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December 24, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(26):1537-1538. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450260041007

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Mr. Archdall Reid, in a publication of his which has been recently widely quoted, considers alcohol as working out a benefit to the race by exerting a selective action on degeneracy, and thus in time producing a racial immunity to its own effects. There may be a grain of truth in this opinion, but in some respects it is open to question, and it does not so fully justify the conclusion obviously deduced by many, and apparently so intended by the author, that it is rather a good thing than otherwise for the race. If it acts in this way, so, it may be said, do tuberculosis, syphilis and other pests of civilization, which also cull out the physically and otherwise defective, and to the extent that they leave only the more resistant and prudent, may be said to improve the race average, and also to develop in time a

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