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Chapter VII
The Degeneracy of Modern Man — Part III
The Proofs of Progressive Physical Degeneration

As we have suggested, it is not enough for some people that we should be grossly overburdened with the human wreckage of our excessive population (devoid of qualitative values) and with the visible signs all about us of a marked decline in health, beauty, normal functioning, and vigour, even among the so called "fit." It is not enough to be able to show masses of figures proving a high incidence of lunacy, dental caries, myopia, or other defects of the eyes, crippledom, mental inferiority, blindness, etc., etc., among our population. Such people will continue to maintain that it is still incumbent upon us to prove progressive deterioration more completely than we already have done.
        I have already mentioned, I believe, that there are three powerful bodies of people in these islands, who are stubbornly disinclined to admit that the modern Englishman is degenerating.
        On the one hand there are the ignorant but conceited masses who wish to believe that they not only belong to the best people on earth, but also to the best period in that best people's history. They, therefore, stoutly deny national or racial degeneracy, for fear lest their self-esteem might suffer.
        Then there are the so-called "advanced" or "new" women, who are shrewd enough to perceive that if they

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admit the possibility of male degeneracy, they forfeit their claim of an evolutionary necessity for women's recent strides. For, if men have declined, then obviously woman's recently acquired privileges cease to denote a positive advance, but only a relative advance, contingent upon man's recession, or inability any longer to maintain his ascendancy.
        Finally there are the doctors, who regard the charge of national degeneracy as one directly impugning their own particular sphere of power. "If this alleged physical degeneracy is a fact," they say, "then we doctors have done no good, we have failed in our mission of healing and physical salvation." It is this implication which must be avoided at all costs; it is this damaging consequence of the first proposition, which doctors wish to forestall, and if possible to invalidate, by flatly denying that degeneracy is a fact. And this explains the uncontrollable fury with which most of them will retort to the charge I am making. They will record facts and data about the incidence of disease and the relief which their services have supplied. But only the fewest among them will cheerfully draw the proper conclusions from these data.
        I remember, not long ago, at the house of a friend I almost caused an unpleasant scene at table by maintaining to my vis-à-vis, who happened to be a very sickly and anæmic-looking doctor, that modern Englishmen were degenerating. It was partly this experience that first led me to suspect the hostility which the professional pride of doctors causes many of them to feel towards my present line of argument.
        Now it must be obvious to everyone that these three groups — the ignorant and conceited masses, the advanced women and the medical profession — form a very powerful body of opinion in the nation, hence, I believe, the difficulty in getting the country to regard the fact of racial and national degeneracy seriously, and the reason why no drastic steps are taken to arrest the tendency to decline

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        There is, perhaps, one further contributory factor in the formation of this strong body of opinion against the charge of degeneracy, and that is the trait common to all unthinking and smug people — whether ignorant or well informed — to prefer to listen to optimistic utterances, however deceptive, before facing unpleasant truths.
        To convince the three stubborn groups above described, and the unscrupulous optimists just mentioned, it is therefore necessary to use methods which, with less biased and more observant people, might be discarded. And, for the sake of those, therefore, for whom the spectacle of modern mankind is not enough, and for whom even the signs to be observed in themselves and among their own circle of friends and acquaintances are insufficiently enlightening, I shall now proceed to deal with those further proofs I have collected of progressive physical deterioration in England.
        I do not deny that the task of collecting these proofs has been an arduous one. The data are sparse, and systematic methods of registering differences in health, stature, statistics of disease, crippledom, eye trouble, etc., from decade to decade, have hardly been attempted. The consequence is that, from the very start, those who wish to prove progressive physical deterioration by means of figures are faced with a very difficult undertaking. If, therefore, the data I now propose to reveal seem small and trifling, let it not be supposed that they are exhaustive. They represent only a portion of the whole picture. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to underrate the significance of even the small array of figures that I am giving. For, seeing that progressive physical deterioration proved in any one organ or function can — if we regard the human organism as a psycho-physical whole — hardly be classed as a unique phenomenon, unaccompanied by collateral progressive deterioration elsewhere, I regard it as of the utmost value to my case, that I have been able to prove pro-

