You never know where you’ll find your next piece of intelligence.
It’s like walking along a beach and coming across a well-worn piece of purple sea glass. It’s one of life’s little treasures.
Inference reading—reading as much as you possibly can about anything and everything—is a lot like that.
Which is how I found myself thinking about the direction of the Democratic Party and ‘democracy’ after reading one of my son’s summer reading books.
In The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Uncle Screwtape works for the devil.
In letters to his nephew Wormwood, he writes about turning humans or patients to the underworld’s way of thinking.
“You should always try to make the patient abandon the people or food or books he really likes in favor of the ‘best’ people, the ‘right’ food, the ‘important’ books,” explains Uncle Screwtape.
“Let him do anything but act,” he continues.
“As one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence—moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how Democracy (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods? You remember how one of the Greek Dictators (they called them ‘tyrants’ then) sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy into a field of corn and there he nicked off with his cane the top of every stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level. The moral was plain. Allow no pre-eminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser, or better, or more famous, or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level; all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All Equals. Thus Tyrants could practice, in a sense, ‘democracy’. But now ‘democracy’ can do the same work without any other tyranny than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite the tops off the big ones. The big ones are beginning to bite off their own in the desire to Be Like Stalks.
It’s a stark reminder that in the founding of our Republic, the founders were not seeking a ‘democracy’ for they understood far too well what Tyrants will do with it.