My favorite view is from the top of a mountain after a long hard run up. The air is clear, the view is vast and I feel like a conqueror; The perspective is unparalleled by any other. We, especially Americans, love to be on top of the world in many ways and in reality because of our freedoms we can strive to be top of our game. We can receive top honors, have the top paying job and possess top kind of earthy toys and wealth. In a democratic way, we want to be the best and we have the right soil and tools to do so.
How does our democratic society help make us into the “top-dog” great men and women we all so desire? Does it not provide us with that enabling opportunity to get an education, have wonderful social graces, instill in our hearts humility and respect for our heritage and forefather’s sacrifice in bringing so much to our footstool and teach us the necessity of hard work? Isn’t everyone entitled to be “top-dog” in America? Isn’t that what democracy is all about, entitlement? Or is it?
The French revolution tells us that Aristocratic behavior wasn’t conducive for the preservation of aristocracy. Perhaps our behavior towards democracy is the very thing that is not conducive to preserve her. If we believe that because we live in a land of the free and brave, we deserve everything that is owed to us such as equal rights, equal power, equal say, equal economic rights, equal education and equality for equalities sake in all things. Are the very principals of democracy demoralizing our nation….”For “democracy” or the ‘democratic spirit’ leads to a nation without great men, a nation mainly of sub literates, morally flaccid from lack of discipline in youth, full of the cocksureness which flattery breeds on ignorance, and soft from lifelong pampering. and that is what Hell wishes every democratic people to be. For when such a nation meets in conflict a nation where children have been made to work at school, where talent is placed in high posts, and where the ignorant mass are allowed no say at all in public affairs, only one result is possible.” C.S. Lewis
Is it prideful to want to be “top-dog”? Do we take advantage of our circumstances to help those around us? Are we grateful for the blessings we have of being in this great land with so many opportunities to share, volunteer and help those around us? Are we praying for ways we can lift the burdens and load of our fellow brothers and sisters of this great land? In short, are we humbled by the sheer kindness our good Lord and Father in Heaven have given us? If we are not continually checking and monitoring our heart’s desires, we may fall short of what the true meaning of democracy and loose its veracity and power which is vested in the people and our freely elected representatives.
C.S. Lewis wrote through ScrewTape, “What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence-moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty to notice how Democracy (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods? You remember how one of the Greek Dictators (they called them ‘tyrants’ then) sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy into a field of corn, and there he sniped off with his cane the top of every stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level. The moral was plain. Allow no preeminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser, or better, or more famous, or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level; all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus Tyrants could practice, in a sense, ‘democracy’. But now ‘democracy’ can do the same work without any other tyranny than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite the tops off the big ones. The big ones are beginning to bite off their own in their desire to Be Like Stalks.
In the promising land the spirit of I’m as good as you has already become something more than a generally social influence. It begins to work itself into their educational system. How far its operations there have gone at the present moment, I would not like to say with certainty. Nor does it matter. Once you have grasped the tendency, you can easily predict its future developments; especially as we ourselves will play our part in the developing. The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils. That would be ‘undemocratic’. These differences between the pupils. for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences- must be disguised. This can be done on various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children are are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing the things that children used to do in their spare time. Let them, for example, make mud-pies and call it modeling. But all the time there must be no faintest hint that they are inferior to the children who are at work.
ScrewTape continues to say, “It is our function to encourage the behavior, the manners, the whole attitude of mind, which democracies naturally like and enjoy, because these are the very things which, if unchecked, will destroy democracy. You would almost wonder that even humans don’t see it themselves.”
Let’s remain a humble people that we may preserve our freedoms and abilities to be “top-dog”, not biting off stalks of others nor our own but rather helping those around us get to the summit, have a vast and clear view and be the entire stalk God sees us all to be.