In Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt writes this:
“Without Jewish help in administrative and police work — the final rounding up of Jews in Berlin was, as I have mentioned, done entirely by Jewish police — there would have been either complete chaos or an impossibly severe drain on German manpower” (p. 117).
She goes on to quote someone who observed that it was scarcely possible for a few thousand people, most of whom worked in offices, to liquidate many hundreds of thousands of other people without the cooperation of the victims. Moreover, that cooperation frequently consisted of participation in the bureaucratic processing. Before being gassed in the camps, they had to stand in line and fill out numerous forms.
The subtitle of Arendt’s book is telling: “A Report on the Banality of Evil.”
Or, to look at the threat another way, we also have to remember the banality of bureaucracy. At root it is the same banality.
Here is Lewis in the Preface of Screwtape:
“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”