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gressive deterioration in at least one function. This achievement (apart from any other facts I adduce), measured in conjunction with a due regard to the difficulty of collecting evidence, supplies as convincing a proof of my charge as I could wish to obtain.
        Beginning, then, with the function of suckling, and reiterating my former allegation regarding the decline of breast-feeding, 1 whether from morbid incapacity, disinclination, or inability (in the case of mothers obliged to go out to work), there can be no doubt that this evil is increasing. And, in view of the unabated multiplication of incentives for not performing the function of lactation, and the probable result, which will consist of a gradual decline in the capacity to suckle, the situation is serious. Dr. Janet E. Lane-Clayton has maintained 2 that a morbid incapacity to suckle is so rare that "with few exceptions lactation can be induced in every woman." But, in saying this, it would appear that she hardly reckons with the many causes which to-day conspire to prevent women from nursing their infant children, and with the danger which our race thus incurs of losing the power to function normally in this respect. Dr. J. P. Crozer Griffiths, in a paper on The Establishment and Maintenance of Breast-Feeding, makes this point very clear. He says: "It seems probable that a line of mothers, who, though able, practise a voluntary refusal to suckle their offspring, finally develops an acquired characteristic which can be transmitted, resulting in an inability in the mothers of the younger generations to perform the natural function of nursing." And this fear seems to be warranted by the fact that morbid incapacity for lactation frequently runs in families.
        Now the morbidity of bottle-fed infants is well established. It has been asserted that for every death from diarrhœa occurring among breast-fed infants under

        1 The reader is requested to refer to the evidence clearly adduced regarding this decline, p. 164, ante.
        2 Milk and its Hygienic Relations, pp. 147–9.

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six months, there were eighteen among those partly breast-fed, and twenty-two among those fed entirely on artificial food. And Dr. H. M. McClanahan has shown not only "that breast-fed infants have a better immunity and furthermore more prompt defence when invasion occurs," . . . but also that "intestinal infections are, without doubt, more rare in the breast-fed." 1
        Thus, although infant mortality from other causes may have been successfully combated in recent years, we should expect to find, if there has really been a decline in breast-feeding, an increased mortality from disorders affecting the digestive tract. And the tables on the opposite page confirm this expectation.
        These figures are instructive. Bearing in mind the proportion of deaths to the number of births in each category, it is quite clear that the number of deaths among infants from diseases of the digestive system increased alarmingly in the thirty years between 1873 and 1902, both in urban and rural districts. The figures for pneumonia, which cannot be held independent of digestive conditions, also show an increase. While it is interesting to note, from the standpoint of the condition of the adult woman, that premature births also became more frequent in the period taken.
        In view of the precautions now taken to save infant life, it is difficult to account for this increase in lethal digestive troubles except on the score of a steady decline in breast-feeding. And, if we remember that these tables record only the fatal cases, and that thousands of infants must survive each year, who through artificial feeding have their digestions impaired, 2 we are bound

        1 The Relative Morbidity of Breast-fed Infants. Dr. Lane Clayton is of the same opinion (Op. cit., p. 147).
        2 Dr. V. B. Green-Armytage, in a paper on Some Common Ailments of Children, Their Identification and Treatment (1924), writes as follows: "Remember that patent milk foods unintelligently used are among the curses of modern civilization, and undoubtedly become a boomerang for evil from infancy to youth, and from youth to adolescence, for I need not remind you that that immense group of symptoms which are generic-

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Deaths of Infants in Urban Districts in England in Two Periods of Five Years

  1873–1877 1898–1902

Total Births,
Total Births,
Total Births,
Total Births,
Diarrhœa; Dysentery; Cholera 24,876         20,616         34,481         29,892        
Pneumonia 11,740         8,832         18,579         13,954        
Enteritis; Gastro-Enteritis 1,626         1,130         14,664         12,275        
Stomach Diseases 841         679         3,731         3,110        
Premature Births 16,953         13,438         29,878         23,230        
Stomatitis 252         201         526         474        

Deaths of Infants in Rural Districts in England in Two Periods of Five Years

  1873–1877 1898–1902

Total Births,
Total Births,
Total Births,
Total Births,
Diarrhœa; Dysentery; Cholera 3,392         2,746         3,340         2,556        
Pneumonia 2,400         1,657         2,631         1,858        
Enteritis; Gastro-Enteritis 319         240         1,836         1,416        
Stomach Diseases 218         175         591         461        
Premature Births 4,224         3,203         5,786         4,485        
Stomatitis 53         52         98         79        

