Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lewis: an instrument of tyranny

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
    Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord

    It is better to take refuge in the LORD
    than to trust in man.
    —Psalm 118:8 (NIV)

    The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish. And when they are wicked, the Humanitarian theory of punishment will put in their hands a finer instrument of tyranny than wickedness ever had before. For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call ‘disease’ can be treated as crime, and compulsorily cured. It will be vain to plead that states of mind which displease the government need not always involve moral turpitude and do not therefore always deserve forfeiture of liberty. For our masters will not be using the concepts of Desert and Punishment but those of disease and cure. [Continued tomorrow]
    ... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, in God in the Dock [1970], ed. Walter Hooper, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1994, p. 292-293 (see the book)

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, may Your law prevail throughout the world.

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