunity' is meaningless and mere claptrap in the absence of any
equality to respond to such opportunity.  What is wanted is not
equality of opportunity, but education adapted to individual
potentiality; and if the time and money now spent in the fruitless
attempt to make silk-purses out of sows' ears, were devoted to the
higher education of children of good natural capacity, it would
contribute enormously to national efficiency.''

In a much more complex manner than has been recognized even by
students of this problem, the destiny and the progress of civilization
and of human expression has been hindered and held back by this burden
of the imbecile and the moron.  While we may admire the patience and
the deep human sympathy with which the great specialists in feeble-
mindedness have expressed the hope of drying up the sources of this
evil or of rendering it harmless, we should not permit sympathy or
sentimentality to blind us to the fact that health and vitality and
human growth likewise need cultivation.  ``A LAISSER FAIRE policy,''
writes one investigator, ``simply allows the social sore to spread.
And a quasi LAISSER FAIRE policy wherein we allow the defective to
commit crime and then interfere and imprison him, wherein we grant the
defective the personal liberty to do as he pleases, until he pleases
to descend to a plane of living below the animal level, and try to
care for a few of his descendants who are so helpless that they can no
longer exercise that personal liberty to do as they please,''--such a
policy increases and multiplies the dangers of the over-fertile

The Mental Survey of the State of Oregon recently published by the
United States Health Service, sets an excellent example and should be
followed by every state in the Union and every civilized country as
well.  It is greatly to the credit of the Western State that it is one
of the first officially to recognize the primary importance of this
problem and to realize that facts, no matter how fatal to self-
satisfaction, must be faced.  This survey, authorized by the state
legislature, and carried out by the University of Oregon, in
collaboration with Dr. C. L. Carlisle of the Public Health service,
aided by a large number of volunteers, shows that only a small
percentage of mental defectives and morons are in the care of
institutions.  The rest are widely scattered and their condition
unknown or neglected.  They are docile and submissive.  they do not
attract attention to themselves as do the criminal delinquents and the
insane.  Nevertheless, it is estimated that they number no less than
75,000 men, women, and children, out of a total population of 783,000,
or about ten per cent.  Oregon, it is thought, is no exception to
other states.  Yet under our present conditions, these people are
actually encouraged to increase and multiply and replenish the earth.

Concerning the importance of the Oregon survey, we may quote Surgeon
General H. C. Cumming:  ``the prevention and correction of mental
defectives is one of the great public health problems of to-day.  It
enters into many phases of our work and its influence continually
crops up unexpectedly.  For instance, work of the Public Health
Service in connection with juvenile courts shows that a marked
proportion of juvenile delinquency is traceable to some degree of
mental deficiency in the offender.  For years Public Health officials
have concerned themselves only with the disorders of physical health;
but now they are realizing the significance of mental health also.
The work in Oregon constitutes the first state-wide survey which even
begins to disclose the enormous drain on a state, caused by mental
defects.  One of the objects of the work was to obtain for the people
of Oregon an idea of the problem that confronted them and the heavy
annual loss, both economic and industrial, that it entailed.  Another
was to enable the legislators to devise a program that would stop much
of the loss, restore to health and bring to lives of industrial
usefulness, many of those now down and out, and above all, to save
hundreds of children from growing up to lives of misery.''

It will be interesting to see how many of our State Legislatures have
the intelligence and the courage to follow in the footsteps of Oregon
in this respect.  Nothing could more effectually stimulate discussion,
and awaken intelligence as to the extravagance and cost to the
community of our present codes of traditional morality.  But we should
make sure in all such surveys, that mental defect is not concealed
even in such dignified bodies as state legislatures and among those
leaders who are urging men and women to reckless and irresponsible

I have touched upon these various aspects of the complex problem of
the feeble-minded, and the menace of the moron to human society, not
merely for the purpose of reiterating that it is one of the greatest
and most difficult social problems of modern times, demanding an
immediate, stern and definite policy, but because it illustrates the
actual harvest of reliance upon traditional morality, upon the
biblical injunction to increase and multiply, a policy still taught by
politician, priest and militarist.  Motherhood has been held
universally sacred; yet, as Bouchacourt pointed out, ``to-day, the
dregs of the human species, the blind, the deaf-mute, the degenerate,
the nervous, the vicious, the idiotic, the imbecile, the cretins and
the epileptics--are better protected than pregnant women.''  The
syphilitic, the irresponsible, the feeble-minded are encouraged to
breed unhindered, while all the powerful forces of tradition, of
custom, or prejudice, have bolstered up the desperate effort to block
the inevitable influence of true civilization in spreading the
principles of independence, self-reliance, discrimination and
foresight upon which the great practice of intelligent parenthood is

 To-day we are confronted by the results of this official policy.
There is no escaping it; there is no explaining it away.  Surely it is
an amazing and discouraging phenomenon that the very governments that
have seen fit to interfere in practically every phase of the normal
citizen's life, dare not attempt to restrain, either by force or
persuasion, the moron and the imbecile from producing his large family
of feeble-minded offspring.

In my own experience, I recall vividly the case of a feeble-minded
girl who every year, for a long period, received the expert attention
of a great specialist in one of the best-known maternity hospitals of
New York City. The great obstetrician, for the benefit of interns and
medical students, performed each year a Caesarian operation upon this
unfortunate creature to bring into the world her defective, and, in
one case at least, her syphilitic, infant.  ``Nelly'' was then sent to
a special room and placed under the care of a day nurse and a night
nurse, with extra and special nourishment provided.  Each year she
returned to the hospital.  Such cases are not exceptions; any
experienced doctor or nurse can recount similar stories.  In the
interest of medical science this practice may be justified.  I am not
criticising it from that point of view.  I realize as well as the most
conservative moralist that humanity requires that healthy members of
the race should make certain sacrifices to preserve from death those
unfortunates who are born with hereditary taints.  But there is a
point at which philanthropy may become positively dysgenic, when
charity is converted into injustice to the self-supporting citizen,
into positive injury to the future of the race. Such a point, it seems
obvious, is reached when the incurably defective are permitted to
procreate and thus increase their numbers.

The problem of the dependent, delinquent and defective elements in
modern society, we must repeat, cannot be minimized because of their
alleged small numerical proportion to the rest of the population.  The
proportion seems small only because we accustom ourselves to the habit
of looking upon feeble-mindedness as a separate and distinct calamity
to the race, as a chance phenomenon unrelated to the sexual and
biological customs not only condoned but even encouraged by our so-
called civilization.  The actual dangers can only be fully realized
when we have acquired definite information concerning the financial
and cultural cost of these classes to the community, when we become
fully cognizant of the burden of the imbecile upon the whole human
race; when we see the funds that should be available for human
development, for scientific, artistic and philosophic research, being
diverted annually, by hundreds of millions of dollars, to the care and
segregation of men, women, and children who never should have been
born.  The advocate of Birth Control realizes as well as all
intelligent thinkers the dangers of interfering with personal liberty.
Our whole philosophy is, in fact, based upon the fundamental
assumption that man is a self-conscious, self-governing creature, that
he should not be treated as a domestic animal; that he must be left
free, at least within certain wide limits, to follow his own wishes in
the matter of mating and in the procreation of children.  Nor do we
believe that the community could or should send to the lethal chamber
the defective progeny resulting from irresponsible and unintelligent

But modern society, which has respected the personal liberty of the
individual only in regard to the unrestricted and irresponsible
bringing into the world of filth and poverty an overcrowding
procession of infants foredoomed to death or hereditable disease, is
now confronted with the problem of protecting itself and its future
generations against the inevitable consequences of this long-practised
policy of LAISSER-FAIRE.

The emergency problem of segregation and sterilization must be faced
immediately. Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type,
especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the
reproductive period.  Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear
imbecile children, who in turn are just as certain to breed other
defectives.  The male defectives are no less dangerous.  Segregation
carried out for one or two generations would give us only partial
control of the problem.  Moreover, when we realize that each feeble-
minded person is a potential source of an endless progeny of defect,
we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that
parenthood is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded.

This, I say, is an emergency measure.  But how are we to prevent the
repetition in the future of a new harvest of imbecility, the
recurrence of new generations of morons and defectives, as the logical
and inevitable consequence of the universal application of the
traditional and widely approved command to increase and multiply?

At the present moment, we are offered three distinct and more or less
mutually exclusive policies by which civilization may hope to protect
itself and the generations of the future from the allied dangers of
imbecility, defect and delinquency.  No one can understand the
necessity for Birth control education without a complete comprehension
of the dangers, the inadequacies, or the limitations of the present
attempts at control, or the proposed programs for social
reconstruction and racial regeneration.  It is, therefore, necessary
to interpret and criticize the three programs offered to meet our
emergency.  These may be briefly summarized as follows:

(1)  Philanthropy and Charity:  This is the present and traditional
method of meeting the problems of human defect and dependence, of
poverty and delinquency.  It is emotional, altruistic, at best
ameliorative, aiming to meet the individual situation as it arises and
presents itself.  Its effect in practise is seldom, if ever, truly
preventive.  Concerned with symptoms, with the allaying of acute and
catastrophic miseries, it cannot, if it would, strike at the radical
causes of social misery.  At its worst, it is sentimental and

(2)  Marxian Socialism:  This may be considered typical of many widely
varying schemes of more or less revolutionary social reconstruction,
emphasizing the primary importance of environment, education, equal
opportunity, and health, in the elimination of the conditions (i. e.
capitalistic control of industry) which have resulted in biological
chaos and human waste.  I shall attempt to show that the Marxian
doctrine is both too limited, too superficial and too fragmentary in
its basic analysis of human nature and in its program of revolutionary

(3)  Eugenics:  Eugenics seems to me to be valuable in its critical
and diagnostic aspects, in emphasizing the danger of irresponsible and
uncontrolled fertility of the ``unfit'' and the feeble-minded
establishing a progressive unbalance in human society and lowering the
birth-rate among the ``fit.'' But in its so-called ``constructive''
aspect, in seeking to reestablish the dominance of healthy strain over
the unhealthy, by urging an increased birth-rate among the fit, the
Eugenists really offer nothing more farsighted than a ``cradle
competition'' between the fit and the unfit.  They suggest in very
truth, that all intelligent and respectable parents should take as
their example in this grave matter of child-bearing the most
irresponsible elements in the community.

[1]  United States Public Health Service:  Psychiatric Studies of Delinquents.
     Reprint No. 598:  pp. 64-65.
[2]  The Problem of the Feeble-Minded:  An Abstract of the Report of
     the Royal Commission on the Cure and Control of the Feeble-Minded,
     London:  P. S. King & Son.
[3]  Cf.  Feeble-Minded in Ontario:  Fourteenth Report for the year ending
     October 31st, 1919.
[4]  Eugenics Review, Vol. XIII, p. 339 et seq.
[5]  Dwellers in the Vale of Siddem:  A True Story of the Social Aspect of
     Feeble-mindedness.  By A. C. Rogers and Maud A. Merrill; Boston (1919).

CHAPTER V: The Cruelty of Charity

    ``Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the
    good is an extreme cruelty.  It is a deliberate storing
    up of miseries for future generations.  There is no greater
    curse to posterity than that of bequeathing them an increasing
    population of imbeciles.''

Herbert Spencer

The last century has witnessed the rise and development of
philanthropy and organized charity.  Coincident with the all-
conquering power of machinery and capitalistic control, with the
unprecedented growth of great cities and industrial centers, and the
creation of great proletarian populations, modern civilization has
been confronted, to a degree hitherto unknown in human history, with
the complex problem of sustaining human life in surroundings and under
conditions flagrantly dysgenic.

The program, as I believe all competent authorities in contemporary
philanthropy and organized charity would agree, has been altered in
aim and purpose.  It was first the outgrowth of humanitarian and
altruistic idealism, perhaps not devoid of a strain of sentimentalism,
of an idealism that was aroused by a desperate picture of human misery
intensified by the industrial revolution.  It has developed in later
years into a program not so much aiming to succor the unfortunate
victims of circumstances, as to effect what we may term social
sanitation.  Primarily, it is a program of self-protection.
Contemporary philanthropy, I believe, recognizes that extreme poverty
and overcrowded slums are veritable breeding-grounds of epidemics,
disease, delinquency and dependency.  Its aim, therefore, is to
prevent the individual family from sinking to that abject condition in
which it will become a much heavier burden upon society.

There is no need here to criticize the obvious limitations of
organized charities in meeting the desperate problem of destitution.
We are all familiar with these criticisms:  the common indictment of
``inefficiency'' so often brought against public and privately endowed
agencies.  The charges include the high cost of administration; the
pauperization of deserving poor, and the encouragement and fostering
of the ``undeserving''; the progressive destruction of self-respect
and self-reliance by the paternalistic interference of social
agencies; the impossibility of keeping pace with the ever-increasing
multiplication of factors and influences responsible for the
perpetuation of human misery; the misdirection and misappropriation of
endowments; the absence of interorganization and coordination of the
various agencies of church, state, and privately endowed institutions;
the ``crimes of charity'' that are occasionally exposed in newspaper
scandals.  These and similar strictures we may ignore as irrelevant to
our present purpose, as inevitable but not incurable faults that have
been and are being eliminated in the slow but certain growth of a
beneficent power in modern civilization.  In reply to such criticisms,
the protagonist of modern philanthropy might justly point to the
honest and sincere workers and disinterested scientists it has
mobilized, to the self-sacrificing and hard-working executives who
have awakened public attention to the evils of poverty and the menace
to the race engendered by misery and filth.

Even if we accept organized charity at its own valuation, and grant
that it does the best it can, it is exposed to a more profound
criticism.  It reveals a fundamental and irremediable defect.  Its
very success, its very efficiency, its very necessity to the social
order, are themselves the most unanswerable indictment.  Organized
charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease.

Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and
to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing
evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest
sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuating
constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and
dependents.  My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the
``failure'' of philanthropy, but rather at its success.

These dangers inherent in the very idea of humanitarianism and
altruism, dangers which have to-day produced their full harvest of
human waste, of inequality and inefficiency, were fully recognized in
the last century at the moment when such ideas were first put into
practice.  Readers of Huxley's attack on the Salvation Army will
recall his penetrating and stimulating condemnation of the debauch of
sentimentalism which expressed itself in so uncontrolled a fashion in
the Victorian era. One of the most penetrating of American thinkers,
Henry James, Sr., sixty or seventy years ago wrote:  ``I have been so
long accustomed to see the most arrant deviltry transact itself in the
name of benevolence, that the moment I hear a profession of good will
from almost any quarter, I instinctively look around for a constable
or place my hand within reach of a bell-rope.  My ideal of human
intercourse would be a state of things in which no man will ever stand
in need of any other man's help, but will derive all his satisfaction
from the great social tides which own no individual names.  I am sure
no man can be put in a position of dependence upon another, without
the other's very soon becoming--if he accepts the duties of the
relation--utterly degraded out of his just human proportions. No man
can play the Deity to his fellow man with impunity--I mean, spiritual
impunity, of course.  For see:  if I am at all satisfied with that
relation, if it contents me to be in a position of generosity towards
others, I must be remarkably indifferent at bottom to the gross social
inequality which permits that position, and, instead of resenting the
enforced humiliation of my fellow man to myself in the interests of
humanity, I acquiesce in it for the sake of the profit it yields to my
own self-complacency.  I do hope the reign of benevolence is over;
until that event occurs, I am sure the reign of God will be

To-day, we may measure the evil effects of ``benevolence'' of this
type, not merely upon those who have indulged in it, but upon the
community at large.  These effects have been reduced to statistics and
we cannot, if we would, escape their significance.  Look, for instance
(since they are close at hand, and fairly representative of conditions
elsewhere) at the total annual expenditures of public and private
``charities and corrections'' for the State of New York.  For the year
ending June 30, 1919, the expenditures of public institutions and
agencies amounted to $33, 936,205.88.  The expenditures of privately
supported and endowed institutions for the same year, amount to
$58,100,530.98.  This makes a total, for public and private charities
and corrections of $92,036,736.86.  A conservative estimate of the
increase for the year (1920-1921) brings this figure approximately to
one-hundred and twenty-five millions. These figures take on an
eloquent significance if we compare them to the comparatively small
amounts spent upon education, conservation of health and other
constructive efforts.  Thus, while the City of New York spent $7.35
per capita on public education in the year 1918, it spent on public
charities no less than $2.66. Add to this last figure an even larger
amount dispensed by private agencies, and we may derive some definite
sense of the heavy burden of dependency, pauperism and delinquency
upon the normal and healthy sections of the community.

Statistics now available also inform us that more than a million
dollars are spent annually to support the public and private
institutions in the state of New York for the segregation of the
feeble-minded and the epileptic.  A million and a half is spent for
the up-keep of state prisons, those homes of the ``defective
delinquent.'' Insanity, which, we should remember, is to a great
extent hereditary, annually drains from the state treasury no less
than $11,985,695.55, and from private sources and endowments another
twenty millions.  When we learn further that the total number of
inmates in public and private institutions in the State of New York--
in alms-houses, reformatories, schools for the blind, deaf and mute,
in insane asylums, in homes for the feeble-minded and epileptic--
amounts practically to less than sixty-five thousand, an insignificant
number compared to the total population, our eyes should be opened to
the terrific cost to the community of this dead weight of human waste.

The United States Public Health Survey of the State of Oregon,
recently published, shows that even a young community, rich in natural
resources, and unusually progressive in legislative measures, is no
less subject to this burden.  Out of a total population of 783,000 it
is estimated that more than 75,000 men, women and children are
dependents, feeble-minded, or delinquents.  Thus about 10 per cent. of
the population is a constant drain on the finances, health, and future
of that community.  These figures represent a more definite and
precise survey than the rough one indicated by the statistics of
charities and correction for the State of New York.  The figures
yielded by this Oregon survey are also considerably lower than the
average shown by the draft examination, a fact which indicates that
they are not higher than might be obtained from other States.

Organized charity is thus confronted with the problem of feeble-
mindedness and mental defect.  But just as the State has so far
neglected the problem of mental defect until this takes the form of
criminal delinquency, so the tendency of our philanthropic and
charitable agencies has been to pay no attention to the problem until
it has expressed itself in terms of pauperism and delinquency.  Such
``benevolence'' is not merely ineffectual; it is positively injurious
to the community and the future of the race.

 But there is a special type of philanthropy or benevolence, now
widely advertised and advocated, both as a federal program and as
worthy of private endowment, which strikes me as being more
insidiously injurious than any other.  This concerns itself directly
with the function of maternity, and aims to supply GRATIS medical and
nursing facilities to slum mothers.  Such women are to be visited by
nurses and to receive instruction in the ``hygiene of pregnancy''; to
be guided in making arrangements for confinements; to be invited to
come to the doctor's clinics for examination and supervision.  They
are, we are informed, to ``receive adequate care during pregnancy, at
confinement, and for one month afterward.'' Thus are mothers and
babies to be saved. ``Childbearing is to be made safe.'' The work of
the maternity centers in the various American cities in which they
have already been established and in which they are supported by
private contributions and endowment, it is hardly necessary to point
out, is carried on among the poor and more docile sections of the
city, among mothers least able, through poverty and ignorance, to
afford the care and attention necessary for successful maternity. Now,
as the findings of Tredgold and Karl Pearson and the British Eugenists
so conclusively show, and as the infant mortality reports so
thoroughly substantiate, a high rate of fecundity is always associated
with the direst poverty, irresponsibility, mental defect, feeble-
mindedness, and other transmissible taints. The effect of maternity
endowments and maternity centers supported by private philanthropy
would have, perhaps already have had, exactly the most dysgenic
tendency. The new government program would facilitate the function of
maternity among the very classes in which the absolute necessity is to
discourage it.

Such ``benevolence'' is not merely superficial and near-sighted.  It
conceals a stupid cruelty, because it is not courageous enough to face
unpleasant facts.  Aside from the question of the unfitness of many
women to become mothers, aside from the very definite deterioration in
the human stock that such programs would inevitably hasten, we may
question its value even to the normal though unfortunate mother.  For
it is never the intention of such philanthropy to give the poor over-
burdened and often undernourished mother of the slum the opportunity
to make the choice herself, to decide whether she wishes time after to
time to bring children into the world.  It merely says ``Increase and
multiply:  We are prepared to help you do this.''  Whereas the great
majority of mothers realize the grave responsibility they face in
keeping alive and rearing the children they have already brought into
the world, the maternity center would teach them how to have more.
The poor woman is taught how to have her seventh child, when what she
wants to know is how to avoid bringing into the world her eighth.

