American political institutions presuppose certain convictions about human nature, the worth and prerogatives of persons, the meaning of life, the distinction between right and wrong, and the destiny of the individual. The Colonists came to their understanding of these matters as heirs of the intellectual and religious heritage of Christendom—the culture whose shaping forces ‘sprang from ancient Israel, Greece, and Rome.
David Theroux, Founder and President of the Independent Institute, President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California, and friend of LibertarianChristians.com has recently published a three-part series on the political philosophy of C.S. Lewis entitled “C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and Statism.” I highly recommend these articles for your reading (see the links following my synopsis).
Lewis, of course, is well-respected among Christians for his excellent stories and compelling explication of theology. Turns out he also favored liberty as a defining characteristic of civilized society. He reaches this conclusion through a consistent application of natural law.
Moreover, he does not see the State as a friend to liberty. The state uses a form of moral relativism – that the ends of “protection,” for instance, justify the means of aggression – to guide its actions. Collectivism ultimately leads to all forms of oppression. Classical individualism is the answer.
Lewis clearly appreciates science, but has a great disdain for scientism (using the positivist method of natural science as the ultimate analysis tool for man). He understood that governments could “pull the wool over the people’s eyes” by appealing to “science” for their oppressive ends. “Now I dread specialists in power because they are specialists speaking outside their special subjects. Let scientists tell us about science. But government involves questions about the good for man, and justice, and what things are worth having at what price; and on these a scientific training gives a man’s opinion no added value.” Such policies are rooted in the pursuit of power, which Lewis absolutely despised. All power and glory belong to God alone, not the State.
I will be very curious to hear what my friend Jaired thinks about these articles. He knows Lewis’s writings better than I do, so I’m sure he will have something to say in response.
Many thanks to Mr. Theroux for his excellent work. Now if only we can get him to write something special for LCC sometime… :-D