Time: Fri Dec 12 17:09:47 1997
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: C. S. Lewis Essay (fwd)
Bcc: sls

> From "Willing Slaves of the Welfare State" (1958) in \Timeless at
> Heart\ by C.S. Lewis:
>  ... "Our intellectuals have surrendered first to the
> slave-philosophy of Hegel, then to Marx, finally to the
> linguistic analysts.  
>    "As a result, classical political theory with its Stoical,
> Christian and juristic key conceptions (natural law, the value of
> the individual, the rights of man), has died.  The modern state
> exists not to protect our rights but to do us good or make us
> good--anyway, to do something to us or to make us do something. 
> Hence the new name "leaders" for those who were once "rulers." 
> We are less their subjects than their wards, pupils, or domestic
> animals.  There is nothing left of which we can say to them,
> 'Mind your own business.'  Our whole lives \are\ their business.
>    "I write 'they' because it seems childish not to recognize
> that actual government is and always must be oligarchical.  Our
> effective masters must be more than one and fewer than all ...
>    "I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he
> has 'the freeborn mind.'  But I doubt whether he can have this
> without economic independence, which the new society is
> abolishing.  For economic independence allows an education not
> controlled by the Government; and in adult life it is the man
> who needs, and asks, nothing of the Government who can criticize
> its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology.  Read Montaigne;
> that's the voice of a man with his legs under his own table,
> eating the mutton and turnips raised on his own land.  Who will
> talk like that when the State is everyone's schoolmaster and
> employer?  ...
>    "Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim
> to plan us on its claim to knowledge.  If we are to be mothered,
> mother must know best.  This means they must increasingly rely
> on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians
> proper become merely the scientists' puppets.  Technocracy is
> the form to which planned society must tend.  Now I dread
> specialists in power because they are specialists speaking
> outside their special subjects.  Let scientists tell us about the
> sciences.  ... Let the doctor tell me I shall die unless I do
> so-and-so; but whether life is worth having on those terms is no
> more a question for him than for any other man.
>    "Thirdly, I do not like the pretensions of Government--the
> grounds on which it demands my obedience -- to be pitched too
> high.  I don't like the medicine man's magical pretensions nor
> the Bourbon's Divine Right.  ... I believe in God, but I detest
> theocracy.  For every Government consists of mere men and is,
> strictly viewed, a makkeshift; if it adds to its commands, 'Thus
> saith the Lord,' it lies, and lies dangerously.
>    "On just the same ground I dread government in the name of
> science.  That is how tyrannies come in.  In every age the men
> who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put
> forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of
> that age render most potent.  They "cash in."  It has been magic,
> it has been Christianity.  Now it will certainly be science. 
> Perhaps the real scientists may not think much of the tyrants'
> 'science' -- they didn't think much of Hitler's racial theories
> or Stalin's biology.  But they can be muzzled.
>    ..."We have on the one hand a desperate need: hunger,
> sickness and the dread of war.  We have, on the other, the
> conception of something that might meet it: omnicompetent global
> technocracy.  Are not these the ideal opportunity for
> enslavement?  This is how it has entered before: a desperate need
> (real or apparent) in the one party, a power (real or apparent)
> to relieve it, in the other.  In the ancient world individuals
> have sold themselves as slaves in order to eat.  So in society. 
> Here is a witch-doctor who can save us from the sorcerers -- a
> war-lord who can save us from the barbarians -- a Church that can
> save us from Hell.  Give them what they ask, give ourselves to
> them bound and blindfold, if only they will!
>    ..."All of this threatens us even if the form of society
> which our needs point to should prove an unparalleled success. 
> But is that certain?  What assurance have we that our masters
> will or can keep the promise which induced us to sell ourselves?
>  ... All that can really happen is that some men will take
> charge of the destiny of the others.  They will be simply men;
> none perfect; some greedy, cruel, and dishonest.  The more
> completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.  Have
> we discovered some new reason why, this time, power should not
> corrupt as it has done before?"

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