The Art of Subversion: Screwtape Discourses on America

ScrewtapeThumbby Glenn Fairman
(With all apologies to C.S. Lewis)
To Those Brave Souls: The Progressive Vanguard!

Allow me to thank you for your recent request for my counsel. Even though I have long since retired from Subterranean Public Service, I still remain quite active in the Terrestrial Political Wing: dispensing tidbits of knowledge I have gleaned from a long career of fomenting revolutions, instigating Holy wars, and evangelizing towards our Dark Utopia. Without further ado, allow me to offer you a little guidance – a bit of “devil’s advocacy,” if you will.

For the diligent and subversive mind, the act of destroying America must appear at once to be a daunting task. Indeed, the annals of men are bursting with tales of cities that fell in one day due to force or treachery. But if we looked much deeper we would find that, as with the case of many of those wretched and fallen peoples, their violent ends were merely the last link in a long chain of indignities. As Whittaker Chambers, one of America’s most deluded but astute minds once wrote, “Human societies, like human beings, live by faith and die when faith dies.” In order to bring down a super-state of America’s magnitude, it will be necessary first to break that faith. And although ten million guns trained upon its shores could not begin to accomplish the task at hand, a slow suicidal sickness unto death can topple a tower that is thought too great to be thrown down. To quote a vital truth from our enemy’s noxious Bible: “Without a vision, a people perish.”

But first, it is necessary to create in the collective American soul a wasteland: one where the government actively contributes to the moral and psychological decay of what were once a sovereign and free people. Through surreptitious and concerted efforts, men and women must be enticed to lay fallow their historical heritage – as those in authority subtly weave into the populace foreign and indolent beliefs to do battle with those shared politico-cultural memories that were forged at the regime’s founding.

Let us begin with the narrative that their patrimony was anchored upon false foundations of wicked privilege and unquenchable greed. Drum into their heads that the Founders of the American regime were self-interested brigands who were concerned solely with their purse strings. Through the Deconstructive Marxian lens, (a true visionary, that man) reveal the Founding’s sacred documents in their true form to be nothing but the thinly camouflaged window dressing of conquerors: glib words composed to render their oligarchy more palatable. At every opportunity, you must crucify the meme of American Exceptionalism: the political and moral treasure that flows from America’s twin philosophical and ethical tributaries of Athens and Jerusalem. Additionally, never relent in your scathing historical indictment against the republic’s maltreatment of its aboriginals and its complicit assent to racial slavery. And furthermore, never allow those festering wounds to heal. By stoking the seething rage of historical victimhood with the cultural paralysis of grievance, you can accomplish much in perpetuating the aggrieved group’s “martyrdom by proxy.” Now, you cannot know how much it pains me to quote Him here, but you must remember what our great enemy has said: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Exploit these bottled-up hatreds to ignite a relentless cycle of injustice amongst your citizenry; and then stand back and watch how the fireworks play out.

Next, regurgitate the calumny, over and again, that the prevailing economic system is a rigged wheel that guarantees failure and yields only the ignoble distortions of inequality. Since the Art of Economics has been forever muddled with the introduction of pseudo-scientific Keynesian flim-flam, urge the population and the government to consume their own and their children’s seed corn into perpetuity. With a bit of cleverness (you will be surprised how little it takes) it is possible to instill into the intellectually adroit and powerful the belief that such profligacy is in actuality a moral virtue. Remember, with the fanatical pursuit of social justice, you can eventually bring about a total institutional collapse. For your further enlightenment, I advise you to seek more technical advice in these matters from my trusted protégées: Cloward and Piven.

Make it a point, whenever possible, to steer the dull and credulous masses away from all traditional religious beliefs and their attending moral structures, even as you replace these institutions with the secular machinations of the ascendant Leviathan State. By all means, turn the hearts of the young away from the classical virtues of: hard work, thrift, the forswearing of illicit pleasure, vile chastity, and every species of maudlin piety. Instead, brew in them the pernicious venom of: entitlement, ingratitude, impatience, hedonism and self-worship. Reinforce progressively poisonous governmental dependence with the lethargic mental comfort of lowered aspirations. Pepper the people’s entertainments with twisted images that trumpet: illegitimacy and familial dissolution, all manner of lusts, and the celebration of mindless and unbridled violence. Through addicting the population to a host of pallid shadows designed to inculcate in them the shallow tastes of the barbarous soul, you may more easily control those who can no longer rein in their own inclinations. Moreover, you will find that such control will be infinitely more secure if you twist your educational institutions into Temples of Propaganda. The game is half won if you can suppress free human inquiry for those soothingly orthodox intellectual horizons. Never underestimate the value of what is ideologically banal and steeped in self-satisfied mediocrity. After all, what would you use for television programming?

