A World of Admin

In my previous post about coercion, in which I did not have very much good to say about it, I mentioned that oppression and injustice is able to work because of its respectability. Lewis made a very similar point in the preface to Screwtape.

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”

For many people, legal is interchangeable with moral, and they cannot conceive of injustice that came about with due regard for due process. But the election that takes away the rights of the 49 percent might have been a fair election, with no cheating. Hitler didn’t come to power in a coup, etc.

The Christian always has a court of appeal, no matter how many people voted for whatever outrage it was. One man with an open Bible can stand before lawless thrones and renegade majorities. This is because the definition of right is not up to us. We don’t control it. We aren’t in charge of it. The only thing we are supposed to do is honor it.

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).

There’s more, but I really should go . . .

Theology That Bites Back



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  • Jon

    What we take away from the Screwtape Letters is that the devil is always changing disguises.  He adapts to the zeitgeist.  He takes on the persona of the age. 

  • Thomas

    A man with an open bible in his hand is always in the majority. 

  • Robert

    Hitler is the easy reference, the closer reference to home, however is WW2 internment of German Americans and Japanese Americans. The President of the United States, by a series of Executive Orders, sent between 150 and 190 thousand people to camps without out trial on suspicion only. As most of you know, most Japanese who were interned were interned as families. There was another side that you were never taught. Ten percent of the Japanese and virtually all of the German and Italians who were taken experienced the following: Two FBI Agents knock on the door and quietly arrest the person, mostly men, but not always. They take the arrested person to an undisclosed location. The arrested person is not allowed an attorney. Charges are seldom if ever filed. Their spouse and children have no idea where you are for months. Their bank accounts are frozen and the “free” spouse is expected to keep a roof over the kids’ heads. In Hawaii it was not unheard of if the other spouse were ethnic Geman to be taken and the children left to fend for themselves. I know a woman who experienced that. (Only a handful of Japanese women were interned in Hawaii. German American women were almost equal number to the men.)  Hawaii spent most of the war under martial law. Corporations loved it. No one could quit. I have an excellent first hand telstimonial about life under martial law if anyone wants to read it.witten by the woman who was let to fend for herself on the streets of Honolulu at ten years old in 1941 after her parents were both picked up. They ran a nursing home.

  • http://benbowmanspeaks.com Ben Bowman

    I could not read Lewis’ description of hell without imagining an abortion clinic. 

  • http://bethyada.blogspot.com/ bethyada

    There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. —Lord Acton

  • J. Bradley

    The scary thing is that we are so complacent about legal “due process” running our lives that we create “due process” to run our churches.  Example: “Motion made, seconded, carried and minuted that we allow actively gay clergy.” Four council members vote “yea” and three vote “nay”.
    I won’t tell you which side the pastor voted on.
    And now that the motion has been “approved” by the church council, we need to “move forward.”  I hate that phrase.  If we are walking around lost in the woods we are, in fact, “moving forward”.  But we are traveling in the wrong direction.
    So what do the three board members who voted “nay” do?  Our adopted, legal, due process expects the “losers” to remain silent and assent to the majority of the people, as declared by the vote of the council.
    At what point do we offend the good of the order and cry foul?

  • Your Affectionate Uncle Screwtape

    Men with open Bibles wrote our constitution, which provides the ammunition to stand against  lawless thrones and renegade majorities. What are we waiting for? God help us.

  • Jon

    Numerous writers have informed us that the country was founded as a republic but has degenerated into a democracy: mob rule.

  • Eberhard Fuhr

    Robert evoked memories of my internment from March’43 until Sept’47, because the arrest marked an instant and irrevocable change in my life. The government agents permitted no phone calls or interchange with anyone as they were determined to have me categorized as a DANGEROUS ALIEN ENEMY though I was but 17 and a Woodward High, Cincinnati, senior,
    The date I had that night would never know I stood her up because I was arrested on a Warrant signed by the Attorney General. For me there was instant terror and removal from all I knew, The Baseball coach would say ,What happened to Eberhard”. The date later married someone else, forgetting the jock she knew, even keeping the letter sweater as a symbol of what was. The year book would expunge my photos except where they were in groups– football, baseball varsity, Spanish Club, or Journalism club.
    The internment proved long, tedious, boring and changed my life forever, and losing all but a small group of friends. It remains unknown in the USA that “60,000 mostly Germans were arrested shortly after Pearl Harbor” (James Rowe-assistant US attorney General). I was interned longer than any Japanese.

  • R. Popp

    Mr. Fuhr, thanks for posting your story, I appreciated hearing it. I have had no such harsh experience as yours, but indirectly felt the effects of that injustice.

    My parents did not learn English till grade school. I came along four years after the war, and even then there was still some of that anti-German climate of coercion. My parents never taught my siblings or myself their native German language. It was “just not done”, is the reason I remember being given. I still kinda regret, these many years later, missing that part of my heritage.

  • http://www.gaic.info Robert

    Mr. Popp. I have posted a link produced by the German American Internee coalition on my link. You can learn a lot more of the history of WW2 internment that you were never taught. It wasn’t just the Japanese and it is still relevant.

  • http://www.foitimes.com Robert

    I put a second link here to Freedom of Information Times

  • R Popp

    Robert, thanks for the link.