“We now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell.” –C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
A masterful piece of religious prose disguised as satire, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is a series of messages from senior devil Screwtape to his protégé Wormwood on how best to corrupt mortals. Originally released during World War II, its tight 175 pages provide charming, timeless wisdom.
In an addendum released shortly before the author’s death in 1963 – Screwtape Proposes a Toast– Lewis pivots from dispensing universal wisdom to directly criticizing social trends of his day, trends which have gone from mere whispers on college campuses 60 years ago to become orthodoxy with the power of law today. Reading it today, it feels like the author was more prophet than professor.
In the 15-page essay the devil Screwtape outlines how the term democracy can be warped into destroying excellence, first in the halls of education then to society at large to make sure everyone stays “equal.”
“Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose,” Screwtape tells his fellow devils. “The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be ‘undemocratic.’”
You can read the entire essay here: