Just as true this 2020 Election Day as it was when I posted it in 2013.
After reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters with my 5000 Words class, I can guess what the infamous devil-professor would say about this election (between fits of jumping up and down, clapping, and cheering)…
My Dear Wormwood,
I am pleased to see you dabbling in politics. As even the most immature tempter knows, the passions that bubble up from the froth of political dissimilarity will produce the most delightful clashes, the deepest schisms in friends and family, the most hell-like states possible on earth.
This is a promising field, this political arena.
In fact, the entire machine of antithetical visions scrapping incessantly in a purposely created and carefully maintained tug-of-war in order to accomplish the business of governing is so exquisitely ridiculous I wish I had thought of it myself. And don’t worry about your patient seeing the preposterous nature of the status quo. If that happens, we can use even that revelation for our purposes.
Consider the highly educated, morally upright (nearly extinct), disgruntled patriot who sees the futility of two choices, neither one perfect, of course. The patient can be made to see the stagnation and brokenness as an evil in itself and can be herded, quite in spite of the fact that he is a thinking man, out of the realm of actual tangible impact and into a harmless philosophical decision.
By harmless I mean, to us.
Some patients simply can’t be fooled into working for us… they can only be deftly ushered into not working against us. Malaise is the name of the game in hell: get the righteous to step aside or be “above all that” so that—our creeping tide of evil will pass right over the doorstep while the patient doggedly maintains his deeply held conviction about “how things ought to be.”
Your affectionate uncle,