John E. Mack is a psychiatrist who has had conversations with young people in the United States and the Soviet Union about the threat of nuclear war. In this article he explores psychological reasons why educators and parents resist dealing with the nuclear issue. He describes individual resistance — avoidance of the emotional pain associated with nuclear war— and collective resistance, the result of a nation's political and economic assumptions to which citizens feel committed and which they support through corporate structures. Mack concludes that if we do not question these collective assumptions, "advocacy for nuclear education in our schools, no matter how well-intended or impassioned, will not succeed."

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