GUEST BLOG BY KARMEN FRISVOLD
In his 1942 satirical apologetics book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes from the point of view of a chief demon giving advice to a junior “tempter” on the very best ways to ensure the eternal damnation of his newly assigned human.
While explaining how to most effectively sow his human’s views about selfishness and charity into long term domestic hatred between him and his wife, the narrator encourages reinforcement of what, he believes, are the more natural tendencies of sexes:
A woman means by “unselfishness” chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others…Thus, while the woman thinks of doing good offices and the man of respecting other people’s rights, each sex, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.
This Monday on the Michael Medved Show—and just in time for the holidays and the Tax Deal passing overwhelmingly in the Senate—much of the discussion was devoted to debate about the “ugly green monster”: Greed. To no one’s surprise, we were inundated with callers from both sides of the aisle begging for the chance to berate the selfishness of their political counterparts on air.
And I couldn’t help but wonder…
A liberal means by “unselfishness” chiefly the government taking trouble for others; a conservative means the government not giving trouble to others…Thus, while the liberal thinks of the government doing good offices and the conservative of the government respecting other people’s rights, each ideology, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.
Domestic disillusionment, possibly; political partisanship, most definitely. Yet despite endless finger pointing, the foundation of each political ideology seems genuinely admirable: to help others, on one side, and to protect individual freedom, on the other. Where the liberal ideology fails is not in what ought to be done, but in who ought to do it—and at what cost.
A conservative means by “unselfishness” chiefly the individual taking trouble for others and the government not giving trouble to others… Thus, while the individual thinks of doing good offices, the government respects their right to do just that.
No matter how you slice it, a crushing tax burden, wasteful bureaucracy and ominous deficits limit the ability of individual Americans to use their time, talent and treasure efficiently, effectively and generously.
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