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Time to fill up this month’s series of three posts looking at C.S. Lewis quotes through the prism of lockdown. (First and second posts here.) The last post left off with brief thoughts on differentiating good and evil. This one explores the use of the good to defeat evil, centering in reverse order on three cornerstones of secular society in this C.S. Lewis quote:
A community “has no higher end than to facilitate and safeguard the family, and friendship, and solitude.”
Lewis in this instance refers to solitude as the opposite of collectivism which seeks to replace individual thought and meditation with groupthink. He lived in a world where even should one escape society’s central planners, they were rarely alone thanks to the wireless. The world to him then was “starved for solitude, silence, and privacy”. To produce an Augustine or a Wordsworth necessitated freedom to think and meditate as they willed in solitude. Something to consider if we want our children educated to become creative, independent thinking adults and not irrational, dysfunctional conformists.
This friendship section touches on discussions we grapple with on Ricochet about interacting with friends who have become more markedly vocal in their Left-leaning views, what’s the best way to oppose the Left, etc. CS Lewis enjoyed the company of a close circle of friends (check out the John Batchelor Show podcast series on The Inklings if interested in knowing more). A few of his thoughts are enough to showcase his rich understanding of friendship:
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .
What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it…. Or at least, do you care about the same truth. The man who agrees with us that some question…is of great importance can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.
Lewis distinguishes between friends and companions with whom we share things in common, e.g., a common profession, studies, recreation, religion…a common country. What about those with whom we work, live in the same neighborhood, same country, who think they have the right or duty to tell another what they can or cannot think or say or do?
We’ve established in my two previous C.S. Lewis quote posts that tyrannically suppressing free will is a form of evil. Leftists thrive on everyone conforming to their ideology/policies, no dissent or inquiry allowed. If we want a country/world worth living in, those ideologies and policies must be defeated…not once, but continually. In some parts of the United States now Americans are reporting other Americans to the government for engaging in lawful work necessary to support their families, and people trying to buy food are being run out of grocery stores with empty carts by Americans for not wearing a mask. On the horizon are possible forced injections and having to show papers to prove your health status…anyone want to predict “voluntary” will not become required or lose your job?
Question is, how do we defeat Leftists? Part of the answer is to love them.
What?!#@ Yes, love them. Lewis notes, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” That soul and spirit require faith, hope, and love – especially love – to keep on keeping on. Beating the Leftist zeal without the use of soul-crushing tactics requires a stronger opposing force that will fuel, and keep re-fueling, for each and every battle. Love of family and close friends, love of freedom and country is love that sustains.
There is also a side bonus in that liberals who espouse Leftist ideas but have a common interest with us in matters of great import like freedom/free will can sometimes be convinced to also engage the Left in battle (e.g., Dave Rubin who was won over by the arguments of Larry Elder presented in a non-demeaning way). Not to mention the chaos and confusion when the little Leftist buggers encounter opposition determined to beat their backsides and an “I got nothin’ but love for ya, brother” attitude.
If loving someone who wouldn’t bat an eyelash at seeing you without a home or job, your friends and extended family equally reviled and ostracized seems a not only foolhardy, but also impossible task, consider C.S.
The heart never takes the place of the head: but it can, and should, obey it.
Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.
Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.
I’m not suggesting we have to like the sons-of-a-gun, or that we shouldn’t be smokin’ angry at the corruption and loss of freedoms we’ve experienced because of them. If we want to defeat Leftists without becoming them, I believe we need to love them. While we’re choosing to love them, fight like the dickens to defeat their bad actions/ideas/policies that crush free will. Their and our ultimate good require both.
Some of the most encouraging words I hear these days/weeks during lockdown are from families who have re-discovered how much they like and miss being together. Family is the oldest, most important human institution. Before the Church, governments and nations, universities and colleges and all learning centers, before everything devised and created by mankind was the family. Family is the foundation of all society; strong, vibrant societies require strong, vibrant families. To C.S. Lewis,
The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career.
Family is the earliest and most important source of education. Good, moral values taught early in the home, reinforced through the years by word and example are an antidote to the Left’s indoctrination method used to crank out young activists like Greta Thunberg and David Hogg. Lewis notes a link between education and good/evil:
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
He considered family togetherness a source of great joy.
The sun looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal.
He agreed with Samuel Johnson that to be happy at home is the end of all human endeavor. Johnson’s full quote:
To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.
Those who for whatever reason do not have family need not feel left out. You can make your own family.
I’d like to wrap up these posts with a small exercise. Try to envision a community, state, nation, world filled with such families. Picture friendships forged through caring about common important truths, children growing into creative, thinking adults. Hard to envision evil getting a toehold and prospering, isn’t it?
The best thing we can do as individuals to promote good and defeat evil in this world is to ensure everything else is done to facilitate and safeguard the family, friendship, and solitude.Published in