The terrible power of fear
“Lewis had a remarkable understanding of human nature. He knew what it was like to feel that all hope was lost. And he knew that fear and despair can drive decent people to look for someone, anyone, who projects an appearance of strength.”
“Nikabrik’s Candidate,” First Things [link]
Fans of C. S. Lewis will recognize the name Nikabrik, the Black Dwarf and advisor to Prince Caspian.
During the war with the Telmarine occupiers of Narnia, Nikabrik grows tired of waiting for Aslan and suggests that the Old Narnians instead attempt to bring the White Witch back to life and look to her to deliver them from their enemies.
Desparate for victory, Nikabrik suggests deliverance by means of great evil rather than by great good. It’s a temptation that each of us will face at one time or another in our lives:
Tired of waiting for Aslan—who may be nearer than we think—we turn elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if our candidate hates, bullies, and exploits other people, the reasoning goes, just as long as he’s good to us and gives us what we want. Hatred is a perfectly acceptable weapon, as long as it’s “on our side.”
According to Dalfonzo, the nation is flirting with just such a choice with Donald Trump leading the Republican pack heading into primary season. Certainly evangelical Christians seem to be. “The Donald” is capturing something like forty percent of the evangelical vote despite being incarnation of values that seem to be contrary to the gospel:
This is how good people with strong, ingrained values—people who have invested time and money in the sanctity of life, religious liberty, and similarly noble causes—can come to support a man who changes his convictions more often than his shirts. This is how people concerned about the dignity of the office of President end up flocking to a reality-show star who spends his days on Twitter calling people “dumb” and “loser.” This is how some who have professed faith in Jesus Christ are lured by a man who openly puts all his faith in power and money, the very things Christ warned us against prizing too highly. As one wag on Twitter pointed out, “If elected, Donald Trump will be the first US president to own a strip club,” and yet he has the support of Christians who fervently believe that this country needs to clean up its morals.
The irony abounds.