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Freda Adler

  • That man is a creature who needs order yet yearns for change is the creative contradiction at the heart of the laws which structure his conformity and define his deviancy.

  • Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group in power chooses to prohibit.

  • Characteristically, major social movements are spawned in obscurity at the periphery of public awareness, seem to burst suddenly and dramatically into public view, and eventually fade into the landscape not because they have diminished but because they have become a permanent part of our perceptions and experience.

  • Historically, it appears that society has capitalized on what is at most a degree of difference between the sexes in order to institutionalize the polarization of aggression.

  • It is not only by the questions we have answered that progress may be measured, but also by those we are still asking. The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find.

  • The type of figleaf which each culture employs to cover its social taboos offers a twofold description of its morality. It reveals that certain unacknowledged behavior exists and it suggests the form that such behavior takes.

  • Of all the tyrannies which have usurped power over humanity, few have been able to enslave the mind and body as imperiously as drug addiction.

  • If one would discern the centers of dominance in any society, one need only look to its definitions of 'virtue' and 'vice' or 'legal' and 'criminal,' for in the strength to set standards resides the strength to maintain control.

  • There is hardly any deviancy, no matter how reprehensible in one context, which is not extolled as a virtue in another. There are no natural crimes, only legal ones.

  • [On rape:] Perhaps it is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused ...

  • It is little wonder that rape is one of the least-reported crimes. Perhaps it is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused and, in reality, it is she who must prove her good reputation, her mental soundness, and her impeccable propriety.

  • Woman throughout the ages has been mistress to the law, as man has been its master.

  • Euphemisms, like fashions, have their day and pass, perhaps to return at another time. Like the guests at a masquerade ball, they enjoy social approval only so long as they retain the capacity for deception.

Freda Adler, U.S. educator, criminal justice specialist, writer

(1934)