Such philanthropy, as Dean Inge has so unanswerably pointed out, is
kind only to be cruel, and unwittingly promotes precisely the results
most deprecated.  It encourages the healthier and more normal sections
of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate
fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must
agree, a dead weight of human waste.  Instead of decreasing and aiming
to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the
race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree

On the other hand, the program is an indication of a suddenly awakened
public recognition of the shocking conditions surrounding pregnancy,
maternity, and infant welfare prevailing at the very heart of our
boasted civilization.  So terrible, so unbelievable, are these
conditions of child-bearing, degraded far below the level of primitive
and barbarian tribes, nay, even below the plane of brutes, that many
high-minded people, confronted with such revolting and disgraceful
facts, lost that calmness of vision and impartiality of judgment so
necessary in any serious consideration of this vital problem.  Their
``hearts'' are touched; they become hysterical; they demand immediate
action; and enthusiastically and generously they support the first
superficial program that is advanced.  Immediate action may sometimes
be worse than no action at all.  The ``warm heart'' needs the balance
of the cool head. Much harm has been done in the world by those too-
good-hearted folk who have always demanded that ``something be done at

They do not stop to consider that the very first thing to be done is
to subject the whole situation to the deepest and most rigorous
thinking.  As the late Walter Bagehot wrote in a significant but too
often forgotten passage:

``The most melancholy of human reflections, perhaps, is that on the
whole it is a question whether the benevolence of mankind does more
good or harm.  Great good, no doubt, philanthropy does, but then it
also does great evil.  It augments so much vice, it multiplies so much
suffering, it brings to life such great populations to suffer and to
be vicious, that it is open to argument whether it be or be not an
evil to the world, and this is entirely because excellent people fancy
they can do much by rapid action, and that they will most benefit the
world when they most relieve their own feelings; that as soon as an
evil is seen, `something' ought to be done to stay and prevent it.
One may incline to hope that the balance of good over evil is in favor
of benevolence; one can hardly bear to think that it is not so; but
anyhow it is certain that there is a most heavy debt of evil, and that
this burden might almost all have been spared us if philanthropists as
well as others had not inherited form their barbarous forefathers a
wild passion for instant action.''

It is customary, I believe, to defend philanthropy and charity upon
the basis of the sanctity of human life.  Yet recent events in the
world reveal a curious contradiction in this respect.  Human life is
held sacred, as a general Christian principle, until war is declared,
when humanity indulges in a universal debauch of bloodshed and
barbarism, inventing poison gases and every type of diabolic
suggestion to facilitate killing and starvation. Blockades are
enforced to weaken and starve civilian populations--women and
children. This accomplished, the pendulum of mob passion swings back
to the opposite extreme, and the compensatory emotions express
themselves in hysterical fashion.  Philanthropy and charity are then
unleashed.  We begin to hold human life sacred again.  We try to save
the lives of the people we formerly sought to weaken by devastation,
disease and starvation. We indulge in ``drives,'' in campaigns of
relief, in a general orgy of international charity.

We are thus witnessing to-day the inauguration of a vast system of
international charity. As in our more limited communities and cities,
where self-sustaining and self-reliant sections of the population are
forced to shoulder the burden of the reckless and irresponsible, so in
the great world community the more prosperous and incidentally less
populous nations are asked to relieve and succor those countries which
are either the victims of the wide-spread havoc of war, of
militaristic statesmanship, or of the age-long tradition of reckless
propagation and its consequent over-population.

The people of the United States have recently been called upon to
exercise their traditional generosity not merely to aid the European
Relief Council in its efforts to keep alive three million, five
hundred thousand starving children in Central Europe, but in addition
to contribute to that enormous fund to save the thirty million Chinese
who find themselves at the verge of starvation, owing to one of those
recurrent famines which strike often at that densely populated and
inert country, where procreative recklessness is encouraged as a
matter of duty.  The results of this international charity have not
justified the effort nor repaid the generosity to which it appealed.
In the first place, no effort was made to prevent the recurrence of
the disaster; in the second place, philanthropy of this type attempts
to sweep back the tide of miseries created by unrestricted
propagation, with the feeble broom of sentiment.  As one of the most
observant and impartial of authorities on the Far East, J. O. P.
Bland, has pointed out:  ``So long as China maintains a birth-rate
that is estimated at fifty-five per thousand or more, the only
possible alternative to these visitations would be emigration and this
would have to be on such a scale as would speedily overrun and
overfill the habitable globe.  Neither humanitarian schemes,
international charities nor philanthropies can prevent widespread
disaster to a people which habitually breeds up to and beyond the
maximum limits of its food supply.'' Upon this point, it is
interesting to add, Mr. Frank A. Vanderlip has likewise pointed out
the inefficacy and misdirection of this type of international

Mr. Bland further points out:  ``The problem presented is one with
which neither humanitarian nor religious zeal can ever cope, so long
as we fail to recognize and attack the fundamental cause of these
calamities.  As a matter of sober fact, the benevolent activities of
our missionary societies to reduce the deathrate by the prevention of
infanticide and the checking of disease, actually serve in the end to
aggravate the pressure of population upon its food-supply and to
increase the severity of the inevitably resultant catastrophe.  What
is needed for the prevention, or, at least, the mitigation of these
scourges, is an organized educational propaganda, directed first
against polygamy and the marriage of minors and the unfit, and, next,
toward such a limitation of the birth-rate as shall approximate the
standard of civilized countries.  But so long as Bishops and well
meaning philanthropists in England and America continue to praise and
encourage `the glorious fertility of the East' there can be but little
hope of minimizing the penalties of the ruthless struggle for
existence in China, and Nature's law will therefore continue to work
out its own pitiless solution, weeding out every year millions of
predestined weaklings.''

This rapid survey is enough, I hope, to indicate the manifold
inadequacies inherent in present policies of philanthropy and charity.
The most serious charge that can be brought against modern
``benevolence'' is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives,
delinquents and dependents.  These are the most dangerous elements in
the world community, the most devastating curse on human progress and
expression.  Philanthropy is a gesture characteristic of modern
business lavishing upon the unfit the profits extorted from the
community at large.  Looked at impartially, this compensatory
generosity is in its final effect probably more dangerous, more
dysgenic, more blighting than the initial practice of profiteering and
the social injustice which makes some too rich and others too poor.

[1]  Birth Control Review.  Vol. V. No. 4. p. 7.

CHAPTER VI: Neglected Factors of the World Problem

War has thrust upon us a new internationalism.  To-day the world is
united by starvation, disease and misery.  We are enjoying the ironic
internationalism of hatred. The victors are forced to shoulder the
burden of the vanquished.  International philanthropies and charities
are organized.  The great flux of immigration and emigration has
recommenced.  Prosperity is a myth; and the rich are called upon to
support huge philanthropies, in the futile attempt to sweep back the
tide of famine and misery.  In the face of this new internationalism,
this tangled unity of the world, all proposed political and economic
programs reveal a woeful common bankruptcy.  They are fragmentary and
superficial.  None of them go to the root of this unprecedented world
problem.  Politicians offer political solutions,--like the League of
Nations or the limitation of navies.  Militarists offer new schemes of
competitive armament.  Marxians offer the Third Internationale and
industrial revolution.  Sentimentalists offer charity and
philanthropy.  Coordination or correlation is lacking.  And matters go
steadily from bad to worse.

The first essential in the solution of any problem is the recognition
and statement of the factors involved.  Now in this complex problem
which to-day confronts us, no attempt has been made to state the
primary facts.  The statesman believes they are all political.
Militarists believe they are all military and naval. Economists,
including under the term the various schools for Socialists, believe
they are industrial and financial.  Churchmen look upon them as
religious and ethical.  What is lacking is the recognition of that
fundamental factor which reflects and coordinates these essential but
incomplete phases of the problem,--the factor of reproduction.  For in
all problems affecting the welfare of a biological species, and
particularly in all problems of human welfare, two fundamental forces
work against each other.  There is hunger as the driving force of all
our economic, industrial and commercial organizations; and there is
the reproductive impulse in continual conflict with our economic,
political settlements, race adjustments and the like.  Official
moralists, statesmen, politicians, philanthropists and economists
display an astounding disregard of this second disorganizing factor.
They treat the world of men as if it were purely a hunger world
instead of a hunger-sex world.  Yet there is no phase of human
society, no question of politics, economics, or industry that is not
tied up in almost equal measure with the expression of both of these
primordial impulses. You cannot sweep back overpowering dynamic
instincts by catchwords.  You can neglect and thwart sex only at your
peril.  You cannot solve the problem of hunger and ignore the problem
of sex.  They are bound up together.

While the gravest attention is paid to the problem of hunger and food,
that of sex is neglected.  Politicians and scientists are ready and
willing to speak of such things as a ``high birth rate,'' infant
mortality, the dangers of immigration or over-population.  But with
few exceptions they cannot bring themselves to speak of Birth Control.
Until they shall have broken through the traditional inhibitions
concerning the discussion of sexual matters, until they recognize the
force of the sexual instinct, and until they recognize Birth Control
as the PIVOTAL FACTOR in the problem confronting the world to-day, our
statesmen must continue to work in the dark.  Political palliatives
will be mocked by actuality.  Economic nostrums are blown willy-nilly
in the unending battle of human instincts.

A brief survey of the past three or four centuries of Western
civilization suggests the urgent need of a new science to help
humanity in the struggle with the vast problem of to-day's disorder
and danger.  That problem, as we envisage it, is fundamentally a
sexual problem. Ethical, political, and economic avenues of approach
are insufficient.  We must create a new instrument, a new technique to
make any adequate solution possible.

The history of the industrial revolution and the dominance of all-
conquering machinery in Western civilization show the inadequacy of
political and economic measures to meet the terrific rise in
population.  The advent of the factory system, due especially to the
development of machinery at the beginning of the nineteenth century,
upset all the grandiloquent theories of the previous era.  To meet the
new situation created by the industrial revolution arose the new
science of ``political economy,'' or economics.  Old political methods
proved inadequate to keep pace with the problem presented by the rapid
rise of the new machine and industrial power.  The machine era very
shortly and decisively exploded the simple belief that ``all men are
born free and equal.'' Political power was superseded by economic and
industrial power.  To sustain their supremacy in the political field,
governments and politicians allied themselves to the new industrial
oligarchy.  Old political theories and practices were totally
inadequate to control the new situation or to meet the complex
problems that grew out of it.

Just as the eighteenth century saw the rise and proliferation of
political theories, the nineteenth witnessed the creation and
development of the science of economics, which aimed to perfect an
instrument for the study and analysis of an industrial society, and to
offer a technique for the solution of the multifold problems it
presented.  But at the present moment, as the outcome of the machine
era and competitive populations, the world has been thrown into a new
situation, the solution of which is impossible solely by political or
economic weapons.

The industrial revolution and the development of machinery in Europe
and America called into being a new type of working-class. Machines
were at first termed ``labor-saving devices.''  In reality, as we now
know, mechanical inventions and discoveries created unprecedented and
increasingly enormous demand for ``labor.''  The omnipresent and still
existing scandal of child labor is ample evidence of this.  Machine
production in its opening phases, demanded large, concentrated and
exploitable populations.  Large production and the huge development of
international trade through improved methods of transport, made
possible the maintenance upon a low level of existence of these
rapidly increasing proletarian populations.  With the rise and spread
throughout Europe and America of machine production, it is now
possible to correlate the expansion of the ``proletariat.''  The
working-classes bred almost automatically to meet the demand for
machine-serving ``hands.''

The rise in population, the multiplication of proletarian populations
as a first result of mechanical industry, the appearance of great
centers of population, the so-called urban drift, and the evils of
overcrowding still remain insufficiently studied and stated.  It is a
significant though neglected fact that when, after long agitation in
Great Britain, child labor was finally forbidden by law, the supply of
children dropped appreciably.  No longer of economic value in the
factory, children were evidently a drug in the ``home.'' Yet it is
doubly significant that from this moment British labor began the long
unending task of self-organization.[1]

Nineteenth century economics had no method of studying the
interrelation of the biological factors with the industrial.
Overcrowding, overwork, the progressive destruction of responsibility
by the machine discipline, as is now perfectly obvious, had the most
disastrous consequences upon human character and human habits.[2]
Paternalistic philanthropies and sentimental charities, which sprang
up like mushrooms, only tended to increase the evils of indiscriminate
breeding.  From the physiological and psychological point of view, the
factory system has been nothing less than catastrophic.

Dr. Austin Freeman has recently pointed out [3] some of the
physiological, psychological, and racial effects of machinery upon the
proletariat, the breeders of the world.  Speaking for Great Britain,
Dr. Freeman suggests that the omnipresence of machinery tends toward
the production of large but inferior populations.  Evidences of
biological and racial degeneracy are apparent to this observer.
``Compared with the African negro,'' he writes, ``the British sub-man
is in several respects markedly inferior.  He tends to be dull; he is
usually quite helpless and unhandy; he has, as a rule, no skill or
knowledge of handicraft, or indeed knowledge of any kind....Over-
population is a phenomenon connected with the survival of the unfit,
and it is mechanism which has created conditions favorable to the
survival of the unfit and the elimination of the fit.''  The whole
indictment against machinery is summarized by Dr. Freeman:
``Mechanism by its reactions on man and his environment is
antagonistic to human welfare.  It has destroyed industry and replaced
it by mere labor; it has degraded and vulgarized the works of man; it
has destroyed social unity and replaced it by social disintegration
and class antagonism to an extent which directly threatens
civilization; it has injuriously affected the structural type of
society by developing its organization at the expense of the
individual; it has endowed the inferior man with political power which
he employs to the common disadvantage by creating political
institutions of a socially destructive type; and finally by its
reactions on the activities of war it constitutes an agent for the
wholesale physical destruction of man and his works and the extinction
of human culture.''

It is not necessary to be in absolute agreement with this
diagnostician to realize the menace of machinery, which tends to
emphasize quantity and mere number at the expense of quality and
individuality.  One thing is certain.  If machinery is detrimental to
biological fitness, the machine must be destroyed, as it was in Samuel
Butler's ``Erewhon.''  But perhaps there is another way of mastering
this problem.

Altruism, humanitarianism and philanthropy have aided and abetted
machinery in the destruction of responsibility and self-reliance among
the least desirable elements of the proletariat.  In contrast with the
previous epoch of discovery of the New World, of exploration and
colonization, when a centrifugal influence was at work upon the
populations of Europe, the advent of machinery has brought with it a
counteracting centripetal effect.  The result has been the
accumulation of large urban populations, the increase of
irresponsibility, and ever-widening margin of biological waste.

Just as eighteenth century politics and political theories were unable
to keep pace with the economic and capitalistic aggressions of the
nineteenth century, so also we find, if we look closely enough, that
nineteenth century economics is inadequate to lead the world out of
the catastrophic situation into which it has been thrown by the
debacle of the World War. Economists are coming to recognize that the
purely economic interpretation of contemporary events is insufficient.
Too long, as one of them has stated, orthodox economists have
overlooked the important fact that ``human life is dynamic, that
change, movement, evolution, are its basic characteristics; that self-
expression, and therefore freedom of choice and movement, are
prerequisites to a satisfying human state''.[4]

Economists themselves are breaking with the old ``dismal science'' of
the Manchester school, with its sterile study of ``supply and
demand,'' of prices and exchange, of wealth and labor. Like the
Chicago Vice Commission, nineteenth-century economists (many of whom
still survive into our own day) considered sex merely as something to
be legislated out of existence. They had the right idea that wealth
consisted solely of material things used to promote the welfare of
certain human beings.  Their idea of capital was somewhat confused.
They apparently decided that capital was merely that part of capital
used to produce profit.  Prices, exchanges, commercial statistics, and
financial operations comprised the subject matter of these older
economists.  It would have been considered ``unscientific'' to take
into account the human factors involved.  They might study the wear-
and-tear and depreciation of machinery:  but the depreciation or
destruction of the human race did not concern them. Under ``wealth''
they never included the vast, wasted treasury of human life and human

Economists to-day are awake to the imperative duty of dealing with the
whole of human nature, with the relation of men, women, and children
to their environment--physical and psychic as well as social; of
dealing with all those factors which contribute to human sustenance,
happiness and welfare.  The economist, at length, investigates human
motives.  Economics outgrows the outworn metaphysical preconceptions
of nineteenth century theory.  To-day we witness the creation of a new
``welfare'' or social economics, based on a fuller and more complete
knowledge of the human race, upon a recognition of sex as well as of
hunger; in brief, of physiological instincts and psychological
demands.  The newer economists are beginning to recognize that their
science heretofore failed to take into account the most vital factors
in modern industry--it failed to foresee the inevitable consequences
of compulsory motherhood; the catastrophic effects of child labor upon
racial health; the overwhelming importance of national vitality and
well-being; the international ramifications of the population problem;
the relation of indiscriminate breeding to feeble-mindedness, and
industrial inefficiency.  It speculated too little or not at all on
human motives.  Human nature riots through the traditional economic
structure, as Carlton Parker pointed out, with ridicule and
destruction; the old-fashioned economist looked on helpless and

Inevitably we are driven to the conclusion that the exhaustively
economic interpretation of contemporary history is inadequate to meet
the present situation.  In his suggestive book, ``The Acquisitive
Society,'' R. H. Tawney, arrives at the conclusion that ``obsession by
economic issues is as local and transitory as it is repulsive and
disturbing.  To future generations it will appear as pitiable as the
obsession of the seventeenth century by religious quarrels appears to-
day; indeed, it is less rational, since the object with which it is
concerned is less important.  And it is a poison which inflames every
wound and turns each trivial scratch into a malignant ulcer.  Society
will not solve the particular problems of industry until that poison
is expelled, and it has learned to see industry in its proper
VALUES.  It must regard economic interests as one element in life, not
as the whole of life....''[5]

In neglecting or minimizing the great factor of sex in human society,
the Marxian doctrine reveals itself as no stronger than orthodox
economics in guiding our way to a sound civilization.  It works within
the same intellectual limitations.  Much as we are indebted to the
Marxians for pointing out the injustice of modern industrialism, we
should never close our eyes to the obvious limitations of their own
``economic interpretation of history.''  While we must recognize the
great historical value of Marx, it is now evident that his vision of
the ``class struggle,'' of the bitter irreconcilable warfare between
the capitalist and working classes was based not upon historical
analysis, but upon on unconscious dramatization of a superficial
aspect of capitalistic regime.

In emphasizing the conflict between the classes, Marx failed to
recognize the deeper unity of the proletariat and the capitalist.
Nineteenth century capitalism had in reality engendered and cultivated
the very type of working class best suited to its own purpose--an
inert, docile, irresponsible and submissive class, progressively
incapable of effective and aggressive organization.  Like the
economists of the Manchester school, Marx failed to recognize the
interplay of human instincts in the world of industry.  All the
virtues were embodied in the beloved proletariat; all the villainies
in the capitalists.  The greatest asset of the capitalism of that age
was, as a matter of fact, the uncontrolled breeding among the laboring
classes.  The intelligent and self-conscious section of the workers
was forced to bear the burden of the unemployed and the poverty-

Marx was fully aware of the consequences of this condition of things,
but shut his eyes tightly to the cause.  He pointed out that
capitalistic power was dependent upon ``the reserve army of labor,''
surplus labor, and a wide margin of unemployment.  He practically
admitted that over-population was the inevitable soil of predatory
capitalism.  But he disregarded the most obvious consequence of that
admission.  It was all very dramatic and grandiloquent to tell the
workingmen of the world to unite, that they had ``nothing but their
chains to lose and the world to gain.'' Cohesion of any sort, united
and voluntary organization, as events have proved, is impossible in
populations bereft of intelligence, self-discipline and even the
material necessities of life, and cheated by their desires and
ignorance into unrestrained and uncontrolled fertility.

In pointing out the limitations and fallacies of the orthodox Marxian
opinion, my purpose is not to depreciate the efforts of the Socialists
aiming to create a new society, but rather to emphasize what seems to
me the greatest and most neglected truth of our day:--Unless sexual
science is incorporated as an integral part of world-statesmanship and
the pivotal importance of Birth Control is recognized in any program
of reconstruction, all efforts to create a new world and a new
civilization are foredoomed to failure.

We can hope for no advance until we attain a new conception of sex,
not as a merely propagative act, not merely as a biological necessity
for the perpetuation of the race, but as a psychic and spiritual
avenue of expression. It is the limited, inhibited conception of sex
that vitiates so much of the thought and ideation of the Eugenists.

