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how brandy, in contrast to other drinks, influences the whole community. It has been an experiment on a large scale—what I would call a nature experiment, which in all its cruelty has been very instructive to scientific observers. When freedom was given to carry on the distillation of brandy in Norway in the year 1816, the socalled "home" or "house" distillation commenced throughout the land. In some districts almost every farmer distilled brandy from his own corn and potatoes. The consumption of brandy replaced the consumption of other drinks in several of our mountain valleys. Among these communities the number of feeble-minded increased from 1816 to. 1835 more than 100 per cent. The country was alarmed, and, after an attempt to diminish alcoholic indulgence, a tax was placed on the still, and the house-distillation was stopped in the year 1848. The farmers had for years been brewing beer, and some primitive "home-made" wine from fruit, most of it containing 5, 4, or 3 per cent. of alcohol, and sometimes less. Any perceptible difference in the state of health, after more or less of these drinks were consumed, could not be detected. The enormous increase of feeble-minded came and went with the change in the supply of brandy.
The question then arises: Does the action of alcohol lead to the development of a defective germ-plasm, or can the effects of alcohol on the offspring of the alcohotic be explained in some other way? According to my view, we have no proof whatever that alcohol exerts any real influence on the offspring when the parents come from absolutely sound and healthy stocks. I have found so many examples of strong and healthy children where father, grandfather, and even great-grandfather, have been habitual indulgers in alcohol. But in certain families the same quantity of alcohol taken by the parents has appeared to lead to deterioration in the offspring. I am therefore not able to accept the theory of blasthoptoria in any other sense than that alcohol prevents the restitution or regeneration of an already "tainted” germ-plasm. I mean to say that alcohol does not as a rule create the defective germ-plasm, but maintains it when it already is defective. But, judging the social injury done by the alcohol, we must not forget that most stocks in fact are more or less “tainted,” and that a large proportion of individuals are the bearers of a germ-plasm containing defective "recessive” characters.
We must admit that the influence of alcohol on the offspring is a very complicated problem. I am still of the opinion that there is a
constant interaction between the somatic cells and the germ-cellsan interaction of chemical nature, which probably is of more importance than the direct or primary influence of the chemical poisons upon the germ-cells. This view seems to find a support in the latest works by Dr. Carl Ceni, who, by experiments on dogs, has noted a very interesting interaction between the cells of the brain and the germ-cells. We shall probably one day find that alcohol can attack a special organ-locus minoris resistentiac-and that the defective organ--for instance, the brain, the liver, the kidney-produces substances which are hurtful, poisonous, to the germ-cells. We shall also, I hope, be able to find the exact limits between the three groups
I (concentrations) of alcohol: the one which does not injure either the individual or race (very low percentage); the second group, which injures the individual but not the offspring; the third group, which injures both individual and race. But we cannot wait to take social restrictions until the exact limits are fixed (cf. Table, p. 143).
The alcoholic question as a social and political problem can be viewed from different standpoints. It demands study on national, economic and social-individualistic grounds. With the new movement, which carries the name of Race-Hygiene or Eugenics, quite a new view of the alcohol question comes to the front. The injury done to the single individual—serious though it may be—is nevertheless of less importance than the injury done through the offspring to the race. And with this view eugenists claim the necessity for still more research and the application of educational and other precautions. Of course, a practical solution of the alcohol question based on eugenic principles encounters many difficulties. As stated above, we are not at present able to indicate the absolute limits as to quality or concentration of the alcoholic preparation which affects the offspring. Some of our fellow-workers have therefore given expression to the opinion that we must pospone our eugenic reform work until we have reached scientific conclusions of a more absolute and exact character. Such a policy is hardly well founded. We can't wait to take precautions to save the individual until the chemical and physical effects of alcohol are made absolutely clear; and we can't hestitate to take precautions to protect the offspring—the true rights of the child-until the effect of alcohol upon the germplasm is fully understood in all its details.
We have to begin at once. The first attempt to work out a Social Reform Bill founded on eugenic principles of prophylactic character was the so-called “progressive class system for alcohol.” Alcohol can, according to what is said above, be divided into three groups (see Table, p. 143).
