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Science and the genocidal mentality.

Science and the Genocidal Mentality

Everyone realizes that weapons exist that could put an end to life on this planet. The fear persists that a madman in the seat of power could trigger the explosion. The reality is "great minds," encouraged by legitimate governments, are guilty of "psychic numbing" that enables them to remain "sane" in the service of social madness. Genocide lurks in the atmosphere, in the halls of Congress, deep in the secrets of the Pentagon, ever-present in the minds of world leaders.

Robert Jay Lifton, in his new book The Genocidal Mentality, writes: "If we are to grasp what is really involved in the genocidal mentality, we would do well to look at another historical situation in which it led to actual genocide.

"Among modern genocides -- recently in Cambodia, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, as well as earlier in Turkey and the Soviet Union -- the one from which we have most to learn is that of the Nazis during the fifth decade of the twentieth century.

"Nazi genocide is particularly relevant to us as it was perpetrated by an advanced Western Christian nation and because it was linked to a nuclear threat during the Second World War.

"Among the scientists, writers, and religious leaders who have suggested parallels between the Holocaust and nuclear danger, consider Samuel Pisar's deeply troubled commentary on the production of weapons throughout the world:

"Everything seems poised for the apocalypse. It is as if an Auschwitz fever has taken hold of mankind, pushing toward irresistably the precipice, and Auschwitz ideology, characterized by rapid devaluation of the ultimate human right -- the right to life. The combination of technology and high brutality ... shows that man is quite capable of resorting to both the ideological premises and the scientific means for wholesale annihilation.

"Our image of the Nazis tends to be that of thugs and murderers, an image they did much to earn. But students of Nazi genocide have long stressed what recent work on the Nazi doctors has confirmed: namely, that ordinary Germans became involved in killing, people who had previously shown no particular indication to violence. These findings are especially troubling because they bring the Nazis closer to us. We are much more comfortable viewing them as a separate tribe of demons."
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Title Annotation:excerpt from The Genocidal Mentality
Author:Lifton, Robert Jay; Markusen, Eric
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Mar 22, 1990
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