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Clarence Darrow

Geburtstag: 18. April 1857
Todesdatum: 13. März 1938
Andere Namen: Clarence Seward Darrow

Clarence Seward Darrow war ein US-amerikanischer Rechtsanwalt. Er war darüber hinaus ein führendes Mitglied der US-amerikanischen Bürgerrechtsorganisation American Civil Liberties Union.

Darrow wurde durch einige Aufsehen erregende Prozesse bekannt, unter anderem durch seine Verteidigung der jungen Mörder Leopold und Loeb im Verfahren um die Ermordung des 14-jährigen Bobby Franks und durch die Verteidigung von John Thomas Scopes im so genannten Scopes-Prozess, bei dem er dem berühmten Staatsanwalt William Jennings Bryan gegenüberstand. Berühmt wurde ebenso der Freispruch für Ossian Sweet. Darrow war bekannt für seinen scharfen Verstand, sein Mitgefühl und auch für seinen Agnostizismus. Er gilt als einer der berühmtesten amerikanischen Anwälte und Bürgerrechtler.

Zitate Clarence Darrow

„Liberty is the most jealous and exacting mistress that can beguile the brain and soul of man.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Funeral oration for John Peter Altgeld (14 March 1902)
Kontext: Liberty is the most jealous and exacting mistress that can beguile the brain and soul of man. She will have nothing from him who will not give her all. She knows that his pretended love serves but to betray. But when once the fierce heat of her quenchless, lustrous eyes has burned into the victim's heart, he will know no other smile but hers.

„If there is to be any permanent improvement in man and any better social order, it must come mainly from the education and humanizing of man.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Crime : Its Cause And Treatment (1922) Ch. 36 "Remedies"
Kontext: It is often said that the accused should be given an immediate trial; that this and subsequent proceedings should not be hindered by delay; that the uncertainties of punishment furnish the criminal with the hope of escape and therefore do not give the community the benefit of the terror that comes with the certainty of punishment that could prevent crime. I can see no basis in logic or experience for this suggestion. It is based on the theory that punishment is not only a deterrent to crime, but the main deterrent. It comes from the idea that the criminal is distinct from the rest of mankind, that vengeance should be sure and speedy and that then crime would be prevented. If this were true and the only consideration to prevent crime, then the old torture chamber and the ancient prison with all its hopelessness and horror should be restored. Logic, humanity and experience would protest against this. If there is to be any permanent improvement in man and any better social order, it must come mainly from the education and humanizing of man. I am quite certain that the more the question of crime and its treatment is studied the less faith men have in punishment.

„One cannot live through a long stretch of years without forming some philosophy of life.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Quelle: The Story of My Life (1932), Ch. 1 "Before The Beginning"
Kontext: One cannot live through a long stretch of years without forming some philosophy of life. As one journeys along he gains experiences and even some ideas. Accumulated opinions and philosophy may be more important to others than the bare facts about how he lived, so my ambition is not so much to relate the occurrences as to record the ideas that life has forced me to accept; and, after all, thoughts, impressions and feelings are really life itself. I should like to think that these reflections might make existence a trifle easier for some of those who may chance to read this story.

„Valiantly he fought on every intellectual battlefield.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Voltaire (1916)
Kontext: Valiantly he fought on every intellectual battlefield. True he bowed and dodged and lied over and over again, that he still might live and work. Many of his admirers cannot forgive this in the great Voltaire. Rather they would have had him, like Bruno and Servetus, remain steadfast to his faith while his living body was consumed with flames. But, Voltaire was Voltaire, Bruno was Bruno, and Servetus was Servetus. It is not for the world to judge, but to crown them all alike. Each and all lived out their own being, did their work in their own way, and carried a reluctant, stupid humanity to greater possibilities and grander heights.

„Autobiography is never entirely true. No one can get the right perspective on himself. Every fact is colored by imagination and dream.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Quelle: The Story of My Life (1932), Ch. 1 "Before The Beginning"
Kontext: Autobiography is never entirely true. No one can get the right perspective on himself. Every fact is colored by imagination and dream. The young look forth across the sea to a mirage of fairylands filled with hidden treasures; the aged turn to the fading past, and through the mist and haze that veils once familiar scenes, bygone events assume weird and fanciful proportions.

„Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. So does whiskey.“

—  Clarence Darrow

In a debate with religious leaders in Kansas City, as quoted in a eulogy for Darrow by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (1938)
Kontext: Do you, good people, believe that Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden and that they were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge? I do. The church has always been afraid of that tree. It still is afraid of knowledge. Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. So does whiskey. I believe in the brain of man. I'm not worried about my soul.

„It is not for the world to judge, but to crown them all alike. Each and all lived out their own being, did their work in their own way, and carried a reluctant, stupid humanity to greater possibilities and grander heights.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Voltaire (1916)
Kontext: Valiantly he fought on every intellectual battlefield. True he bowed and dodged and lied over and over again, that he still might live and work. Many of his admirers cannot forgive this in the great Voltaire. Rather they would have had him, like Bruno and Servetus, remain steadfast to his faith while his living body was consumed with flames. But, Voltaire was Voltaire, Bruno was Bruno, and Servetus was Servetus. It is not for the world to judge, but to crown them all alike. Each and all lived out their own being, did their work in their own way, and carried a reluctant, stupid humanity to greater possibilities and grander heights.

