"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Any guess who said this?
I get together regularly with other pastors to look at the texts ahead in the lectionary and brainstorm on what we are going to preach for the weeks ahead. Last Wednesday morning a group of us were looking at Mark 10:41-45 and, for fun, I googled "power" and "quotes" and the above quote popped out. Yes, I have my laptop with me just about everywhere and I love to do research on the fly.
I read this and immediately thought of Joss Whedon's Firefly. It speaks directly, in fact, to the central theme of the movie Serenity in which Captain Malcolm Reynolds is confronted with the fact that the beauracratic and meddlesome Alliance created monsters in their attempts at social engineering. He leads his ragtag crew on a desperate attempt to broadcast the truth about the horrors, "'Cause as sure as I know anything, I know this: they will try again. ...they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave."
It is interesting to me that Mal Reynolds and C. S. Lewis would espouse similar ideas. Mal, the atheist veteran who lost his faith in battle, and C. S. Lewis, the conservative Christian theologian who penned the Chronicles of Narnia, were very similar in their suspicions of do-gooders in places of power.
And, for reading this all the way to the end, here's a treat...