Mosca says: 17Next Page
Among all the factors that figure in social superiority, intellectual superiority is the one with which heredity has least to do . . . . That is why hereditary aristocracies have never defended their rule on the basis of their superiority alone, but rather on the basis of their superiority in character and wealth.
Mombert is of the following opinion: 18
Socialist theory has always emphasized the abundance of human talent among the whole people, whereas the individualistic and liberal philosophy has taught that men are naturally unequal and that the class structure of present day society is nothing other than a consequence of an expression of these differences in talents and abilities among the people.
Ward admits the inferiority of the lower classes, but he explains this environmentally, as follows: 19
A certain kind of inferiority of the lower classes to the upper is admitted. There is physical inferiority and there is inferiority in intelligence. This last is not the same as intellectual inferiority. Their physical inferiority is due entirely to the conditions of existence . . . . Their unequal intelligence has nothing to do with their capacity for intelligence . . . We see therefore that both kinds of inferiority of lower classes are extraneous and artificial, not inherent and natural.
Spann makes the penetrating remark that "the sum total of innate capacity is not determinable in certain groups, contrariwise their external ways of life are [determinable]." 20
Spencer intimates hereditary differences caused by environmental conditions in the following quotation: 21
There arise between rulers and ruled unlikenesses of bodily activity and skill. Occupied, as those of higher rank commonly are, in the chase when not occupied in war, they have a lifelong discipline of a kind conducive to various physical superiorities; while, contrariwise, those occupied in agriculture, in carrying burdens, and in other drudgeries, partially lose that agility and address they naturally had. Class predominance is thus further facilitated.
This statement could be interpreted in terms of each generalization, in which case it would be entirely environmental in spirit.
The idea that aristocratic manners and habits can actually be transmitted through the germ plasm is expressed in the following statement: 22
Thus the alleged blue-blood had an easier task in its breeding of a "germ plasm" which easily developed such traits as good manners, high culture and the ability to lead in all social affairs -- traits combined in a remarkable degree in the first families of Virginia.
Sims is among the most consistent critics of the notion of hereditary transmission of social class superiority through qualities inherent in the genes. He says: 23
The trouble with the eugenists from Calton town is that they have failed to observe that genius is as much a matter of social environment as it is of the genes . . . The loins of humanity are full of genius and it is probably born at a fairly uniform rate in every considerable population, but it does not get uniform recognition nor come to the fore with any regularity.
It would seem, to the present writer, difficult to prove that successful men who rise are of greater innate ability than many of those they leave behind. Religious functionaries, for instance, differ from common men, not so much in their innate qualities of physical and intellectual superiority as in their social contacts, family morale, and education. These bear fruit in the next generation of far greater social value than the qualities transmitted through the genes.
Sir Francis Galton. The name most closely associated with the relation of "good blood" to social status of the higher orders is that of Galton. It would seem appropriate to attempt to give a social interpretation to the data to which he attaches so much biological significance. Did he show that family lines remain consistently high in standing because of their genes (that specific type of hereditary mechanism was unknown to him at that time) or because of their advantages in respect to conditioning, training, and education? It is said that: 24
Francis Galton studied 107 of the most prominent British scientists of the nineteenth century. Out of 107 scientists, 9 belonged to the nobility; 52 to the liberal professions; 43 to the British class of bankers, large merchants and manufacturers; 2 to the class of farmers; and one to the labor and artisan class.
17. Gaetano Mosca, The Ruling Class, ed. and rev. by Arthur Livingston (New York, 1939) p. 63.
18. Paul Mombert, "Die Tatsachen der Klassenbildung," in Schmollers Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, etc., vol. 44 (Munich, 1920) pp. 1042 - 1043; translation ours.
19. Lester P. Ward, "Social Classes in the Light of Modern Sociological Theory," in the American Journal of Sociology (March, 1908) vol. XIII, pp. 623 - 624.
20. Othmar Spann, Gesellschaftslehre (Leipzig, 1923) p. 249; translation ours.
21. Taken from Gunner Landtman, The Origin of the Inequality of the Social Classes (Chicago, 1938) p. 303.
22. Arthur W. Calhoun, A Social History of the American Family, vol. I (Cleveland, 1917) p. 221, quoting Davenport, Heredity in Relation to Eugenics.
23. Sims, op. cit., p. 116.
24. Sorokin, op. cit., p. 285.