A Parliamentary Commission exists, with Professor Axel Holst as chairman, and Dr. Johann Scharffenberg as one of the most prominent members. This commission will in the near future finish a larger work, which among other social reforms will discuss the prohibition problem. We expect prohibition to be enforced by law before long, at least for brandy; and personally I entertain the hope that the Commission will go a little further than brandy, and include all alcohol known as Group III. (cf. Table, p. 143). If this should not be the case we shall, according to my opinion, run the risk of getting the brandy in worse forms aiter the prohibition than the brandy itself---namely, as so-called "port wine," "sherry," "malaga," etc., which are brandy-mixed drinks.
The antiselectoric processes to which alcoholism has to be subjected are increased by our culture and civilization. If we try to find the causes for the degeneration of the Germanic race, to which both the English and the Norwegian nations belong, we find that the modern culture with its panmixia distilled liquors, and venereal diseases is chiefly to blame. But it is not brandy and syphilis alone which ravages the race, it is also the negative selection in our community in general. As long as natural forces were allowed to rule, the chances for producing Viking types were always present, and we have for hundreds of years been proud of the “earl type withi the eagle eye." But what is to be the development of our modern community? Ilow does the community — the executive power at present-allow the natural forces to come into play? How does it take care of the generations to come? Does it not everywhere excite a bad influence on the generative evolution ? Through its asylums for born feeble-minded, lunatics, epileptics, congenital deaf and dumb, born blind, etc., it forwards thousands of mental and physically defective individuals so far that they are able to reproduce their kind. Through many of its industrial products it disturbs the chemical relation in human organism in such a way that in our country, for instance, we find the peasant youth at the age of eighteen or twenty with artificial teeth.
Through its potato-brandy the Germanic race has poisoned itself and its coming generation. By diminishing the infant mortality it increases the rank of degenerates. By war it chooses the best of the nation to fall. Through
a refined gynecological practice it increases the number of mothers with narrow pelvis. Through its asylums for drunkards it teaches corpses to walk. All this and much more has the modern culture, the modern community, on its conscience.
we therefore abolish our culture-abolish our communal life? No, we cannot call back the black, death; we can't let the feeble-minded perish; we can't let the infants die like flies; we can't throw the drunkards in the gutter; we can't cease to love our neighbor, even if our neighbor is mentally and physically "unfit"; we can't cease to extend charity to those who were born on the shadow side of life-charity, the finest token of the best of human feelings. There is only one solution to all these contradictions, and the solution can be collected in the one word-race-hygiene--a positive, negative, and prophylactic race-hygiene. And the best prophylactic race-hygiene is to take precautions and restrictions against all chemical race-poisons, especially lead, syphilis, and alcohol.
Such protections and restrictions were discussed at the Eugenic Congress in London, 1912. The work will be continued, and the fight of the eugenists no doubt will be directed especially against the higher concentration of alcohol. The strongest blow will be struck against the use of the strongest form--the form that destroys life even before that life has commenced.
The progressive class system has been established by law, but up to date only for beer. The next step is to bring all alcohol in the country under the same system of legislation. This is now under preparation. Grape-juice and the very lightest and primitive country wine will be classified as Group I. The natural pure but lighter wines will come under decision of Municipal Council as Group II. (Classes II. and III.); and mixed drinks—Port Wine, Sherry, Samos, Malaga, Madeira, Aquavitae, Punch, together with all kinds of brandy, whiskey, vodka, gin, etc.—to be classified as Group IFI. (Class IV.).
The class system allows a taxation which by a slow process moves the consumption from the strongest to the lightest drinks. It permits a simple and cheap control, which is not confined to the factory, but which follows the article, from its origin to its consumption, all over the country. When drinks are marked with their class and placed under supervision of the State the consumers will themselves easily be able to exercise the control. The class system
segregates one group of alcohol which ought to be classified as poison and prohibited in the general sale (Group III.).
TABLE INDICATING THE CHIEF FEATURES OF THE PROGRESSIVE CLASS SYSTEM
OF TAXING ALCOHOL
Every bottle sold must have I., II., or III., marked on the bottle.
The progressive taxation of beer as a method of promoting temperance will hardly commend itself to the average American temperance reformer, who obstinately clings to the belief that the use of beer and light wines means the poisoning of the individual and the race. It is worth while to note, however, that ardent temperance advocates in Norway, some of them outspoken prohibitionists, stood behind this legislation. Without their cordial support it could never have been enacted. They at least among their kind took a broad and statesmanlike view of affairs.
Another interesting question is how the “trade” in Norway has received the new law. A conclusive answer is found in an article by Mr. K. Oppegaard, who is himself identified with Nor