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1.31.2020

"we have an exaggerated idea of the importance of laws. Our legislative bodies are the greatest law factories the world has ever seen. Our zest for legislation blinds us to the subtle forces behind and beyond the law. Those influences which really make and mar human happiness and greatness are beyond the reach of the law. The law can compel a man to support his wife, but it cannot compel him to love her, and what are ten dollars a week to a woman whose love lies in broken shards at her feet ? The law can compel a father to provide....


we have an exaggerated idea of the importance of laws. Our legislative bodies are the greatest law factories the world has ever seen. Our zest for legislation blinds us to the subtle forces behind and beyond the law. Those influences which really make and mar human happiness and greatness are beyond the reach of the law. The law can compel a man to support his wife, but it cannot compel him to love her, and what are ten dollars a week to a woman whose
love lies in broken shards at her feet ? The law can compel a father to provide... for his children and can interfere if he maltreats them, but it cannot compel him to give them that loving fatherly intercourse which puts backbone into a child forever. The law can keep neighbors from trespassing, but it cannot put neighborly courtesy and goodwill into their relations. The State can establish public schools and hire teachers, but it cannot put enthusiasm and moral power into their work ; yet those are the qualities which distinguish the few true teachers to whom we look back in after years as the real makers of our lives. The highest qualities and influences are beyond the law and must be created elsewhere. The law is a moral agency, as effective and as rough as a policeman's club, sweeping in its operation and unable to adjust itself to individual needs and the finer shadings of moral life. It furnishes the stiff skeleton of public morality which supports the finer tissues, but these tissues must be deposited by other forces. The State is the outer court of the moral law; within stands the sanctuary of the Spirit.....

The law becomes impotent if it is not supported by a diffused, spontaneous moral impulse in the community. If religion implants love, mutual helpfulness, and respect for the life and rights of others, there will be little left to do for the law and its physical force. The stronger the silent moral compulsion of the community, the less need for the physical compulsion of the State. If parents have to resort to physical punishment constantly, it furnishes presumptive evidence that their training has been defective in its moral factors. If we have to order out the militia frequently to quell riots and protect property, it constitutes a charge of inefficiency against the religious and educational institutions of the community..... 

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