This I Believe

Daily, Starr

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Interview Participants
And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Starr Daily is an expert on crime prevention and the rehabilitation of criminals. For the past 15 years, he has traveled all over the country, speaking to service clubs, crime commissions, criminal agencies, churches of every denomination, and public gatherings. He is a member of the National Chaplains Association, and has worked with an outstanding prison director. Ten of his books have been published and have received wide circulation in England as well as here. Now Starr Daily shares with us the experience behind his expertness in the field of criminology and crime prevention.
On a day in 1926, I faced up to my life with compelling honesty. I had taken to crime as a small boy and ended as a chronic criminal in my adult life. On that day, this was what I had to face: The best years of my life had been spent behind bars, so that now I admitted that my future would continue to match my past unless somehow the pattern of my behavior was reversed.
During the many years I spent in the underworld, I had unconsciously developed an integrated criminal philosophy. It had been organized around a firm core of ill will toward society, and it was expressed in action as a perpetual protest against all conventional and legal restraints.
I came to an inescapable conclusion: In my case, at least, the philosophy of ill will and the conduct of crime had worked well to destroy me. My mental, moral, physical, and spiritual health were gone. What remained was pain, futility, and a meaningless existence. My life was empty of purpose, aim, and constructive direction. Having faced the results of crime and ill will, the question became, "What is to be done about it, and what can be done about it?"
The answer, in theory, was simple enough: If social ill will had brought my situation about, then it would require the discipline of good will to reverse that situation.
But right here, the distance between an abstract theory and a concrete practice was so great as to paralyze incentive even before application was attempted. However, I made up my mind to try what seemed to me impossible.
So I began the program right there in prison. It was a zigzag effort, up and down, and back and forth. But by the time I was released in 1930, I had a moral stamina and a strength of will I had never had before. In fact, it was the first time in my life that I had really been prepared to go out of prison and meet the demands of social responsibility.
What has happened during the intervening years never ceases to amaze me.
The results of trying to apply good will in every situation and circumstance have been more like magic to me than effects which follow causes. Over against this life I am now living is that other life I had lived. I take the evidence of the present life as the foundation for my belief.
This I do believe: that love is the greatest medicine in the world; that goodwill is mightier than ill will; and that whatever hate can break, a genuine affection can repair.
You have just heard the beliefs of Starr Daily. And here's news: a brand new This I Believe book with 100 new beliefs now at your bookstore. Of these 100 new beliefs, 80 are from living men and women from all walks of life, 20 are the beliefs of immortals, the 20 men and women selected from all history whose beliefs would most interest and help you. The world's leading biographer of each immortal has written his belief from his own writings and sayings, forward by Edward R. Murrow. For yourself and for a gift, get Volume Two, the new book This I Believe.
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