Here are some quotes I have collected from C S Lewis on the topic of tyranny and war. I found some of them quite surprising and thought provoking.
That is the key to history. Terrific energy is expended — civilizations are built up — excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top, and then it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down.
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
War creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.
A man may have to die for our country: but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself.
'Useful,' and 'necessity' was always 'the tyrant's plea'.
If war is ever lawful, then peace is sometimes sinful.
Do not waste time bothering whether you "love" your neighbor; act as if you did.
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, "All right, then, have it your way”
One thought on “C S Lewis on Tyranny and War”
He was a wise man, and no shirker, in terms of his own national patriotism. So his words carry added weight.