My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position [imposing “the good”] would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even worse. Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under of robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some points be satiated; but those who torment us for their own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to heaven yet at the same time likely to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on the level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
The C. S. Lewis quote met a rejoinder involving the Bush Era war in Iraq.
Ask hungry children, also the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs about Saddam.
Bush and the neocons did the right thing but focused too much on “regime change” and seemingly not at all on cultural transition. In the long run, which now characterizes what I believe Iraq has been about all along, natural cerebral and less natural political evolution have a codependent relationship, i.e., the more intelligent we become as a species, the more empathetic, reasoning, and thoughtful we must become as well — or perish in our own nuclear plasma.
C. S. Lewis may not have known that he was addressing a recognizable kind of evil in “good” character, and that would be the do-good messianic character of the malignant narcissistic (related look-ups: bipolar disorder; narcissistic personality disorder. In such people, power becomes the power to visit suffering on others with impunity. This is something that made the Soviet Era Communist Party and its machinery so execrable; it is also the same thing that has made the “Islamists” and their zombie-think intellectual machinery and very real criminal muscle also deeply repugnant to mankind. One may note similar cause and narrative in the Christian “inquisition” and numerous royal and sectarian conflicts.
Let’s not take the words of great writers such as C.S. Lewis as being beyond reproach by way of improved knowledge and new observation and updating.
Regarding Islam’s internecine issues and political psychology: the rancor should come down in geopolitical numbers and scope as feudal methods in power and the medieval worldview become more difficult to “sell” against the full suite of modern administrative alternatives and their presence in the fast becoming archaic fortresses of the medieval mode.