Copyright 2006 by Lin Stone.


Albert Edward Wiggam said: "The laws that govern the evolution of plants and animals apply to man. We can have any kind of race we want -- beautiful or ugly, wise or foolish, strong or weak, moral or immoral."

He said that Greece wanted beautiful women, and got them.  Then he added a second generalization: "Every high period of intellectual splendor has been characterized by fair women and brave men."

I'll match a stack of dollars to a pile of stale doughnuts that there were just as many ugly women in Greece when Helen was launching ships as there were in the Dark Ages that (according to Wiggam) "wanted ugly women, and got them." 

Simple ratiocination using existing empirical evidence declares the only thing different was a change of WHO had the privilege of dancing on center stage in the spotlight -- and Wiggam's personal tastes determining how pretty the most successful entertainers in the spotlight were. 

I maintain those admiring fans around the stage did not change anything but their toga.  Some were beautiful.  Some were ugly.  Some were wise.  Some were foolish.  Some were drunks.  Some were strong.  Some were weak.  Some were pious.  Some were depraved scoundrels. And (like Wiggam) ALL of them made their own generalizations of just what kind of person fell into each of those categories.

Wiggam's eugenic dreams offering human improvement are contaminated with sheer Camelot based on several false assumptions.  The most important is that unlike the plant and animal kingdom where male and female mature into essentially the same shape and size -- we (the entire length of human race extending from the paradisiacal glory of Eden to the ruptured glory of the Manhattan Project) WANT our men and women to have obviously different shapes and to behave differently as well.  

Did King David fall under the spell of a massive muscled female giant killer, or did he prefer to send guards to drag a slender, sloe-eyed Bathsheba out of her scented bath waters so he could produce Solomon?

Beautiful women predominating in ancient Greece?  Ugly women predominating in the Dark Ages?  Since the beginning of time there has never been a consensus of opinion on ANY subject, much less on who is beautiful, and what makes them so. As Jonathan Swift has so ably pointed out, mankind can't even settle on the importance of selecting a subject to bicker about. 

What specific physical attributes men feel makes a woman beautiful are subject to change with the weather of current styles.  Wiggam may have carved his tastes in stone; the rest of the world has always adapted its current tastes to conform with who appeared to be winning the nearest war to be wed.  In traditional China that may be who has the littlest feet.  In traditional Afghanistan that may be whose father has the largest herds.  In Merry Olde England it may be the wench with the biggest boobs.

As I understand it, a lady built like Barbie is going to have greater difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term than, say, a lady built like the ones who used to do highway repair work in the Soviet Union. So even if something put the glimmer in the caveman's eye over Barbie, wouldn't it follow that fewer live babies (and live mothers as well) would result from that glimmering? And thus, shouldn't evolution favor the mothers who look like old-line Soviet highway workers, who would have more live births and live longer to carry more children?
John Bruce.

The Zulu men of Africa prefer women with large, protruding buttocks, which are so desirable a man will send his sister out to spy on prospects bathing nude with the girls. Zulu women having big backsides and large, soft eyes like those of the gazelle are thought to be especially beautiful! 

On the other side of the world, the Tarahumara of Mexico prize women's eyes like those of the mouse. They also favor women with large, fat thighs, and this in spite of wanting to sire sleek young boys who can run 50 miles non-stop while kicking a ball with fervent abandonment. 

The Santal of India prefer slender women and admire eyes like those of the deer.

Traditional Japanese preferred women to show dress cleavage in the back.  Traditional Tongans preferred women with firmer endowments projecting from the front.

Did traditional Eskimo men prefer women with warm noses?  Which question begs one to wonder just how many women have been kicked out of bed for having cold feet.

According to Clelland Ford and Frank Beach in their classic Patterns of Sexual Behavior: 13 (current) societies prefer women with plump bodies while only 5 each prefer medium or slim. Broad hips are preferred 6 to 1. Shapely, fleshy calves are preferred 5 to 3 over those with matchstick aberrations. Large breasts are the BIG callers with 9 to 2 and 2 for other kinds. The moral is plain for all to see; if you are not pretty or handsome where you now live, move to another area where your chances for bedded bliss are more in your favor.

It is a proven fact the wants and likes of the human race change over the generations.  Indeed, with the advent of mass entertainment our preferences change quite literally in just a few hours as new stars rise in the fickle media. So, who decides what course of eugenics we should pursue?

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Who decides today,
and how will we prevent that goal from being changed tomorrow?

