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)
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
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