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A Liberal Political Order: Medicine Not Food

“I [support democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people [embrace democracy] for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they're not true. Whenever their weakness is exposed, the people who prefer tyranny make capital out of the exposure. I find that they're not true without looking further than myself. I don't deserve a share in governing a hen-roost, much less a nation… Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters…

Legal and economic equality are absolutely necessary remedies for the Fall, and protection against cruelty

When equality is treated [as food rather than medicine], as an ideal, we begin to breed that stunted and envious sort of mind which hates all superiority… The man who cannot conceive a joyful and loyal obedience on the one hand, nor an unembarrassed and noble acceptance of that obedience on the other—the man who has never even wanted to kneel or to bow—is a prosaic barbarian. But it would be wicked folly to restore these old inequalities on the legal or external plane. Their proper place is elsewhere.

-C.S. Lewis (1943)

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