A Mencken Chrestomathy - Chapter 5, Morals, Chapter 6, Crime and Punishment Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 5, Morals, Chapter 6, Crime and Punishment Summary and Analysis

Children are born without a sense of right and wrong; instead, it is imposed upon them by society. Morality seems necessary, although the ideas of evil and sin seem made up. Morality probably arose during evolution from social practices required to survive. The moral sense seems to be universal and differences between moral systems seems small. Morality, however, has accretion and growth, with new moral ideas coming into being, such as Christian morality. But Christian morality has also changed, such as in its attitude towards wealth. Next Mencken comments on the difficulties free will debates pose for morality and Christian theology. Mencken also affirms that few men are virtuous and that few men are honorable.

Mencken turns to the criminal law; he regards crime as primarily a legal idea, having little...

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