Karl Menninger on War

“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)

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