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to acknowledge that a degenerative tendency, arising in the decline of breast feeding is already established in this country. 1
        Turning now to children — according to the Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education for 1923, there has been a very great increase, both absolutely and relatively, in the number of children absent from school owing to rheumatic conditions (including chronic heart disease). In the three years 1919–22 this increase amounts to 9.1 per cent.
        In his report for 1924, he also records an increase in unhealthy throat conditions: 1.83 per cent. more children being referred for treatment of tonsils and adenoids than in 1923.
        Speaking of physical deterioration among rural children, Sir George Newman writes: "In his. report on the physical condition of rural children in certain districts of Devonshire in 1924, Dr. Corkery found evidence of decadence. He has been officially responsible for the medical examination of school children in the same district for many years, and as the result of careful personal study and long experience, he formed the considered opinion that the physical condition of the children in certain of

ally classified under the heading 'spasmophilia' are to a very great extent due to gastro-intestinal disturbances which have had their origin in patent rather than natural food during babyhood." Later on in the same paper Dr. Green-Armytage prophesies, "that, as a result of the Great War with its effect on infant dietetics, and the modern tendency of all classes of society to rely upon patent baby foods, obstetric difficulties and anomalies will increase."
        1 It should also not be forgotten that the infants who survive artificial feeding also probably suffer mentally from the process, as shown in my Lysistrata, Chapter III. In view of the large number of feeble-minded and mentally defective children that are dealt with every year, this is an important consideration; while in addition there are the mentally backward children who, as Mr. Cyril Burt (the L.C.C. Psychologist) has pointed out, may be assessed at 10 per cent. of the non-adult population. In the County of London in 1918 they numbered 50,000, which would give 600,000 for England and Wales. See 1923 Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education.

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his rural schools was definitely decadent, 1 and was worse in 1924–5, than it was in similar groups of children examined in 1910 and subsequent pre-war years."
        Then Sir G. Newman adds: "Having inquired locally and observed his method of examination and comparison, I am satisfied as to the validity of the evidence."
        Similar trustworthy evidence comes from Anglesey, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Northumberland. 2
        Furthermore, according to the L.C.C. Report of the School Medical Officer for 1924, there has been an increase of 3.02 per cent. in scholars requiring treatment at elementary schools in twelve years. The figures are:

1912 1924
Total Elementary Scholars Examined Percentage Requiring Treatment Total Elementary Scholars Examined Percentage Requiring Treatment
240,764 35.52 192,885 38.5

        In 1923 the percentage requiring treatment was 36.7, while the defective entrants rose from 35 per cent. in 1913 to 38.6 in 1924.
        According to the 1924 Report of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Education, the physique of a number of children degenerates while they are at school, and Sir G. Newman's comment on this fact, is as follows: "It would seem that there must be conditions in the school as in our educational system, which are favourable to, or perhaps even produce, some of the physical effects which are found."

        1 The italics are mine. — A. M. L.
        2 Dr. Luston of Newcastle, in his evidence before the Committee on Physical Deterioration (1904), said: "There is undoubtedly great deterioration in the physique of our city population, and this is attributable to two chief causes, first a decadence of home life, which entails improper food and clothing, irregular habits, and absence of order and thrift. . . . There is an undoubted falling off in the physical conditions of the infants vaccinated, and young persons presented for employment during the last quarter of a century, and this is due to the fact that they are the offspring of town-bred parents who produce sui generis (p. 22, Vol. I).

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        Turning now to adults, we have Sir Arthur Newsholme's authority for stating that, on the average, from 1913 to 1921, 14,476,000 weeks' work were lost every year through sickness, or 278,000 years, or in other words the equivalent of the annual work of 278,000 persons.
        But in 1924, this figure had risen to 23,500,000, or a period of 447,115 years. "That is to say," we read in the Annual Report of the Chief Officer of the Ministry of Health, "in England and Wales, there was lost to the nation in the year among the insured population only, and excluding the loss due to sickness, for which sickness or disablement benefit is not payable, the equivalent of 12 months' work of 447,115 persons. Moreover, it must be remembered that it is not only the working equivalent of 447,115 persons that was lost, but also the labour and expense involved in their care during their incapacitation." 1
        With regard to teeth and their defects, there seems to be no doubt whatsoever that degeneration is already advanced.
        In his evidence before the Committee on Physical Deterioration in 1904, Mr. W. H. Dolamore, Secretary to the British Dental Association, who is a qualified medical man, spoke of the visible changes that have occurred in the teeth and jaws of the people of England, compared with the teeth and jaws that can be seen in old and ancient skulls. He deprecated the suggestion that the signs of caries sometimes found in the teeth of the older inhabitants of these islands, was anything like as serious as the caries occurring to-day, and declared that there was overwhelming evidence of degeneration in this respect. 2
        For the purposes of the same committee, an examination was made of 181 jaws at University College, London, which had been found in Whitechapel, presumably in one of the plague pits (circa 1665). From

