Screwtape Proposes a Toast. CS Lewis. Screwtape Proposes a Toast can be summed up in 3 general sections. • The Corruption of the Educational System • The National Dilemma • The Hypocrisy of Religion.
“All is summed up in the prayer which a young female human is said to have uttered recently: ‘O God, make me a normal twentieth century girl!’ Thanks to our labours, this will mean increasingly: ‘Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite.’”Corrupted Education
“I have said that to secure the damnation of these little souls, these creatures that have almost ceased to be individual, is a laborious and tricky work. But if proper pains and skill are expended, you can be fairly confident of the result. 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 capable, you see, of real repentance. They are conscious of real guilt. 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.”
“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.”National Dilemma
“All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by ‘Religion’ ever vanishes from the Earth. It can still send us the truly delicious sins. Nowhere do we tempt so successfully as on the very steps of the altar.”Religious Hypocrisy
What I want to fix your attention on is the vast overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence -- moral, cultural, social or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how 'democracy' (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient dictatorships, and by the same methods? The basic proposal 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.' Children who are fit to proceed may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT. We may reasonably hope for the virtual abolition of education when 'I'm as good as you' has fully had its way. All incentives to learn and all penalties for not learning will vanish. The few who might want to learn will be prevented; who are they to overtop their fellows? And anyway, the teachers -- or should I say nurses? -- will be far too busy reassuring the dunces and patting them on the back to waste any time on real teaching. We shall no longer have to plan and toil to spread imperturbable conceit and incurable ignorance among men.
It’s amazing how times have changed isn’t it? How great it is that all of humanity has developed what we thought was impossible! No longer does your patient have to wait for anything but himself, everything is disposable! If he doesn’t like his shirt, he’ll get a new one! If he doesn’t like his friends, he’ll find new ones! If he doesn’t like his wife, he’ll find a new one! Even your patient’s church can be replaced by an exact replica, but with a new name and a rock-concert stage in the sanctuary.
I now come to you with a plan of destruction, and a small reward for your success. We no longer have to create the temptations, for the success of your fellow graduates has set a stage for your patient’s corruption. I want you to focus on the main stream wonderings of no absolute truth; your patient has been blinded by the enemy so far, but let him wonder; let him see that beam of light. He will not look into it for the enemy has his hand. All you are to do is let a tiny crack of light into his mind. All we need is one little foot-hold, a key to the back-door of his mind.Auxiliary Letter
Do not bother with your patient’s eagerness for Sundays. For our lord even wakes up with a smile on the enemy’s day. Watch your patient closely, he is in the house of the enemy for one hour, but I want you to notice his actions before and after the enemy’s time for our opportunity is at this time. Your patient is bombarded with main stream media, mainly sports on this day. He sits on his chair watching the beloved sports-castors argue nonsense about the gods that will participate in the day’s games. From breakfast to the last possible second he can watch without making his family late for church; this brings a natural anticipation of ending the enemy’s dreadful hour. He will rush back home without one minute of reflection on the service and resume his position of watching the games for the remainder of the day.
I also would like to let you in on a little secret playful time me and my fellow tempters had during my temptership on earth. As the house of the enemy grows, so does the fun. I mentioned to you the urgency of your patient to return home and to watch those sporting events. A great opportunity to play on this is the time when all of our patients are trying to drive their overly sized cars out of the parking lot. Make bets with your fellow tempters on who’s patient will win, this will create outrage among the patients, behind the wheel of a car they are absent of all the enemy has to offer. This gives the absolute greatest chance for our success, those visiting and/or unsure of the enemy’s people will see our patients road-rage in the parking lot his own house! How easy can our job get as we work so close to the enemy?
Your affectionate uncle,
"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization-these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit-immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”– The Weight of GloryC.S. Lewis Song