John Cleese, Benjamin Franklin, CS Lewis and Extremism

(Off-topic, but I have posted this at The American Catholic, and I thought our Almost Chosen Readers might enjoy it.)

Hattip to Darwin Catholic.  John Cleese, one of the brighter lights of Monty Python, warns us of the dangers of extremism.  Well, thank God for moderates!  Not so fast.  Benjamin Franklin reminds us that there are extreme moderates:

One thing I attempt to keep in mind, with very mixed success, when engaging in conflict with others over some subject, political or otherwise, is that few people think they are deliberately supporting evil.  Most people think they are attempting to make the world a better place.  Frequently this view is at odds with reality, but the view is often honestly held nonetheless .  CS Lewis put it well in The Screwtape Letters:

Let us therefore think rather how to use, than how to enjoy, this European war. For it has certain tendencies inherent in it which are, in themselves, by no means in our favour. We may hope for a good deal of cruelty and unchastity. But, if we are not careful, we shall see thousands turning in this tribulation to the Enemy, while tens of thousands who do not go so far as that will nevertheless have their attention diverted from themselves to values and causes which they believe to be higher than the self. I know that the Enemy disapproves many of these causes. But that is where He is so unfair. He often makes prizes of humans who have given their lives for causes He thinks bad on the monstrously sophistical ground that the humans thought them good and were following the best they knew.

Let us ever be extreme in defense of truth and justice as we perceive them, but let us also ever attempt to be moderate in our treatment of those who disagree with us.

Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on John Cleese, Benjamin Franklin, CS Lewis and Extremism  
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