{When it comes to eugenics, consistency is imperative; you can't aim for producing yellow roses this summer and switch to wanting blue roses from the same stock next year.  Changing eugenic goals is dangerous. Each time you change your goals you have to throw out the bathwater with the wrong baby.}

It's true.  The laws of eugenics would work in a limited fashion IF consistently applied, there is no doubt of that However, since the Euro-human race has not been saddled with the "ugly" preferences Wiggam noted predominating the Dark Ages, then obviously those laws will only work if consistently applied for centuries LONGER than the Dark Ages lasted.  

Simple ratiocination also declares that to be effective those selections fostering eugenic improvements MUST be established by a higher authority exercising absolute control of mankind's genetic contributions. 

So, to what higher authority do we give this immutable power to decide if we will need (nine centuries from now) a race of basketball players or a race of linebackers?  Nietzsche? Wiggam?  Hitler? The Democrats?

WHO decides if we want
a race of physicists or a race of poets?  

Are the parents wise enough? 

Wiggam would hardly be satisfied with THEIR track record.  Until recently parents did not allow most children the privilege of yielding to the attractions of romantic whimsy.  Instead of being allowed to gratify their raging hormonal response to quivering eyelashes, children who weren't already chattels of the land were raffled off to the highest bidder expressing an interest.  "You listen to me George.  I don't care how short her eyelashes are; you are going to set your cap to marrying Martha Curtis Big Bucks." 

Parents?  Eugenics wise and in firm control?  For a response to that absurdity we need only hark back a few years in history.  Most Americans in the 19th century wanted daughters with slender fingers nimble enough to pick a bale of cotton a day and sons with thick fingers strong enough to steer a plow through the field from daylight to dark.  Last year Americans wanted daughters to be computer programmers for Bill Gates and sons poised before the cameras on the front lines of the Green Bay Packers. Tomorrow they will be wanting their kids to become neuro-immunologists.

Aside from deciding What is Beautiful, the major obstacle to engineering a more beautiful human race is simple. Baldly stated it is a truism that goes like this: Every woman wants a man. Every man wants a woman. 

Yes, there are blatant exceptions to that generalization, but
they can not contribute to the eugenic future of the human race.

A slow drift through any nightlife bar near the witching hour proves those who are ugly never quit searching for mates.  Those who are cowards never quit hoping they can eventually sneak up on someone who will have them. 

They may resort to the use of force or monetary encouragements, but EVERYBODY has a firm desire to thwart eugenic progress, or at least to sneak an exception past the law.

Consequently, we shall never have a lofty race of Marilyn Monroes and Paul Newmans. (What would we do with the female offspring who sneer like Paul Newman in his prime, or the male offspring that simper like Marilyn Monroe in her recline?)

Now if ONLY the Paul Newman look-alikes were allowed to have children and ONLY the clones of Marilyn Monroe could get married then there might be some rapid "improvement" in the looks of the human race. But that would also mean that the only way you and I could contribute to the improvement program would be through total ABSTINENCE. 

I don't know about you, but I prefer a more active role.

Albert Edward Wiggam said: "The laws that govern the evolution of plants and animals apply to man. We can have any kind of race we want -- beautiful or ugly, wise or foolish, strong or weak, moral or immoral."

Well, he was right. All we have to do is leave well enough alone and we will have ALL of those variations in abundance, just like always.  

To which, let us all say

The end.

Other Comments:

The philosopher George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This adage is appropriate to our current rush into the "gene age," which has striking parallels to the eugenics movement of the early decades of the 20th century. Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings by encouraging the reproduction of people with "good" genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes. Eugenicists effectively lobbied for social legislation to keep racial and ethnic groups separate, to restrict immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and to sterilize people considered "genetically unfit." Elements of the American eugenics movement were models for the Nazis, whose radical adaptation of eugenics culminated in the Holocaust.

Here is a series of slides that originally came from Cold Spring Harbor. These slides go over some of the American eugenics movement. Some of the slides are a bit fuzzy, they are copies of copies, so I will apologize ahead of time. 

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About the author:  Lin Stone's first book was published by Truman Publishing back in 1998.  The title is:  How To Buy Land At Tax Sales.  It is still selling.  Since then Lin has also published Short Stuff, Tales From The Light Side, Laying Down Tracks, Water-Water and hundreds of articles.  His latest book is titled:  Sweeten Your Life With VINEGAR

Click HERE when you want to read some of the FREE material he has available on the Tale Wins site.

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