I needed to look at R.A. Fisher’s review of John Maynard Keynes’s treatise on probability, which was published in Eugenics Journal, which I was trying to figure out if JSTOR has, and that led me to this, written by Yale geographer Ellsworth Huntington in 1923. I know you all know early 20th-century attitudes around race were weird but it’s good to actually look at chunks of it from time to time.
Nevertheless, the greatest danger which today confronts the white race in general and the United States in particular is probably the dilution of a fine, capable racial inheritance with stocks of less capacity, both white and colored. In the clear and forceful manner that is characteristic of his entire book the author points out that “the East can underlive the West” and thereby drive out the westerners wherever the two attempt to compete on equal terms. This is true not only of Asiatics but of eastern and southern Europeans. Whenever such people mingle with those of higher heredity, they do not lift the superior type to a higher social level, as is often supposed, but actually drive it out, or rather prevent it from being born, as is rapidly happening in New England. This is not because the lower type is biologically the “best” but because it is willing to increase and multiply regardless of its own standard of living and that of its children. The higher types, on the contrary, refuse to lower their standards by rapid multiplication and therefore die out. The forceful way in which this great truth is brought out makes Mr. Stoddard’s book deserve not only careful reading but careful thought in order that its conclusions may be acted upon.
There’s probably something to be said about the relationship between the rhetoric of race struggle in 1923 and the rhetoric of disruptive innovation now, but not by me. By the way, New England turned out fine, as far as I can tell.