originally posted at The Gadfly
Step 1: Make the men act more like women. And make it fun for everyone. For decades now, the people have foregone any foundation to save them from this confusion. They will readily tap into pseudo-virtues (i.e. progress, self-esteem), or even twist real virtues (i.e. freedom and kindness), to convince one another that this is the best idea, the most humane thing they could do for one another.
Step 2: See to it the women act more like men. Because the nation is now void of men, and because now men will be less attractive to women, see to it the women act more like men, especially in times of war. You will eventually see the vast benefit, and deep humor, of an enemy army of armed men looking across the battle-lines at a delightful array of armed women. The payoffs are innumerable, as you will see.
Step 3: Watch birthrates plummet. Now that women are acting more like men, watch birthrates plummet. Watch homes decay. Watch cities become more about utility and less about beauty. Watch the very nature of these creatures twist and turn in their blurred vision. They will be upside down and think they are right-side up. They will think the blood rushing to their heads is the feeling of progress.
Step 4: Open the borders. Because birth rates plummet, convince the citizens we need more people to make a viable country. Tell them more people will mean economic stimulus. Open the borders, especially to those people groups with much higher birthrates. If a citizen objects, be sure to fire a whirlwind of popular phrases at him until his voice is drowned out. Tell him he is being unpatriotic, lacks sympathy, or is going against the fabric of his immigration-founded nation. He likely won’t know history, so he won’t know any better.
Step 5: Change the religious order. Once the border is open, allow everyone’s voice to be equally as strong as everyone else’s, thereby changing the religious and philosophical base of the nation. Go one step further and marginalize those who hold what was once traditional values. Call them passé, intolerant, and unloving. With such phrases, these people will think merely expressing it makes it true.
Step 6: Teach that man is the measure of all things. Use the religious vacuum to teach the citizens that man is the measure of all things. This will feed into their natural appetites for autonomy. Because you have convinced them that a man can be a woman and a woman a man, it is an easy step to convince them they can be anything they want, as long as they think they sincerely want it. As long as they feel it.
Step 7: Make children stupid, lazy, and entitled. If man is the measure of all things, children will intuitively seek their individual happiness above all else. Call this self-expression, freedom, and progress. Now we can make the children stupid, lazy, and entitled. This will ensure several generations of getting exactly what we want. Because they will know nothing of logic, history, literature, or philosophy, we will be able to say anything we want to convince them of our position. We will be able to make the worse appear the better reason. This is an old trick of our fathers, the Sophists. But, again, because these children didn’t study history, and they certainly didn’t study Rhetoric or Logic, they wouldn’t know this. Again, progress!
Step 8: Give the children bad heroes. With stupid, lazy, and entitled children, and certainly no men or women around to teach them otherwise, we should identify the most illogical and unvirtuous among us as our cultural heroes. Plaster these icons all over billboards, radio tunes, television commercials, and food products. To be most effective, and because the children now think their personal happiness is paramount, make these American idols look really happy. Make them rich. Give them women, or men, or both. Entertainment and spectacle can help ensure the children don’t think too deeply about all this.
Step 9: Take their money. There is one drawback to all this, though we will turn it in our favor. Someone has to pay for our plan. It will take education reform, political reform, billions of dollars on a great global-warming hoax, and lots of plastic surgery. But because the citizens are now cowardly, stupid, lazy, and unvirtuous, and because they will do almost anything our icons tell them, we will convince our citizens to pay for it all. With a waning population base and lack of democratic accountability, we will spiral into debt. But here is where it will turn in our favor. This debt crisis will cause our citizens to even moreso look to us for assistance and salvation. They will think capitalism will save them, and then they will see that we appear to hold the key to capitalism.
Step 10: Let’s do it again. Now that we have a cowardly, stupid, lazy, and unvirtuous citizenship giving us their money, their children, and their utmost allegiance, we will convince them to vote us back into office to do it all over again. If they start to wise up and not re-elect us, or if the technicality of the system does not allow us to run for another term, we will use the ones in their midst who were not elected, the ones who hold their position for life. We will make their Supreme Court the highest court in the land, and by turning that small rudder, we will move the whole ship in the direction we always intended. And the mass of citizens aboard will flap their arms in confused allegiance and wonder, like the apes we have always told them they are.
But, alas, Screwtape had better things to do. And Lewis knew that the attempt to thwart the Church, not the United States of America, is the real battleground.