Will Birth Control Diminish It?




Margaret Sanger Microfilm Edition, Smith College Collections S71:0156
Eugenics, Mar. 1929, p. 23


Sanger's article appeared next to an opposing article by Father John A. McClorey.



Will Birth Control Diminish It?

To say that birth control runs the risk of excluding from life geniuses as well as defectives is to imply that chance is a better guide than intelligence. The total number of geniuses in the whole of human history is much less than one thousand. The total number of defectives could never be computed. The damage they have done to civilization cannot be counterbalanced by the benefits we have derived from genius. The garden of humanity has been choked by the destructive forces of uncontrolled and misdirected procreation. Small wonder that the potentialities hidden in the human species have so seldom flowered in genius. Father McClorey may think it better to abandon the garden to the weeds, naively confident that geniuses will make their appearances regardless of heredity and environment. But no student of genetics, no one who has even superficially observed the achievements of scientific horticulture and animal breeding, can consider seriously that the road to human perfection can ever be attained by abandoning scientific control and reverting to a childish reliance upon the blind forces of uncontrolled procreative instincts.

Little as we still know about genius, or about men and women of exceptional talents, we do know that they do not come into this world with hereditary backgrounds of imbecility, or feeble-mindedness.

The seed of genius is hidden deep in the race. It is the most sacred duty of every parent and parent-to-be to recognize that he is the guardian of this seed, that he is, so to speak, the ancestor of a future genius.