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Clarence Darrow speaks on Crime

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Published on Jul 8, 2010

Speech: Clarence Darrow speaks on the societal causes of crime, citing poverty, ignorance, hard luck, and youth as the real causes of crime. Taken off HISTORY.COM

"The state furnishes no machinery for arriving at justice. [It] has no way of arriving at the facts...Some human being has shed his neighbor's blood; the state must take his life. In no other way can the crime be wiped away. In some inconceivable manner it is believed that when this punishment follows, justice has been done. But by no method of reasoning can it be shown that the injustice of killing one man is retrieved by the execution of another, or that the forcible taking of property is made right by confining some human being in a pen." - Darrow

"Endless volumes have been written, and countless lives been sacrificed in an effort to prove that one form of government is better than another; but few seem seriously to have considered the proposition that all government rests on violence and force, is sustained by soldiers, policemen and courts, and is contrary to the ideal peace and order which make for the happiness and progress of the human race. Now and then it is even admitted that in the far distant ages yet to come men may so far develop toward the angelic that political governments will have no need to be. This admission, like the common concept, presumes that governments are good; that their duties undertaken and performed consist in repressing the evil and the lawless, and protecting and caring for the helpless and the weak. If the history of the state proved that governing bodies were ever formed for this purpose or filled this function, there might be some basis for the assumption that government is necessary to preserve order and to defend the weak. But the origin and evolution of the political state show quite another thing — it shows that the state was born in aggression, and that in all the various stages through which it has passed its essential characteristics have been preserved." - Darrow

"[The] carnage and destruction [is] springing not from any difference between the common people of the earth, but due alone to the desires and passions of the rulers of the earth. This ruling class, ever eager to extend its power and strength, ever looking for new people to govern and new lands to tax, has always been ready to turn its face against other powers to satisfy the ruler's will, and without pity or regret, these rulers have depopulated their kingdoms, and carried ruin and destruction to every portion of the earth for gold and power." - Darrow

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