Tag Archives: humanitarian

C S Lewis on Humanitarians in Power

8 Feb

Some 60-70 years ago, in an essay titled, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, C. S. Lewis, Christian apologist extraordinaire, wrote a passage that appears considerably more relevant today than in his own time.  Lewis wrote:

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It may 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.  Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult.  To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and to be 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.”

I believe this can rest without my further comment.

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