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John Livingston

Never be Tame

C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite Christian apologetics. Probably best known for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. In a collection of essays first printed in 1958 under the title “God in The Dock”, he warns us how science and good intentions can be perverted by the State. Hitler’s scientific justification for the Holocaust and the atheism of Stalin justifying genocide allows for the leveraging of evil in the name of progress. “The tendency of people to sell themselves into slavery for the promise of having our physical needs taken care of materially with the willingness of those in power to promise us everything”, is exactly how government inserted itself into the lives of citizens during the pandemic and is the bases for government inserting themselves into our lives for other reasons—global warming is just one other example. C. S. Lewis has proven to be a modern-day prophet. He points out that the expansion of the welfare state in the name of progressivism is regressive as the people move backwards from liberty to totalitarianism. Dependence today, becomes slavery tomorrow. Government has a vested interest in creating a State of dependency, because with dependency comes control, and coercive control comes power.

Lewis defines two forces that are determining our futures and the future of our children. One is “science’, and this can be used as a force for good or evil. The second is the change in the relationship between government and people. “The classical political theory with its Stoical, Judeo Christian, and juristic key conceptions (natural law, the value and sanctity of individual life, and the rights of individuals) has died”. The modern State no longer exists to protect our rights, but rather to make us good. They want to make us “woke”. We now have rulers not leaders. We are “now wards, pupils, or domestic animals—ruled by masters”—some evil, some kind. And they define what is “good”. They define what is bigotry or racist. They define a “social justice, not a Biblical justice. “Communal sin” demands communal confession. “Society can mend, remake, and unmake men at it’s pleasure”—Lewis. Some try to define our faith as a delusion or a neurosis—how could they know? “If my neurosis becomes a threat to the government or the “experts” what is to prevent them from prescribing a cure?—Their cure!

Freedom and economic independence are dependent on each other. Both require an educated mind not controlled by government. During the pandemic “specialists’ became our rulers. They should have informed us about the “science”. Technology became a tool for a planned society. Science should have stayed in its own lane. Government should have been the forum to inform. How to proceed economically and socially is a matter for individuals to decide. Science should have been involved in providing the data and informing individuals about many possible mitigation solutions. Government should have concerned itself with helping individuals to make judgements about how to take care of themselves and their families. The price to be paid and the value of the various means by which we can protect ourselves and our families are not the decisions to be made by “technocrats” or government bureaucrats. Their job is to protect our liberty.

In his critique of Lewis’s, THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE William H. Douglas sums up Lewis’s theology and political philosophy:

In The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe the youngest of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, is frightened when she discovers that Aslan, the true king that they need to see to get back home, is a lion. After all, lions can gobble up a person with little to no effort on its part, especially a little girl. This exchange is between Lucy and Ms. Beaver:

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (Pg. 42)

Then later after the victory over the White Witch:

But amidst all these rejoicings Aslan himself quietly slipped away. And when the Kings and Queens noticed that he wasn’t there they said nothing about it. For Mr. Beaver had warned them, “He’ll be coming and going,” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild,’ you know. Not like a tame lion.” (pg. 97)

Aslan is not controlled, not by men, not by governments, not by any powers above the world or any far below it. He is neither safe nor tame, but he is good and for Lewis those ideas cannot be separated. To be good, we must be able to choose who we will be and how we will live. Likewise, the opposite is true. To be controlled, to be owned, to be told what to think and how to act by those in power, to be tame, that isn’t only a sign of weakness. It is the final corruption as it can only come by surrendering to another the heart, mind, and liberties given you by God, often in exchange for comfort and safety. To be tamed is to trade our ability to be good for the assurance that we are safe. In other words, instead of being like Aslan we become a nation, a world, full of Edmunds, trading our fortunes and destines as Kings and Queens for a little Turkish Delight and a pat on the head from those in power. It is a betrayal of everything we could be for the lowest urges of what we are. Go forth. Be brave. Be strong. Be good. But never be tame.

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