13 November 2013

The Timelessness of C.S. Lewis: 'tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive'

Photo Cred: Sigurdur Jonsson's flickr
Via My Old Man, from C.S. Lewis's essay anthology "God in the Dock" (1948):

My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. 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.
 (Emphasis added)

It's tough to make common cause with Progressives, for the libertarian ends I support (for instance, to legalize marijuana), when they fail to see any problem with the i-legalizing of things like soda over a certain size, or banning trans fats.

It's not helped by certain of my progressive friends, who call themselves libertarians (for contrarian, not principled, reasons), who believe their support for pot legalization and their 'why can't we all just marry who we love' attitude towards same sex marriage makes them libertarians.

Their position on these issues is buttressed by their support for an out and out expansion of the nanny state--especially Obamacare.

When confronted with the inconsistency of their position on these and other issues of the day, they (I kid you not) tell me, 'well, Obamacare is [editorial insert: not yet] as bad as the Iraq War, so there.'

These are the people who elected Barack Obama to a second term.

Sorry, buddy, wanting to be able to smoke your pot legally and thinking that your friends ought to be able to get gay married does not make you a libertarian--at least, not when you also think government should expand its services and increase taxes to support that growth.

That just makes you a liberal. Or a progressive. Which label you prefer makes no difference to me.