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February 1, 2010

ProgThink

From a speech...

"Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose. The good work which our philological experts have already done in the corruption of human language makes it unnecessary to warn you that they should never be allowed to give this word a clear and definable meaning. They won't. It will never occur to them that democracy is properly the name of a political system, even a system of voting, and that this has only the most remote and tenuous connection with what you are trying to sell them. Nor, of course, must they ever be allowed to raise Aristotle's question: whether "democratic behavior" means the behaviour that democracies like or the behavior that will preserve a democracy. For if they did, it could hardly fail to occur to them that these need not be the same.

You are to use that word purely as an incantation; if you like, purely for its selling power. It is a name they venerate. And of course it is connected with the political ideal that men must be equally treated. You then make a stealthy transition in their minds from this political ideal to a factual belief that all men are equal....As a result you can use the word democracy to sanction in his thought the most degrading (and also the least enjoyable) of all human feelings. You can get [the people] to practice, not only without shame but with a positive glow of self-approval, conduct which, if undefended by the magic word, would be universally derided.

The feeling I mean is, of course, that which prompts a man to say I'm as good as you...

The first and most obvious advantage is that you thus induce him to enthrone at the center of his life a good, solid, resounding lie. I don't mean merely that his statement is false in fact, that he is no more equal to everyone he meets in kindness, honesty, and good sense than in height or waste measurement...The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior.

What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which [the people] refuse to accept....Now, this useful phenomenon is in itself no means new. Under the name of Envy it has been known to [the people] for thousands of years.

...What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement toward the discrediting, and finally the elimination of every kind of human excellence - moral, cultural, social or intellectual. And it is not pretty to notice how "democracy"...is now doing for us the work of the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods. You remember how one of the Greek Dictators sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy into a field of grain, and there he snicked off with his cane the top of every stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level.

The moral was plain. Allow no preeminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser or better or more famous or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level: all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus tyrants, in a sense, could practice "democracy". But now "democracy" can do the same work without any tyranny other than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite off the tops of the big ones. The big ones are beginning to bite off their own in their desire to Be Like Stalks...

From "The Screwtape Letters" (C.S. Lewis)...letters from a senior devil to his trainee. Here Screwtape is addressing all the junior devils at a banquet of souls.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't tell you, Rhod, how I choke on using the term "Democratic Party". I believe it's time for Republicans to adopt the name Fairness Party.

Anonymous said...
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Paula said...

Really Nice People Party.

Anonymous said...

Puppies and kittens party.

Anonymous said...

Let's just drag the heroes back into the mud. How dare they try to make things better. The Tea Parties get more abuse than violent anarchists ever get.

Anonymous said...

The Slow To React Party.

LL said...

Republicans=Democrat Lite Party

Republican Party as defined by McCain:
Almost as much government, plenty of rhetoric, pander to the mob with a slightly different shtick - but a similar outcome. Trash the Constitution in a slightly different way without appointing outright Communists and Terrorists to key positions.

Spinsterpov said...

Thomas Jefferson once said that Democracy is nothing but mob rule which is why we have a Repbulic. Democraticly elected, but still a Republic.

And what are we seeing in Congress now? Mob rule.

Rhod said...

The Be Like Stalks Party.

Anonymous said...

"What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which [the people] refuse to accept....Now, this useful phenomenon is in itself no means new. Under the name of Envy it has been known to [the people] for thousands of years. "

Each time I read this, the truth becomes more evident.

Toaster 802 said...

"Democracy" is code speech for "Socialism"...Everytime it is used.