“The word degenerate, when applied to a people, means that the people no longer has the same intrinsic value as it had before, because it has no longer the same blood in its veins, continual adulterations having gradually affected the quality of that blood….in fact, the man of a decadent time, the degenerate man properly so-called, is a different being from the racial point of view, from the heroes of the great ages….I think I am right in concluding that the human race in all its branches has a secret repulsion from the crossing of blood….” Arthur de Gobineau (1855) Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races.
“When under any kind of noxious influence an organism becomes debilitated, its successors will not resemble the healthy, normal type of the species, with capacities for development, but will form a new sub-species, which, like all others, possesses the capacity of transmitting to its offspring, in a continuously increasing degree, its peculiarities, these being morbid deviations from the normal form – gaps in development, malformations and infirmities…” Bénédict Morel (1857) Treatise on Degeneration.
“…Any new set of conditions which render a species’ food and safety very easily obtained, seems to lead to degeneration….” Ray Lankester (1880) Degeneration: A Chapter in Darwinism.
“The ego-maniac neither knows nor grasps the phenomenon of the universe. The effect of this is a want of interest and sympathy, and an incapacity to adapt himself….the absence of feeling, and the incapacity of adaptation, frequently accompanied by perversion of the instincts and impulses, make the ego-maniac an anti-social being. He is a moral lunatic, a criminal, a pessimist, an anarchist….” Max Nordau (1892) Degeneration, page 266.
“It has become the fashion to regard any symptom which is not obviously due to trauma or infection as a sign of degeneracy….this being so, it may well be asked whether an attribution of “degeneracy” is of any value, or adds anything to our knowledge…” Sigmund Freud (1905) Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality.