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“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 – full text available here – 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.’”

Screwtape espouses the “significant benefits” of “ungrading” decades before Brown University ever led this race to the bottom, saying:

“At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not.”

Easy to see echoes of Screwtape in the demands of progressive demagogues, like when Bernie Sanders insisted that everyone should go to college so we have “the best-educated workforce in the world” – willfully ignoring that an education void of rigor has no value at all. Screwtape all but uses the word “triggered!” to describe children in self-esteem first, outcomes last schools.

“Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma — Beelzebub, what a useful word! — by being left behind.” . . .

While liberal media outlets have been bemoaning the end of the middle class in America, they have been complicit in it by advancing agendas in the name of equity. A nation of dunces is far easier to rule over – especially a generation of snowflakes who were raised by teachers who thought gold stars for everyone are more important than As and Fs for some. Screwtape continues, with relevant hyperlinks inserted:

“For ‘democracy’ or the ‘democratic spirit’ (diabolical sense) leads to a nation without great men, a nation mainly of subliterates, full of the cocksureness which flattery breeds on ignorance, and quick to snarl or whimper at the first sign of criticism. And that is what Hell wishes every democratic people to be. For when such a nation meets in conflict a nation where children have been made to work at school, where talent is placed in high posts, and where the ignorant mass are allowed no say at all in public affairs, only one result is possible.” 

Screwtape hangs a lantern on all of this, saying, “It is our function to encourage the behaviour, the manners, the whole attitude of mind, which democracies naturally like and enjoy, because these are the very things which, if unchecked, will destroy democracy.”

Easy to see the echoes of this in the right to assemble having, irrefutably, descended into mob rule. Screwtape even notes that hell has “philological experts” intent on the “corruption of human language” – apparently hell has internships for leftist reporters who describe mob violence as “peaceful protests.” 

Screwtape’s whole toast is worth a read, and shouldn’t take more than half an hour, concluding with a beautiful throwaway line that Lewis couldn’t possibly have framed more perfectly:

“The great sinners seem easier to catch. But then they are incalculable. After you have played them for seventy years, the Enemy may snatch them from your claws in the seventy-first. … They are, if things take the wrong turn, as ready to defy the social pressures around them for the Enemy’s sake as they were to defy them for ours. It is in some ways more troublesome to track and swat an evasive wasp than to shoot, at close range, a wild elephant. But the elephant is more troublesome if you miss.” 

(Excerpt from Town Hall. Article by Jared Whitley. Photo: Canva.)

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April 7, 2021

Brilliant, on target, and frightening in its accuracy in depicting the Biden America (even though he is only the face of a much broader conspiracy with Satan). We must continue to pray for strength, keep counsel with the Holy Spirit, and remember to boldly profess that our mission is to profess for the glory of God above all.

Lorraine Casanelli
April 7, 2021

It was so many years ago that I read Screwtape Letters that I need to go back an reread it. C.S. Lewis was way ahead of the times with his insight. Praying that more folks will read this masterpiece and respond accordingly. God, protect us and our country from the enemies within.

Yvonne Pendleton
April 6, 2021

Read SCREWTAPE LETTERS&get an education.

Vickie Skelley
April 6, 2021

Having read the Screwtape Letter , in old English I may add, (yes showing off) it is one of the most anointed books on Satan and his minions how they strategize to bring mankind into Satan’s bondage. Btw, you can read it in regular language and I highly recommend it.

Jerry Jones
April 6, 2021

Writers with this insight, surely our LORD is in this, leads this! There have been those from even before we became a nation until this moment that are enemies of a free people. Prayer, turning evil ones out, understanding that they are evil, only evil, to strong Godly leaders to defeat these emissaries of darkness. Even so, LORD please see our plight and pity and save us.

April 6, 2021

Thank you for publishing this. When I read the Screw Tape Letters in college, I thought it was a great piece of creative writing. Now, I see it as prophetic essay coming true each and every day.

Jim Reed
April 6, 2021

There is waaaayyyyyy too much free thinking and intelligence in the insights C. S. Lewis gave us. I am
surprised this is still legal in our “free thinking” free society.

Please pray for a revival and/or A Great Awakening in the U.S.A. by the grace of God Almighty. Amen. This is our ONLY hope. Amen again. May “In God We Trust” become our National Motto again, so we may correct UP and not down.

April 6, 2021

Father God,
I cry out for Your glory (Your goodness, truth, and beauty) to be manifest in our families, our schools, our businesses, and our government.
Thank You for C.S. Lewis and all You accomplished through him. Raise up many more humble and wise people like him, and let their voices be heard.
Cause people to give heed to Your warnings and instruction.
Inspire each of us to strive for excellence in our work.
May all this be done in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Penni Bulten
April 6, 2021

This is why the Founders had no love lost for ‘pure’ democracy, regardless of their faith. Ben Franklin said “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner.” Others had similar views:

Father, help us both pray for your deliverance and post a guard by teaching our children about good government and principles taught in your word.

April 6, 2021

Father, thank you that no matter how bleak it looks, you still have a plan for America, especially the young people in universities that are being misguided and led astray. Let us all hold fast to our prayers and prepare for revival. Let us seek you and what you want from each of us to turn the tides on the direction the enemy is trying so hard to steer America. In Jesus Mighty Name!


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