        1 See the section Sickness and Invalidity (IV), p. 16.
        2 See p. 278, Vol. II of the Report.

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the number of teeth missing it was clear that dental caries was more common at that time than in early British times, although not nearly to the same extent as at the present day. 1
        The Committee of the British Dental Association also sent a circular letter to certain dental practitioners who were able to speak from an experience extending over 50 years. All agreed that dental caries had increased. 2
        Furthermore, it was stated that hospital statistics show that a largely increasing number of patients require to be referred to the dental department, and that there is also a largely increasing number of patients suffering from diseases of the stomach and from other indirect affections due to bad teeth. 3 While, with regard to children, dental caries had increased to such an extent as to be found in 86 per cent. of their total number. 4
        Professor Cunningham, in his evidence before the same Committee, spoke as follows: "It is an obvious fact that the teeth of the people of the present time cannot stand comparison in point of durability with those of the earlier inhabitants of Britain. . . . I take it that the real cause of this degeneration is the striking change which has taken place in the character of the food." 5
        An examination of the recruiting statistics for the Army for the years 1891–1902 shows a progressive increase in the numbers of men rejected for loss or decay of teeth. The figures are 10.88 per 1,000 in 1891, rising to 26 per 1,000 in 1898, 42.26 per 1,000 in 1902. 6
        It must be remembered, however, in examining these figures, that the men accepted were not necessarily in possession of a complete dentition of sound teeth, but that they had either the minimum or more than the

        1 Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration (1904) Report, p. 99, Appendix.
        2 Report (1904) quoted above.
        3 Ibid.
        4 Ibid.
        5 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 8. See also confirmatory evidence of Sir Lauder Brunton, Vol. II, p. 110.
        6 Ibid.

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Statistics of Rejections among Applicants for Army during 12 Years 1

Cause of Rejection Ratio per 1,000 Rejected
1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902
Under Chest-measurement 93.03 95.90 108.55 110.27 126.38 139.64 89.44 73.88 65.84 59.84 49.88 56.72
Defective Vision 40.35 42.35 41.51 42.90 39.88 40.72 41.15 42.64 41.99 36.42 35.84 39.23
Under Weight 32.47 27.62 39.99 39.61 36.58 35.95 45.58 34.82 33.84 28.52 25.15 21.72
Under Height 26.76 32.71 33.24 28.67 28.72 28.77 24.86 21.79 20.21 15.18 13.56 11.59
Imperfect Constitution and Debility 18.40 9.87 9.47 5.00 3.57 4.44 4.45 5.49 5.82 4.94 3.36 3.91
Diseases of Veins 16.39 16.24 17.11 15.84 15.85 15.72 15.42 15.74 14.22 11.69 13.98 12.30
Diseases of Heart 16.06 13.87 17.74 19.62 20.71 18.76 17.67 17.26 15.69 13.15 16.74 17.33
Defects of Lower Extremities 15.57 17.09 14.40 17.44 18.16 18.14 18.12 17.72 13.98 10.53 10.35 12.27
Variocele 12.93 11.85 12.85 14.25 12.28 13.07 13.07 12.29 12.16 11.21 13.89 12.59
Flat Feet 11.04 9.83 12.45 14.71 13.16 17.81 16.79 12.24 12.31 9.02 11.66 12.44
Loss or Decay of Teeth 10.88 14.56 15.33 16.26 17.95 19.75 24.16 26.34 25.29 20.02 26.70 49.26

        1 Taken from the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration (1904), Appendix.

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minimum allowed. In the Navy, for instance, in 1902 men were rejected if, when they were under 17 years of age, they had more than seven teeth deficient or decayed, and when they were over 17 years of age, if they had more than ten teeth deficient or decayed. Now in 1902 the Army requirements were less exacting in this respect than the Navy.
        There is a suspicion of degeneration also in the following facts:
        In 1902, of 6,169 lads who offered themselves at the Royal Marine Recruiting Offices for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, 1,686, or 27.3 per cent., were rejected as unfit. Of the lads, however, who desired to enter Greenwich Hospital and join the Navy, just under 33 per cent. were rejected. Now the extraordinary feature of these last rejections is that the lads admitted to Greenwich Hospital must be the sons of former seamen; which seems to point to the conclusion that the lads were not the men that their fathers were. 1 And the First Lord of the Admiralty observed that the statistics Were far from including all those who applied, "as a very large percentage were turned away by the recruiting sergeants for some physical deformity, such as defective teeth, without being brought before the medical officers at all." 2
        In the Contemporary Review of January, 1902, Sir Frederick Maurice stated that out of 5 men who wished to enlist, 2 ultimately remained in the Army as effective soldiers, and that it followed from this that 60 per cent. of men wishing to be soldiers were unfit for military service. Again, however, this 60 per cent. did not represent the total number of rejections, as thousands were turned away by the recruiting sergeants before coming in front of the medical inspectors. And in 1902 the Inspector-General of Recruiting reported that, "the one subject that causes anxiety as regards recruiting

