Founding a New Race

Stephen Pearl Andrews, “Stirpiculture; Scientific Propagation; the Founding of a New Race of Human Beings. The Men and the Women of the Future—How They Are to be Generated. The Reconstruction of the Physiology of Man,” Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, September 10, 1870.

I extract the following notice of remarks made by me at a recent meeting of the Liberal Club, from the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer of August 15th.  It involves the republication of a small portion of matter in our own columns, but the importance of the subject will excuse the repetition:

At a recent meeting of the Liberal Club in New York, [Prof. Willcox, the lecturer of the evening] the woman question was exhaustively discussed, with a tendency of the part of the speakers to run into Malthusianism in their eagerness to better the condition of the subjected sex.  The great evil of superabundant population was strongly set forth, and it was contended that there should be fewer children and better ones, making up in quality what might be lost in quantity.  Mr. Stephen Pearl Andrews advanced his doctrine of “Stirpiculture” in the following language:

“With Mr. Moran I feel great pleasure in commending the paper read by Prof. [John] Willcox; and that portion of it in reference to the education of women meets my especial commendation.  The science of social life is a great one, a science of overwhelming interest, and one which was unknown until a few years ago, when liberalism fostered and cultivated it under the title of Sociology.  Liberal ideas have grown with its growth; and now thinkers can express their free thoughts on the subject without being derided as fanatics and denounced as men of bad character and inclinations.  Fifteen years ago I was stigmatized as the worst man in the community, because I dared to speak as I thought about the relations of the sexes.  The part of Prof. Willcox’s paper which alludes to children of puny growth, both physically and mentally, children unhealthy and liable to die at any moment, recalls my idea.  It is the idea to which the world, sooner of later, must come—stirpiculture, or the cultivation of man.  The means by which, instead of delicate, unhealthy, idiotic male and female children, a race of giants in flesh, muscle and mind, may be produced.  In plain words, the idea is that the human race be procreated only by the physically and mentally best of both sexes, and that the inferior representatives of the human race, for the benefit of the whole, deny themselves the gratification of the indulgence of their passions.  How preposterous, you say.  I say not.  The plan is not visionary.  Hermits have lived their long lifetimes in a celibate condition; the Oneida Community is an example of the fact that passions can be restrained.  Physiological science has hitherto failed to show that a prolonged celibate life on the part of man is a impossibility, and the idea is gaining ground among all thinking people.  It is a grand, feasible and beneficial one—grand, for in its accomplishment the welfare of humanity is interested; feasible, because no reason can be adduced against it; and beneficial, because its success, if attained, will result in the production of a race of men and women far above the present race, both in mind and body.

“Desirable as it might be to see the programme of Mr. Andrews carried out, we have no faith in its voluntary adoption.  If it be deemed advantageous to stirpicultivate the human race up to the highest point of physical and mental excellence, it is folly to rely on moral suasion.  Surgery is surer.  If man and woman are to be bred like [sic] the farmer breeds cattle, then we must deal with our scrub men as the farmer deals with his scrub pigs.  If the question were left open, every man would deem himself “physically and mentally” qualified for the work of improving the stock, whatever he might think of his neighbor.”

“Stirpicultivate” is good.  The name or noun, “Stirpiculture,” for the scientific propagation of the races, and the founding thence, perhaps, of quite a new race of men, is due, I believe, to J[ohn] H[umphrey] Noyes.  The idea and its advocacy have, indeed, long been my own, before the advent of [the] word, though I have never thought of claiming any special priority in respect to it.  And now comes The Cincinnati Daily Enquirer and supplies the verbal form “to stirpicultivate.”  What is thus suggested jocosely, perhaps, I readily adopt seriously.  It is just the term wanted; so hereafter let all the world say stirpicultivate.  Will the Enquirer condescend to accept our thanks for the new coinage?

There are mainly three ways of effecting changes in human habits: first, maternal force directly applied; secondly, legislative injunction or prohibition, with its moral sway first exerted and then backed by an ulterior appeal to force; and, thirdly, what is loosely named and conceived of at present as moral suasion.  This last subdivides, however, into, first, mere unorganized, unscientific and individual appeal, and, secondly, scientifically-founded opinion taught and morally enforced through a competent special organization to that effect.

Now, so important, so absolutely indispensable, is the institution of practical stirpiculture to the further advancement of the human race, that the plain, common sense of the subject would not shrink from that beneficial surgery suggested by the Enquirer, if that were practicable, and if there existed no better way.  But this is the first and lowest of the three methods indicated above—the direct application of force.  It is objectionable because it is low, primitive and uncouth, as well as cruel, or at least severe, and because it implies the existence somewhere of just that despotism which the world, by progress and refinement, is graduating out of.  The second method, legislation, either prohibiting marriage or enforcing particular kinds of union between the sexes, is objectionable, inadmissible, inapt, for similar reasons.  It rests ultimately on compulsion; and it is blind and ignorant in the matter; and would make matters rather worse than better.  It is both impracticable and undesirable.

There remains, then, nothing but moral suasion.  The Enquirer objects to this as inadequate.  The objection holds good, doubtless, to a very great extent, to the unscientific and unorganized variety of moral suasion.  There is, however, another kind of moral influence not hitherto much known or tried in the world, but which is destined to work wonders.

Let science decide on and distinctly define what ought to be; let, then, the religious sentiment of mankind, the most universal and powerful of our sentiments, be converged on the persuasion and conscientious devotion of the whole people in behalf of the truth so defined; and let the Church be re-organized into the potent instrument for so converging the religion of the world upon that conduct, the necessity or desirableness of which science may have determined.

Religion is able, to-day, to keep millions of ignorant men and women from eating meat on Friday.

Religion will be able, in the future, to keep other millions of intelligent men and women, who, under the dictates of science, ought not to do so, from propagating their kind.

Progress has been already made; more is being every day achieved in this direction.  No intelligent and conscientious man or woman, moderately aware of the physiological laws of descent, would, now, fail to abstain from begetting or conceiving children to inherit their wretchedness, when fully aware that they were themselves tainted with consumption, cancer, syphilis, or any other loathsome and transmissible disease; or who would not at least do the best they knew to prevent conception.  Is it asking too much of future progression to suppose that the same tenderness of conscience may be aroused to hinder the transmission of an inferior stock or breed of men?  Let science, having designated as unmistakably as already in the breeding of animals, the points of excellence and inferiority in the human creature; let the religious sense have been centered on the perfecting of our collective humanity; let selfishness have been somewhat diminished by increased enlightenment and development, and the man who finds clearly exhibited in his organization the insignia of race-inferiority, of inherited and ineffacable “scrubiness,” will prefer that the child of the woman he loves, the future member of the humanity he will come to adore, should be sired by some better man than himself, in the sense of race and organization.  The sacrifice will, too, be less, when, through science, impregnation shall be subject to control, and amative delights not necessarily infringed upon.

It is a curious speculation to inquire what all these ten thousand pulpits will be engaged in teaching in the coming age.  Our first stage, immature, distractive, reformers fight the church and the pulpits as if they were to be destroyed.  Not a pulpit can be spared! no matter of what sect!  They will be like the desks of different professors in a grand university of applied morality and religion.  The New Catholic Church of the Pantarchy, to be made up of all these sects without even disbanding any of them, has before it a glorious career!  Conversion to convergency and unity upon the new truth, without destruction, is the motto of constructive reform.

Stephen Pearl Andrews.

Stephen Pearl Andrews, “How to Kill Mosquitoes, Flies, Wood-Lice, Bed-Bugs, Cockroaches, Centipedes, Prairie Dogs, Wolves, and other ‘Varmints.’ The Pantarch’s Recipe,” Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, October 22, 1870.

In classic English, the word Vermin is applied only to minute noxious animals, such expressly as the parasites which infest and afflict other animals. It is also a collective noun, having no plural. In our Southern and Western States this word has been corrupted, in the rural regions, into Varmint, which then has its plural, Varmints, and has been carried up, in meaning, at the same time, to signify hardly at all the minute and parasitic tribes, but almost wholly “wild animals” of a large growth, such as infest a new country, like Wolves and Bears, which are noxious still to the settler, in respect, especially, to his crops.

Adopting and explaining this aspiring tendency of this verbal corruption, human beings of a low, undeveloped and hence noxious character, are also called “varmints,” and I propose to adopt and confirm this usage.

It has been usual to draw the lower limit of the human family at the line which divides men from animals; and, as this line has been at times a little difficult to determine, religion has been solicitous to know just what creatures have souls to save; and science has gone galivanting with great assiduity after the “lost link” out of pure gallantry to the religious solicitude.