„To say that the universe was here last year, or millions of years ago, does not explain its origin. This is still a mystery. As to the question of the origin of things, man can only wonder and doubt and guess.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Why I Am An Agnostic (1929)
Kontext: To say that God made the universe gives us no explanation of the beginnings of things. If we are told that God made the universe, the question immediately arises: Who made God? Did he always exist, or was there some power back of that? Did he create matter out of nothing, or is his existence coextensive with matter? The problem is still there. What is the origin of it all? If, on the other hand, one says that the universe was not made by God, that it always existed, he has the same difficulty to confront. To say that the universe was here last year, or millions of years ago, does not explain its origin. This is still a mystery. As to the question of the origin of things, man can only wonder and doubt and guess.

„Voltaire was not the first or last man to convert a prison into a hall of fame. A prison is confining to the body, but whether it affects the mind, depends entirely upon the mind.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Voltaire (1916)
Kontext: Voltaire was not the first or last man to convert a prison into a hall of fame. A prison is confining to the body, but whether it affects the mind, depends entirely upon the mind.
It was while in prison that he changed his name from the one his father gave him — Arouet — to the one he has made famous throughout all time — Voltaire. He said, "I was very unlucky under my first name. I want to see if this one will succeed any better."

„Any one who thinks is an agnostic about something, otherwise he must believe that he is possessed of all knowledge. And the proper place for such a person is in the madhouse or the home for the feeble-minded.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Why I Am An Agnostic (1929)
Kontext: An agnostic is a doubter. The word is generally applied to those who doubt the verity of accepted religious creeds of faiths. Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept. Catholics are agnostic to the Protestant creeds, and the Protestants are agnostic to the Catholic creed. Any one who thinks is an agnostic about something, otherwise he must believe that he is possessed of all knowledge. And the proper place for such a person is in the madhouse or the home for the feeble-minded. In a popular way, in the western world, an agnostic is one who doubts or disbelieves the main tenets of the Christian faith.

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„The purpose of life is living. Men and women should get the most they can out of their lives.“

—  Clarence Darrow

As quoted in Infidels and Heretics : An Agnostic's Anthology (1929) edited by Clarence Darrow and Wallace Rice, pp. 206 - 207
Kontext: The purpose of life is living. Men and women should get the most they can out of their lives. The smallest, tiniest intellect may be quite as valuable to society as the largest. It may be still more valuable to itself: it may have all the capacity for enjoyment that the wisest has. The purpose of man is like the purpose of the pollywog — to wriggle along as far as he can without dying; or to hang on until death takes him.

„I am an agnostic as to the question of God.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Why I Am An Agnostic (1929)
Kontext: I am an agnostic as to the question of God. I think that it is impossible for the human mind to believe in an object or thing unless it can form a mental picture of such object or thing. Since man ceased to worship openly an anthropomorphic God and talked vaguely and not intelligently about some force in the universe, higher than man, that is responsible for the existence of man and the universe, he cannot be said to believe in God. One cannot believe in a force excepting as a force that pervades matter and is not an individual entity. To believe in a thing, an image of the thing must be stamped on the mind. If one is asked if he believes in such an animal as a camel, there immediately arises in his mind an image of the camel. This image has come from experience or knowledge of the animal gathered in some way or other. No such image comes, or can come, with the idea of a God who is described as a force.

„An agnostic is a doubter. The word is generally applied to those who doubt the verity of accepted religious creeds of faiths. Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Why I Am An Agnostic (1929)
Kontext: An agnostic is a doubter. The word is generally applied to those who doubt the verity of accepted religious creeds of faiths. Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept. Catholics are agnostic to the Protestant creeds, and the Protestants are agnostic to the Catholic creed. Any one who thinks is an agnostic about something, otherwise he must believe that he is possessed of all knowledge. And the proper place for such a person is in the madhouse or the home for the feeble-minded. In a popular way, in the western world, an agnostic is one who doubts or disbelieves the main tenets of the Christian faith.

„I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Quelle: The Story of My Life (1932), Ch. 10 "Child Training"
The last line here has sometimes been misquoted as "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure." It has also been attributed to, among others, Mark Twain and Winston Churchill. The misquoted version also frequently begins, "I've never wished a man dead..." or "I never wanted to see anybody die..."
Kontext: Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.

„No iconoclast can possibly escape the severest criticism.“

—  Clarence Darrow

Voltaire (1916)
Kontext: No iconoclast can possibly escape the severest criticism. If he is poor he is against existing things because he cannot succeed. If he is rich, he is not faithful to his ideals. The world always demands of a prophet a double standard. He must live a life consistent with his dreams, and at the same time must obey the conventions of the world. He cannot be judged either by one or the other, but must be judged by both.

„Calvin Coolidge was the greatest man who ever came out of Plymouth Corner, Vermont.“

—  Clarence Darrow

As quoted in Foundations of Democracy: A Series of Debates (1939) by Thomas Vernor Smith and Robert Alphonso Taft, p. 10

„I don’t like spinach, and I’m glad I don’t, because if I liked it I’d eat it, and I’d just hate it.“

—  Clarence Darrow

This quote was attributed to Darrow in the biography Clarence Darrow for the Defence (1949), but its earliest known source is from a journal entry of George Sand from 1835.
Misattributed

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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