"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.
This month’s article is a question: Which words are missing from the sentence below?
“Among the subjects which are agitating the public mind at the present time none approaches in importance the question of what is now generally known as _____ _______.”
Here are some clues: it was written in 1922 and the next sentence read:
“It concerns every department of human life, from the individual welfare of each man, woman, and child, to the general questions of poverty and morality; the political problems of the maintenance of the present social order or its overthrow by Socialism or Communism; the eugenic problems of race improvement or degeneracy, and the international problems underlying peace or war.”
Give up? No, wait, don’t go… here’s the rest of the paragraph:
“None of these problems can be intelligently grasped without consideration of the numbers to be provided for, and of the types from which the bulk of the race is recruited; and no unprejudiced person can doubt for one moment that if we could take the same care in breeding our human beings as we do in breeding our racehorses and prize dogs it would effect enormous improvement in a generation or two. It is simply extraordinary that in this age of supposed enlightenment persons of authority should solemnly assure us that the breeding of the highest type of creation should be left to blind irresponsibility, and that all attempts to control it are contrary to the Divine Law.”
The author was Charles Drysdale, President of the Fifth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference held in London in July 1922.
The words are: “Birth Control”.
My last article related to the centenary of the publication of Birth Control (Dr. Sutherland’s 1922 book). The term “birth control” had a very different meaning in 1922. It wasn’t just about contraception, but a lot more – now you understand the enormity of its scope.
The next article on this blog will be published
in one week’s time at the beginning of next month and it will also relate to the Fifth International Neo-Malthusian and Birth Control Conference – how it in part led to the Stopes v Sutherland libel trial of 1923.
New to this site? Click about to find out more on Dr. Halliday Sutherland’s fight against Britain’s eugenic establishment.
Photo credit: Photo by Joe Kritz from Pexels.