Page:War Prisoners (Darrow).djvu/9

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WAR PRISONERS.

ing is indifferent to war. Nobody living who can reach that state of philosophical nothingness so they can look at a dog fight and not choose their dog. It is not human nature, because man does not live by intellect. If he did life would be short! He lives by human feelings, and human emotions, which are the moving forces of life, and his sympathies and feelings go out, and he takes sides. When anybody tells me they didn't care who won, I—well, what is the use of saying?

I was sorry to see many people sent to prison. I do not believe in prisons, anyway. I knew that a great injustice was done individuals. And I want to be honest about this question, too. I know that probably the great majority of people who were sent to military and civil prisons during this war were high-minded, conscientious people, and had committed no real wrong; that is, so far as they themselves were concerned, they were utterly devoid of any criminal intent. And criminal intent is supposed, in law, at least, to carry moral turpitude with it. There was no moral turpitude mixed up with it. Most of them, I will not say all. But I must remain true to my philosophy until I change it—which might be next week. I do not believe there is such a thing as moral turpitude. I am a fatalist; I do not believe in free will; I think every human being is a machine, and has no more control over his actions than a "Wooden Indian". But, society sorts out criminals as those men whose acts imply a moral turpitude which I do not believe in. Under this definition, most of the people who were sent to prison during the war were not criminals; there was no moral turpitude in it.

Of course, while I do not believe in prisons, I do believe that there are people who must be restrained of their freedom so that I can get along! Insane people; morons; people so distinctly anti-social, from some cause or other, that we cannot live in any comfort with them, need to be restrained, without any regard to right or wrong; they ought to be given a good time, perhaps better than they could have if they were not in prison. But, restraint is necessary, and I can imagine no state of society where we would not need restraint. So, of course, to one of my views, it makes no difference whether one has moral turpitude or not. The only question is, who? dangerous, and when I say dangerous, of course I mean dangerous to me. As a state, I would say dangerous to the state. Of course, if enough people who were dangerous to the state could get together, they might overthrow the state and send the other people to jail; but that is the chance you take.