Like most of our social idealists, statesmen, politicians and
economists, some of the Eugenists suffer intellectually from a
restricted and inhibited understanding of the function of sex.  This
limited understanding, this narrowness of vision, which gives rise to
most of the misconceptions and condemnations of the doctrine of Birth
Control, is responsible  or the failure of politicians and legislators
to enact practical statutes or to remove traditional obscenities from
the law books.  The most encouraging sign at present is the
recognition by modern psychology of the central importance of the
sexual instinct in human society, and the rapid spread of this new
concept among the more enlightened sections of the civilized
communities.  The new conception of sex has been well stated by one to
whom the debt of contemporary civilization is well-nigh immeasurable.
``Sexual activity,'' Havelock Ellis has written, ``is not merely a
baldly propagative act, nor, when propagation is put aside, is it
merely the relief of distended vessels. It is something more even than
the foundation of great social institutions.  It is the function by
which all the finer activities of the organism, physical and psychic,
may be developed and satisfied.''[6]

No less than seventy years ago, a profound but neglected thinker,
George Drysdale, emphasized the necessity of a thorough understanding
of man's sexual nature in approaching economic, political and social
problems. ``Before we can undertake the calm and impartial
investigation of any social problem, we must first of all free
ourselves from all those sexual prejudices which are so vehement and
violent and which so completely distort our vision of the external
world.  Society as a whole has yet to fight its way through an almost
impenetrable forest of sexual taboos.'' Drysdale's words have lost
none of their truth even to-day:  ``There are few things from which
humanity has suffered more than the degraded and irreverent feelings
of mystery and shame that have been attached to the genital and
excretory organs.  The former have been regarded, like their
corresponding mental passions, as something of a lower and baser
nature, tending to degrade and carnalize man by their physical
appetites.  But we cannot take a debasing view of any part of our
humanity without becoming degraded in our whole being.''[7]

Drysdale moreover clearly recognized the social crime of entrusting to
sexual barbarians the duty of legislating and enforcing laws
detrimental to the welfare of all future generations.  ``They trust
blindly to authority for the rules they blindly lay down,'' he wrote,
``perfectly unaware of the awful and complicated nature of the subject
they are dealing with so confidently and of the horrible evils their
unconsidered statements are attended with.  They themselves break
through the most fundamentally important laws daily in utter
unconsciousness of the misery they are causing to their fellows....''

Psychologists to-day courageously emphasize the integral relationship
of the expression of the sexual instinct with every phase of human
activity.  Until we recognize this central fact, we cannot understand
the implications and the sinister significance of superficial attempts
to apply rosewater remedies to social evils,--by the enactment of
restrictive and superficial legislation, by wholesale philanthropies
and charities, by publicly burying our heads in the sands of
sentimentality.  Self-appointed censors, grossly immoral
``moralists,'' makeshift legislators, all face a heavy responsibility
for the miseries, diseases, and social evils they perpetuate or
intensify by enforcing the primitive taboos of aboriginal customs,
traditions, and outworn laws, which at every step hinder the education
of the people in the scientific knowledge of their sexual nature.
Puritanic and academic taboo of sex in education and religion is as
disastrous to human welfare as prostitution or the venereal scourges.
``We are compelled squarely to face the distorting influences of
biologically aborted reformers as well as the wastefulness of
seducers,'' Dr. Edward A. Kempf recently declared.  ``Man arose from
the ape and inherited his passions, which he can only refine but dare
not attempt to castrate unless he would destroy the fountains of
energy that maintain civilization and make life worth living and the
world worth beautifying....We do not have a problem that is to be
solved by making repressive laws and executing them. Nothing will be
more disastrous.  Society must make life worth the living and the
refining for the individual by conditioning him to love and to seek
the love-object in a manner that reflects a constructive effect upon
his fellow-men and by giving him suitable opportunities.  The virility
of the automatic apparatus is destroyed by excessive gormandizing or
hunger, by excessive wealth or poverty, by excessive work or idleness,
by sexual abuse or intolerant prudishness.  The noblest and most
difficult art of all is the raising of human thoroughbreds.''[8]

[1]  It may be well to note, in this connection, that the decline in
     the birth rate among the more intelligent classes of British labor
     followed upon the famous Bradlaugh-Besant trial of 1878, the outcome
     of the attempt of these two courageous Birth Control pioneers to
     circulate among the workers the work of an American physician, Dr.
     Knowlton's ``The Fruits of Philosophy,'' advocating Birth Control,
     and the widespread publicity resulting fromt his trial.
[2]  Cf. The Creative Impulse in Industry, by Helen Marot.  The Instinct
     of Workmanship, by Thorstein Veblen.
[3]  Social Decay and Regeneration.  By R. Austin Freeman.  London 1921.
[4]  Carlton H. Parker:  The Casual Laborer and other essays:  p. 30.
[5]  R. H. Tawney.  The Acquisitive Society, p. 184.
[6]  Medical Review of Reviews:  Vol. XXVI, p. 116.
[7]  The Elements of Social Science:  London, 1854.
[8]  Proceedings of the International Conference of Women Physicians.
     Vol. IV, pp. 66-67.  New York, 1920.

CHAPTER VII: Is Revolution the Remedy?

Marxian Socialism, which seeks to solve the complex problem of human
misery by economic and proletarian revolution, has manifested a new
vitality.  Every shade of Socialistic thought and philosophy
acknowledges its indebtedness to the vision of Karl Marx and his
conception of the class struggle.  Yet the relation of Marxian
Socialism to the philosophy of Birth Control, especially in the minds
of most Socialists, remains hazy and confused. No thorough
understanding of Birth Control, its aims and purposes, is possible
until this confusion has been cleared away, and we come to a
realization that Birth Control is not merely independent of, but even
antagonistic to the Marxian dogma.  In recent years many Socialists
have embraced the doctrine of Birth Control, and have generously
promised us that ``under Socialism'' voluntary motherhood will be
adopted and popularized as part of a general educational system.  We
might more logically reply that no Socialism will ever be possible
until the problem of responsible parenthood has been solved.

Many Socialists to-day remain ignorant of the inherent conflict
between the idea of Birth Control and the philosophy of Marx.  The
earlier Marxians, including Karl Marx himself, expressed the bitterest
antagonism to Malthusian and neo-Malthusian theories.  A remarkable
feature of early Marxian propaganda has been the almost complete
unanimity with which the implications of the Malthusian doctrine have
been derided, denounced and repudiated.  Any defense of the so-called
``law of population'' was enough to stamp one, in the eyes of the
orthodox Marxians, as a ``tool of the capitalistic class,'' seeking to
dampen the ardor of those who expressed the belief that men might
create a better world for themselves. Malthus, they claimed, was
actuated by selfish class motives.  He was not merely a hidebound
aristocrat, but a pessimist who was trying to kill all hope of human
progress.  By Marx, Engels, Bebel, Karl Kautsky, and all the
celebrated leaders and interpreters of Marx's great ``Bible of the
working class,'' down to the martyred Rosa Luxemburg and Karl
Liebknecht, Birth Control has been looked upon as a subtle,
Machiavellian sophistry created for the purpose of placing the blame
for human misery elsewhere than at the door of the capitalist class.
Upon this point the orthodox Marxian mind has been universally and
sternly uncompromising.

Marxian vituperation of Malthus and his followers is illuminating.  It
reveals not the weakness of the thinker attacked, but of the
aggressor.  This is nowhere more evident than in Marx's ``Capital''
itself.  In that monumental effort, it is impossible to discover any
adequate refutation or even calm discussion of the dangers of
irresponsible parenthood and reckless breeding, any suspicion that
this recklessness and irresponsibility is even remotely related to the
miseries of the proletariat.  Poor Malthus is there relegated to the
humble level of a footnote.  ``If the reader reminds me of Malthus,
whose essay on Population appeared in 1798,'' Marx remarks somewhat
tartly, ``I remind him that this work in its first form is nothing
more than a schoolboyish, superficial plagiary of De Foe, Sir James
Steuart, Townsend, Franklin, Wallace, etc., and does not contain a
single sentence thought out by himself.  The great sensation this
pamphlet caused was due solely to party interest.  The French
Revolution had passionate defenders in the United Kingdom.... `The
Principles of Population' was quoted with jubilance by the English
oligarchy as the great destroyer of all hankerings after human

The only attempt that Marx makes here toward answering the theory of
Malthus is to declare that most of the population theory teachers were
merely Protestant parsons.--``Parson Wallace, Parson Townsend, Parson
Malthus and his pupil the Arch-Parson Thomas Chalmers, to say nothing
of the lesser reverend scribblers in this line.''  The great pioneer
of ``scientific'' Socialism the proceeds to berate parsons as
philosophers and economists, using this method of escape from the very
pertinent question of surplus population and surplus proletariat in
its relation to labor organization and unemployment.  It is true that
elsewhere [2] he goes so far as to admit that ``even Malthus recognized
over-population as a necessity of modern industry, though, after his
narrow fashion, he explains it by the absolute over-growth of the
laboring population, not by their becoming relatively supernumerary.''
A few pages later, however, Marx comes back again to the question of
over-population, failing to realize that it is to the capitalists'
advantage that the working classes are unceasingly prolific.  ``The
folly is now patent,'' writes the unsuspecting Marx, ``of the economic
wisdom that preaches to the laborers the accommodation of their
numbers to the requirements of capital.  The mechanism of capitalist
production and accumulation constantly affects this adjustment.  The
first work of this adaptation is the creation of a relatively surplus
population or industrial reserve army.  Its last work is the misery of
constantly extending strata of the army of labor, and the dead weight
of pauperism.'' A little later he ventures again in the direction of
Malthusianism so far as to admit that ``the accumulation of wealth at
one pole the same time the accumulation of misery, agony of
toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality and mental degradation at the
opposite pole.'' Nevertheless, there is no indication that Marx
permitted himself to see that the proletariat accommodates its numbers
to the ``requirements of capital'' precisely by breeding a large,
docile, submissive and easily exploitable population.

Had the purpose of Marx been impartial and scientific, this trifling
difference might easily have been overcome and the dangers of reckless
breeding insisted upon.  But beneath all this wordy pretension and
economic jargon, we detect another aim.  That is the unconscious
dramatization of human society into the ``class conflict.'' Nothing
was overlooked that might sharpen and accentuate this ``conflict.''
Marx depicted a great melodramatic conflict, in which all the virtues
were embodied in the proletariat and all the villainies in the
capitalist.  In the end, as always in such dramas, virtue was to be
rewarded and villainy punished.  The working class was the temporary
victim of a subtle but thorough conspiracy of tyranny and repression.
Capitalists, intellectuals and the BOURGEOISIE were all ``in on'' this
diabolic conspiracy, all thoroughly familiar with the plot, which Marx
was so sure he had uncovered.  In the last act was to occur that
catastrophic revolution, with the final transformation scene of the
Socialist millenium. Presented in ``scientific'' phraseology, with all
the authority of economic terms, ``Capital'' appeared at the
psychological moment.  The heaven of the traditional theology had been
shattered by Darwinian science, and here, dressed up in all the
authority of the new science, appeared a new theology, the promise of
a new heaven, an earthly paradise, with an impressive scale of rewards
for the faithful and ignominious punishments for the capitalists.

Critics have often been puzzled by the tremendous vitality of this
work.  Its prediction s have never, despite the claims of the
faithful, been fulfilled.  Instead of diminishing, the spirit of
nationalism has been intensified tenfold.  In nearly every respect
Marx's predictions concerning the evolution of historical and economic
forces have been contradicted by events, culminating in the great war.
Most of his followers, the ``revolutionary'' Socialists, were swept
into the whirlpool of nationalistic militarism.  Nevertheless, this
``Bible of the working classes'' still enjoys a tremendous authority
as a scientific work.  By some it is regarded as an economic treatise;
by others as a philosophy of history; by others as a collection of
sociological laws; and finally by others as a moral and political book
of reference. Criticized, refuted, repudiated and demolished by
specialists, it nevertheless exerts its influences and retains its
mysterious vitality.

We must seek the explanation of this secret elsewhere.  Modern
psychology has taught us that human nature has a tendency to place the
cause of its own deficiencies and weaknesses outside of itself, to
attribute to some external agency, to some enemy or group of enemies,
the blame for its own misery.  In his great work Marx unconsciously
strengthens and encourages this tendency.  The immediate effect of his
teaching, vulgarized and popularized in a hundred different forms, is
to relieve the proletariat of all responsibility for the effects of
its reckless breeding, and even to encourage it in the perpetuation of

The inherent truth in the Marxian teachings was, moreover, immediately
subordinated to their emotional and religious appeal.  A book that
could so influence European thought could not be without merit.  But
in the process of becoming the ``Bible of the working classes,''
``Capital'' suffered the fate of all such ``Bibles.''  The spirit of
ecclesiastical dogmatism was transfused into the religion of
revolutionary Socialism.  This dogmatic religious quality has been
noted by many of the most observant critics of Socialism.  Marx was
too readily accepted as the father of the church, and ``Capital'' as
the sacred gospel of the social revolution.  All questions of tactics,
of propaganda, of class warfare, of political policy, were to be
solved by apt quotations from the ``good book.'' New thoughts, new
schemes, new programs, based upon tested fact and experience, the
outgrowth of newer discoveries concerning the nature of men, upon the
recognition of the mistakes of the master, could only be approved or
admitted according as they could or could not be tested by some bit of
text quoted from Marx.  His followers assumed that Karl Marx had
completed the philosophy of Socialism, and that the duty of the
proletariat thenceforth was not to think for itself, but merely to
mobilize itself under competent Marxian leaders for the realization of
his ideas.

From the day of this apotheosis of Marx until our own, the
``orthodox'' Socialist of any shade is of the belief that the first
essential for social salvation lies in unquestioning belief in the
dogmas of Marx.

The curious and persistent antagonism to Birth Control that began with
Marx and continues to our own day can be explained only as the utter
refusal or inability to consider humanity in its physiological and
psychological aspects--these aspects, apparently, having no place in
the ``economic interpretation of history.''  It has remained for
George Bernard Shaw, a Socialist with a keener spiritual insight than
the ordinary Marxist, to point out the disastrous consequences of
rapid multiplication which are obvious to the small cultivator, the
peasant proprietor, the lowest farmhand himself, but which seem to
arouse the orthodox, intellectual Marxian to inordinate fury.  ``But
indeed the more you degrade the workers,'' Shaw once wrote,[3]
``robbing them of all artistic enjoyment, and all chance of respect
and admiration from their fellows, the more you throw them back,
reckless, upon the one pleasure and the one human tie left to them--
the gratification of their instinct for producing fresh supplies of
men. You will applaud this instinct as divine until at last the
excessive supply becomes a nuisance: there comes a plague of men; and
you suddenly discover that the instinct is diabolic, and set up a cry
of `over-population.'  But your slaves are beyond caring for your
cries:  they breed like rabbits:  and their poverty breeds filth,
ugliness, dishonesty, disease, obscenity, drunkenness.''

Lack of insight into fundamental truths of human nature is evident
throughout  the writings of the Marxians.  The Marxian Socialists,
according to Kautsky, defended women in industry:  it was right for
woman to work in factories in order to preserve her equality with man!
Man must not support woman, declared the great French Socialist
Guesde, because that would make her the PROLETAIRE of man!  Bebel, the
great authority on woman, famous for his erudition, having critically
studied the problem of population, suggested as a remedy for too
excessive fecundity the consumption of a certain lard soup reputed to
have an ``anti-generative'' effect upon the agricultural population of
Upper Bavaria!  Such are the results of the literal and uncritical
acceptance of Marx's static and mechanical conception of human
society, a society perfectly automatic; in which competition is always
operating at maximum efficiency; one vast and unending conspiracy
against the blameless proletariat.

This lack of insight of the orthodox Marxians, long represented by the
German Social-Democrats, is nowhere better illustrated than in Dr.
Robinson's account of a mass meeting of the Social-Democrat party to
organize public opinion against the doctrine of Birth Control among
the poor.[4]  ``Another meeting had taken place the week before, at
which several eminent Socialist women, among them Rosa Luxemburg and
Clara Zetkin, spoke very strongly against limitation of offspring
among the poor--in fact the title of the discussion was GEGEN DEN
GEBURTSTREIK!  `Against the birth strike!'  The interest of the
audience was intense.  One could see that with them it was not merely
a dialectic question, as it was with their leaders, but a matter of
life and death.  I came to attend a meeting AGAINST the limitation of
offspring; it soon proved to be a meeting very decidedly FOR the
limitation of offspring, for every speaker who spoke in favor of the
artificial prevention of conception or undesired pregnancies, was
greeted with vociferous, long-lasting applause; while those who tried
to persuade the people that a limited number of children is not a
proletarian weapon, and would not improve their lot, were so hissed
that they had difficulty going on.  The speakers who were against
the...idea soon felt that their audience was against them....Why was
there such small attendance at the regular Socialistic meetings, while
the meetings of this character were packed to suffocation?  It did not
apparently penetrate the leaders' heads that the reason was a simple
one.  Those meetings were evidently of no interest to them, while
those which dealt with the limitation of offspring were of personal,
vital, present interest....What particularly amused me--and pained me-
-in the anti-limitationists was the ease and equanimity with which
they advised the poor women to keep on bearing children.  The woman
herself was not taken into consideration, as if she was not a human
being, but a machine.  What are her sufferings, her labor pains, her
inability to read, to attend meetings, to have a taste of life?  What
does she amount to?  The proletariat needs fighters.  Go on, females,
and breed like animals. Maybe of the thousands you bear a few will
become party members....''

The militant organization of the Marxian Socialists suggests that
their campaign must assume the tactics of militarism of the familiar
type.  As represented by militaristic governments, militarism like
Socialism has always encouraged the proletariat to increase and
multiply.  Imperial Germany was the outstanding and awful example of
this attitude. Before the war the fall in the birth-rate was viewed by
the Junker party with the gravest misgivings.  Bernhardi and the
protagonists of DEUTSCHLAND-UBER-ALLES condemned it in the strongest
terms.  The Marxians unconsciously repeat the words of the government
representative, Krohne, who, in a debate on the subject in the
Prussian Diet, February 1916, asserted: ``Unfortunately this view has
gained followers amongst the German women....These women, in refusing
to rear strong and able children to continue the race, drag into the
dust that which is the highest end of women--motherhood.  It is to be
hoped that the willingness to bear sacrifices will lead to a change
for the better....We need an increase in human beings to guard against
the attacks of envious neighbors as well as to fulfil our cultural
mission.  Our whole economic development depends on increase of our
people.''  Today we are fully aware of how imperial Germany fulfiled
that cultural mission of hers; nor can we overlook the fact that the
countries with a smaller birth-rate survived the ordeal.  Even from
the traditional militaristic standpoint, strength does not reside in
numbers, though the Caesars, the Napoleons and the Kaisers of the world
have always believed that large exploitable populations were necessary
for their own individual power.  If Marxian dictatorship means the
dictatorship of a small minority wielding power in the interest of the
proletariat, a high-birth rate may be necessary, though we may here
recall the answer of the lamented Dr. Alfred Fried to the German
imperialists:  ``It is madness, the apotheosis of unreason, to wish to
breed and care for human beings in order that in the flower of their
youth they may be sent in millions to be slaughtered wholesale by
machinery.  We need no wholesale production of men, have no need of
the `fruitful fertility of women,' no need of wholesale wares,
fattened and dressed for slaughter What we do need is careful
maintenance of those already born.  If the bearing of children is a
moral and religious duty, then it is a much higher duty to secure the
sacredness and security of human life, so that children born and bred
with trouble and sacrifice may not be offered up in the bloom of youth
to a political dogma at the bidding of secret diplomacy.''

Marxism has developed a patriotism of its own, if indeed it has not
yet been completely crystallized into a religion.  Like the
``capitalistic'' governments it so vehemently attacks, it demands
self-sacrifice and even martyrdom from the faithful comrades.  But
since its strength depends to so great a degree upon ``conversion,''
upon docile acceptance of the doctrines of the ``Master'' as
interpreted by the popes and bishops of this new church, it fails to
arouse the irreligious proletariat.  The Marxian Socialist boasts of
his understanding of ``working class psychology'' and criticizes the
lack of this understanding on the part of all dissenters. But, as the
Socialists' meetings against the ``birth strike'' indicate, the
working class is not interested in such generalities as the Marxian
``theory of value,'' the ``iron law'' of wages, ``the value of
commodities'' and the rest of the hazy articles of faith.  Marx
inherited the rigid nationalistic psychology of the eighteenth
century, and his followers, for the most part, have accepted his
mechanical and superficial treatment of instinct.[5]  Discontented
workers may rally to Marxism because it places the blame for their
misery outside of themselves and depicts their conditions as the
result of a capitalistic conspiracy, thereby satisfying that innate
tendency of every human being to shift the blame to some living person
outside himself, and because it strengthens his belief that his
sufferings and difficulties may be overcome by the immediate
amelioration of his economic environment.  In this manner,
psychologists tell us, neuroses and inner compulsions are fostered.
No true solution is possible, to continue this analogy, until the
worker is awakened to the realization that the roots of his malady lie
deep in his own nature, his own organism, his own habits.  To blame
everything upon the capitalist and the environment produced by
capitalism is to focus attention upon merely one of the elements of
the problem.  The Marxian too often forgets that before there was a
capitalist there was exercised the unlimited reproductive activity of
mankind, which produced the first overcrowding, the first want.  This
goaded humanity into its industrial frenzy, into warfare and theft and
slavery.  Capitalism has not created the lamentable state of affairs
in which the world now finds itself.  It has grown out of them, armed
with the inevitable power to take advantage of our swarming, spawning
millions.  As that valiant thinker Monsieur G. Hardy has pointed out [6]
the proletariat may be looked upon, not as the antagonist of
capitalism, but as its accomplice.  Labor surplus, or the ``army of
reserve'' which as for decades and centuries furnished the industrial
background of human misery, which so invariably defeats strikes and
labor revolts, cannot honestly be blamed upon capitalism.  It is, as
M. Hardy points out, of SEXUAL and proletarian origin.  In bringing
too many children into the world, in adding to the total of misery, in
intensifying the evils of overcrowding, the proletariat itself
increases the burden of organized labor; even of the Socialist and
Syndicalist organizations themselves with a surplus of the docilely
inefficient, with those great uneducable and unorganizable masses.
With surprisingly few exceptions, Marxians of all countries have
docilely followed their master in rejecting, with bitterness and
vindictiveness that is difficult to explain, the principles and
teachings of Birth Control.