        1 See A. W. Smyth, Op. cit., p. 20.
        2 Ibid., p. 20.

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is the gradual deterioration of the physique of the working classes from which the bulk of the recruits must always be drawn." 1
        In the Director-General's Memorandum sent to the Committee on Physical Deterioration, there is an interesting table, giving the causes for rejection of applicants for the Army during 12 years, 1892–1902. (See table, p. 190.) But in examining it the reader should note not only the steady increase of certain defects, but, where there is an apparent decrease, he should bear in mind that the standard has probably been lowered. For instance, in 1895 the standard height was 5 ft. 6 in. This was lowered to 5 ft. 3 in. in 1883, and 5 feet in 1900.
        In 1901 no fewer than 593.4 per 1,000 were under the old standard height of 5 ft. 6 in., and 511.8 were under the chest measurement of 34 inches, which was the minimum in 1883. 2
        In 1871, 159.4 per 1,000 were under 8 stone 8 lb.
        In 1901, 325 per 1,000 were under 8 stone 8 lb. 3
        According to Sir Arthur Newsholme, there was an increase in the number of rejections between 1860 and l886. The figures he gives are:
        1860–64 (inclusive), of 32,324 recruits 371.7 per 1,000 were rejected.
        1882–86 (inclusive), of 132,563 recruits 415.6 per l,000 were rejected. 4
        And Sir Arthur Newsholme quotes the late Director-General of the Army Medical Department, as having said: "The masses, from whom the army recruits are chiefly taken, are of an inferior physique to what they were 25 years ago."
        Everything possible was said and done by the optimists, when these facts and figures first began to cause concern in 1902, in order to allay anxiety and to make it appear

        1 Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, Appendix, p. 96.
        2 A. W. Smyth, Op. cit., p. 21.
        3 Ibid.
        4 Vital Statistics, p. 552.

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that while things were undoubtedly bad, there was no cause for alarm, so long as progressive physical deterioration could still by hook or by crook be shown to be a matter of doubt. And the consequence was, nothing was done.
        Finally, the Great War came, and the recruiting statistics of only one portion of the large Army that was mustered, revealed that the physique of the nation had gone from bad to worse.
        Far from Sir Frederick Maurice's estimate of 60 per cent. of unfitness in the nation being an exaggeration, it was now found that 64–65 per cent. was the actual figure, and those who in 1902 had found reasons to cast doubt upon Sir Frederick Maurice's so-called "alarmist" conclusions, were brought face to face with facts they could no longer deny.
        The Report issued by the Ministry of Health refers to the physical condition of 2,425,184 men of military age who were examined as possible recruits for the Army during one of the last years of the war, and it gives the result of the examination as follows:
        871,769 were placed in Grade I.
        546,276 were placed in Grade II.
        756,859 were placed in Grade III.
        250,280 were placed in Grade IV.
        Thus 36 per cent., or, approximately, only one in three, attained the normal standard. The remaining 64–65 per cent. failed to do so.
        Between 22 and 23 per cent. were placed in Grade II.
        Between 31 and 32 per cent. were placed in Grade III. (These may be regarded as the C3 men of the Army nomenclature.)
        And a little more than 10 per cent. were graded permanently unfit.
        Furthermore, in order to meet the kind of objection which the optimists had advanced against previous records of a less alarming kind, the Report contains the following significant passage: "It seems probable that

