This commentary originally appeared in the Federalist on May 12, 2014.
“I believe in God, but I detest theocracy,” wrote C.S. Lewis. “For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands ‘Thus saith the Lord’, it lies, and lies dangerously.”
Lewis wrote that in 1958, a year after he married Joy Davidman Gresham, who at the time was dying of bone cancer. The couple married at her bed in the Churchill Hospital and she died three years later, after which Lewis wrote his memoir of the ordeal, A Grief Observed.
His 1958 essay, though not about his wife’s illness in particular, grapples with illness and hunger and poverty and death—and the price we’re willing to pay to ameliorate them. In the modern progressive era, he says, we turn to science to solve these problems, to experts on whom our political leaders increasingly rely. Such experts, whether of health care or climate change, now serve a function that the clergy once did in Medieval Europe, as guarantors of the government’s authority. In this, Lewis sees great trouble:
Read more: C.S. Lewis and the Science of Obamacare