I Must Have Made A Mistake And Woke Up In a Dictatorship

Makes you wonder what these tin pot would be dictators would be doing if we faced a real national emergency.  CS Lewis nailed it:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

More to explorer

9 Comments

  1. We are entering the ‘recommended’ stage. I feel a prisoner in my own home with the Declaration and Constitution having been trampled on as never before.

  2. We’ve had weeks of “masks do very little to protect you or anyone else from infection. To the extent that they do work, they should be reserved for doctors and emergency workers. If you wear a mask, you are a selfish, paranoid, monster.”

    And very quickly we are entering the phase where anyone who DOESN’T wear a mask will be a monster.

    This is the “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia” phase.

  3. I think the Official Word ™ on masks is that there are so many asymptotic carriers of the virus that masks now keep you from spreading it, if you happen to be sick and don’t know it.

    Unofficial Word ™ is that the old word was always bull because there weren’t enough masks to go around and the Medical Powers the Be (who seem to be running the show as of now) wanted to keep the supply for medical workers.

    The Unofficial Word ™ seems to be corroborated by the Official Word ™ that all these mitigation efforts forced upon us by the Medical Powers that Be are so medical workers don’t get overloaded and overwhelmed by the disease by “bending the curve.” This, somehow, is so important that it justified putting the entire economy and all of our lives into a medical induced coma.

  4. We are all in the army now: obedience or punishment. The problem is many folks do not take Covid-19 seriously as the powers that be want to make it out.

    I think this approach would make more sense as to not do permanent damage to the culture and the economy. Don’t send anyone checks from the gov’ment. Tell sick folks to stay home. Put everyone else in masks and send them back to work and open all the Churches.. Or something along those lines.

  5. I think if we can get ample personal protective equipment in the pipeline, maintain our distance in public places, and have the elderly and their housemates self-quarantine for periods of time, we might be able to re-open the general run of businesses, theatres and the like excepted. Bars and restaurants could re-open with light seating. One thing we could do is re-open the schools, with employees over 60 on furlough. The young aren’t in severe danger and, for the most part, neither are their parents. It’s grandma that’s in danger.

  6. “It’s grandma that’s in danger.”

    Who often act as babysitters for kids out of school when both parents work. Closing the schools was completely ludicrous unless the purpose was to increase hysteria and give a paid vacation to teacher union members.

  7. The actual essay for the quote is The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment. (The book is correct, and I think that’s the only place it was printed, but you can’t find the bleepin’ essay for context with just the book unless you FIND a copy.)

    I’m mildly obnoxious, since I got the bee in my bonnet to hunt it down, about giving the context. Frequently, it’s used in ways the author didn’t intend.
    It’s pretty applicable in this case, though.

    Here’s the context leading up to the quote, including the first sentence of the quoted paragraph:
    It may be said that by the continued use of the word punishment and the use of the verb ‘inflict’ I am misrepresenting Humanitarians. They are not punishing, not inflicting, only healing. But do not let us be deceived by a name. To be taken without consent from my home and friends; to lose my liberty; to undergo all those assaults on my personality which modern psychotherapy knows how to deliver; to be re-made after some pattern of ‘normality’ hatched in a Vienese laboratory to which I never professed allegiance; to know that this process will never end until either my captors hav succeeded or I grown wise enough to cheat them with apparent success—who cares whether this is called Punishment or not? That it includes most of the elements for which any punishment is feared—shame, exile, bondage, and years eaten by the locust—is obvious. Only enormous ill-desert could justify it; but ill-desert is the very conception which the Humanitarian theory has thrown overboard.

    If we turn from the curative to the deterrent justification of punishment we shall find the new theory even more alarming. When you punish a man in terrorem, make of him an ‘example’ to others, you are admittedly using him as a means to an end; someone else’s end. This, in itself, would be a very wicked thing to do. On the classical theory of Punishment it was of course justified on the ground that the man deserved it. That was assumed to be established before any question of ‘making him an example arose’ arose. You then, as the saying is, killed two birds with one stone; in the process of giving him what he deserved you set an example to others. But take away desert and the whole morality of the punishment disappears. Why, in Heaven’s name, am I to be sacrificed to the good of society in this way?—unless, of course, I deserve it.

    But that is not the worst. If the justification of exemplary punishment is not to be based on dessert but solely on its efficacy as a deterrent, it is not absolutely necessary that the man we punish should even have committed the crime. The deterrent effect demands that the public should draw the moral, ‘If we do such an act we shall suffer like that man.’ The punishment of a man actually guilty whom the public think innocent will not have the desired effect; the punishment of a man actually innocent will, provided the public think him guilty. But every modern State has powers which make it easy to fake a trial. When a victim is urgently needed for exemplary purposes and a guilty victim cannot be found, all the purposes of deterrence will be equally served by the punishment (call it ‘cure’ if you prefer0 of an innocent victim, provided that the public can be cheated into thinking him will be so wicked. The punishment of an innocent, that is , an undeserving, man is wicked only if we grant the traditional view that righteous punishment means deserved punishment. Once we have abandoned that criterion, all punishments have to be justified, if at all, on other grounds that have nothing to do with desert. Where the punishment of the innocent can be justified on those grounds (and it could in some cases be justified as a deterrent) it will be no less moral than any other punishment. Any distaste for it on the part of the Humanitarian will be merely a hang-over from the Retributive theory.

    It is, indeed, important to notice that my argument so far supposes no evil intentions on the part of the Humanitarian and considers only what is involved in the logic of his position.

    Then the quote goes here, and the paragraph continues:
    They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better’, is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.

    In reality, however, we must face the possibility of bad rulers armed with a Humanitarian theory of punishment. A great many popular blue prints for a Christian society are merely what the Elizabethans called ‘eggs in moonshine’ because they assume that the whole society is Christian or that the Christians are in control. This is not so in most contemporary States. Even if it were, our rulers would still be fallen men, and, therefore neither very wise nor very good. As it is, they will usually be unbelievers. And since wisdom and virtue are not the only or the commonest qualifications for a place in the government, they will not often be even the best unbelievers.

    That last line, especially…. shudder

  8. Closing the schools makes sense, when combined with the reality that schools actively punish those who keep a sick kid home.

    The lowest impact method would be a blanket order that any family can keep a kid home because they feel the kid may be sick or vulnerable.
    Imagine the screams for that….

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: