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CS Lewis on the type of person who might work for the EU

CS Lewis always had a keen eye for social snobbery and self-seeking toadies (his word), and his essays are a pleasure to read. In “Connivance” (Reflections on the Psalms, 1958) he describes exactly the type of man who would work for the EU –

He had been a strict socialist at Oxford. Everything ought to be run by the State; private enterprise and independent professions were for him the great evil. He then went away and became a schoolmaster. After about ten years of that he came to see me. He said his political views had been wholly reversed. You never heard a fuller recantation. He now saw that State interference was fatal. What had converted him was his experience as a schoolmaster of the Ministry of Education – a set of ignorant meddlers armed with insufferable powers to pester, hamper and interrupt the work of real, practical teachers who knew the subjects they taught, who knew boys, parents, and all the real conditions of their work. It makes no difference to the point of the story whether you agree with his view of the Ministry; the important thing is that he held that view. For the real point of the story, and of his visit, when it came, nearly took my breath away. Thinking thus, he had come to see whether I had any influence which might help him to get a job in the Ministry of Education.

Here is the perfect band-wagoner. Immediately on the decision “This is a revolting tyranny”, follows the question “How can I as quickly as possible cease to be one of the victims and become one of the tyrants?”

That was the problem in 1958, and in 1538, and it is the problem today. There are always people who want to be in charge and get well paid for it. They think of themselves as masters, not servants. In addition, because they do not wish to see themselves as hirelings, tyrannizing over others for the sake of their paycheck and their expenses, they adopt a completely self-righteous ideology that persuades them they are doing their tyrannical work for your own good. They are dangerous.


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