Hunger alone is not responsible for the bitter struggle for existence
we witness to-day in our over-advertised civilization.  Sex,
uncontrolled, misdirected, over-stimulated and misunderstood, has run
riot at the instigation of priest, militarist and exploiter.
Uncontrolled sex has rendered the proletariat prostrate, the
capitalist powerful.  In this continuous, unceasing alliance of sexual
instinct and hunger we find the reason for the decline of all the
finer sentiments.  These instincts tear asunder the thin veils of
culture and hypocrisy and expose to our gaze the dark sufferings of
gaunt humanity.  So have we become familiar with the everyday
spectacle of distorted bodies, of harsh and frightful diseases
stalking abroad in the light of day; of misshapen heads and visages of
moron and imbecile; of starving children in city streets and schools.
This is the true soil of unspeakable crimes.  Defect and delinquency
join hands with disease, and accounts of inconceivable and revolting
vices are dished up in the daily press.  When the majority of men and
women are driven by the grim lash of sex and hunger in the unending
struggle to feed themselves and to carry the dead-weight of dead and
dying progeny, when little children are forced into factories,
streets, and shops, education--including even education in the Marxian
dogmas--is quite impossible; and civilization is more completely
threatened than it ever could be by pestilence or war.

But, it will be pointed out, the working class has advanced.  Power
has been acquired by labor unions and syndicates.  In the beginning
power was won by the principle of the restriction of numbers.  The
device of refusing to admit more than a fixed number of new members to
the unions of the various trades has been justified as necessary for
the upholding of the standard of wages and of working conditions.
This has been the practice in precisely those unions which have been
able through years of growth and development to attain tangible
strength and power.  Such a principle of restriction is necessary in
the creation of a firmly and deeply rooted trunk or central
organization furnishing a local center for more extended organization.
It is upon this great principle of restricted number that the labor
unions have generated and developed power.  They have acquired this
power without any religious emotionalism, without subscribing to
metaphysical or economic theology. For the millenium and the earthly
paradise to be enjoyed at some indefinitely future date, the union
member substitutes the very real politics of organization with its
resultant benefits. He increases his own independence and comfort and
that of his family.  He is immune to superstitious belief in and
respect for the mysterious power of political or economic nostrums to
reconstruct human society according to the Marxian formula.

In rejecting the Marxian hypothesis as superficial and fragmentary, we
do so not because of its so-called revolutionary character, its threat
to the existing order of things, but rather because of its
superficial, emotional and religious character and its deleterious
effect upon the life of reason.  Like other schemes advanced by the
alarmed and the indignant, it relies too much upon moral fervor and
enthusiasm.  To build any social program upon the shifting sands of
sentiment and feeling, of indignation or enthusiasm, is a dangerous
and foolish task.  On the other hand, we should not minimize the
importance of the Socialist movement in so valiantly and so
courageously battling against the stagnating complacency of our
conservatives and reactionaries, under whose benign imbecility the
defective and diseased elements of humanity are encouraged ``full
speed ahead'' in their reckless and irresponsible swarming and
spawning. Nevertheless, as George Drysdale pointed out nearly seventy
years ago;

``...If we ignore this and other sexual subjects, we may do whatever
else we like: we may bully, we may bluster, we may rage, We may foam
at the mouth; we may tear down Heaven with our prayers, we may exhaust
ourselves with weeping over the sorrows of the poor; we may narcotize
ourselves and others with the opiate of Christian resignation; we may
dissolve the realities of human woe in a delusive mirage of poetry and
ideal philosophy; we may lavish our substance in charity, and labor
over possible or impossible Poor Laws; we may form wild dreams of
Socialism, industrial regiments, universal brotherhood, red republics,
or unexampled revolutions; we may strangle and murder each other, we
may persecute and despise those whose sexual necessities force them to
break through our unnatural moral codes; we may burn alive if we
please the prostitutes and the adulterers; we may break our own and
our neighbor's hearts against the adamantine laws that surround us,
but not one step, not one shall we advance, till we acknowledge these
laws, and adopt the only possible mode in which they can be obeyed.''
These words were written in 1854.  Recent events have accentuated
their stinging truth.

[1]  Marx: ``Capital.''  Vol. I, p. 675.
[2]  Op. cit. pp, 695, 707, 709.
[3]  Fabian Essays in Socialism.  p. 21.
[4]  Uncontrolled Breeding, By Adelyne More.  p. 84.
[5]  For a sympathetic treatment of modern psychological research as
     bearing on Communism, by two convinced Communists see ``Creative
     Revolution,'' by Eden and Cedar Paul.
[6]  Neo-Malthusianisme et Socialisme, p. 22.

CHAPTER VIII: Dangers of Cradle Competition

Eugenics has been defined as ``the study of agencies under social
control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of future
generations, either mentally or physically.''  While there is no
inherent conflict between Socialism and Eugenics, the latter is,
broadly, the antithesis of the former.  In its propaganda, Socialism
emphasizes the evil effects of our industrial and economic system.  It
insists upon the necessity of satisfying material needs, upon
sanitation, hygiene, and education to effect the transformation of
society.  The Socialist insists that healthy humanity is impossible
without a radical improvement of the social--and therefore of the
economic and industrial--environment.  The Eugenist points out that
heredity is the great determining factor in the lives of men and
women. Eugenics is the attempt to solve the problem from the
biological and evolutionary point of view.  You may ring all the
changes possible on ``Nurture'' or environment, the Eugenist may say
to the Socialist, but comparatively little can be effected until you
control biological and hereditary elements of the problem. Eugenics
thus aims to seek out the root of our trouble, to study humanity as a
kinetic, dynamic, evolutionary organism, shifting and changing with
the successive generations, rising and falling, cleansing itself of
inherent defects, or under adverse and dysgenic influences, sinking
into degeneration and deterioration.

``Eugenics'' was first defined by Sir Francis Galton in his ``Human
Faculty'' in 1884, and was subsequently developed into a science and
into an educational effort.  Galton's ideal was the rational breeding
of human beings.  The aim of Eugenics, as defined by its founder, is
to bring as many influences as can be reasonably employed, to cause
the useful classes of the community to contribute MORE than their
proportion to the next generation.  Eugenics thus concerns itself with
all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race; also with
those that develop them to the utmost advantage.  It is, in short, the
attempt to bring reason and intelligence to bear upon HEREDITY.  But
Galton, in spite of the immense value of this approach and his great
stimulation to criticism, was completely unable to formulate a
definite and practical working program.  He hoped at length to
introduce Eugenics ``into the national conscience like a new
religion....I see no impossibility in Eugenics becoming a religious
dogma among mankind, but its details must first be worked out
sedulously in the study. Over-zeal leading to hasty action, would do
harm by holding out expectations of a new golden age, which will
certainly be falsified and cause the science to be discredited.  The
first and main point is to secure the general intellectual acceptance
of Eugenics as a hopeful and most important study.  Then, let its
principles work into the heart of the nation, who will gradually give
practical effect to them in ways that we may not wholly foresee.''[1]

Galton formulated a general law of inheritance which declared that an
individual receives one-half of his inheritance from his two parents,
one-fourth from his four grandparents, one-eighth from his great-
grandparents, one-sixteenth from his great-great grandparents, and so
on by diminishing fractions to his primordial ancestors, the sum of
all these fractions added together contributing to the whole of the
inherited make-up.  The trouble with this generalization, from the
modern Mendelian point of view, is that it fails to define what
``characters'' one would get in the one-half that came from one's
parents, or the one-fourth from one's grandparents.  The whole of our
inheritance is not composed of these indefinitely made up fractional
parts.  We are interested rather in those more specific traits or
characters, mental or physical, which, in the Mendelian view, are
structural and functional units, making up a mosaic rather than a
blend.  The laws of heredity are concerned with the precise behavior,
during a series of generations, of these specific unit characters.
This behavior, as the study of Genetics shows, may be determined in
lesser organisms by experiment. Once determined, they are subject to

The problem of human heredity is now seen to be infinitely more
complex than imagined by Galton and his followers, and the optimistic
hope of elevating Eugenics to the level of a religion is a futile one.
Most of the Eugenists, including Professor Karl Pearson and his
colleagues of the Eugenics Laboratory of the University of London and
of the biometric laboratory in University College, have retained the
age-old point of view of ``Nature vs. Nurture'' and have attempted to
show the predominating influence of Heredity AS OPPOSED TO
Environment.  This may be true; but demonstrated and repeated in
investigation after investigation, it nevertheless remains fruitless
and unprofitable from the practical point of view.

We should not minimize the great outstanding service of Eugenics for
critical and diagnostic investigations.  It demonstrates, not in terms
of glittering generalization but in statistical studies of
investigations reduced to measurement and number, that uncontrolled
fertility is universally correlated with disease, poverty,
overcrowding and the transmission of hereditable taints.  Professor
Pearson and his associates show us that ``if fertility be correlated
with anti-social hereditary characters, a population will inevitably

This degeneration has already begun. Eugenists demonstrate that two-
thirds of our manhood of military age are physically too unfit to
shoulder a rifle; that the feeble-minded, the syphilitic, the
irresponsible and the defective breed unhindered; that women are
driven into factories and shops on day-shift and night-shift; that
children, frail carriers of the torch of life, are put to work at an
early age; that society at large is breeding an ever-increasing army
of under-sized, stunted and dehumanized slaves; that the vicious
circle of mental and physical defect, delinquency and beggary is
encouraged, by the unseeing and unthinking sentimentality of our age,
to populate asylum, hospital and prison.

All these things the Eugenists sees and points out with a courage
entirely admirable.  But as a positive program of redemption, orthodox
Eugenics can offer nothing more ``constructive'' than a renewed
``cradle competition'' between the ``fit'' and the ``unfit.'' It sees
that the most responsible and most intelligent members of society are
the less fertile; that the feeble-minded are the more fertile.  Herein
lies the unbalance, the great biological menace to the future of
civilization. Are we heading to biological destruction, toward the
gradual but certain attack upon the stocks of intelligence and racial
health by the sinister forces of the hordes of irresponsibility and
imbecility?  This is not such a remote danger as the optimistic
Eugenist might suppose.  The mating of the moron with a person of
sound stock may, as Dr. Tredgold points out, gradually disseminate
this trait far and wide until it undermines the vigor and efficiency
of an entire nation and an entire race.  This is no idle fancy.  We
must take it into account if we wish to escape the fate that has
befallen so many civilizations in the past.

``It is, indeed, more than likely that the presence of this impairment
in a mitigated form is responsible for no little of the defective
character, the diminution of mental and moral fiber at the present
day,'' states Dr. Tredgold.[2] Such populations, this distinguished
authority might have added, form the veritable ``cultures'' not only
for contagious physical diseases but for mental instability and
irresponsibility also. They are susceptible, exploitable, hysterical,
non-resistant to external suggestion.  Devoid of stamina, such folk
become mere units in a mob.  ``The habit of crowd-making is daily
becoming a more serious menace to civilization,'' writes Everett Dean
Martin.  ``Our society is becoming a veritable babel of gibbering
crowds.''[3]  It would be only the incorrigible optimist who refused to
see the integral relation between this phenomenon and the
indiscriminate breeding by which we recruit our large populations.

The danger of recruiting our numbers from the most ``fertile stocks''
is further emphasized when we recall that in a democracy like that of
the United States every man and woman is permitted a vote in the
government, and that it is the representatives of this grade of
intelligence who may destroy our liberties, and who may thus be the
most far-reaching peril to the future of civilization.

``It is a pathological worship of mere number,'' writes Alleyne
Ireland, ``which has inspired all the efforts--the primary, the direct
election of Senators, the initiative, the recall and the referendum--
to cure the evils of mob rule by increasing the size of the mob and
extending its powers.''[4]

Equality of political power has thus been bestowed upon the lowest
elements of our population.  We must not be surprised, therefore, at
the spectacle of political scandal and graft, of the notorious and
universally ridiculed low level of intelligence and flagrant stupidity
exhibited by our legislative bodies. The Congressional Record mirrors
our political imbecility.

All of these dangers and menaces are acutely realized by the
Eugenists; it is to them that we are most indebted for the proof that
reckless spawning carries with it the seeds of destruction.  But
whereas the Galtonians reveal themselves as unflinching in their
investigation and in their exhibition of fact and diagnoses of
symptoms, they do not on the other hand show much power in suggesting
practical and feasible remedies.

On its scientific side, Eugenics suggests the reestabilishment of the
balance between the fertility of the ``fit'' and the ``unfit.''  The
birth-rate among the normal and healthier and finer stocks of
humanity, is to be increased by awakening among the ``fit'' the
realization of the dangers of a lessened birth-rate in proportion to
the reckless breeding among the ``unfit.''  By education, by
persuasion, by appeals to racial ethics and religious motives, the
ardent Eugenist hopes to increase the fertility of the ``fit.''
Professor Pearson thinks that it is especially necessary to awaken the
hardiest stocks to this duty.  These stocks, he says, are to be found
chiefly among the skilled artisan class, the intelligent working
class.  Here is a fine combination of health and hardy vigor, of sound
body and sound mind.

Professor Pearson and his school of biometrics here ignore or at least
fail to record one of those significant ``correlations'' which form
the basis of his method.  The publications of the Eugenics Laboratory
all tend to show that a high rate of fertility is correlated with
extreme poverty, recklessness, deficiency and delinquency; similarly,
that among the more intelligent, this rate of fertility decreases. But
the scientific Eugenists fail to recognize that this restraint of
fecundity is due to a deliberate foresight and is a conscious effort
to elevate standards of living for the family and the children of the
responsible--and possibly more selfish--sections of the community.
The appeal to enter again into competitive child-bearing, for the
benefit of the nation or the race, or any other abstraction, will fall
on deaf ears.

Pearson has done invaluable work in pointing out the fallacies and the
false conclusions of the ordinary statisticians.  But when he attempts
to show by the methods of biometrics that not only the first child but
also the second, are especially liable to suffer from transmissible
pathological defects, such as insanity, criminality and tuberculosis,
he fails to recognize that this tendency is counterbalanced by the
high mortality rate among later children.  If first and second
children reveal a greater percentage of heritable defect, it is
because the later born children are less liable to survive the
conditions produced by a large family.

In passing, we should here recognize the difficulties presented by the
idea of ``fit'' and ``unfit.'' Who is to decide this question?  The
grosser, the more obvious, the undeniably feeble-minded should,
indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their
kind.  But among the writings of the representative Eugenists one
cannot ignore the distinct middle-class bias that prevails.  As that
penetrating critic, F. W. Stella Browne, has said in another
connection, ``The Eugenics Education Society has among its numbers
many most open-minded and truly progressive individuals but the
official policy it has pursued for years has been inspired by class-
bias and sex bias.  The society laments with increasing vehemence the
multiplication of the less fortunate classes at a more rapid rate than
the possessors of leisure and opportunity. (I do not think it relevant
here to discuss whether the innate superiority of endowment in the
governing class really is so overwhelming as to justify the Eugenics
Education Society's peculiar use of the terms `fit' and `unfit'!) Yet
it has persistently refused to give any help toward extending the
knowledge of contraceptives to the exploited classes.  Similarly,
though the Eugenics Review, the organ of the society, frequently
laments the `selfishness' of the refusal of maternity by healthy and
educated women of the professional classes, I have yet to learn that
it has made any official pronouncement on the English illegitimacy
laws or any organized effort toward defending the unmarried mother.''

This peculiarly Victorian reticence may be inherited from the founder
of Eugenics. Galton declared that the ``Bohemian'' element in the
Anglo-Saxon race is destined to perish, and ``the sooner it goes, the
happier for mankind.''  The trouble with any effort of trying to
divide humanity into the ``fit'' and the ``unfit,'' is that we do not
want, as H. G. Wells recently pointed out,[5] to breed for uniformity
but for variety.  ``We want statesmen and poets and musicians and
philosophers and strong men and delicate men and brave men. The
qualities of one would be the weaknesses of the other.''  We want,
most of all, genius.

Proscription on Galtonian lines would tend to eliminate many of the
great geniuses of the world who were not only ``Bohemian,'' but
actually and pathologically abnormal--men like Rousseau, Dostoevsky,
Chopin, Poe, Schumann, Nietzsche, Comte, Guy de Maupassant,--and how
many others?  But such considerations should not lead us into error of
concluding that such men were geniuses merely because  they were
pathological specimens, and that the only way to produce a genius is
to breed disease and defect.  It only emphasizes the dangers of
external standards of ``fit'' and ``unfit.''

These limitations are more strikingly shown in the types of so-called
``eugenic'' legislation passed or proposed by certain enthusiasts.
Regulation, compulsion and prohibitions affected and enacted by
political bodies are the surest methods of driving the whole problem
under-ground.  As Havelock Ellis has pointed out, the absurdity and
even hopelessness of effecting Eugenic improvement by placing on the
statute books prohibitions of legal matrimony to certain classes of
people, reveal the weakness of those Eugenists who minimize or
undervalue the importance of environment as a determining factor.
They affirm that heredity is everything and environment nothing, yet
forget that it is precisely those who are most universally subject to
bad environment who procreate most copiously, most recklessly and most
disastrously.  Such marriage laws are based for the most part on the
infantile assumption that procreation is absolutely dependent upon the
marriage ceremony, an assumption usually coupled with the
complementary one that the only purpose in marriage is procreation.
Yet it is a fact so obvious that it is hardly worth stating that the
most fertile classes who indulge in the most dysgenic type of
procreating--the feeble-minded--are almost totally unaffected by
marriage laws and marriage-ceremonies.

As for the sterilization of habitual criminals, not merely must we
know more of heredity and genetics in general, but also acquire more
certainty of the justice of our laws and the honesty of their
administration before we can make rulings of fitness or unfitness
merely upon the basis of a respect for law.  On this point the eminent
William Bateson writes:[6]  ``Criminals are often feeble-minded, but as
regards those that are not, the fact that a man is for the purposes of
Society classified as a criminal, tells me little as to his value,
still less as to the possible value of his offspring.  It is a fault
inherent in criminal jurisprudence, based on non-biological data, that
the law must needs take the nature of the offenses rather than that of
the offenders as the basis of classification.  A change in the right
direction has begun, but the problem is difficult and progress will be
very slow....We all know of persons convicted, perhaps even
habitually, whom the world could ill spare.  Therefore I hesitate to
proscribe the criminal. a weapon with a very nasty
recoil.  Might not some with equal cogency proscribe army contractors
and their accomplices, the newspaper patriots?  The crimes of the
prison population are petty offenses by comparison, and the
significance we attach to them is a survival of other days.  Felonies
may be great events, locally, but they do not induce catastrophies.
The proclivities of the war-makers are infinitely more dangerous than
those of the aberrant beings whom from time to time the law may dub as
criminal.  Consistent and potentous selfishness, combined with dulness
of imagination is probably just as transmissible as want of self-
control, though destitute of the amiable qualities not rarely
associated with the genetic composition of persons of unstable mind.''

In this connection, we should note another type of ``respectable''
criminality noted by Havelock Ellis:  ``If those persons who raise the
cry of `race-suicide' in face of the decline of the birth-rate really
had the knowledge and the intelligence to realize the manifold evils
which they are invoking, they would deserve to be treated as

Our debt to the science of Eugenics is great in that it directs our
attention to the biological nature of humanity.  Yet there is too
great a tendency among the thinkers of this school, to restrict their
ideas of sex to its expression as a purely procreative function.
Compulsory legislation which would make the inevitably futile attempt
to prohibit one of the most beneficent and necessary of human
expressions, or regulate it into the channels of preconceived
philosophies, would reduce us to the unpleasant days predicted by
William Blake, when

``Priests in black gowns will be walking their rounds And binding
with briars our joys and desires.''

