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Professor Grenier, writing on the subject of alcoholic degeneration, has
said: "Alcohol is one of the most active agents in the degeneracy of the
race. The indelible effects produced by heredity are not to be remedied.
Alcoholic descendants are often inferior beings, a notable proportion
coming under the categories of idiots, imbeciles, and the debilitated.
The morbid influence of parents is maximum when conception has taken
place at the time of drunkenness of one or both parties. Those with
hereditary alcoholism show a tendency to excess; half of them become
alcoholics; a large number of cases of neurosis have their principal
cause in alcoholic antecedents. The larger portion of the sons of
alcoholics have convulsions in early infancy. Epilepsy is almost
characteristic of the alcoholism of parents, when it is not an index of
a nervous disposition of the whole family. The alcoholic delirium is
more frequent in the descendants of alcoholics than in their parents,
which indicates their intellectual degeneration."
What has been said of alcoholism of course applies to the use of
narcotics and other drugs. Galton cites a case in which "a man who had
had two healthy children acquired the cocaine habit, and while suffering
from the symptoms of chronic poisoning engendered two idiots." And yet
had anyone publicly instructed the wife of this man regarding the use of
contraceptives, such person would have been liable to imprisonment!
Another subject engaging the active attention of the Eugenists, and
which is discussed to considerable extent in the privacy of their
meetings, but which must be voiced only very carefully in the public
prints owing to the "murderous silence" which society prefers to
maintain on the subject, is of the influence of venereal diseases as
racial poisons transmissible to offspring. Dr. Saleeby has well said:
"No other disease can rival syphilis in its hideous influence upon
parenthood and the future. But it is no crime for a man to marry, infect
his innocent bride and their children; no crime against the laws of our
lawgivers, but a heinous outrage against nature's decrees. When at last
our laws are based on nature's laws, criminal marriages of this kind may
be put an end to."
The above stated facts are not pleasant reading for most persons, and
many pass over them hurriedly, thereby hoping to escape the mental
discomfort which the hearing and learning of unpleasant truths so often
produce. But the subject will not down--it is forcing itself to the
attention of the thinking members of society today in a manner which
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