Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 2.djvu/514

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It is seen at once that families of this class, although not considered particularly dangerous to a community, are the most difficult to deal with, because they have no place in the social life, and it is very difficult to make a place for them. Their influence can be bad in a general way only. However, with the concerted action of citizens much could be done to relieve the situation. In fact, since this investigation began there are some marks of improvement in the children of this group. They have attended school more regularly and seem inclined to be free from thiev- ing. But let it be repeated, better home influences, which means a breaking up of the family group, steady enforced employment until the habits of life are changed and become fixed, are indis- pensable means of permanent improvement. The difficulty of the task appears when we consider that these people must be taught not only to earn money but to spend it properly ; they must be taught to change their ideals of life as well as their practices. The arts of civilization must begin from the founda- tion. The warp and the woof of the whole fabric must be constructed. Their desires for a better life are not sufficiently persistent to make a foundation for individual and social reform. How difficult the task to create new desires in the minds of people of this nature ! Considered in themselves, from the standpoint of individual improvement, they seem scarcely worth saving. But from social considerations it is necessary to save such people, that society may be perpetuated. The principle of social evolution is to make the strong stronger that the purposes of social life may be conserved, but to do this the weak must be cared for or they will eventually destroy or counteract the efforts of the strong. We need social sanitation, which is the ultimate aim of the study of social pathology.


1 Persons seeking the causes of increased criminality would do well to investigate the condition of the county jails.