Eugenics is chiefly valuable in its negative aspects.  It is
``negative Eugenics'' that has studied the histories of such families
as the Jukeses and the Kallikaks, that has pointed out the network of
imbecility and feeble-mindedness that has been sedulously spread
through all strata of society.  On its so-called positive or
constructive side, it fails to awaken any permanent interest.
``Constructive'' Eugenics aims to arouse the enthusiasm or the
interest of the people in the welfare of the world fifteen or twenty
generations in the future.  On its negative side it shows us that we
are paying for and even submitting to the dictates of an ever
increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never
should have been born at all--that the wealth of individuals and of
states is being diverted from the development and the progress of
human expression and civilization.

While it is necessary to point out the importance of ``heredity'' as a
determining factor in human life, it is fatal to elevate it to the
position of an absolute.  As with environment, the concept of heredity
derives its value and its meaning only in so far as it is embodied and
made concrete in generations of living organisms.  Environment and
heredity are not antagonistic.  Our problem is not that of ``Nature
vs. Nurture,'' but rather of Nature x  Nurture, of heredity multiplied
by environment, if we may express it thus.  The Eugenist who overlooks
the importance of environment as a determining factor in human life,
is as short-sighted as the Socialist who neglects the biological
nature of man.  We cannot disentangle these two forces, except in
theory.  To the child in the womb, said Samuel Butler, the mother is
``environment.'' She is, of course, likewise ``heredity.''  The age-
old discussion of ``Nature vs. Nurture'' has been threshed out time
after time, usually fruitlessly, because of a failure to recognize the
indivisibility of these biological factors. The opposition or
antagonism between them is an artificial and academic one, having no
basis in the living organism.

The great principle of Birth Control offers the means whereby the
individual may adapt himself to and even control the forces of
environment and heredity.  Entirely apart from its Malthusian aspect
or that of the population question, Birth Control must be recognized,
as the Neo-Malthusians pointed out long ago, not ``merely as the key
of the social position,'' and the only possible and practical method
of human generation, but as the very pivot of civilization.  Birth
Control which has been criticized as negative and destructive, is
really the greatest and most truly eugenic method, and its adoption as
part of the program of Eugenics would immediately give a concrete and
realistic power to that science.  As a matter of fact, Birth Control
has been accepted by the most clear thinking and far seeing of the
Eugenists themselves as the most constructive and necessary of the
means to racial health.[7]

[1]  Galton.  Essays in Eugenics, p. 43.
[2]  Eugenics Review, Vol. XIII, p. 349.
[3]  Cf. Martin, The Behavior of Crowds, p. 6.
[4]  Cf. Democracy and the Human Equation.  E. P. Dutton & Co., 1921.
[5]  Cf. The Salvaging of Civilization.
[6]  Common Sense in Racial Problems.  By W. Bateson, M. A. A., F. R. S.
[7]  Among these are Dean W. R. Inge, Professor J. Arthur Thomson,
     Dr. Havelock Ellis, Professor William Bateson, Major Leonard Darwin
     and Miss Norah March.

CHAPTER IX: A Moral Necessity

    I went to the Garden of Love,
        And saw what I never had seen;
    A Chapel was built in the midst,
        Where I used to play on the green.

    And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
        And ``Thou shalt not'' writ over the door;
    So I turned to the Garden of Love
        That so many sweet flowers bore.

    And I saw it was filled with graves,
        And tombstones where flowers should be;
    And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
        And binding with briars my joys and desires.

William Blake

Orthodox opposition to Birth Control is formulated in the official
protest of the National Council of Catholic Women against the
resolution passed by the New York State Federation of Women's Clubs
which favored the removal of all obstacles to the spread of
information regarding practical methods of Birth Control.  The
Catholic statement completely embodies traditional opposition to Birth
Control.  It affords a striking contrast by which we may clarify and
justify the ethical necessity for this new instrument of civilization
as the most effective basis for practical and scientific morality.
``The authorities at Rome have again and again declared that all
positive methods of this nature are immoral and forbidden,'' states
the National Council of Catholic Women.  ``There is no question of the
lawfulness of birth restriction through abstinence from the relations
which result in conception.  The immorality of Birth Control as it is
practised and commonly understood, consists in the evils of the
particular method employed.  These are all contrary to the moral law
because they are unnatural, being a perversion of a natural function.
Human faculties are used in such a way as to frustrate the natural end
for which these faculties were created.  This is always intrinsically
wrong--as wrong as lying and blasphemy.  No supposed beneficial
consequence can make good a practice which is, in itself, immoral....

``The evil results of the practice of Birth Control are numerous.
Attention will be called here to only three.  The first is the
degradation of the marital relation itself, since the husband and wife
who indulge in any form of this practice come to have a lower idea of
married life.  They cannot help coming to regard each other to a great
extent as mutual instruments of sensual gratification, rather than as
cooperators with the Creating in bringing children into the world.
This consideration may be subtle but it undoubtedly represents the

``In the second place, the deliberate restriction of the family
through these immoral practices deliberately weakens self-control and
the capacity for self-denial, and increases the love of ease and
luxury.  The best indication of this is that the small family is much
more prevalent in the classes that are comfortable and well-to-do than
among those whose material advantages are moderate or small.  The
theory of the advocates of Birth Control is that those parents who are
comfortably situated should have a large number of children (SIC!)
while the poor should restrict their offspring to a much smaller
number.  This theory does not work, for the reason that each married
couple have their own idea of what constitutes unreasonable hardship
in the matter of bearing and rearing children.  A large proportion of
the parents who are addicted to Birth Control practices are
sufficiently provided with worldly goods to be free from apprehension
on the economic side; nevertheless, they have small families because
they are disinclined to undertake the other burdens involved in
bringing up a more numerous family.  A practice which tends to produce
such exaggerated notions of what constitutes hardship, which leads men
and women to cherish such a degree of ease, makes inevitably for
inefficiency, a decline in the capacity to endure and to achieve, and
for a general social decadence.

``Finally, Birth Control leads sooner or later to a decline in
population....''  (The case of France is instanced.)  But it is
essentially the moral question that alarms the Catholic women, for the
statement concludes: ``The further effect of such proposed legislation
will inevitably be a lowering both of public and private morals.  What
the fathers of this country termed indecent and forbade the mails to
carry, will, if such legislation is carried through, be legally
decent.  The purveyors of sexual license and immorality will have the
opportunity to send almost anything they care to write through the
mails on the plea that it is sex information.  Not only the married
but also the unmarried will be thus affected; the ideals of the young
contaminated and lowered.  The morals of the entire nation will

``The proper attitude of clear.  They should watch and
oppose all attempts in state legislatures and in Congress to repeal
the laws which now prohibit the dissemination of information
concerning Birth Control.  Such information will be spread only too
rapidly despite existing laws.  To repeal these would greatly
accelerate this deplorable movement.[1]''

The Catholic position has been stated in an even more extreme form by
Archbishop Patrick J. Hayes of the archdiocese of New York.  In a
``Christmas Pastoral'' this dignitary even went to the extent of
declaring that ``even though some little angels in the flesh, through
the physical or mental deformities of their parents, may appear to
human eyes hideous, misshapen, a blot on civilized society, we must
not lose sight of this Christian thought that under and within such
visible malformation, lives an immortal soul to be saved and glorified
for all eternity among the blessed in heaven.''[2]

With the type of moral philosophy expressed in this utterance, we need
not argue. It is based upon traditional ideas that have had the
practical effect of making this world a vale of tears.  Fortunately
such words carry no weight with those who can bring free and keen as
well as noble minds to the consideration of the matter.  To them the
idealism of such an utterance appears crude and cruel.  The menace to
civilization of such orthodoxy, if it be orthodoxy, lies in the fact
that its powerful exponents may be fore a time successful not merely
in influencing the conduct of their adherents but in checking freedom
of thought and discussion.  To this, with all the vehemence of
emphasis at our command, we object.  From what Archbishop Hayes
believes concerning the future blessedness in Heaven of the souls of
those who are born into this world as hideous and misshapen beings he
has a right to seek such consolation as may be obtained; but we who
are trying to better the conditions of this world believe that a
healthy, happy human race is more in keeping with the laws of God,
than disease, misery and poverty perpetuating itself generation after
generation.  Furthermore, while conceding to Catholic or other
churchmen full freedom to preach their own doctrines, whether of
theology or morals, nevertheless when they attempt to carry these
ideas into legislative acts and force their opinions and codes upon
the non-Catholics, we consider such action an interference with the
principles of democracy and we have a right to protest.

Religious propaganda against Birth Control is crammed with
contradiction and fallacy. It refutes itself.  Yet it brings the
opposing views into vivid contrast.  In stating these differences we
should make clear that advocates of Birth Control are not seeking to
attack the Catholic church.  We quarrel with that church, however,
when it seeks to assume authority over non-Catholics and to dub their
behavior immoral because they do not conform to the dictatorship of
Rome.  The question of bearing and rearing children we hold is the
concern of the mother and the potential mother.  If she delegates the
responsibility, the ethical education, to an external authority, that
is her affair.  We object, however, to the State or the Church which
appoints itself as arbiter and dictator in this sphere and attempts to
force unwilling women into compulsory maternity.

When Catholics declare that ``The authorities at Rome have again and
again declared that all positive methods of this nature are immoral
and forbidden,'' they do so upon the assumption that morality consists
in conforming to laws laid down and enforced by external authority, in
submission to decrees and dicta imposed from without.  In this case,
they decide in a wholesale manner the conduct of millions, demanding
of them not the intelligent exercise of their own individual judgment
and discrimination, but unquestioning submission and conformity to
dogma.  The Church thus takes the place of all-powerful parents, and
demands of its children merely that they should obey.  In my belief
such a philosophy hampers the development of individual intelligence.
Morality then becomes a more or less successful attempt to conform to
a code, instead of an attempt to bring reason and intelligence to bear
upon the solution of each individual human problem.

But, we read on, Birth Control methods are not merely contrary to
``moral law,'' but forbidden because they are ``unnatural,'' being
``the perversion of a natural function.'' This, of course, is the
weakest link in the whole chain.  Yet ``there is no question of the
lawfulness of birth restriction through abstinence''--as though
abstinence itself were not unnatural!  For more than a thousand years
the Church was occupied with the problem of imposing abstinence on its
priesthood, its most educated and trained body of men, educated to
look upon asceticism as the finest ideal; it took one thousand years
to convince the Catholic priesthood that abstinence was ``natural'' or
practicable.[3]  Nevertheless, there is still this talk of abstinence,
self-control, and self-denial, almost in the same breath with the
condemnation of Birth Control as ``unnatural.''

If it is our duty to act as ``cooperators with the Creator'' to bring
children into the world, it is difficult to say at what point our
behavior is ``unnatural.''  If it is immoral and ``unnatural'' to
prevent an unwanted life from coming into existence, is it not immoral
and ``unnatural'' to remain unmarried from the age of puberty?  Such
casuistry is unconvincing and feeble.  We need only point out that
rational intelligence is also a ``natural'' function, and that it is
as imperative for us to use the faculties of judgment, criticism,
discrimination of choice, selection and control, all the faculties of
the intelligence, as it is to use those of reproduction.  It is
certainly dangerous ``to frustrate the natural ends for which these
faculties were created.''  This also, is always intrinsically wrong--
as wrong as lying and blasphemy--and infinitely more devastating.
Intelligence is as natural to us as any other faculty, and it is fatal
to moral development and growth to refuse to use it and to delegate to
others the solution of our individual problems. The evil will not be
that one's conduct is divergent from current and conventional moral
codes.  There may be every outward evidence of conformity, but this
agreement may be arrived at, by the restriction and suppression of
subjective desires, and the more or less successful attempt at mere
conformity.  Such ``morality'' would conceal an inner conflict. The
fruits of this conflict would be neurosis and hysteria on the one
hand; or concealed gratification of suppressed desires on the other,
with a resultant hypocrisy and cant.  True morality cannot be based on
conformity. There must be no conflict between subjective desire and
outward behavior.

To object to these traditional and churchly ideas does not by any
means imply that the doctrine of Birth Control is anti-Christian. On
the contrary, it may be profoundly in accordance with the Sermon on
the Mount.  One of the greatest living theologians and most
penetrating students of the problems of civilization is of this
opinion.  In an address delivered before the Eugenics Education
Society of London,[4] William Ralph Inge, the Very Reverend Dean of
St. Paul's Cathedral, London, pointed out that the doctrine of Birth
Control was to be interpreted as of the very essence of Christianity.

``We should be ready to give up all our theories,'' he asserted, ``if
science proved that we were on the wrong lines.  And we can
understand, though we profoundly disagree with, those who oppose us on
the grounds of authority....We know where we are with a man who says,
`Birth Control is forbidden by God; we prefer poverty, unemployment,
war, the physical, intellectual and moral degeneration of the people,
and a high deathrate to any interference with the universal command to
be fruitful and multiply'; but we have no patience with those who say
that we can have unrestricted and unregulated propagation without
those consequences.  It is a great part of our work to press home to
the public mind the alternative that lies before us.  Either rational
selection must take the place of the natural selection which the
modern State will not allow to act, or we must go on deteriorating.
When we can convince the public of this, the opposition of organized
religion will soon collapse or become ineffective.''  Dean Inge
effectively answers those who have objected to the methods of Birth
Control as ``immoral'' and in contradiction and inimical to the
teachings of Christ.  Incidentally he claims that those who are not
blinded by prejudices recognize that ``Christianity aims at saving the
soul--the personality, the nature, of man, not his body or his
environment.  According to Christianity, a man is saved, not by what
he has, or knows, or does, but by what he is.  It treats all the
apparatus of life with a disdain as great as that of the biologist; so
long as a man is inwardly healthy, it cares very little whether he is
rich or poor, learned or simple, and even whether he is happy, or
unhappy.  It attaches no importance to quantitative measurements of
any kind.  The Christian does not gloat over favorable trade-
statistics, nor congratulate himself on the disparity between the
number of births and deaths.  For him...the test of the welfare of a
country is the quality of human beings whom it produces.  Quality is
everything, quantity is nothing.  And besides this, the Christian
conception of a kingdom of God upon the earth teaches us to turn our
eyes to the future, and to think of the welfare of posterity as a
thing which concerns us as much as that of our own generation.  This
welfare, as conceived by Christianity, is of course something
different from external prosperity; it is to be the victory of
intrinsic worth and healthiness over all the false ideals and deep-
seated diseases which at present spoil civilization.''

``It is not political religion with which I am concerned,'' Dean Inge
explained, ``but the convictions of really religious persons; and I do
not think that we need despair of converting them to our views.''

Dean Inge believes Birth Control is an essential part of Eugenics, and
an essential part of Christian morality.  On this point he asserts:
``We do wish to remind our orthodox and conservative friends that the
Sermon on the Mount contains some admirably clear and unmistakable
eugenic precepts.  `Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of
thistles?  A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit, neither can a
good tree bring forth evil fruit.  Every tree which bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.'  We wish to apply
these words not only to the actions of individuals, which spring from
their characters, but to the character of individuals, which spring
from their inherited qualities.  This extension of the scope of the
maxim seems to me quite legitimate.  Men do not gather grapes of
thorns. As our proverb says, you cannot make a silk purse out of a
sow's ear.  If we believe this, and do not act upon it by trying to
move public opinion towards giving social reform, education and
religion a better material to work upon, we are sinning against the
light, and not doing our best to bring in the Kingdom of God upon

As long as sexual activity is regarded in a dualistic and
contradictory light,--in which it is revealed either as the instrument
by which men and women ``cooperate with the Creator'' to bring
children into the world, on the one hand; and on the other, as the
sinful instrument of self-gratification, lust and sensuality, there is
bound to be an endless conflict in human conduct, producing ever
increasing misery, pain and injustice.  In crystallizing and codifying
this contradiction, the Church not only solidified its own power over
men but reduced women to the most abject and prostrate slavery.  It
was essentially a morality that would not ``work.''  The sex instinct
in the human race is too strong to be bound by the dictates of any
church. The church's failure, its century after century of failure, is
now evident on every side:  for, having convinced men and women that
only in its baldly propagative phase is sexual expression legitimate,
the teachings of the Church have driven sex under-ground, into secret
channels, strengthened the conspiracy of silence, concentrated men's
thoughts upon the ``lusts of the body,'' have sown, cultivated and
reaped a crop of bodily and mental diseases, and developed a society
congenitally and almost hopelessly unbalanced.  How is any progress to
be made, how is any human expression or education possible when women
and men are taught to combat and resist their natural impulses and to
despise their bodily functions?

Humanity, we are glad to realize, is rapidly freeing itself from this
``morality'' imposed upon it by its self-appointed and self-
perpetuating masters.  From a hundred different points the imposing
edifice of this ``morality'' has been and is being attacked.  Sincere
and thoughtful defenders and exponents of the teachings of Christ now
acknowledge the falsity of the traditional codes and their malignant
influence upon the moral and physical well-being of humanity.

Ecclesiastical opposition to Birth Control on the part of certain
representatives of the Protestant churches, based usually on
quotations from the Bible, is equally invalid, and for the same
reason.  The attitude of the more intelligent and enlightened clergy
has been well and succinctly expressed by Dean Inge, who, referring to
the ethics of Birth Control, writes: ``THIS IS EMPHATICALLY A MATTER
REFRAIN FROM JUDGING OTHERS.''  We must not neglect the important fact
that it is not merely in the practical results of such a decision, not
in the small number of children, not even in the healthier and better
cared for children, not in the possibility of elevating the living
conditions of the individual family, that the ethical value of Birth
Control alone lies. Precisely because the practice of Birth Control
does demand the exercise of decision, the making of choice, the use of
the reasoning powers, is it an instrument of moral education as well
as of hygienic and racial advance.  It awakens the attention of
parents to their potential children.  It forces upon the individual
consciousness the question of the standards of living.  In a profound
manner it protects and reasserts the inalienable rights of the child-

Psychology and the outlook of modern life are stressing the growth of
independent responsibility and discrimination as the true basis of
ethics.  The old traditional morality, with its train of vice,
disease, promiscuity and prostitution, is in reality dying out,
killing itself off because it is too irresponsible and too dangerous
to individual and social well-being. The transition from the old to
the new, like all fundamental changes, is fraught with many dangers.
But it is a revolution that cannot be stopped.

The smaller family, with its lower infant mortality rate, is, in more
definite and concrete manner than many actions outwardly deemed
``moral,'' the expression of moral judgment and responsibility.  It is
the assertion of a standard of living, inspired by the wish to obtain
a fuller and more expressive life for the children than the parents
have enjoyed.  If the morality or immorality of any course of conduct
is to be determined by the motives which inspire it, there is
evidently at the present day no higher morality than the intelligent
practice of Birth Control.

The immorality of many who practise Birth Control lies in not daring
to preach what they practise.  What is the secret of the hypocrisy of
the well-to-do, who are willing to contribute generously to charities
and philanthropies, who spend thousands annually in the upkeep and
sustenance of the delinquent, the defective and the dependent; and yet
join the conspiracy of silence that prevents the poorer classes from
learning how to improve their conditions, and elevate their standards
of living?  It is as though they were to cry:  ``We'll give you
anything except the thing you ask for--the means whereby you may
become responsible and self-reliant in your own lives.''

The brunt of this injustice falls on women, because the old
traditional morality is the invention of men.  ``No religion, no
physical or moral code,'' wrote the clear-sighted George Drysdale,
``proposed by one sex for the other, can be really suitable.  Each
must work out its laws for itself in every department of life.'' In
the moral code developed by the Church, women have been so degraded
that they have been habituated to look upon themselves through the
eyes of men.  Very imperfectly have women developed their own self-
consciousness, the realization of their tremendous and supreme
position in civilization.  Women can develop this power only in one
way; by the exercise of responsibility, by the exercise of judgment,
reason or discrimination.  They need ask for no ``rights.''  They need
only assert power.  Only by the exercise of self-guidance and
intelligent self-direction can that inalienable, supreme, pivotal
power be expressed.  More than ever in history women need to realize
that nothing can ever come to us from another.  Everything we attain
we must owe to ourselves.  Our own spirit must vitalize it.  Our own
heart must feel it.  For we are not passive machines.  We are not to
be lectured, guided and molded this way or that.  We are alive and
intelligent, we women, no less than men, and we must awaken to the
essential realization that we are living beings, endowed with will,
choice, comprehension, and that every step in life must be taken at
our own initiative.

