University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume IV (1876-1877)

Mason, R. Z.
The duty of the state in its treatment of the deaf and dumb, the blind, the idiotic, the crippled and deformed, and the insane,   pp. 25-30 PDF (1.8 MB)


Page 25


The D5uty of the State to the Insane, etc.
THE DUTY OF THE STATE IN ITS TREATMENT OF
  THE DEAF AND DUMB, THE BLIND, THE IDIOTIC,
  THE CRIPPLED AND DEFORMED, AND THE IN-
  SANE.
                        BY R. Z. MASON.
  In the progress of modern civilization, the state has come slowly
to a recognition of certain duties and obligations to these unfor-
tunate classes. At present we take up the subject in the interests
not only of humanity and of sound political philosophy, but also
in the interestsand--lig-ht of--modern science. -P-erhaps-we shall
commit a grave mistake in venturing to draw our conclusions
solely from the cold suggestions which the teachings of the most
advanced investigators in science might supply. Humanity cer-
tainly has claims upon us which the dictates of our spiritual na-
tures must respect. Shall we adopt the modern theories of evo-
lution and the language of Herbert Spencer, "the fittest shall
survive," and be induced thereby to turn out the unfortunate idiot,
the insane or the deformed cripple, with nothing but his own
resources to depend upon, to compel him to struggle for a precari-
ous existence by battling with the relentless forces of nature, and
sharp competition with the fierce selfishness of individual life?
Would this course be in accordance with the instincts of man's
better and higher nature? Whatever theories we mav adopt as
to our origin, we cannot ignore the fact that we belongf now to
a cultured race, to those whose gentle humanities are to be as
much regarded as the mere elements of physical strength or intel-
lectual acumen. If we did spring from the brute, we cannot
afford to act quite like him. But the subject has another phase
which it is proper we should carefully examine. The question
arises, whether the state shall expend its hundreds of thousands
of dollars per annum in the almost hopeless effort to correct con-
genital malformations, to subdue the frantic manifestations of in-
25


Go up to Top of Page