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the men examined during the year under review may be regarded in the aggregate as fairly representing the manhood of military age of the country in the early part of the twentieth century, from the standpoint of health and physique, and that deductions, founded upon the observations made at the medical examinations of these men, may be legitimately looked upon as a trustworthy criterion of the national health of the period. 1
        Thus in recruiting from the whole nation, 64–65 per cent. were found inferior to standard. And, when Sir Frederick Maurice, sixteen years previously, had declared that 60 per cent. of the men presenting themselves for admission into the Army had to be rejected, the optimists, among whom were many medical men, had replied that his figures only represented one section of the nation, and that probably the worst; for "it was the men of unskilled labourer class who could not find work, who chiefly offered themselves as recruits." 2
        But the worst aspect of these figures can be revealed not only by the pages of the Report itself, but by men like myself who had to deal with the recruits who were found fit for service. I challenge any officer who was on the Western Front, whether in the artillery or infantry, to deny that the men we used to get as reinforcements, even as early as the autumn of 1916, were often among the poorest specimens of manhood we had ever seen — dull-witted, delicate, toothless, and often rheumatical. Thousands of these men are taking war disability pensions to-day, who ought never to have crossed the water, who only crossed it in order to be invalided home again, and their number should be added to the number given for total rejections. This would increase the percentage of unfitness far beyond 65 per cent., but it would give a much truer picture of the nation's health at the time of the war.
        Mr. Lloyd George, in a speech at Manchester on

        1 The italics are mine. — A. M. L.
        2 For more recent recruiting statistics, see Appendix.

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September 12, 1918, said he hardly dared to tell his audience what the figures were, and added that "the number of Grade II and Grade III men throughout the country was prodigious." 1 He characterized the revelations he was making as "appalling"; and, indeed, he was not exaggerating.
        At last, it seemed as if the nation were to be made aware of the price it was paying in bodily vigour and beauty, for its industrialism, its excessive urbanization, 2 its false values, and its lethal humanitarianism. But once more, nothing radical was done. The multiplication of medical services could not be expected to improve matters, as long as medicine remained what it was, and the chief causes of degeneration were left unmodified. And the consequence is, every possible source of mischief is just as flourishing as it always was before the war, and everything points to further physical deterioration.
        Stopping and filling the teeth of school children, distributing spectacles among them, and providing the optimum of conditions for the defectives, the cripples and the insane, does not even approach the root of the trouble, nor does the steadily increasing supply of artificial aids — whether purgatives, 3 spectacles, false teeth, surgical appliances or what not — to adults, represent any improvement in our means of combating the ills which these aids are supposed to relieve. And until the problem of progressive physical deterioration is faced more or less in the way outlined in the last section of this book, no improvement can be expected. But deeply rooted evils require drastic remedies, applied perseveringly over

        1 See The Times, September 13, 1918.
        2 For a searching inquiry into the changes which originally brought about our present condition, and the metamorphosis of the Englishman, from a healthy, vigorous, intelligent being, into a creature seriously below standard, see my Defence of Aristocracy.
        3 See Sir Arthur Keith in the Lancet of November 21, 1925 (p. 1,048): "We have only to consult the pages of the medical Press, to listen to the tales which reach our ears daily, to note the ever-growing demand for patent purgatives."

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long periods of time, and it is extremely doubtful whether the nation can now be brought to that attitude of courage and determination, which will enable it to adopt some of the necessary but unpleasant measures of reform dictated by the extreme danger in which it stands.
        Meanwhile the casualties from cancer, insanity, diseases of the circulatory system, and diabetes continue to increase every year. And here alone, quite apart from the facts adduced above, we find further proof of progressive physical deterioration.
        Even allowing for greater accuracy in diagnosis, and the fact that longevity is increasing, and therefore multiplying the numbers of those susceptible to the disease, the figures for cancer reveal a very substantial absolute increase, the gravity of which seems to be generally recognized.
        There is a steady rise in the toll per million living, from 313 in 1853 to 1,267 in 1923, and the period from 1900 to 1923 alone shows an increase of 436 per million. Occasionally, as in 1919 and 1920, there is a slight improvement, amounting to a reduction of about 50 per million; but on the whole the rise is a steady one, unrelieved by any mitigating figure.
        The increase in idiocy and lunacy has likewise been steady, and in 66 years has amounted to 15.42 per 1,000 living. In 1859 we had 18.53 per 10,000 of our population suffering from some kind of lunacy, idiocy or mental unsoundness, and in 1925 we had 33.95. In very few of the years in this interval is any improvement to be seen, and in some years the figure rises, as in 1913, 1914 and 1915, to 37.21, 37.35, and 37.69 respectively.
        As usual, much has been said and done to mitigate the gravity of these figures and to try to prove that the increase is only relative. It has been pointed out that lunatics live a long time, and therefore that the statistics must show an increase as the years go on. It has also been pointed out that better means of diagnosing mental trouble has swelled the numbers of those placed under

