Yesterday’s post offered some insightful analysis by C. S. Lewis on the dangers of putting the government in charge of everything in our lives. That same essay, which he wrote in 1958, goes on to issue further warnings. I couldn’t contain them all in one post, so I decided to carry his thoughts over to today also. He writes of freedom and its necessary corollary—an education free from government control:
I believe a man is happier, and happy in a richer way, if he has “the freeborn mind.” But I doubt whether he can have this without economic independence, which the new society is abolishing. For economic independence allows an education not controlled by the Government; and in adult life it is the man who needs, and asks, nothing of Government who can criticise its acts and snap his fingers at its ideology.
If one is dependent on the government for his sustenance, he is not free and cannot criticize it because he depends on it. He becomes trapped in its ideology. Such a person never reaches maturity:
Again, the new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best.
This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend.
I see that today, most spectacularly in the global warming/climate change agenda. Politicians don’t really know much about this issue; they simply follow the lead of those who claim they know best. Lewis then takes it to the global level:
We have on the one hand a desperate need; hunger, sickness, and the dread of war. We have, on the other, the conception of something that might meet it: omnicompetent global technocracy. Are not these the ideal opportunity for enslavement? This is how it has entered before; a desperate need (real or apparent) in the one party, a power (real or apparent) to relieve it, in the other. In the ancient world individuals have sold themselves as slaves, in order to eat. So in society.
Here’s the decision before us: will our fears lead us to sell our very souls to enslavement to government power? If we do, Lewis raises another pertinent question:
What assurance have we that our masters will or can keep the promise which induced us to sell ourselves? Let us not be deceived by phrases about “Man taking charge of his own destiny.” All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of the others. They will be simply men; none perfect; some greedy, cruel, and dishonest.
The more completely we are planned, the more powerful they will be. Have we discovered some new reason why, this time, power should not corrupt as it has done before?
How far along this path are we in this country? The last two presidential elections give evidence that we are indeed on this path. Will we come to our senses? The future is not fixed. That fateful decision still awaits us.