When will the world grow weary of murder? When my sons and yours, too, are gone?
Man’s rise from a poor but honest animal to his present eminence as a charter member of the Hydrogen Club is a great success story. It may turn out to be the success story to end all success stories.
The descendant of the hairy Stone Age man would rebuild the earth, change the course of rivers and touch the very stars at which his ancestor stared from his cave at night. There was nothing he would be unable to do, so long as he was not asked to love his fellow man.
Man has invented the cross, the gallows, the rack, the gibbet, the guillotine, the sword, the machine gun, the electric chair, the hand grenade, the personnel mine, the flame thrower, the “blockbuster,” the obsolescent atom bomb and the currently popular hydrogen bomb—all made to maim or destroy his fellow man. These inventions, combined with hate and selfishness and lust for power, are responsible for the unending destruction of humans by other humans. Yet most dangerous of all is modern man’s interest in his own self. Hate and love of power could be dealt with were it not for the license they receive from the inertia of millions. The most dangerous of all humans are the gray mice: it is their silence that kills. It was the silence of the gray mice outside the German concentration camps that killed the millions inside.
Whether we survive the Thermonuclear Age may come down to the simple question of whether we learn to care about our fellow men. Perhaps our cruelty and detachment will lend to a final day of fire for the most rational creature who ever walked the earth. The computers which we have invented now tell us that our losses in a nuclear exchange will be many millions of American dead. We have come a long way from the first stone axe.
Is there an alternative to the extinction of man? Those gibbets, thumbscrews, gallows, treasured hates and fond cruelties must inexorably give way to the expansion of man’s intellect and reason. Along with this, he must increase enormously his compassion for and identification with the species. Failing this, he will become silent forever.