It has been held not infrequently that of the influences which together mould the individual and determine his or her value as a social unit those of heredity are so prepotent as to leave little room for those of the environment. By others this view has seemed to involve unjustifiable pessimism. You will, I think, admit that in the past when there was little objective knowledge to bear on such questions, current views were largely decided by that ingrained difference in social outlook which has divided and still divides human opinion on so many other fundamental questions. Those who are naturally inclined to justify privilege, and who have felt instinctively that class distinctions are a social necessity founded on nature, have been tempted perhaps to emphasise too exclusively the unmistakable influence of heredity; those to whom a different outlook is natural have wished to believe, not, of course, that all are born equal as the eighteenth century philosophers declaimed, but that in favourable environments individuals tend to display greater equality of capacity.
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