Charles Galton Darwin: “Unconscious Selection”

From Charles Galton Darwin’s The Next One Million Years:

[civilization has the tendency] to eliminate its ablest people.  This has happened in the past, and is certainly happening now, and if it is always to happen, it signifies a recurrent degeneration of all civilizations, only to be renewed by the incursion of barbarians who have not suffered similarly.  If any civilized country could overcome this effect, so that it alone retained both its ability and its civilization, it would certainly become the leading nation of the world.  Man is a wild animal, and cannot accomplish this by using the methods of the animal breeder, but may he not be able to devise something that would go beyond the long-drawn-out automatic processes of Natural Selection?  I think he can.  A cruder and simpler method must be used than the animal breeder’s.  Something might be accomplished on the line of what is called “Unconscious Selection” in the Origin of Species.

[…] A nation might consciously adopt [a policy of facilitating selection of people with higher ability], or it might be that an economic policy adopted for quite other reasons should have this unintended result. […] The best hope [for such a measure] would be that it should become attached to a creed […] The prospect of such a creed arising does not seem very hopeful, but if by its means any country can even partly solve the problem, it will lead the world, and it will be doing so through the method of “Unconscious Selection.” 

[Emphasis added]

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