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Burbank, Luther, 1849-1926 / Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application

[Luther Burbank -- the bearing of his work on human life -- on improving the human plant],   pp. [202]-246 PDF (10.0 MB)

Page 213

natural standards, but they are the only standards
compatible with the persistence of the unnatural
state of society that we term civilized.
So it has come about that the condition of men
in civilized society is closely comparable to the
condition of plants in a hothouse or in a carefully
cultivated and weeded garden. The very condi-
tions of civilization make it as essential that the
human weed should be removed and the unfit
members of the community prevented from propa-
gating their kind as that similar principles should
apply in the hothouse or the flower garden.
Under the conditions of barbaric life, and even
under those of the high civilization of classical
antiquity, the principles of eugenic selection thus
implied were carried out with a good deal of rigor.
Even if the weaklings were not consciously re-
moved-and this was sometimes done-the stress
of living was such that the abnormal or weakly
infants were claimed by disease, and the adults
who lacked strength and intelligence were likely
to succumb to the attacks of wild pests, to starva-
tion, or to the onslaught of human enemies.
So the principle of selective or eugenic breed-
ing was all along applied, even when no one com-
prehended its meaning or gave it a name; and the
results are seen in the progress of humanity to its
present state.

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