“It may be asked whether, faint as the hope is of abolishing war by Pacifism, there is any other hope. But the question belongs to a mode of thought which I find quite alien to me. It consists in assuming that the great permanent miseries in human life must be curable if only we can find the right cure; and it then proceeds by elimination and concludes that whatever is left, however unlikely to prove a cure, must nevertheless do so. Hence the fanaticism of Marxists, Freudians, Eugenists, Spiritualists, Douglasites, Federal Unionists, Vegetarians, and all the rest. But I have received no assurance that anything we can do will eradicate suffering. I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away with limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis, not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace. I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.” – C. S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory
I suppose I don’t have a whole lot to add to the quote.
I will note briefly that it points to the main distinction between the Christian and Progressive worldviews. The Christian sees the world as fallen, broken, desperately in need of a savior. Attempts to find peace, harmony, redemption, or salvation through popular movements are doomed to fail. Those offers exist only to individuals, and to each through Christ. Even if all men on the earth became Christians, we still would face the struggles of our fallen and sinful nature.
The progressive worldview is that we can indeed overcome evil in this life. That enough focus, energy, intelligence, and commitment to the right programs will indeed lead to peace and harmony for all. That the ills of the world are reactions to bad behaviors of others – if we could but eliminate the first bad behavior the second wouldn’t exist. Poverty causes crime. Despair causes fanaticism. Sexual repression causes lust. Frustration, anxiety, and disillusionment lead to substance abuse. If we could just rid ourselves of the former, the latter would disappear.
It’s actually quite a clever little game. As progressive policies continually fail to deliver, their advocates can always claim that we just haven’t done enough. A little more, and we’ll get over the hump.
I am in violent agreement with Lewis, “the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away with limited objectives.” I want to see government policies that outlaw the unnecessary cessation of unborn human life. But I also know how to try to impact individual lives, trying to save individual babies. I want to see a United States uninfected by drug abuse. But the war on drugs is a massive failure, and I think we’re all better off making a difference in somebody’s life, not trying to fix the whole thing at once by fiat. I’d love to see global governments unite to crack down on human trafficking and the sex trade. But I also know that there are ways to help individuals now without waiting for the comprehensive solution.
We can do meaningful good today. We can impact lives today. We can change somebody’s future today.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” – 2 Cor 6:2