||ENDS AND MEANS IN CONFLICT 35 if it comes, by young men-probably very young men-pushing buttons when older men give the orders to launch nuclear weapons and incinerate human society. No reason of state can justify and no value can survive such an act. The state must not be allowed to supplant God and our own humanity, which place upon us, within us, fidelity to our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Our allegiance to God and our steward - If all the Nazis had been psychotics, as some of their leaders probably were, their appalling cruelty would have been in some sense easier to understand. It is much worse to consider this "calm, well balanced" unperturbed official conscientiously going about his desk work, his administrative job which happened to be the supervision of mass murder. He was thoughtful, orderly, unimaginative. He had a profound respect for system, for law and order. He was obedient, loyal, a faithful officer for a great state. He served his government very well. He was not bothered much by guilt. I have not heard that he developed psychosomatic illnesses. Apparently he slept well .... He had a good appetite, or so it seems. . . . It all comes under the heading of duty, self-sacrifice, and obedience. Eichmann was devoted to duty, and proud of his job. The sanity of Eichmann is disturbing. We equate sanity with a sense of justice, with humaneness, with prudence, with the capacity to love and understand other people. We rely on the sane people of the world to preserve it from barbarism, madness, destruction. And now it begins to dawn on us that it is precisely the sane ones who are most dangerous. It is the sane ones, the well-adapted ones, who can without qualms and without nausea aim the missiles and press the buttons that will initiate the great festival of destruction that they, the sane ones, have prepared. What makes us so sure, after all, that the danger comes from a psychotic getting into a position to fire the first shot in a nuclear war? Psychotics will be suspect. The sane ones will keep them far from the button. No one suspects the sane, and the sane ones will have perfectly good reasons, logical, well-adjusted reasons, for firing the shot. They will be obeying the sane orders that have come sanely down the chain of command. And because of their sanity they will have no qualms at all. When the missiles take off, then, it will be no mistake. . . . No, Eichmann was sane. The generals and fighters on both sides, in World War II, the ones who carried out the total destruction of entire cities, these were the sane ones. Those who have invented and developed atomic bombs, thermonuclear bombs, missiles; who have planned the strategy of the next war; who have evaluated the various possibilities of using bacterial and chemical agents; these are not the crazy people, they are the sane people. The ones who coolly estimate how many millions of victims can be considered expendable in a nuclear war, I presume they do all right with the Rorschach ink blots too. On the other hand, you will probably find that the pacifists and the ban-the-bomb people are, quite seriously, just as we read in Time, a little crazy. I am beginning to realize that "sanity" is no longer a value or an end in itself. The "sanity" of modern man is about as useful to him as the huge bulk and muscles of the dinosaur. If we were a little less sane, a little more doubtful, a little more aware of his absurdities and contradictions, perhaps there might be a possibility of his survival. But if he is sane, too sane perhaps, we must say that in a society like ours the worst insanity is to be totally without any anxiety, totally sane. Merton, A Devout Meditation in Memory of Adolf Eichmann, from Raids on the Unspeakable; see also D. Soelle & F. Steffensky, Not Just Yes and Amen (Fortress Press: 1983), as quoted in Firmage, Discipleship in the Nuclear Era, 57 Sunstone 11 (1987).