Moral and sexual balance in civilization will only be established by
the assertion and expression of power on the part of women. This power
will not be found in any futile seeking for economic independence or
in the aping of men in industrial and business pursuits, nor by
joining battle for the so-called ``single standard.''  Woman's power
can only be expressed and make itself felt when she refuses the task
of bringing unwanted children into the world to be exploited in
industry and slaughtered in wars.  When we refuse to produce
battalions of babies to be exploited; when we declare to the nation;
``Show us that the best possible chance in life is given to every
child now brought into the world, before you cry for more!  At present
our children are a glut on the market.  You hold infant life cheap.
Help us to make the world a fit place for children.  When you have
done this, we will bear you children,--then we shall be true women.''
The new morality will express this power and responsibility on the
part of women.

``With the realization of the moral responsibility of women,'' writes
Havelock Ellis, ``the natural relations of life spring back to their
due biological adjustment.  Motherhood is restored to its natural
sacredness.  It becomes the concern of the woman herself, and not of
society nor any individual, to determine the conditions under which
the child shall be conceived....''

Moreover, woman shall further assert her power by refusing to remain
the passive instrument of sensual self-gratification on the part of
men.  Birth Control, in philosophy and practice, is the destroyer of
that dualism of the old sexual code.  It denies that the sole purpose
of sexual activity is procreation; it also denies that sex should be
reduced to the level of sensual lust, or that woman should permit
herself to be the instrument of its satisfaction. In increasing and
differentiating her love demands, woman must elevate sex into another
sphere, whereby it may subserve and enhance the possibility of
individual and human expression.  Man will gain in this no less than
woman; for in the age-old enslavement of woman he has enslaved
himself; and in the liberation of womankind, all of humanity will
experience the joys of a new and fuller freedom.

On this great fundamental and pivotal point new light has been thrown
by Lord Bertrand Dawson, the physician of the King of England. In the
remarkable and epoch-making address at the Birmingham Church Congress
(referred to in my introduction), he spoke of the supreme morality of
the mutual and reciprocal joy in the most intimate relation between
man and woman.  Without this reciprocity there can be no civilization
worthy of the name. Lord Dawson suggested that there should be added
to the clauses of marriage in the Prayer Book ``the complete
realization of the love of this man and this woman one for another,''
and in support of his contention declared that sex love between
husband and wife--apart from parenthood--was something to prize and
cherish for its own sake.  The Lambeth Conference, he remarked,
``envisaged a love invertebrate and joyless,'' whereas, in his view,
natural passion in wedlock was not a thing to be ashamed of or unduly
repressed.  The pronouncement of the Church of England, as set forth
in Resolution 68 of the Lambeth Conference seems to imply condemnation
of sex love as such, and to imply sanction of sex love only as a means
to an end,--namely, procreation.  The Lambeth Resolution stated:

``In opposition to the teaching which under the name of science and
religion encourages married people in the deliberate cultivation of
sexual union as an end in itself, we steadfastly uphold what must
always be regarded as the governing considerations of Christian
marriage.  One is the primary purpose for which marriage exists--
namely, the continuation of the race through the gift and heritage of
children; the other is the paramount importance in married life of
deliberate and thoughtful self-control.''

In answer to this point of view Lord Dawson asserted:

``Sex love has, apart from parenthood, a purport of its own.  It is
something to prize and to cherish for its own sake.  It is an
essential part of health and happiness in marriage. And now, if you
will allow me, I will carry this argument a step further.  If sexual
union is a gift of God it is worth learning how to use it. Within its
own sphere it should be cultivated so as to bring physical
satisfaction to both, not merely to one....The real problems before us
are those of sex love and child love; and by sex love I mean that love
which involves intercourse or the desire for such.  It is necessary to
my argument to emphasize that sex love is one of the dominating forces
of the world. Not only does history show the destinies of nations and
dynasties determined by its sway--but here in our every-day life we
see its influence, direct or indirect, forceful and ubiquitous beyond
aught else.  Any statesmanlike view, therefore, will recognize that
here we have an instinct so fundamental, so imperious, that its
influence is a fact which has to be accepted; suppress it you cannot.
You may guide it into healthy channels, but an outlet it will have,
and if that outlet is inadequate and unduly obstructed irregular
channels will be forced....

``The attainment of mutual and reciprocal joy in their relations
constitutes a firm bond between two people, and makes for durability
of the marriage tie.  Reciprocity in sex love is the physical
counterpart of sympathy.  More marriages fail from inadequate and
clumsy sex love than from too much sex love.  The lack of proper
understanding is in no small measure responsible for the unfulfilment
of connubial happiness, and every degree of discontent and unhappiness
may, from this cause, occur, leading to rupture of the marriage bond
itself.  How often do medical men have to deal with these
difficulties, and how fortunate if such difficulties are disclosed
early enough in married life to be rectified.  Otherwise how tragic
may be their consequences, and many a case in the Divorce Court has
thus had its origin.  To the foregoing contentions, it might be
objected, you are encouraging passion.  My reply would be, passion is
a worthy possession--most men, who are any good, are capable of
passion.  You all enjoy ardent and passionate love in art and
literature.  Why not give it a place in real life?  Why some people
look askance at passion is because they are confusing it with
sensuality.  Sex love without passion is a poor, lifeless thing.
Sensuality, on the other hand, is on a level with gluttony--a physical
excess--detached from sentiment, chivalry, or tenderness.  It is just
as important to give sex love its place as to avoid its over-emphasis.
Its real and effective restraints are those imposed by a loving and
sympathetic companionship, by the privileges of parenthood, the
exacting claims of career and that civic sense which prompts men to do
social service.  Now that the revision of the Prayer Book is receiving
consideration, I should like to suggest with great respect an addition
made to the objects of marriage in the Marriage Service, in these
terms, ``The complete realization of the love of this man and this
woman, the one for the other.''

Turning to the specific problem of Birth Control, Lord Dawson
declared, ``that Birth Control is here to stay.  It is an established
fact, and for good or evil has to be accepted. Although the extent of
its application can be and is being modified, no denunciations will
abolish it.  Despite the influence and condemnations of the Church, it
has been practised in France for well over half a century, and in
Belgium and other Roman Catholic countries is extending.  And if the
Roman Catholic Church, with its compact organization, its power of
authority, and its disciplines, cannot check this procedure, it is not
likely that Protestant Churches will be able to do so, for Protestant
religions depend for their strength on the conviction and esteem they
establish in the heads and hearts of their people.  The reasons which
lead parents to limit their offspring are sometimes selfish, but more
often honorable and cogent.''

A report of the Fabian Society [5] on the morality of Birth Control,
based upon a census conducted under the chairmanship of Sidney Webb,
concludes:  ``These facts--which we are bound to face whether we like
them or not--will appear in different lights to different people.  In
some quarters it seems to be sufficient to dismiss them with moral
indignation, real or simulated.  Such a judgment appears both
irrelevant and futile....If a course of conduct is habitually and
deliberately pursued by vast multitudes of otherwise well-conducted
people, forming probably a majority of the whole educated class of the
nation, we must assume that it does not conflict with their actual
code of morality.  They may be intellectually mistaken, but they are
not doing what they feel to be wrong.''

The moral justification and ethical necessity of Birth Control need
not be empirically based upon the mere approval of experience and
custom.  Its morality is more profound.  Birth Control is an ethical
necessity for humanity to-day because it places in our hands a new
instrument of self-expression and self-realization.  It gives us
control over one of the primordial forces of nature, to which in the
past the majority of mankind have been enslaved, and by which it has
been cheapened and debased.  It arouses us to the possibility of newer
and greater freedom.  It develops the power, the responsibility and
intelligence to use this freedom in living a liberated and abundant
life.  It permits us to enjoy this liberty without danger of
infringing upon the similar liberty of our fellow men, or of injuring
and curtailing the freedom of the next generation.  It shows us that
we need not seek in the amassing of worldly wealth, not in the
illusion of some extra-terrestrial Heaven or earthly Utopia of a
remote future the road to human development.  The Kingdom of Heaven is
in a very definite sense within us.  Not by leaving our body and our
fundamental humanity behind us, not by aiming to be anything but what
we are, shall we become ennobled or immortal.  By knowing ourselves,
by expressing ourselves, by realizing ourselves more completely than
has ever before been possible, not only shall we attain the kingdom
ourselves but we shall hand on the torch of life undimmed to our
children and the children of our children.

[1]  Quoted in the National Catholic Welfare Council Bulletin:
     Vol. II, No. 5, p. 21 (January, 1921).
[2]  Quoted in daily press, December 19, 1921.
[3]  H. C. Lea:  History of Sacerdotal Celibacy (Philadelphia, 1967).
[4]  Eugenics Review, January 1921.
[5]  Fabian Tract No. 131.

CHAPTER X: Science the Ally

    ``There is but one hope.  Ignorance, poverty, and vice
    must stop populating the world.  This cannot be done by
    moral suasion.  This cannot be done by talk or example.
    This cannot be done by religion or by law, by priest
    or by hangman.  This cannot be done by force, physical
    or moral.  To accomplish this there is but one way.
    Science must make woman the owner, the mistress of herself.
    Science, the only possible savior of mankind, must put it
    in the power of woman to decide for herself whether she will
    or will not become a mother.''

Robert G. Ingersoll

``Science is the great instrument of social change,'' wrote A. J.
Balfour in 1908; ``all the greater because its object is not change
but knowledge, and its silent appropriation of this dominant function,
amid the din of religious and political strife, is the most vital of
all revolutions which have marked the development of modern
civilization.''  The Birth Control  movement has allied itself with
science, and no small part of its present propaganda is to awaken the
interest of scientists to the pivotal importance to civilization of
this instrument. Only with the aid of science is it possible to
perfect a practical method that may be universally taught.  As Dean
Inge recently admitted:  ``We should be ready to give up all our
theories if science proved that we were on the wrong lines.''

One of the principal aims of the American Birth Control League has
been to awaken the interest of scientific investigators and to point
out the rich field for original research opened up by this problem.
The correlation of reckless breeding with defective and delinquent
strains, has not, strangely enough, been subjected to close scientific
scrutiny, nor has the present biological unbalance been traced to its
root.  This is a crying necessity of our day, and it cannot be
accomplished without the aid of science.

Secondary only to the response of women themselves is the awakened
interest of scientists, statisticians, and research workers in every
field.  If the clergy and the defenders of traditional morality have
opposed the movement for Birth Control, the response of enlightened
scientists and physicians has been one of the most encouraging aids in
our battle.

Recent developments in the realm of science,--in psychology, in
physiology, in chemistry and physics--all tend to emphasize the
immediate necessity for human control over the great forces of nature.
The new ideas published by contemporary science are of the utmost
fascination and illumination even to the layman. They perform the
invaluable task of making us look at life in a new light, of searching
close at hand for the solution to heretofore closed mysteries of life.
In this brief chapter, I can touch these ideas only as they have
proved valuable to me.  Professor Soddy's ``Science and Life'' is one
of the most inspiring of recent publications in this field; for this
great authority shows us how closely bound up is science with the
whole of Society, how science must help to solve the great and
disastrous unbalance in human society.

As an example:  a whole literature has sprung into being around the
glands, the most striking being ``The Sex Complex'' by Blair Bell.
This author advances the idea of the glandular system as an integral
whole, the glands forming a unity which might be termed the generative
system.  Thus is reasserted the radical importance of sexual health to
every individual.  The whole tendency of modern physiology and
psychology, in a word, seems gradually coming to the truth that seemed
intuitively to be revealed to that great woman, Olive Schreiner, who,
in ``Woman and Labor'' wrote:  ``...Noble is the function of physical
reproduction of humanity by the union of man and woman.  Rightly
viewed, that union has in it latent, other and even higher forms of
creative energy and life-dispensing power, and...its history on earth
has only begun; as the first wild rose when it hung from its stem with
its center of stamens and pistils and its single whorl of pale petals
had only begun its course, and was destined, as the ages passed, to
develop stamen upon stamen and petal upon petal, till it assumed a
hundred forms of joy and beauty.

``And it would indeed almost seem, that, on  the path toward the
higher development of sexual life on earth, as man has so often had to
lead in other paths, that here it is perhaps woman, by reason of those
very sexual conditions which in the past have crushed and trammeled
her, who is bound to lead the way and man to follow.  So that it may
be at last that sexual love--that tired angel who through the ages has
presided over the march of humanity, with distraught eyes, and
feather-shafts broken and wings drabbled in the mires of lust and
greed, and golden locks caked over with the dust of injustice and
oppression--till those looking at him have sometimes cried in terror,
`He is the Evil and not the Good of life':  and have sought if it were
not possible, to exterminate him--shall yet, at last, bathed from the
mire and dust of ages in the streams of friendship and freedom, leap
upwards, with white wings spread, resplendent in the sunshine of a
distant future--the essentially Good and Beautiful of human

To-day science is verifying the truth of this inspiring vision.
Certain fundamental truths concerning the basic facts of Nature and
humanity especially impress us.  A rapid survey  may indicate the main
features of this mysterious identity and antagonism.

Mankind has gone forward by the capture and control of the forces of
Nature.  This upward struggle began with the kindling of the first
fire.  The domestication of animal life marked another great step in
the long ascent. The capture of the great physical forces, the
discovery of coal and mineral oil, of gas, steam and electricity, and
their adaptation to the everyday uses of mankind, wrought the greatest
changes in the course of civilization.  With the discovery of radium
and radioactivity, with the recognition of the vast stores of physical
energy concealed in the atom, humanity is now on the eve of a new
conquest.  But, on the other side, humanity has been compelled to
combat continuously those great forces of Nature which have opposed it
at every moment of this long indomitable march out of barbarism.
Humanity has had to wage war against insects, germs, bacteria, which
have spread disease and epidemics and devastation. Humanity has had to
adapt itself to those natural forces it could not conquer but could
only adroitly turn to its own ends.  Nevertheless, all along the line,
in colonization, in agriculture, in medicine and in industry, mankind
has triumphed over Nature.

But lest the recognition of this victory lead us to self-satisfaction
and complacency, we should never forget that this mastery consists to
a great extent in a recognition of the power of those blind forces,
and our adroit control over them.  It has been truly said that we
attain no power over Nature until we learn natural laws and conform
and adapt ourselves to them.

The strength of the human race has been its ability not merely to
subjugate the forces of Nature, but to adapt itself to those it could
not conquer.  And even this subjugation, science tells us, has not
resulted from any attempt to suppress, prohibit, or eradicate these
forces, but rather to transform blind and undirected energies to our
own purposes.

These great natural forces, science now asserts, are not all external.
They are surely concealed within the complex organism of the human
being no less than outside of it.  These inner forces are no less
imperative, no less driving and compelling than the external forces of
Nature.  As the old conception of the antagonism between body and soul
is broken down, as psychology becomes an ally of physiology and
biology, and biology joins hands with physics and chemistry, we are
taught to see that there is a mysterious unity between these inner and
outer forces.  They express themselves in accordance with the same
structural, physical and chemical laws.  The development of
civilization in the subjective world, in the sphere of behavior,
conduct and morality, has been precisely the gradual accumulation and
popularization of methods which teach people how to direct, transform
and transmute the driving power of the great natural forces.

Psychology is now recognizing the forces concealed in the human
organism.  In the long process of adaptation to social life, men have
had to harness the wishes and desires born of these inner energies,
the greatest and most imperative of which are Sex and Hunger.  From
the beginning of time, men have been driven by Hunger into a thousand
activities.  It is Hunger that has created ``the struggle for
existence.''  Hunger has spurred men to the discovery and invention of
methods and ways of  avoiding starvation, of storing and exchanging
foods.  It has developed primitive barter into our contemporary Wall
Streets.  It has developed thrift and economy,--expedients whereby
humanity avoids the lash of King Hunger.  The true ``economic
interpretation of history'' might be termed the History of Hunger.

But no less fundamental, no less imperative, no less ceaseless in its
dynamic energy, has been the great force of Sex.  We do not yet know
the intricate but certainly organic relationship between these two
forces.  It is obvious that they oppose yet reinforce each other,--
driving, lashing, spurring mankind on to new conquests or to certain
ruin.  Perhaps Hunger and Sex are merely opposite poles of a single
great life force.  In the past we have made the mistake of separating
them and attempting to study one of them without the other.  Birth
Control emphasizes the need of re-investigation and of knowledge of
their integral relationship, and aims at the solution of the great
problem of Hunger and Sex at one and the same time.

In the more recent past the effort has  been made to control,
civilize, and sublimate the great primordial natural force of sex,
mainly by futile efforts at prohibition, suppression, restraint, and
extirpation.  Its revenge, as the psychoanalysts are showing us every
day, has been great.  Insanity, hysteria, neuroses, morbid fears and
compulsions, weaken and render useless and unhappy thousands of humans
who are unconscious victims of the attempt to pit individual powers
against this great natural force.  In the solution of the problem of
sex, we should bear in mind what the successful method of humanity has
been in its conquest, or rather its control of the great physical and
chemical forces of the external world.  Like all other energy, that of
sex is indestructible.  By adaptation, control and conscious
direction, we may transmute and sublimate it.  Without irreparable
injury to ourselves we cannot attempt to eradicate it or extirpate it.

The study of atomic energy, the discovery of radioactivity, and the
recognition of potential and latent energies stored in inanimate
matter, throw a brilliant illumination upon the whole problem of sex
and the inner energies  of mankind.  Speaking of the discovery of
radium, Professor Soddy writes:  ``Tracked to earth the clew to a
great secret for which a thousand telescopes might have swept the sky
forever and in vain, lay in a scrap of matter, dowered with something
of the same inexhaustible radiance that hitherto has been the sole
prerogative of the distant stars and sun.'' Radium, this distinguished
authority tells us, has clothed with its own dignity the whole empire
of common matter.

Much as the atomic theory, with its revelations of the vast treasure
house of radiant energy that lies all about us, offers new hope in the
material world, so the new psychology throws a new light upon human
energies and possibilities of individual expression.  Social
reformers, like those scientists of a bygone era who were sweeping the
skies with their telescopes, have likewise been seeking far and wide
for the solution of our social problems in remote and wholesale
panaceas, whereas the true solution is close at hand,--in the human
individual.  Buried within each human being lies concealed a vast
store of energy, which awaits release, expression and sublimation. The
individual may profitably be considered as the ``atom'' of society.
And the solution of the problems of society and of civilization will
be brought about when we release the energies now latent and
undeveloped in the individual.  Professor Edwin Grant Conklin
expresses the problem in another form; though his analogy, it seems to
me, is open to serious criticism.  ``The freedom of the individual
man,'' he writes,[1] ``is to that of society as the freedom of the
single cell is to that of the human being.  It is this large freedom
of society, rather than the freedom of the individual, which democracy
offers to the world, free societies, free states, free nations rather
than absolutely free individuals.  In all organisms and in all social
organizations, the freedom of the minor units must be limited in order
that the larger unit may achieve a new and greater freedom, and in
social evolution the freedom of individuals must be merged more and
more into the larger freedom of society.''

This analogy does not bear analysis.  Restraint and constraint of
individual expression, suppression of individual freedom ``for the
good of society'' has been practised from time immemorial; and its
failure is all too evident. There is no antagonism between the good of
the individual and the good of society.  The moment civilization is
wise enough to remove the constraints and prohibitions which now
hinder the release of inner energies, most of the larger evils of
society will perish of inanition and malnutrition.  Remove the moral
taboos that now bind the human body and spirit, free the individual
from the slavery of tradition, remove the chains of fear from men and
women, above all answer their unceasing cries for knowledge that would
make possible their self-direction and salvation, and in so doing, you
best serve the interests of society at large. Free, rational and self-
ruling personality would then take the place of self-made slaves, who
are the victims both of external constraints and the playthings of the
uncontrolled forces of their own instincts.

Science likewise illuminates the whole problem of genius.  Hidden in
the common stuff of humanity lies buried this power of self-
expression.  Modern science is teaching us that genius is not some
mysterious gift of the gods,  some treasure conferred upon individuals
chosen by chance.  Nor is it, as Lombroso believed, the result of a
pathological and degenerate condition, allied to criminality and
madness.  Rather is it due to the removal of physiological and
psychological inhibitions and constraints which makes possible the
release and the channeling of the primordial inner energies of man
into full and divine expression.  The removal of these inhibitions, so
scientists assure us, makes possible more rapid and profound
perceptions,--so rapid indeed that they seem to the ordinary human
being, practically instantaneous, or intuitive.  The qualities of
genius are not, therefore, qualities lacking in the common reservoir
of humanity, but rather the unimpeded release and direction of powers
latent in all of us.  This process of course is not necessarily

This view is substantiated by the opposite problem of feeble-
mindedness.  Recent researches throw a new light on this problem and
the contrasting one of human genius.  Mental defect and feeble-
mindedness are conceived essentially as retardation, arrest of
development, differing in degree so that the victim is either  an
idiot, an imbecile, feeble-minded or a moron, according to the
relative period at which mental development ceases.