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care. There are many doctors, however, whose experience has associated them chiefly with asylums for the insane, who are emphatic in the belief that the increase of insanity is absolute, and not accounted for by the causes given above, and among these medical men I would mention Dr. Richard Legge, Dr. W. F. Farquharson, Dr. P. W. Macdonal, Dr. J. Ireland, and Dr. Robert Jones, whose evidence before the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration is well worth examining.
        The diseases of the circulatory system, again, show an increase from 769 per million in 1853 to 1,926 per million in 1924, with a steady rise all through that interval. And these figures which I obtained from the Parliamentary Papers containing the Reports of the Registrar-General for Births, Deaths and Marriages, are more or less confirmed by Sir Arthur Newsholme. 1
        Sir Arthur Newsholme also gives the following interesting table, showing the increase in diabetes per million living, 2 and although I have not yet been able to confirm his figures from the original records, his general accuracy is a sufficient guarantee of their trustworthiness:

Diabetes per Million of Population

  1861–70 1871–80 1881–90 1891–1900 1901–10 1911–20
Males 43 54 74 90 104 135
Females 21 28 46 64 84 117

        There is a mass of other evidence, which I should like to quote. But I think for the purposes of my claim, I have made an adequate display of facts. It is interesting, for instance, to hear a careful observer, like Mr. Fosbroke, the Medical Officer of Health to the Worcestershire County Council, when speaking of the deterioration of rural populations, declare that "30 years ago it was the commonest thing for a labourer to carry

        1 See Vital Statistics, p. 372, where diseases of the blood vessels are given as 874 per million in 1906 and 1,097 per million in 1920.
        2 Ibid., p. 373.

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two and a quarter cwt. of corn up a ladder," and that "now you very seldom see it" — a fact, apparently, which is confirmed by farmers.
        A good deal of evidence of this kind might be advanced; but, in the end, it would only constitute repetitive confirmation of the main facts I have established, and it would in no way alter my conclusion. For, however much I might be able to multiply the testimony of individuals in support of my claim regarding progressive physical deterioration, such is the prejudice aroused among the optimists by the mere mention of such a claim, that statistical data alone will convince them.
        But these statistical data I think I have given, and I shall now leave the subject and proceed to the discussion of those other forms of degeneracy which, though inseparable from physical degeneracy, are usually considered apart.
        Before doing this, however, there is just one individual authority whom I should like to quote in my support — an authority whose prestige is sufficiently great to command universal respect, and with whose words I may very well conclude the evidence given in this chapter. I refer to Sir Arthur Keith, F.R.S., who, in an address On the Nature of Man's Structural Imperfections, delivered at the Royal Society of Medicine, November 16, 1925, referred to many questions already touched upon, and to one question to which I shall allude later. Among other things Sir Arthur said:
        "Seven years ago I made an elaborate comparison between 50 of these ancient skulls, 25 of which were adjudged to be those of men and 25 of women, with equal numbers of individuals who had lived in England during the last two centuries. In only three of the 50 ancient skulls did the upper and lower teeth fail to meet in an edge-to-edge bite; in all of the 50 modern skulls the bite was of the overlapping or scissors type. Our teeth are in an abiotrophic state; the failure of the wisdom teeth or third molars to form, or to erupt

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if they are are formed, is but one symptom of this abiotrophic change; it affects crown, cusp, and root development. In the 50 ancient skulls, instead of 100 upper wisdom teeth, there were only 82, 13 being absent from non-development and 5 from non-eruption. In the 50 modern skulls, instead of loo upper wisdom teeth, there were only 59; 30 of these were absent from non-development and 11 from non-eruption. Such evidence shows that although abiotrophic changes had overtaken the dental system of the Western European as early as the Neolithic period, yet these changes have been accelerated during the more recent centuries. Dental abscesses were nearly as common in the ancient skulls as in the modern; carious teeth, on the other hand, were three times more frequent in modern skulls than in the ancient. 1
        "In not one of the 50 ancient skulls was the palate contracted, whereas in the 50 modern skulls there were 13 in which this condition was present to a recognizable degree — in more than half of them to a marked degree. No matter which stratum of our population we make observations on, we shall find that every fourth or fifth child or adult we examine possesses a palate which, compared with the older type, may be described as both deformed in shape and reduced in size. I have never seen this defect and irregularity of palatal growth except in skulls from cemeteries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It may be thought that this irregular growth with reduction in the size of the palate, and the defects in the formation of the jaws and face which usually accompany them, are merely the results of the soft and highly prepared kinds of foods we eat; with such a dietary the teeth, jaws and chewing muscles are deprived of the work which fell to them in more primitive times. That this is not the true explanation is proved by this fact. When children are fed, clothed and exercised exactly alike all are not affected; only some of them

