C.S. Lewis on Subjectivism and Politicians, Dennis Prager on America


One could make the case that the United States is a few generations behind Europe when it comes to how far to the left we’ve moved. After two brutal wars during the first half of the 20th century it seems that Europe thought the best way to never again be in that situation was to pacify itself and embrace collectivism. In America, it was different, we were aiding the Europeans in the World Wars, and it wasn’t effecting us at home to the degree that it was effecting Europe. We didn’t have men blown to bits in our neighborhoods as did the Europeans.

America had her moments, in the latter half of the 20th Century, internationally we had to deal with the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and both wars in the Middle East among other international conflicts. We also had our share of economic and political woes. That has had some of the same effects that the first half of the 20th Century had on Europe, and now we are finally realizing this. As Dennis Prager has said on his show earlier this week we are seeing the results of the seeds we have sewn, the chickens are coming home to roost.

C.S. Lewis had the opportunity to live in Europe during the first half of the 20th Century. And if one believes that we are becoming more European, as I do, then I think that it is appropriate to look at Lewis’ view of the world from time to time and apply it to ours here in America. I think you will find Lewis’ comments on the politician interesting.

The quote that I’d like to highlight comes from an essay entitled “The Poison of Subjectivism” which came from (I am assuming a magazine) Religion in Life Vol. XII which was released in the summer of 1943.

I’d like to preface the quote by giving you Lewis’ explanation of subjectivism and another excerpt from the essay.

“It does not believe that value judgments are really judgments at all. They are sentiments, or complexes, or attitudes, produced in a community by the pressure of its environment and its traditions, and differing from one community to another. To say that a thing is good is merely to express our feeling about it; and our feeling about it is the feeling we have been socially conditioned to have.”

Does that not sound like something that someone might be taught today by their first grade teacher, a professor, some parents or even some churches? Morality doesn’t exist, it is merely something that is a result of our society. They tell you that you need to find “your truth,” you need to find what you think is right and wrong.

“Many a popular ‘planner’ on a democratic platform, many a mild-eyed scientist in a democratic laboratory means, in the last resort, just what the Fascist means. He believes that ‘good’ means whatever men are conditioned to approve. He believes that it is the function of him and his kind to condition men; to create consciences by eugenics, psychological manipulation of infants, state education and mass propaganda. Because he is confused, he does not yet fully realize that those who create conscience cannot be subject to conscience themselves. But he must awake to the logic of his position sooner or later; and when he does, what barrier remains between us and the final division of the race into a few conditioners who stand themselves outside morality and the many conditioned in whom such morality as the experts choose is produced at the experts’ pleasure? If ‘good’ means only the local ideology, how can those who invent the local ideology be guided by any idea of good themselves? The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which over arches rulers and ruled alike. Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law. But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his own creation.”

That is where America stands today. You have a congress and a president that arbitrarily decide what your “rights” are. They tell you that you have a “right” to “health care,” yet they prohibit you from freely exercising your “right,” and force you to accept something whether you want it or not, doesn’t sound like liberty to me. And the reason why they have the hubris to do such a thing is because they do not believe in an objective moral law, or a Law of Nature. They believe that your rights are given to you by the state. They believe themselves to be what Lewis calls the “conditioners.” They believe that they know better than you, that you cannot be trusted with your money or your freedom.

They throw money at state education, and science, and they believe themselves to be the ones that are to be looked to when there are problems in the country, and sadly they often are by people that think they actually have something to offer them. Why do you think that the administration didn’t address the jobs issue and create a job friendly environment over the last year? Think, if more people went to work more people would probably have health insurance, and if more people had health insurance through their employer they would have had a weaker case. So, they took advantage of the jobs crisis, and they put forth many types of legislation that do anything but create a job friendly environment. Cap and trade, nationalization of the student loan industry and the health care bill are all sure to be private sector job killers as opposed to private sector job creators, because they all burden the taxpayer and the people who are supposed to employ the taxpayers.

Now that you have some context, the next quote, the quote that really caught my eye, will make a lot more sense.

“While we believe that good is something to be invented, we demand of our rulers such qualities as ‘vision’, ‘dynamism’, ‘creativity’, and the like. If we returned to the objective view we should demand qualities much rarer, and much more beneficial – virtue, knowledge, diligence and skill. ‘Vision’ is for sale, or claims to be for sale, everywhere. But give me a man who will do a day’s work for a day’s pay, who will refuse bribes, who will not make up his facts, and who has learned his job.”

-C.S. Lewis

Sadly, many of our rulers lack virtue, knowledge, diligence and skill. They have not done a day’s work for a day’s pay in quite some time, they all take bribes and make up their facts. This is not a ridiculous call to vote everyone out of office, this is a call to vote people in that know why America is great, and that is as Dennis Prager put it in his latest column, because with a small state the “individual can be free and great.”

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