The first thing necessary to lessen crime and to relieve victims from the cruelty of moral judgments is a change of public opinion as to human responsibility. When scientific ideas on this important subject shall be generally accepted, all things that are possible will follow from it. Some headway has already been made in the direction of considering heredity and environment. Theoretically we no longer hold the insane responsible, and some allowance is made for children and the obviously defective. The discouraging thing is that the public is fickle and changeable, and any temporary feeling overwhelms the patient efforts of years. In the present mad crusade against crime consequent upon the Great War, penalties have been increased, new crimes created, and paroles and pardons have been made almost impossible. The public and press virtually declare that even insanity should not save the life of one who slays his fellow. Repeatedly the insane are hanged without a chance, and sentences of death are pronounced, where before, a term of years, or life imprisonment would have been the penalty for the offense. Individual men and collections of men are ruled not by judgment but by impulse; the voice of conscience and mercy is always very weak and drowned by the hoarse cry for vengeance.
As long as men collectively impose their will upon the individual units, they should consider that this imposition calls for intelligence, kindliness, tolerance and a large degree of sympathy and understanding. In considering the welfare of the public: the accused, his family and his friends should be included as a part. It need not be expected that all maladjustments can ever be wiped out. Organization with its close relation of individual units implies conflict. Nevertheless, the effort should be to remove all possible inducement for the violent clashing of individuals and to minimize the severity of such conflicts as are inevitable.
Accidents, inevitability of, 48;
conditions affecting chances of, 253;
law of averages in, 259.
Acquisition, instinct for, 49-50, 51;
power of, not a measure of brain capacity, 51-54.
Adultery, crime of, 90-91.
Adventure, chance for, an incentive to crime, 54, 55, 79, 93.
Age, relation of, to crime, 251;
and disease, 252, 253.
Alcohol, relation of crime to use of, 197-198.
America, emotional side of man neglected in, 55;
high ratio of property crimes per capita in, 98;
system of justice in, superior to that of European countries, 281.
Ancestry, effects of, 126-128.
Anger, as one underlying motive in punishment, 12;
the cause of killings, 83.
Animal, man a predatory, 94-100.
Animal life, man’s origin and development the same as that of other, 29-34.
“Anti-social,” significance of term, 5-6.
Art, satisfaction of emotions by, 55.
Automobile, effect of the, on crime, 208-211.