Scientific research into the functioning of the ductless glands and
their secretions throws a new light on this problem.  Not long ago
these glands were a complete enigma, owing to the fact that they are
not provided with excretory ducts.  It has just recently been shown
that these organs, such as the thyroid, the pituitary, the suprarenal,
the parathyroid and the reproductive glands, exercise an all-powerful
influence upon the course of individual development or deficiency.
Gley, to whom we owe much of our knowledge of glandular action, has
asserted that ``the genesis and exercise of the higher faculties of
men are conditioned by the purely chemical action of the product of
these secretions.  Let psychologists consider these facts.''

These internal secretions or endocrines pass directly into the blood
stream, and exercise a dominating power over health and personality.
Deficiency in the thyroid secretion, especially during the years of
infancy and early childhood, creates disorders of nutrition and
inactivity of the nervous system.  The particular form of idiocy known
as cretinism is the result of this deficiency, which produces an
arrest of the development of the brain cells.  The other glands and
their secretions likewise exercise the most profound influence upon
development, growth and assimilation.  Most of these glands are of
very small size, none of them larger than a walnut, and some--the
parathyroids--almost microscopic.  Nevertheless, they are essential to
the proper maintenance of life in the body, and no less organically
related to mental and psychic development as well.

The reproductive glands, it should not be forgotten, belong to this
group, and besides their ordinary products, the germ and sperm cells
(ova and spermatozoa) form HORMONES which circulate in the blood and
effect changes in the cells of distant parts of the body. Through
these HORMONES the secondary sexual characters are produced, including
the many differences in the form and structure of the body which are
the characteristics of the sexes. Only in recent years has science
discovered that these secondary sexual characters are brought about by
the agency of these internal  secretions or hormones, passed from the
reproductive glands into the circulating blood. These so-called
secondary characters which are the sign of full and healthy
development, are dependent, science tells us, upon the state of
development of the reproductive organs.

For a clear and illuminating account of the creative and dynamic power
of the endocrine glands, the layman is referred to a recently
published book by Dr. Louis Berman.[2]  This authority reveals anew how
body and soul are bound up together in a complex unity.  Our spiritual
and psychic difficulties cannot be solved until we have mastered the
knowledge of the wellsprings of our being.  ``The chemistry of the
soul!  Magnificent phrase!'' exclaims Dr. Berman.  ``It's a long, long
way to that goal.  The exact formula is as yet far beyond our reach.
But we have started upon the long journey, and we shall get there.

``The internal secretions constitute and determine much of the
inherited powers of the  individual and their development.  They
control physical and mental growth, and all the metabolic processes of
fundamental importance.  They dominate all the vital functions of man
during the three cycles of life.  They cooperate in an intimate
relationship which may be compared to an interlocking directorate.  A
derangement of their functions, causing an insufficiency of them, an
excess, or an abnormality, upsets the entire equilibrium of the body,
with transforming effects upon the mind and the organs.  In short,
they control human nature, and whoever controls them, controls human

``Blood chemistry of our time is a marvel, undreamed of a generation
ago.  Also, these achievements are a perfect example of the
accomplished fact contradicting a prior prediction and criticism.  For
it was one of the accepted dogmas of the nineteenth century that the
phenomena of living could never be subjected to accurate quantitative
analysis.'' But the ethical dogmas of the past, no less than the
scientific, may block the way to true civilization.

Physiologically as well as psychologically the development of the
human being, the sane mind in the sound body, is absolutely dependent
upon the functioning and exercise of all the organs in the body.  The
``moralists'' who preach abstinence, self-denial, and suppression are
relegated by these findings of impartial and disinterested science to
the class of those educators of the past who taught that it was
improper for young ladies to indulge in sports and athletics and who
produced generations of feeble, undeveloped invalids, bound up by
stays and addicted to swooning and hysterics.  One need only go out on
the street of any American city to-day to be confronted with the
victims of the cruel morality of self-denial and ``sin.'' This
fiendish ``morality'' is stamped upon those emaciated bodies,
indelibly written in those emasculated, underdeveloped, undernourished
figures of men and women, in the nervous tension and unrelaxed muscles
denoting the ceaseless vigilance in restraining and suppressing the
expression of natural impulses.

Birth Control is no negative philosophy concerned solely with the
number of children brought into this world.  It is not merely a
question of population.  Primarily it is the instrument of liberation
and of human development.

It points the way to a morality in which sexual expression and human
development will not be in conflict with the interest and well-being
of the race nor of contemporary society at large.  Not only is it the
most effective, in fact the only lever by which the value of the child
can be raised to a civilized point; but it is likewise the only method
by which the life of the individual can be deepened and strengthened,
by which an inner peace and security and beauty may be substituted for
the inner conflict that is at present so fatal to self-expression and

Sublimation of the sexual instinct cannot take place by denying it
expression, nor by reducing it to the plane of the purely
physiological.  Sexual experience, to be of contributory value, must
be integrated and assimilated. Asceticism defeats its own purpose
because it develops the obsession of licentious and obscene thoughts,
the victim alternating between temporary victory over ``sin'' and the
remorse of defeat.  But the seeker of purely physical pleasure, the
libertine or the average sensualist,  is no less a pathological case,
living as one-sided and unbalanced a life as the ascetic, for his
conduct is likewise based on ignorance and lack of understanding.  In
seeking pleasure without the exercise of responsibility, in trying to
get something for nothing, he is not merely cheating others but
himself as well.

In still another field science and scientific method now emphasize the
pivotal importance of Birth Control.  The Binet-Simon intelligence
tests which have been developed, expanded, and applied to large groups
of children and adults present positive statistical data concerning
the mental equipment of the type of children brought into the world
under the influence of indiscriminate fecundity and of those fortunate
children who have been brought into the world because they are wanted,
the children of conscious, voluntary procreation, well nourished,
properly clothed, the recipients of all that proper care and love can

In considering the data furnished by these intelligence tests we
should remember several factors that should be taken into
consideration. Irrespective of other considerations, children who are
underfed, undernourished, crowded into badly ventilated and unsanitary
homes and chronically hungry cannot be expected to attain the mental
development of children upon whom every advantage of intelligent and
scientific care is bestowed.  Furthermore, public school methods of
dealing with children, the course of studies prescribed, may quite
completely fail to awaken and develop the intelligence.

The statistics indicate at any rate a surprisingly low rate of
intelligence among the classes in which large families and
uncontrolled procreation predominate.  Those of the lowest grade in
intelligence are born of unskilled laborers (with the highest birth
rate in the community); the next high among the skilled laborers, and
so on to the families of professional people, among whom it is now
admitted that the birth rate is voluntarily controlled.[3]

But scientific investigations of this type cannot be complete until
statistics are accurately obtained concerning the relation of
unrestrained fecundity and the quality, mental and physical, of the
children produced.  The philosophy of Birth Control therefore seeks
and asks the cooperation of science and scientists, not to strengthen
its own ``case,'' but because this sexual factor in the determination
of human history has so long been ignored by historians and
scientists.  If science in recent years has contributed enormously to
strengthen the conviction of all intelligent people of the necessity
and wisdom of Birth Control, this philosophy in its turn opens to
science in its various fields a suggestive avenue of approach to many
of those problems of humanity and society which at present seem to
enigmatical and insoluble.

[1]  Conklin, The Direction of Human Evolution, pp. 125, 126.
[2]  The Glands Regulating Personality: A study of the glands
     of internal secretion in relation to the types of human nature.
     By Louis Berman, M. D., Associate in Biological Chemistry,
     Columbia University; Physician to the Special Health Clinic.
     Lenox Hill Hospital.  New York:  1921.
[3]  Cf Terman:  Intelligence of School Children.  New York 1919.
     p. 56.  Also, ``Is America Safe for Democracy?'' Six lectures
     given at the Lowell Institute of Boston, by William McDougall,
     Professor of Psychology in Harvard College.  New York, 1921.

CHAPTER XI: Education and Expression

    ``Civilization is bound up with the success of that movement.
    The man who rejoices in it and strives to further it is alive;
    the man who shudders and raises impotent hands against it is
    merely dead, even though the grave yet yawns for him in vain.
    He may make dead laws and preach dead sermons and his sermons
    may be great and his laws may be rigid.  But as the wisest of
    men saw twenty-five centuries ago, the things that are great
    and strong and rigid are the things that stay below in the grave.
    It is the things that are delicate and tender and supple that
    stay above.  At no point is life so tender and delicate and
    supple as at the point of sex.  There is the triumph of life.''

Havelock Ellis

Our approach opens to us a fresh scale of values, a new and effective
method of testing the merits and demerits of current policies and
programs.  It redirects our attention to the great source and
fountainhead of human life. It offers us the most strategic point of
view from which to observe and study the unending drama of humanity,--
how the past, the present and the future of the human race are all
organically bound up together.  It coordinates heredity and
environment.  Most important of all, it frees the mind of sexual
prejudice and taboo, by demanding the frankest and most unflinching
reexamination of sex in its relation to human nature and the bases of
human society.  In aiding to establish this mental liberation, quite
apart from any of the tangible results that might please the
statistically-minded, the study of Birth Control is performing an
invaluable task.  Without complete mental freedom, it is impossible to
approach any fundamental human problem.  Failure to face the great
central facts of sex in an impartial and scientific spirit lies at the
root of the blind opposition to Birth Control.

Our bitterest opponents must agree that the problem of Birth Control
is one of the most important that humanity to-day has to face. The
interests of the entire world, of humanity, of the future of mankind
itself are more at stake in this than wars, political institutions,
or industrial reorganization.  All other projects of reform, of
revolution or reconstruction, are of secondary importance, even
trivial, when we compare them to the wholesale regeneration--or
disintegration--that is bound up with the control, the direction and
the release of one of the greatest forces in nature.  The great
danger at present does not lie with the bitter opponents of the idea
of Birth Control, nor with those who are attempting to suppress our
program of enlightenment and education. Such opposition is always
stimulating.  It wins new adherents.  It reveals its own weakness and
lack of insight.  The greater danger is to be found in the flaccid,
undiscriminating interest of ``sympathizers'' who are ``for it''--as
an accessory to their own particular panacea.  ``It even seems,
sometimes,'' wrote the late William Graham Sumner, ``as if the
primitive people were working along better lines of effort in this
direction than we are...when our public organs of instruction taboo
all that pertains to reproduction as improper; and when public
authority, ready enough to interfere with personal liberty everywhere
else, feels bound to act as if there were no societal interest at
stake in the begetting of the next generation.''[1]

Slowly but surely we are breaking down the taboos that surround sex;
but we are breaking them down out of sheer necessity. The codes that
have surrounded sexual behavior in the so-called Christian
communities, the teachings of the churches concerning chastity and
sexual purity, the prohibitions of the laws, and the hypocritical
conventions of society, have all demonstrated their failure as
safeguards against the chaos produced and the havoc wrought by the
failure to recognize sex as a driving force in human nature,--as great
as, if indeed not greater than, hunger. Its dynamic energy is
indestructible.  It may be transmuted, refined, directed, even
sublimated, but to ignore, to neglect, to refuse to recognize this
great elemental force is nothing less than foolhardy.

Out of the unchallenged policies of continence, abstinence,
``chastity'' and ``purity,'' we have reaped the harvests of
prostitution, venereal scourges and innumerable other evils.
Traditional moralists have failed to recognize  that chastity and
purity must be the outward symptoms of awakened intelligence, of
satisfied desires, and fulfilled love.  They cannot be taught by ``sex
education.''  They cannot be imposed from without by a denial of the
might and the right of sexual expression. Nevertheless, even in the
contemporary teaching of sex hygiene and social prophylaxis, nothing
constructive is offered to young men and young women who seek aid
through the trying period of adolescence.

At the Lambeth Conference of 1920, the Bishops of the Church of
England stated in their report on their considerations of sexual
morality:  ``Men should regard all women as they do their mothers,
sisters, and daughters; and women should dress only in such a manner
as to command respect from every man.  All right-minded persons should
unite in the suppression of pernicious literature, plays and
films....''  Could lack of psychological insight and understanding be
more completely indicated?  Yet, like these bishops, most of those who
are undertaking the education of the young are as ignorant themselves
of psychology and physiology.  Indeed, those who  are speaking
belatedly of the need of ``sexual hygiene'' seem to be unaware that
they themselves are most in need of it.  ``We must give up the futile
attempt to keep young people in the dark,'' cries Rev. James Marchant
in ``Birth-Rate and Empire,'' ``and the assumption that they are
ignorant of notorious facts. We cannot, if we would, stop the spread
of sexual knowledge; and if we could do so, we would only make matters
infinitely worse. This is the second decade of the twentieth century,
not the early Victorian period.... It is no longer a question of
knowing or not knowing.  We have to disabuse our middle-aged minds of
that fond delusion.  Our young people know more than we did when we
began our married lives, and sometimes as much as we know, ourselves,
even now.  So that we need not continue to shake our few remaining
hairs in simulating feelings of surprise or horror.  It might have
been better for us if we had been more enlightened.  And if our
discussion of this problem is to be of any real use, we must at the
outset reconcile ourselves to the fact that the birth-rate is
voluntarily controlled....Certain persons who instruct  us in these
matter, hold up their pious hands and whiten their frightened faces as
they cry out in the public squares against `this vice,' but they can
only make themselves ridiculous.''

Taught upon the basis of conventional and traditional morality and
middle-class respectability, based on current dogma, and handed down
to the populace with benign condescension, sex education is a waste of
time and effort. Such education cannot in any true sense set up as a
standard the ideal morality and behavior of the respectable middle-
class and then make the effort to induce all other members of society,
especially the working classes, to conform to their taboos.  Such a
method is not only confusing, but, in the creation of strain and
hysteria and an unhealthy concentration upon moral conduct, results in
positive injury.  To preach a negative and colorless ideal of chastity
to young men and women is to neglect the primary duty of awakening
their intelligence, their responsibility, their self-reliance and
independence.  Once this is accomplished, the matter of chastity will
take care of itself.  The teaching of ``etiquette''  must be
superseded by the teaching of hygiene. Hygienic habits are built up
upon a sound knowledge of bodily needs and functions.  It is only in
the sphere of sex that there remains an unfounded fear of presenting
without the gratuitous introduction of non-essential taboos and
prejudice, unbiased and unvarnished facts.

As an instrument of education, the doctrine of Birth Control
approaches the whole problem in another manner.  Instead of laying
down hard and fast laws of sexual conduct, instead of attempting to
inculcate rules and regulations, of pointing out the rewards of virtue
and the penalties of ``sin'' (as is usually attempted in relation to
the venereal diseases), the teacher of Birth Control seeks to meet the
needs of the people.  Upon the basis of their interests, their
demands, their problems, Birth Control education attempts to develop
their intelligence and show them how they may help themselves; how to
guide and control this deep-rooted instinct.

The objection has been raised that Birth Control only reaches the
already enlightened, the men and women who have already attained  a
degree of self-respect and self-reliance. Such an objection could not
be based on fact. Even in the most unenlightened sections of the
community, among mothers crushed by poverty and economic enslavement,
there is the realization of the evils of the too-large family, of the
rapid succession of pregnancy after pregnancy, of the hopelessness of
bringing too many children into the world.  Not merely in the evidence
presented in an earlier chapter but in other ways, is this crying need
expressed.  The investigators of the Children's Bureau who collected
the data of the infant mortality reports, noted the willingness and
the eagerness with which these down-trodden mothers told the truth
about themselves.  So great is their hope of relief from that
meaningless and deadening submission to unproductive reproduction,
that only a society pruriently devoted to hypocrisy could refuse to
listen to the voices of these mothers.  Respectfully we lend our ears
to dithyrambs about the sacredness of motherhood and the value of
``better babies''--but we shut our eyes and our ears to the unpleasant
reality and the  cries of pain that come from women who are to-day
dying by the thousands because this power is withheld from them.

This situation is rendered more bitterly ironic because the self-
righteous opponents of Birth Control practise themselves the doctrine
they condemn.  The birth-rate among conservative opponents indicates
that they restrict the numbers of their own children by the methods of
Birth Control, or are of such feeble procreative energy as to be
thereby unfitted to dictate moral laws for other people. They prefer
that we should think their small number of children is accidental,
rather than publicly admit the successful practice of intelligent
foresight.  Or else they hold themselves up as paragons of virtue and
self-control, and would have us believe that they have brought their
children into the world solely from a high, stern sense of public
duty--an attitude which is about as convincing as it would be to
declare that they found them under gooseberry bushes.  How else can we
explain the widespread tolerance and smug approval of the clerical
idea of sex,  now reenforced by floods of crude and vulgar sentiment,
which is  promulgated by the press, motion-pictures and popular plays?

Like all other education, that of sex can be rendered effective and
valuable only as it meets and satisfies the interests and demands of
the pupil himself.  It cannot be imposed from without, handed down
from above, superimposed upon the intelligence of the person taught.
It must find a response within him, give him the power and the
instrument wherewith he may exercise his own growing intelligence,
bring into action his own judgment and discrimination and thus
contribute to the growth of his intelligence.  The civilized world is
coming to see that education cannot consist merely in the assimilation
of external information and knowledge, but rather in the awakening and
development of innate powers of discrimination and judgment.  The
great disaster of ``sex education'' lies in the fact that it fails to
direct the awakened interests of the pupils into the proper channels
of exercise and development.  Instead, it blunts them, restricts them,
hinders them, and even attempts to eradicate them.

This has been the great defect of sex education as it has been
practised in recent years. Based on a superficial and shameful view of
the sexual instinct, it has sought the inculcation of negative virtues
by pointing out the sinister penalties of promiscuity, and by
advocating strict adherence to virtue and morality, not on the basis
of intelligence or the outcome of experience, not even for the
attainment of rewards, but merely to avoid punishment in the form of
painful and malignant disease. Education so conceived carries with it
its own refutation.  True education cannot tolerate the inculcation of
fear.  Fear is the soil in which are implanted inhibitions and morbid
compulsions.  Fear restrains, restricts, hinders human expression.  It
strikes at the very roots of joy and happiness.  It should therefore
be the aim of sex education to avoid above all the implanting of fear
in the mind of the pupil.

Restriction means placing in the hands of external authority the power
over behavior. Birth Control, on the contrary, implies voluntary
action, the decision for one's self how many children one shall or
shall not bring into the world.  Birth Control is educational in the
real sense of the word, in that it asserts this  power of decision,
reinstates this power in the people themselves.

We are not seeking to introduce new restrictions but greater freedom.
As far as sex is concerned, the impulse has been more thoroughly
subject to restriction than any other human instinct.  ``Thou shalt
not!'' meets us at every turn.  Some of these restrictions are
justified; some of them are not.  We may have but one wife or one
husband at a time; we must attain a certain age before we may marry.
Children born out of wedlock are deemed ``illegitimate''--even healthy
children.  The newspapers every day are filled with the scandals of
those who have leaped over the restrictions or limitations society has
written in her sexual code.  Yet the voluntary control of the
procreative powers, the rational regulation of the number of children
we bring into the world--this is the one type of restriction frowned
upon and prohibited by law!

In a more definite, a much more realistic and concrete manner, Birth
Control reveals itself as the most effective weapon in the spread of
hygienic and prophylactic knowledge among women of the less fortunate
classes.  It carries  with it a thorough training in bodily
cleanliness and physiology, a definite knowledge of the physiology and
function of sex.  In refusing to teach both sides of the subject, in
failing to respond to the universal demand among women for such
instruction and information, maternity centers limit their own efforts
and fail to fulfil what should be their true mission.  They are
concerned merely with pregnancy, maternity, child-bearing, the problem
of keeping the baby alive.  But any effective work in this field must
go further back. We have gradually come to see, as Havelock Ellis has
pointed out, that comparatively little can be done by improving merely
the living conditions of adults; that improving conditions for
children and babies is not enough.  To combat the evils of infant
mortality, natal and pre-natal care is not sufficient.  Even to
improve the conditions for the pregnant woman, is insufficient.
Necessarily and inevitably, we are led further and further back, to
the point of procreation; beyond that, into the regulation of sexual
selection.  The problem becomes a circle.  We cannot solve one part of
it without a consideration of the entirety.  But it is especially at
the point of creation where all the various forces are concentrated.
Conception must be controlled by reason, by intelligence, by science,
or we lose control of all its consequences.

Birth Control is essentially an education for women.  It is women who,
directly and by their very nature, bear the burden of that blindness,
ignorance and lack of foresight concerning sex which is now enforced
by law and custom.  Birth Control places in the hands of women the
only effective instrument whereby they may reestablish the balance in
society, and assert, not only theoretically but practically as well,
the primary importance of the woman and the child in civilization.

