C.S. Lewis sets out why he believes in democracy. Believing in God, that is ‘hierarchy’ or ‘inequality within’, is the foundation stone of ‘equality without’ – that is, legal and political equality. Notes below in video description…
This is an illustration of C.S Lewis’ article published in the British magazine called ‘The Spectator’ on 27 August 1943. The Spectator was a weekly magazine and is the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language. You can find the book containing this article here: https://www.amazon.com/Present-Concer…
(0:07) When C.S. Lewis says he is a ‘democrat’, he means with a small ‘d’. (i.e., a person who believes in democracy, not a member of the Democratic Party of the United States). Dictionary meaning 1 below, not 2.
1. An advocate or supporter of democracy. “as a democrat, I accepted the outcome of the referendum”
2. (in the US) a member of the Democratic Party.
(0:16) Rousseau’s great lie was that: “People in their natural state are basically good. But this natural innocence, however, is corrupted by the evils of society.” This view is held almost universally in the world today, which clings to its own ‘righteousness’ just as a drowning man is hesitant to leave a sinking, rickety raft, when offered a short swim to a rescuer’s arms. Once this lie of our “inherent goodness” is abandoned, the truth does not lead to the wrong kind of hopelessness as was feared, but for the first time opens the door to the need of a Saviour. Leaving that raft of false hope can give us freedom. Christianity claims, by contrast, that we were once innocent but are now fallen and corrupted. Yet even in their innocent state in paradise, Eve could be deceived, and Adam couldn’t hold to the truth under pressure. They committed an act of betrayal, not just a mistake (Hosea 6.7).
Rousseau is called the ‘father of the totalitarians’. (Lewis, ‘On the Transmission of Christianity’).
(0:55) See “The Screwtape Letters” #1 and #25 for ‘catch words’.
(1:12) Lewis thought himself a natural non-leader (also see Judges 9.11): ‘…I don’t think there are in fact any people who stand to the rest of us as adult to child, man to beast or animate to inanimate. (Note: this is really the same objection as that which I would make to Aristotle’s theory of slavery (Politics 1254A et seq.). We can all recognize the “natural” slaves (I am perhaps one myself) but where are the “natural” masters?’ (Lewis, ‘The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment’).
(1:50) Some high forms of unequal statuses (and burdens) like kingship and the Levitical priesthood were also medicines or corrections, not ideals. See 1 Samuel 8.1-7, Exodus 4.10-14, and even Deuteronomy 5.25-28. But as Lewis points out, the basic headship or ‘shepherdships’ were ideal and began even before the fall of mankind. Before kingship also, God’s ideal system was to raise up leaders and appoint saviours for each individual crisis. In fact the judges refused kingship – mastership – they only took a shepherd’s role. In English history, we would call these military men the ‘Churchills’ I suppose (i.e. the Duke of Marlborough or Winston Churchill) who saw the gathering danger much earlier than others, came from obscurity and disregard, and led the British nation to outstanding, unlikely, victory over powerful enemies.
(5:15) Lewis mentions the feminist writer Naomi Mitchison, author of “The Home and a Changing Civilisation” (London, 1934, Chapter I, pp. 49-50). “Everybody minds being owned economically, even when they acquiesce; nobody minds being owned in love (or, more accurately, everybody wants to be owned in love). But when the two things are mixed there is the devil to pay…”
(7:10) In music, polyphony is one type of musical texture. A polyphony consists of two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody, as opposed to (1) a musical texture with just one voice, a monophony, or (2) a texture with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords, which is called a homophony.
(7:48) ‘I’m as good as you’ – See the demon’s instruction about democracy in “Screwtape Proposes a Toast”.
The original article had certain words italicised: *real* (2:55, 3:57), *erotic* (5:11), and *wear* (8:28).