Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Laughing At Honor

"We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."

This is a well known C.S. Lewis quote taken from "The Abolition Of Man" published in 1943. In this book Lewis exhibited incredible foresight into the root of the problems that would be plaguing coming generations. As a member of British academia he realized that the seeds that were being sewn there would soon go out into the world and produce fruit, one of which was the death of honor.

I personally always prefered the quote that immediately followed:

"We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful."

This was a favorite because I could understand it. It wasn't until I began to study Lewis that I realized the high view he held of the whole concept of honor, and worse yet, the extent to which it had died in our current culture. This death had, unbeknownst to me, rendered the first quote nearly meaningless. I had never seen anyone laugh at honor; or perhaps I'd not realized it when they did so.

Providence has given us a wonderful example of "laughing at honor". It involves the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and a statement of hers regarding "legislating from the bench". She and those present well demonstrated the level of honor they held for "the law" of our land that she will be expected to "interpret". I can imagine similar laughter in living rooms across America when Obama said that marriage should be between a man and a woman; laughter that quickly evaporated when repeated by a politically powerless contestant in a beauty pageant.

This is only 26 seconds. I know you've probably already seen it, but go ahead and watch it again with Lewis's quote in mind.

To be sure, these people who think that the "law" and the "constitution" should be putty in their hands, do so with the best of intentions for helping the poor and the common folk. This brings us to one last worthy quote by C.S. Lewis :

"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."

"God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics"


Kristi said...

I love C.S. Lewis. A master thinker.

Nancy said...

Psalm 37:13 NIV

but the Lord laughs at the wicked,for he knows their day is coming.