Birth Control is thus the stimulus to education.  Its exercise awakens
and develops the sense of self-reliance and responsibility, and
illuminates the relation of the individual to society and to the race
in a manner that otherwise remains vague and academic.  It reveals sex
not merely as an untamed and insatiable natural force to which men and
women must submit hopelessly and inertly, as it sweeps through them,
and then accept it with abject humility the hopeless and heavy
consequences. Instead, it places in their hands the power to control
this great force; to use it, to direct it into channels in which it
becomes the energy enhancing their lives and increasing self-
expression and self-development.  It awakens in women the
consciousness of new glories and new possibilities in motherhood.  No
longer the prostrate victim of the blind play of instinct but the
self-reliant mistress of her body and her own will, the new mother
finds in her child the fulfilment of her own desires.  In free instead
of compulsory motherhood she finds the avenue of her own development
and expression.  No longer bound by an unending series of pregnancies,
at liberty to safeguard the development of her own children, she may
now extend her beneficent influence beyond her own home.  In becoming
thus intensified, motherhood may also broaden and become more
extensive as well.  The mother sees that the welfare of her own
children is bound up with the welfare of all others.  Not upon the
basis of sentimental charity or gratuitous ``welfare-work'' but upon
that of enlightened self-interest, such a mother may exert her
influence among the less fortunate and less enlightened.

Unless based upon this central knowledge of and power over her own
body and her own instincts, education for woman is valueless.  As long
as she remains the plaything of strong, uncontrolled natural forces,
as long as she must docilely and humbly submit to the decisions of
others, how can woman every lay the foundations of self-respect, self-
reliance and independence?  How can she make her own choice, exercise
her own discrimination, her own foresight?

In the exercise of these powers, in the building up and integration of
her own experience, in mastering her own environment the true
education of woman must be sought.  And in the sphere of sex, the
great source and root of all human experience, it is upon the basis of
Birth Control--the voluntary direction of her own sexual expression--
that woman must take her first step in the assertion of freedom and

[1]  Folkways, p. 492.

CHAPTER XII: Woman and the Future

    I saw a woman sleeping.  In her sleep she dreamed Life stood
    before her, and held in each hand a gift--in the one Love, in
    the other Freedom.  And she said to the woman, ``Choose!''

    And the woman waited long:  and she said, ``Freedom!''

    And Life said, ``Thou has well chosen.  If thou hadst said,
   `Love,' I would have given thee that thou didst ask for; and
    I would have gone from thee, and returned to thee no more.
    Now, the day will come when I shall return.  In that day I
    shall bear both gifts in one hand.''

    I heard the woman laugh in her sleep.

Olive Schreiner

By no means is it necessary to look forward to some vague and distant
date of the future to test the benefits which the human race derives
from the program I have suggested in the preceding pages.  The results
to the individual woman, to the family, and to the State, particularly
in the case of Holland,  have already been investigated and recorded.
Our philosophy is no doctrine of escape from the immediate and
pressing realities of life. on the contrary, we say to men and women,
and particularly to the latter:  face the realities of your own soul
and body; know thyself! And in this last admonition, we mean that this
knowledge should not consist of some vague shopworn generalities about
the nature of woman--woman as created in the minds of men, nor woman
putting herself on a romantic pedestal above the harsh facts of this
workaday world.  Women can attain freedom only by concrete, definite
knowledge of themselves, a knowledge based on biology, physiology and

Nevertheless it would be wrong to shut our eyes to the vision of a
world of free men and women, a world which would more closely resemble
a garden than the present jungle of chaotic conflicts and fears.  One
of the greatest dangers of social idealists, to all of us who hope to
make a better world, is to seek refuge in highly colored fantasies of
the future rather than to face and combat the bitter and evil
realities which to-day on all sides confront us.  I believe that the
reader of my preceding chapters will not accuse me of shirking these
realities; indeed, he may think that I have overemphasized the great
biological problems of defect, delinquency and bad breeding.  It is in
the hope that others too may glimpse my vision of a world regenerated
that I submit the following suggestions.  They are based on the belief
that we must seek individual and racial health not by great political
or social reconstruction, but, turning to a recognition of our own
inherent powers and development, by the release of our inner energies.
It is thus that all of us can best aid in making of this world,
instead of a vale of tears, a garden.

Let us first of all consider merely from the viewpoint of business and
``efficiency'' the biological or racial problems which confront us. As
Americans, we have of late made much of ``efficiency'' and business
organization.  Yet would any corporation for one moment conduct its
affairs as we conduct the infinitely more important affairs of our
civilization?  Would any modern stockbreeder permit the deterioration
of his livestock as we not only permit but positively encourage the
destruction and deterioration of the most precious, the most essential
elements in our world community--the mothers and children.  With the
mothers and children thus cheapened, the next generation of men and
women is inevitably below par. The tendency of the human elements,
under present conditions, is constantly downward.

Turn to Robert M. Yerkes's ``Psychological Examining in the United
States Army''[1] in which we are informed that the psychological
examination of the drafted men indicated that nearly half--47.3 per
cent.--of the population had the mentality of twelve-year-old children
or less--in other words that they are morons. Professor Conklin, in
his recently published volume ``The Direction of Human Evolution''[2]
is led, on the findings of Mr. Yerkes's report, to assert:  ``Assuming
that these drafted men are a fair sample of the entire population  of
approximately 100,000,000, this means that 45,000,000 or nearly one-
half the entire population, will never develop mental capacity beyond
the stage represented by a normal twelve-year-old child, and that only
13,500,000 will ever show superior intelligence.''

Making all due allowances for the errors and discrepancies of the
psychological examination, we are nevertheless face to face with a
serious and destructive practice.  Our ``overhead'' expense in
segregating the delinquent, the defective and the dependent, in
prisons, asylums and permanent homes, our failure to segregate morons
who are increasing and multiplying--I have sufficiently indicated,
though in truth I have merely scratched the surface of this
international menace--demonstrate our foolhardy and extravagant
sentimentalism. No industrial corporation could maintain its existence
upon such a foundation.  Yet hardheaded ``captains of industry,''
financiers who pride themselves upon their cool-headed and keen-
sighted business ability are dropping millions into rosewater
philanthropies and charities that are silly at best and vicious at
worst. In our dealings with such elements there is a  bland
maladministration and misuse of huge sums that should in all
righteousness be used for the development and education of the healthy
elements of the community.

At the present time, civilized nations are penalizing talent and
genius, the bearers of the torch of civilization, to coddle and
perpetuate the choking human undergrowth, which, as all authorities
tell us, is escaping control and threatens to overrun the whole garden
of humanity.  Yet men continue to drug themselves with the opiate of
optimism, or sink back upon the cushions of Christian resignation,
their intellectual powers anaesthetized by cheerful platitudes.  Or
else, even those, who are fully cognizant of the chaos and conflict,
seek an escape in those pretentious but fundamentally fallacious
social philosophies which place the blame for contemporary world
misery upon anybody or anything except the indomitable but
uncontrolled instincts of living organisms. These men fight with
shadows and forget the realities of existence.  Too many centuries
have we sought to hide from the inevitable, which confronts us at
every step throughout life.

Let us conceive for the moment at least, a world not burdened by the
weight of dependent and delinquent classes, a total population of
mature, intelligent, critical and expressive men and women.  Instead
of the inert, exploitable, mentally passive class which now forms the
barren substratum of our civilization, try to imagine a population
active, resistant, passing individual and social lives of the most
contented and healthy sort.  Would such men and women, liberated from
our endless, unceasing struggle against mass prejudice and inertia, be
deprived in any way of the stimulating zest of life?  Would they sink
into a slough of complacency and fatuity?

No!  Life for them would be enriched, intensified and ennobled in a
fashion it is difficult for us in our spiritual and physical squalor
even to imagine.  There would be a new renaissance of the arts and
sciences.  Awakened at last to the proximity of the treasures of life
lying all about them, the children of that age would be inspired by a
spirit of adventure and romance that would indeed produce a
terrestrial paradise.

Let us look forward to this great release of creative and constructive
energy, not as an idle, vacuous mirage, but as a promise which we, as
the whole human race, have it in our power, in the very conduct of our
lives from day to day, to transmute into a glorious reality. Let us
look forward to that era, perhaps not so distant as we believe, when
the great adventures in the enchanted realm of the arts and sciences
may no longer be the privilege of a gifted few, but the rightful
heritage of a race of genius.  In such a world men and women would no
longer seek escape from themselves by the fantastic and the faraway.
They would be awakened to the realization that the source of life, of
happiness, is to be found not outside themselves, but within, in the
healthful exercise of their God-given functions.  The treasures of
life are not hidden; they are close at hand, so close that we overlook
them.  We cheat ourselves with a pitiful fear of ourselves. Men and
women of the future will not seek happiness; they will have gone
beyond it. Mere happiness would produce monotony. And their lives
shall be lives of change and  variety with the thrills produced by
experiment and research.

Fear will have been abolished:  first of all, the fear of outside
things and other people; finally the fear of oneself.  And with these
fears must disappear forever all those poisons of hatreds, individual
and international.  For the realization would come that there would be
no reason for, no value in encroaching upon, the freedom of one
another.  To-day we are living in a world which is like a forest of
trees too thickly planted.  Hence the ferocious, unending struggle for
existence.  Like innumerable ages past, the present age is one of
mutual destruction.  Our aim is to substitute cooperation, equity, and
amity for antagonism and conflict.  If the aim of our country or our
civilization is to attain a hollow, meaningless superiority over
others in aggregate wealth and population, it may be sound policy to
shut our eyes to the sacrifice of human life,--unregarded life and
suffering--and to stimulate rapid procreation.  But even so, such a
policy is bound in the long run to defeat itself, as the decline and
fall of great civilizations of the past emphatically indicate.  Even
the bitterest opponent of our ideals would refuse to subscribe to a
philosophy of mere quantity, of wealth and population lacking in
spiritual direction or significance.  All of us hope for and look
forward to the fine flowering of human genius--of genius not expending
and dissipating its energy in the bitter struggle for mere existence,
but developing to a fine maturity, sustained and nourished by the soil
of active appreciation, criticism, and recognition.

Not by denying the central and basic biological facts of our nature,
not by subscribing to the glittering but false values of any
philosophy or program of escape, not by wild Utopian dreams of the
brotherhood of men, not by any sanctimonious debauch of sentimentality
or religiosity, may we accomplish the first feeble step toward
liberation.  On the contrary, only by firmly planting our feet on the
solid ground of scientific fact may we even stand erect--may we even
rise from the servile stooping posture of the slave, borne down by the
weight of age-old oppression.

In looking forward to this radiant release of the inner energies of a
regenerated humanity, I am not thinking merely of inventions and
discoveries and the application of these to the perfecting of the
external and mechanical details of social life.  This external and
scientific perfecting of the mechanism of external life is a
phenomenon we are to a great extent witnessing today.  But in a deeper
sense this tendency can be of no true or lasting value if it cannot be
made to subserve the biological and spiritual development of the human
organism, individual and collective.  Our great problem is not merely
to perfect machinery, to produce superb ships, motor cars or great
buildings, but to remodel the race so that it may equal the amazing
progress we see now making in the externals of life.  We must first
free our bodies from disease and predisposition to disease.  We must
perfect these bodies and make them fine instruments of the mind and
the spirit.  Only thus, when the body becomes an aid instead of a
hindrance to human expression may we attain any civilization worthy of
the name.  Only thus may we create our bodies a fitting temple for the
soul, which is nothing but a vague unreality except insofar as it is
able to manifest itself in the beauty of the concrete.

Once we have accomplished the first tentative steps toward the
creation of a real civilization, the task of freeing the spirit of
mankind from the bondage of ignorance, prejudice and mental passivity
which is more fettering now than ever in the history of humanity, will
be facilitated a thousand-fold.  The great central problem, and one
which must be taken first is the abolition of the shame and fear of
sex.  We must teach men the overwhelming power of this radiant force.
We must make them understand that uncontrolled, it is a cruel tyrant,
but that controlled and directed, it may be used to transmute and
sublimate the everyday world into a realm of beauty and joy.  Through
sex, mankind may attain the great spiritual illumination which will
transform the world, which will light up the only path to an earthly
paradise.  So must we necessarily and inevitably conceive of sex-
expression.  The instinct is here.  None of us can avoid it.  It is in
our power to make it a thing of beauty and a joy forever:  or to deny
it, as have the ascetics of the past, to revile this expression and
then to pay the penalty,  the bitter penalty that Society to-day is
paying in innumerable ways.

If I am criticized for the seeming ``selfishness'' of this conception
it will be through a misunderstanding.  The individual is fulfiling
his duty to society as a whole by not self-sacrifice but by self-
development.  He does his best for the world not by dying for it, not
by increasing the sum total of misery, disease and unhappiness, but by
increasing his own stature, by releasing a greater energy, by being
active instead of passive, creative instead of destructive.  This is
fundamentally the greatest truth to be discovered by womankind at
large.  And until women are awakened to their pivotal function in the
creation of a new civilization, that new era will remain an impossible
and fantastic dream.  The new civilization can become a glorious
reality only with the awakening of woman's now dormant qualities of
strength, courage, and vigor.  As a great thinker of the last century
pointed out, not only to her own health and happiness is the physical
degeneracy of woman destructive, but to our whole race.  The physical
and psychic power of woman is more indispensable  to the well-being
and power of the human race than that even of man, for the strength
and happiness of the child is more organically united with that of the

Parallel with the awakening of woman's interest in her own fundamental
nature, in her realization that her greatest duty to society lies in
self-realization, will come a greater and deeper love for all of
humanity.  For in attaining a true individuality of her own she will
understand that we are all individuals, that each human being is
essentially implicated in every question or problem which involves the
well-being of the humblest of us.  So to-day we are not to meet the
great problems of defect and delinquency in any merely sentimental or
superficial manner, but with the firmest and most unflinching attitude
toward the true interest of our fellow beings.  It is from no mere
feeling of brotherly love or sentimental philanthropy that we women
must insist upon enhancing the value of child life.  It is because we
know that, if our children are to develop to their full capabilities,
all children must be assured a similar opportunity. Every single case
of inherited defect, every  malformed child, every congenitally
tainted human being brought into this world is of infinite importance
to that poor individual; but it is of scarcely less importance to the
rest of us and to all of our children who must pay in one way or
another for these biological and racial mistakes.  We look forward in
our vision of the future to children brought into the world because
they are desired, called from the unknown by a fearless and conscious
passion, because women and men need children to complete the symmetry
of their own development, no less than to perpetuate the race.  They
shall be called into a world enhanced and made beautiful by the spirit
of freedom and romance--into a world wherein the creatures of our new
day, unhampered and unbound by the sinister forces of prejudice and
immovable habit, may work out their own destinies.  Perhaps we may
catch fragmentary glimpses of this new life in certain societies of
the past, in Greece perhaps; but in all of these past civilizations
these happy groups formed but a small exclusive section of the
population.  To-day our task is greater; for we realize that no
section of humanity can be reclaimed  without the regeneration of the

I look, therefore, into a Future when men and women will not dissipate
their energy in the vain and fruitless search for content outside of
themselves, in far-away places or people. Perfect masters of their own
inherent powers, controlled with a fine understanding of the art of
life and of love, adapting themselves with pliancy and intelligence to
the milieu in which they find themselves, they will unafraid enjoy
life to the utmost.  Women will for the first time in the unhappy
history of this globe establish a true equilibrium and ``balance of
power'' in the relation of the sexes.  The old antagonism will have
disappeared, the old ill-concealed warfare between men and women. For
the men themselves will comprehend that in this cultivation of the
human garden they will be rewarded a thousand times.  Interest in the
vague sentimental fantasies of extra-mundane existence, in
pathological or hysterical flights from the realities of our
earthliness, will have through atrophy disappeared, for in that dawn
men and women will have come to the realization, already suggested,
that here close at hand is our paradise, our everlasting  abode, our
Heaven and our eternity.  Not by leaving it and our essential humanity
behind us, nor by sighing to be anything but what we are, shall we
ever become ennobled or immortal.  Not for woman only, but for all of
humanity is this the field where we must seek the secret of eternal

[1]  Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences.  Volume XV.
[2]  Conklin, The Direction of Human Evolution.  ``When it is
     remembered that mental capacity is inherited, that parents of
     low intelligence generally produce children of low intelligence,
     and that on the average they have more children than persons of
     high intelligence, and furthermore, when we consider that the
     intellectual capacity or `mental age' can be changed very little
     by education, we are in a position to appreciate the very serious
     condition which confronts us as a nation.''  p. 108.




The complex problems now confronting America as the result of the
practice of reckless procreation are fast threatening to grow beyond
human control.

Everywhere we see poverty and large families going hand in hand.
Those least fit to carry on the race are increasing most rapidly.
People who cannot support their own offspring are encouraged by Church
and State to produce large families.  Many of the children thus
begotten are diseased or feeble-minded; many become criminals.  The
burden of supporting these unwanted types has to be bourne by the
healthy elements of the nation.  Funds that should be used to raise
the standard of our civilization are diverted to the maintenance of
those who should never have been born.

In addition to this grave evil we witness the appalling waste of
women's health and women's lives by too frequent pregnancies.  These
unwanted pregnancies often provoke the crime of abortion, or
alternatively multiply the number of child-workers and lower the
standard of living.

To create a race of well born children it is essential that the
function of motherhood should be elevated to a position of dignity,
and this is impossible as long as conception remains a matter of

We hold that children should be

    1.  Conceived in love;
    2.  Born of the mother's conscious desire;
    3.  And only begotten under conditions which
        render possible the heritage of health.

Therefore we hold that every woman must possess the power and freedom
to prevent conception except when these conditions can be satisfied.

Every mother must realize her basic position in human society.  She
must be conscious of her responsibility to the race in bringing
children into the world.

Instead of being a blind and haphazard consequence of uncontrolled
instinct, motherhood must be made the responsible and self-directed
means of human expression and regeneration.

These purposes, which are of fundamental importance to the whole of
our nation and to the future of mankind, can only be attained if women
first receive practical scientific education in the means of Birth
Control.  That, therefore, is the first object to which the efforts of
this League will be directed.


The American Birth Control League aims to enlighten and educate all
sections of the American public in the various aspects of the dangers
of uncontrolled procreation and the imperative necessity of a world
program of Birth Control.

The League aims to correlate the findings of scientists,
statisticians, investigators, and social agencies in all fields.  To
make this possible, it is necessary to organize various departments:

RESEARCH:  To collect the findings of scientists, concerning the
relation of reckless breeding to the evils of delinquency, defect and

INVESTIGATION:  To derive from these scientifically ascertained facts
and figures, conclusions which may aid all public health and social
agencies in the study of problems of maternal and infant mortality,
child-labor, mental and physical defects and delinquence in relation
to the practice of reckless parentage.

HYGIENIC AND PHYSIOLOGICAL instruction by the Medical profession to
mothers and potential mothers in harmless and reliable methods of
Birth Control in answer to their requests for such knowledge.

STERILIZATION of the insane and feebleminded and the encouragement of
this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible
diseases, with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive
the individual of his or her sex expression, but merely renders him
incapable of producing children.

EDUCATIONAL:  The program of education includes:  The enlightenment of
the public at large, mainly through the education of leaders of
thought and opinion--teachers, ministers, editors and writers--to the
moral and scientific soundness of the principles of Birth Control and
the imperative necessity of its adoption as the basis of national and
racial progress.

POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE:  To enlist the support and cooperation of
legal advisers, statesmen and legislators in effecting the removal of
state and federal statutes which encourage dysgenic breeding, increase
the sum total of disease, misery and poverty and prevent the
establishment of a policy of national health and strength.

ORGANIZATION:  To send into the various States of the Union field
workers to enlist the support and arouse the interest of the masses,
to the importance of Birth Control so that laws may be changed and the
establishment of clinics made possible in every State.

INTERNATIONAL:  This department aims to cooperate with similar
organizations in other countries to study Birth Control in its
relations to the world population problem, food supplies, national and
racial conflicts, and to urge upon all international bodies organized
to promote world peace, the consideration of these aspects of
international amity.

THE AMERICAN BIRTH CONTROL LEAGUE proposes to publish in its official
organ ``The  Birth Control Review,'' reports and studies on the
relationship of controlled and uncontrolled populations to national
and world problems.

The American Birth Control League also proposes to hold an annual
Conference to bring together the workers of the various departments so
that each worker may realize the inter-relationship of all the various
phases of the problem to the end that National education will tend to
encourage and develop the powers of self-direction, self-reliance, and
independence in the individuals of the community instead of dependence
for relief upon public or private charities.

End of Project Gutenberg Etext Pivot of Civilization, By Margaret Sanger