Once you have wiped clean the moral and spiritual mindscapes of a few generations of brats and these domestic time bombs have breached the nation’s psychological outer ramparts, declare that the ancient and timeworn assumptions that undergird the laws themselves can no longer be trusted to serve such a depraved people. And as men inexorably lose the capability to exert even the most cursory control over their squalid appetites and inflamed passions, you may – under the aegis of the greater common good -then begin the systematic “re-interpretation” of their hallowed natural and political rights of speech, assembly, and self-preservation. As the citizenry are slowly reduced to mere subjects and begin devouring themselves as pitiless beasts that are stained red in tooth and claw, decry America’s constitutional covenant and its attending checks and balances as obsolete, ponderous, and even dangerous. By broadcasting at a fevered pitch the endless cavalcade of man-made atrocities that you have labored so deftly to bring about, you may utilize their degradation as political justification for a more “centralized” control and for the further eradication of their now arcane and useless liberties – all in the service of public tranquility and Procrustean outcomes.

Finally, and you must trust me here: While some may yet howl for the freedoms that are snatched from them, the Great Unwashed Multitudes who are content with their meager materialist swill will fortunately pay no mind to the soothing embrace of the boiling cauldron. And remember the words of one of my finest students: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” If you continuously apply the noxious irons of fear to their shrinking hearts, you will not believe what a debased population will trade away for the sake of their miserable skins.

Do all of this, and eventually you will raze the ancient stronghold to the ground: allowing you to pave the foundations of “our”— er, I mean “your,” New World atop the bleached bones of America’s once formidable political legacy. Then, and only then, can you begin to mold the cowed and pliant into the service of utopian abstraction. Only then can you set about bringing to fruition your glorious (and delicious) terrible and faceless City of Man.

Comrade Screwtape

Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. He can be reached at

ScrewtapeCoverC.S. Lewis: The Screwtape Letters (available in Kindle format at for $7.59).

ScrewtapeFirstEditionThe Screwtape Letters entry at Wikipedia.


Glenn Fairman

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5 Responses to The Art of Subversion: Screwtape Discourses on America

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I just love this article and this take on our culture. There is just so much noise out there — including the noise of political commentary — and I think Mr. Fairman has done more than a fair job of cutting through it to the essence of things. It’s this kind of imaginative stuff that I always look forward to reading.

    And I certainly cannot be alone in being somewhat overcome by the sheer amount of deception and evil in our society that seems to follow a script that is perhaps written from on high (or from on low). You never know. But this article is a great reminder that we are not alone. There are others who are not lost in the tsunami of misinformation, double-talk, and lies.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    The Screwtape Lettters ranks with That Hideous Strength as the favorite of the Lewis books I’ve read (the Narnia series, the space trilogy, and Screwtape). And you have a delightful parody not only matching the approach of the original, but also quite compatible with Lewis’s own views. But is Rahm Emanuel supposed to himself a devil, or merely the mouthpiece for one?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Right now I’m reading a Charlie Chan novel, of all things. But “The Hideous Strength” sounds like something I’ll check out soon or read concurrently with Chan.

  3. Kung Fu Zu says:

    Brad, this piece is another confirmation that this site is worth the trouble.

    It also confirms your initial belief that much, if not most, of the material spewed by many “professional” sites, such as NRO, is third rate compared to what an informed readership can contribute.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      It is a great piece, Mr. Kung. I first noticed it on American Thinker and asked Mr. Fairman if I could reprint it. He assented and said that I could publish any back or future articles. I find his writing to be the epitome of clarity, relevance, and honesty. Can’t beat that. 🙂

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