Crime: Its Cause and Treatment eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 200 pages of information about Crime.

Another consequence of war which America is passing through is the spirit of super-patriotism.  This is always aroused and must be aroused to carry on the war.  It is potent in creating the psychology that makes men fight.  Every people teaches that its own country is the best; that its laws and institutions excel those of all other lands.  This spirit is taken advantage of and used by designing men.  It is used to send to jail those who criticise existing things.  It is used to hamper and destroy any effort to change laws and institutions.  The one who criticises conditions is a disturber and a traitor.  Those who profit by existing things are always intense patriots and by means of cheap appeals and trite expressions seek to stifle discussion and criticism.  This war has borne a deadly harvest of restrictive legislation in America.  We are no longer an asylum for political offenders.  We no longer stand for freedom of speech.  Old traditions and constitutional and legal guarantees have been swept aside under the hysteria which has prevailed during and since the war.  These results were inevitable and will follow war as long as man is man.

All the after-effects of the World War show how completely man is ruled by forces over which he has no control.  If considerable numbers of the people have been moved by war hysteria, and if a large part of crime is directly traceable to war, it seems plain that all human action could be traced to some controlling cause, if only man could be wise enough and industrious and humane enough to find the cause.  It is plain that the law of cause and effect influences mental phenomena as it does physical acts, and sometime, perhaps, men will seek to avoid the effect by removing the cause.

XXX

CIVILIZATION AND CRIME

As children we have all amused ourselves by looking into a kaleidoscope, turning it around and around and watching the changing patterns formed from the mixing bits of different colored glass in the other end.  Each turn makes a different pattern and each bit of glass seems to seek a spot in the general medley where it can be settled until another turn drives it to find a resting place somewhere else.  The organization of individual units into a group is more or less such a formation, each seeking to adjust itself to a pattern and finding that the pattern is ever-changing and the individual units obliged to seek new positions and make new adjustments.

It is vain for social theorists to talk of a perfect order, a system of social organization that will find the proper place for each unit and bring social symmetry out of the whole.  Such a society is not consistent with the varied capacities and wants of men.  Neither is a perfect order possible with ever-changing and moving physical forces, with new mental conceptions, with new needs and wants, with constant births and deaths, and with the innate instincts of man.

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Crime: Its Cause and Treatment from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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