Crime, Its Causes and Treatment HTML version
in the conclusions I have reached.
The physical origin of such abnormalities of the mind as are called
"criminal" is a comparatively new idea. The whole subject has
long been dealt with from the standpoint of metaphysics. Man has
slowly banished chance from the material world and left behavior
alone outside the realm of cause and effect. It has not been long
since insanity was treated as a moral defect. It is now universally
accepted as a functional defect of the human structure in its
relation to environment.
My main effort is to show that the laws that control human
behavior are as fixed and certain as those that control the physical
world. In fact, that the manifestations of the mind and the actions
of men are a part of the physical world.
I am fully aware that this book will be regarded as a plea or an
apology for the criminal. To hold him morally blameless could be
nothing else. Still if man's actions are governed by natural law, the
sooner it is recognized and understood, the sooner will sane
treatment be adopted in dealing with crime. The sooner too will
sensible and humane remedies be found for the treatment and cure
of this most perplexing and painful manifestation of human
behavior. I have tried conscientiously to understand the manifold
actions of men and if I have to some degree succeeded, then to that
extent I have explained and excused. I am convinced that if we
were all-wise and all-understanding, we could not condemn.
I have not thought it best to encumber the book with references and
foot-notes, for the reason that statistics and opinions on this subject
are conflicting and imperfect, and the results after all must rest on
a broad scientific understanding of life and the laws that control
human action. Although the conclusions arrived at are in variance
with popular opinions and long-settled practice, I am convinced
that they are old truths and are in keeping with the best thought of