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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/702

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of responsibility from the fear of punishment, but still he holds that animals have a rudimentary sentiment of responsibility. In dogs this sentiment is far from rudimentary. The theme, however, deserves a more extended study, which in this place would have led Ferri too far afield. In any case, as he points out, punishment is not merely a means adopted by man toward man and animals, but is not unknown among the latter themselves. It is above all among animals that punishments are efficacious as deterrents from crime. If monkeys are so thievish in India it is because they are not punished, being held sacred. On the other hand, no punishment can have any effect on certain perverse instincts which have become organic from long heredity. Therefore, where crime is an inborn organic tendency, the need of substituting segregation for the usual punitive methods is evident, in accordance with the conclusions of science which have confirmed the efficacy of penal substitutes for punishment even in the animal world.

That crime is a natural phenomenon can be still better seen when studying the group determined by an antisocial instinct. Ferri asserts that for man as well as for animals every action is determined by a movement of passion, which will be stronger in proportion to the gravity and importance of the act effected, but it always exists, however imperceptible, whatever be the action, and therefore, in studying criminal activity, the principle now dominant in schools and jurisprudence is erroneous, by which passions in their relation to responsibility are distinguished by the degree of their violence—for example, that an overmastering passion can cancel or diminish the responsibility of the individual. This is an empirical criterion, which in studying criminology in man as well as in animals it is needful to substitute by the more scientific distinction of passions which are useful and passions which are harmful to the species, motives which are social and motives which are antisocial. For crimes provoked by social motives have a natural and juridic character of their own and must be judged apart.

In this group of murders of an antisocial character are included those determined by covetousness, ingratitude, war, personal vendetta, antipathies, anger, and the like, which, whether as isolated motives or as concomitants of crime, bear the stamp of individual perversity. The motor impulse must not be confounded with that thus designated by the classical school of criminalists who, when they do not find the cause proportionate to the crime, invent the stock phrase of bloodthirstiness. Thus homicides induced by vendetta, by covetousness, etc., are, according to them, acts of bloodthirstiness. On the contrary, the experimental study of delinquency reveals that homicide without apparent or