Edited: August 11, 2019
Continued from Part 4
Charles Galton Darwin writes about the problem of how to breed human beings successfully.
“It is clearly beyond anyone to decide these things for himself … evident that subjective judgments on such matters are too difficult…(122,123).”
“The only imaginable way of overcoming these difficulties would be to set up a class of consultants who would prescribe what marriages were eugenically admissible and how large the consequent families should be (123).”
But he says this
“leaves unanswered the question who are to be the consultants, and what principles are to guide them in settling the values of the different qualities of mankind. It comes back to just the difficulty I described in my fable, that a tame animal must have a master, and that therefore though it might conceivably be possible to tame the majority of mankind, this could only be done by leaving untamed a minority of the population. Moreover, this minority would have to be the group possessing the most superior qualities of all.” (123)
Compared to the idea of man becoming like insects,
“it is much more nearly imaginable that his development should go, like that of the dogs, into a set of breeds each specialized for a particular purpose (126).”
This idea of breeding different types of human beings is in Plato’s Republic and in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
I think he is referring to his own family when he writes:
“We all of us know of whole human families which posses gifts specialized in some particular direction… (126).”
“In order to create such specialist breeds there would have to be a master breed at the summit, and this would be a totally different kind of thing from all the other breeds, because it would have to create itself (130).”
“At every turn the argument leads back to this question of the master breed. Nothing can be done in the way of changing man from a wild into a tame animal without first creating such a breed…” (130)
“One would collect together, say, a hundred of the most important present rulers – among them of course should be included a good many who exert secret influence without holding any overt office – and tell them to get on with the business of settling what the master breed should be (131).”
But he says it would be impossible for them to reach agreement.
He mentions how
“Plato in his Republic devotes much attention to this very subject (132).”
Darwin writes that it is fine for civil servants, but he wonders who would fill the role of Plato.
“The reason for the impossibility of making a prescription for the master breed is that it is not a breed at all; to call it so is to change the sense of the word. Breeds are specialized for particular purposes, but the essence of masters is that they must not be specialized. They have to be able to deal with totally unforeseen conditions, and this is a quality of wild, not of tame, life. No prescription for the master breed is possible (132).”
“…there seems no likelihood whatever of a master breed arising.” (133)
He says that there are too many competing to be masters, and this would
“always prevent man from domesticating himself. He will always prevent the creation of the master breed, through which alone the rest of man could be domesticated (133)”.
Darwin has a pattern of shooting down his own ideas throughout the book. His argument about not being able to domesticate man doesn’t seen convincing. It seems to me that most of the population is successfully domesticated already. Also, what if the consultants joined forces instead of competing?
In any case, later in the book he brings up the same idea again:
“To produce effects of these kinds there must be a master, and the master must be above and not subject to the procedure he is enforcing on his subjects… The dictator could not afford himself to take the “contentment drug”, because if he did so his capacity for rule would certainly degenerate. It always comes back to the same point, that to carry out any policy systematically in such a way as permanently to influence the human race, there would have to be a master breed of humanity, not itself exposed to the conditions it is inducing in the rest. The master breed, being wild animals, would be subject to all the fashions, tastes and passions of humanity as we know it, and so would never have the constancy to establish for generation after generation a consistent policy which could materially alter the nature of mankind (184,185).”