With Apologies to CSL

 

MY DEAR WORMWOOD,

A new millennium is upon us, nephew, and if I have failed to respond to your many requests for direction and advice, it is only because pressing matters here have consumed my attention. The simple fact is that Hell is bursting at the seams. We who are privileged to work in the Lowerarchy were caught completely unprepared for the inrush of souls. They are “stacked like cordwood,” as a fellow administrator amusingly put it; we literally trip over them as we go about our work. Though Our Father Below is the embodiment of wisdom, even he failed to anticipate the windfall the 20th century delivered us.

Your own contributions, dear nephew, were not inconsiderable, and I take some small pride in having shepherded you through your earliest efforts and thus contributed doubly, through your exertions and my own, to our shared accomplishment. You have received much favorable notice here Below, and that attention now brings to you a new opportunity which, with my guidance, I am sure you will fulfill with the same energy and commitment as you previously brought to more modest undertakings.

Hell, as I have noted, is brimming with souls; we simply have no room for more. This is a happy circumstance that nonetheless poses a dilemma, one that we must resolve promptly and to the satisfaction of Our Father Below.

To that end, we have decided to bring about Hell on Earth.

Of course, it has long been our ambition to achieve this in a figurative sense, the torment of the patient being both a satisfying and a productive achievement. Man can be either strengthened or enervated by strife, and we have endeavored to create circumstances that would contribute to the weakening of both body and spirit, the two being peculiarly linked in mortals. But our interest now is in a more literal transformation: Hell has no vacancies, and so our aim is to make Earth as much like Hell as practicable, that it might serve as a bivouac for the damned and afford us time to prepare more permanent accommodations here Below.

Nephew, we have a challenging task ahead. Earth’s trajectory is decidedly unfriendly to our interests: The world is growing richer, that liberty which lifts nations and peoples from the mean striving of crushing poverty is everywhere taking root, and within the prosperous West, the gloriously dehumanizing vice of racism, so fruitful to our earliest recruitment efforts, is at its nadir. Earth is less amenable to our current purposes than at any time in man’s flawed and tragic history.

Nonetheless there is hope for change. I have given this much thought and write to you now to advise you how best to bring about the needed transformation.

Firstly, we must partition the population into mutually antagonistic factions. In times of want this is easy; in these times of plenty, more creativity will be required. I advise you to rekindle racial tension, but to do so under a noble pretext: Make a virtue of division. Let feelings of moral superiority prompt some to fashion new theories that separate men with trivial distinctions, so that they come to see it as a virtue to impose what was once understood to be a sinful division. Kindle in the simple and the lazy the belief that hatred of difference is the deeply ingrained and undeniable condition of every man. Fan the spark of guilt and resentment that must inevitably follow, until you have re-established the inferno of racism and segregation, and men once again rate pigment above character in the measure of their fellows.

If this sounds far-fetched, it is only because you underestimate the perverse satisfaction many derive from leveling unfounded accusations of moral inferiority against their fellow man and in claiming the mantle of victimhood for themselves. Trust me in this, nephew: If once you can couch such division in terms of refined sensitivities and a striving for justice — however baseless such a perception may be — you will have sown the seeds of righteous racial division.

Secondly, it is essential that we destroy the prosperity that has of late become widespread and that allows the vast majority in the West to provide for themselves and, worse, show charity to the less fortunate. This prosperity threatens to infect the world, and to subdue the natural meanness and desperate striving upon which so much depends. Comfort blunts the resentment and envy that have long served us well.

You may well wonder how we will subvert the engine of wealth creation that their vaunted liberty of trade, with its mysterious and unguided yet mutually beneficial exchanges, represents. The answer is simple: Reinvigorate the failed theories of the past. Man suffered under collectivism by the billions throughout the 20th century, but the lessons of Western prosperity spread despite our best efforts to keep it in check; the rising wealth of Earth’s most miserable is the sad evidence of that truth. But there are those in the West who, despite their own experience and education, are consumed by their own self-importance and lack both wisdom and humility. They will, with but gentle prodding, once again champion the most destructive collectivist ideas of the past century. Encourage them, dear nephew.

In particular, infect the young in their institutions of higher learning, encouraging them to remain both unreachable in their ignorance and impervious in their indignation. As is true of racism, so too can the toxic ideas of collectivism be reinvigorated and given new respectability.

I know it sounds mad, but have faith in your uncle who, after all, has seen more than you and knows of what he speaks.

Finally, and most importantly, make a virtue of fear. I cannot emphasize this too much: Cowardice is always our ally, and never more so than when it wears the garb of responsibility and prudence. Fully half of these pitiful creatures will embrace fear as if it were a moral imperative and will badger and berate those less fearful than themselves until the latter either succumb to senseless terror or, almost as useful to us, falsely adopt the crabbed and scurrying behavior of their fellows and so cripple themselves in an effort to comply with the expectations of their weakest members.

That will be enough, dear nephew, to bring about Hell on Earth. Give resentment and division along trivial lines the appearance of enlightenment, fuel their resentment and envy so that they ignorantly embrace the most obvious errors of their past and so destroy their current prosperity, and encourage them to see safety as the greatest good and fear as the virtue that secures it. Encourage these things, and their flawed nature will do the rest.

I can anticipate your objection, nephew. Won’t a sensible majority of their fellows discourage such madness, you ask? No. They are too comfortable, fat from their prosperity and distracted by their toys and pleasures. They have wandered from their faith, forgotten the Enemy and the demands He placed on their conduct, and are convinced that comfort and security will always be within easy reach. They have entrusted too many of their duties to untrustworthy institutions, to their governments and their halls of learning. They no longer raise their own children. It will take little finesse on your part to accomplish your mission without rousing the majority from its slumber. Exercise the least bit of caution, avoid moving too quickly, and your success is assured.

I have faith in you, nephew, and await reports of your progress. Until then, I remain,

Your affectionate uncle

SCREWTAPE

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  1. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    I hope lots of people like this so it becomes shareable. 

    • #1
  2. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Outstanding! 

    • #2
  3. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Exercise the least bit of caution, avoid moving too quickly, and your success is assured.

    I hope that this is all moving too quickly to be sustainable.

    • #3
  4. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    I don’t think CSL would expect an apology.  My guess is that he’d see it as a compliment.  

    • #4
  5. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Well done!

    • #5
  6. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Very well done! Even  the Lewis style.

    • #6
  7. hoowitts Coolidge
    hoowitts
    @hoowitts

    Great show Henry – Jack would find pleasure in revisions for modern times

    • #7