Meantime, Comte, the great positivist, cuts the knot by declaring that the true lower limit of Human Society does not run with the external and somewhat obvious different between Humanity in form, and the Animal Kingdom; but with the difference between converging toward assimilation with the purposes and uses of humanity, and the opposite; and that in this sense the higher animals consociated in life and habits with men belong to Humanity more truly than those Human “Varmints” whose natures and style of life tend away from the advancing drift of human affairs.

We may, therefore, establish a sort of ascending scale of vermin and “varmints,” all the way up from worms and bugs to those human parasites who infest society, or to all those men whose “scrubbiness” of origin and character is such as to preclude the hope of their ever being improved into the true human type.

It has long been the fixed doctrine of science that Matter has a fixed quantity; that it neither increases nor diminishes, but merely undergoes changes of form and combination. Recently, the same doctrine has been extended to Force, and it is now held that Force is not ever really created or extinguished, but only transmuted in kind; the same Force being at one time Massive and Mechanical, at another reappearing as Heat, again as Electricity, etc. This is the doctrine known as “The Conservation and Correlation of Forces.”

It also begins to be averred and held that Life is no other than another of the mutative forms of this protean Force. On the other hand, it is held that Life while similar, and governed by similar or correspondential laws, is not strictly convertible into the lower forms of Force, or educible from them, but has in it something sui generis. Be this as it may, we are authorized to adopt, at least as a hypothesis, the idea that Life, the Life which appears upon this planet, for instance, is a fixed quantity, which can neither be absolutely augmented nor reduced; but which may be diffused into myriad forms of inferior beings, as maggots and bugs, and other vermin and “varmints,” or may be concentrated into a few forms of transcendent beauty, excellence and strength; of, in a word, the Supreme Human Types—Male and Female—Splendid Men and Women. This transition from Quantity to Quality, is then, Progress, in the direction of perfection, until, we may assume, all the Life Forces on the planet will be absorbed into the production of just enough glorified men and women to constitute the legimate population of a planet of this size—the Human Crew, or Equipage, of this particular aerial ship, sailing through space—the planet called Earth—which we inhabit.

It is clear, then, that when this happens, there will be no life left for Lizzards and Centipedes, and other vermin and “varmints,” Human and otherwise.  The snakes are gone already out of Ireland, and the wolves out of England.  Certain varieties of Human “Varmints” are gone out of the cleanest portions of our big cities.  If we had anywhere the nucleus of a better Humanity than we now have—a true pantarchal single organization or establishment—Human “Varmints” generally would have been extinguished from that particular locality—and this is my recipe for killing vermin and “varmints.”

It is not merely that when a Higher Form of Life is organized the lower form gives way, by some means, before it; but the existence of the Higher Form of Life is the very means.  The Higher and Stronger life absorbs to itself the Life-forces of the lower and weaker Life. “To him that hath shall be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” “The big fishes eat up the little ones.” This is the Spiritual Law as well. All this is stated dogmatically here, but the statement rests on a scientific basis. The inferior races of men give way before the advance of the superior races, not alone, as is said, by adopting their vices, but by virtue of this law of absorption—the spiritual and vital domination of strength over weakness.

The reason, then, why the world pullulates with all sorts of venom is that the Human Race is itself so low in its development. It has not as yet the power to absorb the Life out these inferior creatures. The Life principle of the planet riots and rots, therefore, in the slums of low animal organization, because no High and Supreme Humanity exists, as yet, to pump it up into higher reservoirs and settle and purify it. Everything demands therefore the Existence of a Pantarchy, as the nursery and training school of that Godlike Human Society of the Future which shall call up to itself the vagrant and squandered exuberance of Life which now goes to waste in the form of alligators and snakes and bats and vampires, and all other hideous things, which are the Scientific Analogues, still lower down, of the human alligators and snakes and bats and vampires of our existing society—which, too, by the same law, are the immense majority of all Human Society. The true Human Types of character among men are exceedingly few. All others are literal repetitions, within Humanity, of the Lower Animal Types below Man’s. Many individuals exhibit very strongly in their countenances and gestures their Animal Types. [James W.] Redfield, the Physiognomist, has supplied the Animal Types of the different races and nations of men. The true Human Type obliterates or absorbs the inferior Animal Types, in its own Supreme Type, which is something far more harmonious and majestic. The new Race of the Future which will absorb into itself all the Life-Forces of the Planet, must be generated from these few Human Men and Human Women—and it behooves them to begin at once to pick themselves out, and organize, and be trained for the higher purposes of a True Human Life—to come at once, in other words, into the fold of THE PANTARCHY.


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