Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A note on C.S. Lewis

Terrence Moore reflects on C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man: "In my frequent encounters with teenagers, I very often find that the most moral ones find themselves on the defensive in our ’anything goes’ culture. Moral philosophy is therefore perhaps more needed today than it ever has been. Yet the standard way of studying philosophy does not necessarily meliorate today’s moral predicament. The method of reading one philosopher after another and identifying their various schools of thought (Stoicism, Epicureanism, Utilitarianism, etc.) only seems to support the relativists’ claim that even philosophers cannot agree on standards of virtue and vice.

The book that perhaps most successfully shows the necessity for objective moral truth written at a level young people can understand is C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man." Read on.  

Discussions - 1 Comment

Excellent work (as usual) by Mr Moore, however there is an incompleteness if we stop merely at Abolition of Man. As with most philospohies of morality (many of which are captured in the Lewis’ Tao), there must be a foundation on which the universe is layed. I dare say that Lewis’ Abolition of Man is not only a great starting point of moral philosophy, but it is a cause of an epistemic problem. Where does natural law derive itself from? Why is there a natural impulse to do justice or desire beauty? For that matter, why do we act against that natural impulse?

Lewis (and for that matter his friend Tolkein) had a keen understanding of this, and this figured prominently in his writings, and in particular his mythic writings. He were zeroed in on Platonic ideals. In fact, Plato’s cave is reworked by Lewis to become "The Shadowlands", which is a major metaphor that runs throughout Lewis work. But unlike Plato, Lewis knew the framework of the ideals and the Creator of those ideals. Lewis saw not only the shadow on the cave wall, but recognized from Whom the shadow was cast.

Perhaps such talk has the Falcon is tipping his wing as to his identity, but one of the great tradgedies of Western thought and education theory is that we lovingly accept Abolition of Man as canon, but do not take Lewis next logical step of Mere Christianity Book 1: Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe. It breaks my heart to see such great thinkers stop at the threshold of finite and infinite, unable or unwilling to pass into true Logres, even though your understanding of Christianity far surpasses that of many actual Christians, at least in intellectual knowledge. However, C.S. Lewis knew we are at war, and I recognize, (as would Lewis), that many here are still Men of the Old West, and would war against a common enemy-the sneering, unbelieving, morally bankrupt modern world.

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