The Real Power

“Haven’t you been told that it’s strictly non-political?”

“I’ve been told so many things that I don’t know whether I’m on my head or my heels,” said Mark. “But I don’t see how one’s going to start a newspaper stunt (which is about what this comes to) without being political. Is it Left or Right papers that are going to print all this rot about Alcasan?”

“Both honey, both,” said Miss Hardcastle. “Dont’ you understand anything? Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and a fierce Right, both on their toes and each terrified of the other? That’s how we get things done. Any opposition to the N.I.C.E. is represented as a Left racket in the Right papers and a Right racket in the Left papers. If it’s properly done, you get each side outbidding the other in support of us–to refute the enemy slanders. Of course we’re non-political. The real power always is.”

C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Re-reading That Hideous Strength, I came across this discussion between Fairy Hardcastle and Mark Studdock. In light of the the growing animosity between Right and Left politics, I found the the insight offered by Fairy Hardcastle that the ‘real power is non-political’ very helpful. We know that that the gospel is neither conservative nor liberal, traditional nor contemporary. The presence of the Kingdom of God will not be defined by any other standard. I had, however, not considered that evil is the same way.

Because evil is neither Right nor Left means that it can employ either Fascist or Communist ideology — or to put another way either traditional/conservative or progressive/liberal. Traditional values can be used to advance an agenda which oppress, violate, foster injustice — so too can those who promote progressive values. Neither one is either Kingdom, but rather are means by which the real powers are obscured or hidden.

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