Part 2: Practical Eugenics

“The family organization, and the laws and customs governing human reproduction, constitute the agency by which racial destiny is now determined. Wise matings and high fecundity mean racial progress. Unfit matings mean racial degeneracy. If the race is to improve eugenically, inborn family qualities must, ultimately, through education, become important factors in courtship, and consequently in mate selection.

Many states and institutions are now recognizing the necessity of working out practical eugenical programs. Many custodial institutions (for the feebleminded, insane, criminalistic and the like) are making family history studies of their inmates, and many states are denying parenthood to individuals whose handicaps are based upon hereditary defects, and, as a radical measure, fifteen states have enacted laws providing for sexual sterilization of certain types of defectives.”

Chart showing inter-marriage among various nationalities in New York City. Dr. Julius Drachsler, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.
Charts by Dr. A. H. Estabrook of the Eugenics Record Office comparing the lineage of pioneering Colonial theologian and President of Princeton University Jonathan Edwards and the pseudonymous Max Juke, an impoverished Dutch settler in southern New York. 
OPPOSITION TO PRACTICAL EUGENICS

No one denies great differences of gift, capacity and attainment among individuals of all races, but the voice of science, religion and practical politics is one in denying the God-appointed existence of super-races, or of races naturally and inevitably and eternally inferior. … The insidious and dishonorable propaganda, which, for selfish ends, so distorts and denies facts as to represent the advancement and development of certain races of men as impossible and undesirable, should be met with widespread dissemination of the truth. 

Dr. Rudolph M. Binder, Professor of Sociology, New York University, “Health and Eugenics” paper delivered at the Second Congress.
A black and white portrait of Rudolf Binder. Binder is shown from the chest up, wearing a dark suit, a light shirt, and a tie. Binder is striking, appearing youthful though clearly in middle age. His hairline is receding around halfway up his head, his hair is light, perhaps white or blonde. Symmetrical face, Binder has thin, diagonal eyebrows, and a light, think mustache. Binder appears at ease, though he is not smiling.

The question of sterilization rests upon the empty assumption that the offspring of criminals are always and inevitably bad, no matter in what environment they may be placed… While it is undoubtedly true that physical or mental defects may have an influence on the acts done by criminals, we who are fully imbued with the Christian idea of personal responsibility cannot admit that that influence is the total cause of crime, or that it bears even a paramount share.

Rev. Dr. Anthony M. Benedik, Holy Family Church, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, “What Causes Crime?” America, December 6, 1924 p. 173.