A system that does not hold individuals accountable for their harmful acts treats them as less than full citizens. In such a world, people are reduced to the status of children or, even worse, treated as thoug they are animals without a soul. There may be a hard lesson here: In the face of injustice on the part of society, it is natural and easy to demand recompense or a dispensation from conventional norms. But all to often, doing so involves the individual accepting diminished responsibility for his future. Does the acceptance of diminished responsibility assure that the human spirit will not rise above the tragedies of one's existence? When we demand something from our oppressors -- more lenient standards of conduct, for example -- are we merely going from a state of slavery to a more deceptive, but equally destructive, state of dependency?
Clarence Thomas, "Crime and Punishment -- and Personal Responsibility," The National Times, Sept. 1994, at 31