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This paper was written by John G. West, Jr..

Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute


Included with the gracious permission of "Dr. Zeus", creator of "Into the Wardrobe", a popular website devoted to C.S. Lewis. The original online copy of this paper can be found here.

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Articles > The C.S. Lewis Archive > Finding the Permanent in the Political: C. S. Lewis as a Political Thinker

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[1] See C.S. Lewis, "Private Bates," in Present Concerns (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), p. 46.

[2] C. S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis, ed. with a memoir by W. H. Lewis (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1966), p. 235.

[3] Lewis, quoted in William Griffin, Clives Staples Lewis: A Dramatic Life (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986), p. 137.

[4] Gresham's views as recounted by Chad Walsh in The Literary Legacy of C.S.Lewis (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979), p. 15.

[5]C.S. Lewis, "Lines During a General Election," in Poems (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1964), p. 62.

[6] Lewis, Letters, p. 179.

[7]See, for example, "The Pains of Animals," "Dangers of National Repentance," "Vivisection," "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," "Delinquents in the Snow," "Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State," in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. by Walter Hooper (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970), pp. 161--171, 189--192, 287--300, 306--310, 311--316; "Why I am Not a Pacifist," "The Inner Ring," in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, rev. edition, ed. by Walter Hooper (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1980), pp. 33--53, 93--105; "A Reply to Professor Haldane," in C.S. Lewis on Stories and Other Essays on Literature, ed. by Walter Hooper (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), p. 69--79; all the essays in Present Concerns.

[8] For Lewis's view of both the extreme right and the extreme left see "To the Author of Flowering Rifle," in Poems, p. 65; and Stuart Barton Babbage, "To the Royal Air Force," in Carolyn Keefe, C.S. Lewis: Speaker and Teacher (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), p. 67. Also noteworthy is a letter Lewis wrote in 1933 condemning Hitler's persecution of the Jews. See They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914--1963), ed. by Walter Hooper (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1979), p. 468.

[9] For Lewis's argument as to why this is the case, see C. S. Lewis, Miracles: A Preliminary Study (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1960), pp. 14--15.

[10] "Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State," p. 316.

[11] C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength: A Modern Fairy--Tale for Grown--Ups (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1965).

[12] C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1955), see in particular, pp. 65--91.

[13] See The Abolition of Man, pp. 86--87; "A Reply to Professor Haldane," pp. 72--73, 74.

[14] That Hideous Strength, p. 57; see also Lewis's comments about Hingest in "A Reply to Professor Haldane," p. 73.

[15] That Hideous Strength, p. 71.

[16] That Hideous Strength, p. 70.

[17] "Is Progress Possible? Willing Slaves of the Welfare State," p. 315.

[18] For examples of this view see Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983), VI: 423--427; Greg L. Bahnsen, By This Standard: The Authority of God's Law Today (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1985), 2--4, 12--28, but note concessions on 141, 171; John W. Whitehead, "The Dangers in Natural Law," Action: A Monthly Publication of The Rutherford Institute, November 1991, 3, 7; Bryce J. Christensen, "Against the Wall: Why Character Education Is Failing in American Schools," in School Based Clinics and Other Critical Issues in Public Education, ed. by Barrett L. Mosbacker (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1987), 122--123; Barrett L. Mosbacker, "The Christian, Morality, and Public Policy," in School Based Clinics, 181--214.

[19] C.S. Lewis, "On Ethics," in Christian Reflections (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), pp. 44 and 46.

[20] John W. Whitehead, "Law and Nature," in The Second American Revolution (Elgin, Illinois: David C. Cook Publishing Company, 1982), pp. 185.

[21]Lewis, Letters, p. 177.

[22] Romans 2:14--15 [NIV].

[23] C.S. Lewis, The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1964), p. 160.

[24] "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin." [Romans 3: 19--20, NIV] Paul implicitly seems to include the natural law in his discussion here. For he says that the law speaks to "those under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God." But the "whole world" obviously includes the Gentiles as well as the Jews; and the only "law " they know (and the only law that they are "under") is the one "by nature."

[25] C. S. Lewis, "On Ethics," pp. 46--47.

[26] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1962), p. 39; also see Lewis's argument in "The Poison of Subjectivism," in Christian Reflections, particularly pp. 78--80.

[27] C. S. Lewis, "Why I am Not a Pacifist," in The Weight of Glory, p. 53. The passage in Aristotle which Lewis is recalling can be found in the Nicomachean Ethics, 1094b. Lewis explicitly refers to this passage in "A Reply to Professor Haldane," p. 76.

[28] "A Reply to Professor Haldane," p. 76.

[29] For a development of this idea, see Thomas G. West, "Comment on Richard John Neuhaus's 'Religion and the Enlightenments: Joshing Mr. Rorty.'" Prepared for the conference on "The Ambiguous Legacy of the Enlightenment," sponsored by the Claremont Institute, Claremont, California, January 27, 1990.

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