        1 The Lancet, November 21, 1925, p. 1,050.

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develop irregularities of the palate and jaws. There is a special susceptibility to these imperfections in certain races and in certain families. 1
        "Amongst modern British people are to be seen various facial characters, particularly in the orbits, in the cheek-bones, and in the bony supports of the nose, which are never to be noted in the facial framework of people who lived in Britain during the pre-Norman period. When a continental cartoonist seeks to represent John Bull he always emphasizes these new facial characteristics. Such changes in the form of the facial bones, like contraction of the palate, which they usually accompany, are not the result of a nasal obstruction such as might be caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils; the cause lies deeper. The incidence of irregularities in the growth of the face follow the same laws as hold for all abiotrophic structures such as the appendix, the sclerotic coat of the eye, the thymus, and the tonsil. Further research will likely prove that the disorders of growth which overtake all these structures are linked to a disturbed action of lymphocytes and of all the constituent elements of the lymphoid tissues." 2
        "I have touched only on the fringe of a great subject; I have left undiscussed the numerous imperfections and disharmonies which civilization has made manifest in structures concerned in the maintenance of posture, and in those which are concerned with the circulation of the blood and with the duties of respiration. I have said enough, I believe, to convince you that Metchnikoff was right when he declared that civilization had launched man on a great experiment." 3
        I shall refer again later on to Sir Arthur Keith's remarks about posture. For the present, however, I must pursue the subject of degeneration in the sphere of mind and character, and this I shall do in the next chapter.
        Nevertheless, before closing this chapter, there remains

        1 Lancet, p. 1,050.
        2 Ibid., pp. 1,050–51.
        3 Ibid., p, 1,051.

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one question to be answered, and that is: how I propose to make good my implied claim, that whereas men have degenerated, women have so far managed to escape the worst consequences of this degeneration.
        I do not deny that women must have degenerated pari passu with the degeneration of men. By means of masses of figures, which I have not quoted, I could easily show that male and female physical degeneration have been, as they might well have been expected to be, almost parallel. Besides, we have to remember that, apart from the suffrage movement, which was only an indirect and semi-conscious revolt against modern men as men, there has been no open revolt of women against their degenerate manhood. Now if women had not degenerated more or less equally with men, they would have found modern men so intolerable that they would have been forced openly to revolt against modern conditions, and against the men that modern conditions gave them. The fact that they have not done this, and have expressed their mild intolerance of modern men only by themselves insisting upon being granted so degenerate a privilege as the modern democratic vote, is sufficient evidence in itself of their degeneracy.
        There are, however, one or two influences which have enabled women, so far, to escape some of the worst consequences of modern conditions which have overtaken men, and they are:
        (a) The fact that men develop longer than women (vide opening chapters) and therefore bring the seeds of degeneration within them to greater maturity than women do.
        (b) The fact that men have specialized in routine industrial and commercial duties longer than women, and have therefore undergone a longer schooling in besotment and physical depression than women have.
        (c) The fact that, owing to man's rôle being the active one in sex, he is more adversely influenced than woman is by the power of Puritanical and Christian

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values, based on sex-phobia, 1 and therefore that he has lost more of his wanton spirit and fire in sex than woman has.
        (d) And, finally, that in a culture whose values and daily life are becoming more and more adapted to the requirements of one sex, the sex which is not favoured by the social trend must suffer more than the sex that is so favoured. The trend to-day is to approximate more and more to an emasculate or at least effeminate character, in occupation, values and tastes; 2 hence masculine men are either unadapted or eliminated, while women nourish.
        But in this reply to an anticipated objection, I have forestalled some of the arguments that are to follow. I only made the reply with the view of temporarily allaying the reader's anxiety concerning a matter which I felt sure must be agitating him.

        1 The term "sex-phobia," here used by me for the first time to express that attitude of guilt, shame and condemnation towards the whole of the sex life, which is implicit in Christian teaching, is borrowed from the terminology of Captain George Pitt-Rivers. It will occur often again in this book as I find it a much too useful and comprehensive term to be dispensed with in referring to precisely that kind of morbid hostility to sex, which characterises those who have been reared in the Manichæan atmosphere of modern England and America.
        2 Sir Arthur Keith in The Lancet (November 21, 1925) remarks: "Modern civilization, so far as temperature is concerned, tends to make the human body a hot-house plant." (He might have added, "as far also as occupations are concerned.")



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