Archive for October 15th, 2012

Karl Menninger on War

Monday, October 15th, 2012

“War is surely the great, prototypical example of group sin. It is a massive, organized violation of all ethics and all laws, a purposive and sanctioned campaign of destructiveness. All behaviors normally regarded as criminal and/or sinful are suddenly sanctioned–murder, mayhem, arson, robbery, deceit, trespassing, sabotage, vandalism, and cruelty…. The whole war business is a horrible, irrational, despicable business, an archaic and traditional method of deciding a disputed point, whose survival is a disgrace to and refutation of civilization…. And the whole business is disguised in a cloak of romantic glory and sentiment which makes it palatable and even marketable, as fiction, drama, etc., and spoke of in terms of ‘pride’ and ‘glory.’… Why don’t we outlaw war just as we have long since outlawed cannibalism? How much more horrible it is than cannibalism, which so shocks our sensibilities.”

–Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin?, 101–103 (1973)

Arnold Toynbee on Nationalism

Monday, October 15th, 2012

“Nationalism is the real religion today of a majority of people. [It] has been superseded only nominally by the higher religions, each of which aims at converting the whole of mankind to its own prescription for putting the individual in touch with ultimate reality. Almost all of us are nationalists under the skin.”

–Arnold Toynbee, 1971, quoted in Karl Menninger, Whatever Became of Sin?