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(Classified material leaked to Stephen Masty, and an appeal to The Imaginative Conservative readers)

My Dear Wormwood,

Extending congratulations on your recent performance award and wishing you every fiendish achievement in 2011, I have a small request. The annual dinner here at The Tempter’s Training College is but weeks away, and your magnificent Uncle Screwtape will again deliver the toast to Principal Slubgob and the College. Dr. Slubgob requested that I assemble some thoughts for his response and so I turn to you for help in recommending some of the new challenges and opportunities presented to our Lowerarchy since your uncle’s infamous address to us in 1959 (which was leaked to followers of the Enemy by some irritating pedagogue named Lewis, but of that the less said the better).

Screwtape’s remarks earned praise from Our Father Below and, as you know, the full text is now included in all training materials issued by our Lower Command—including our popular, fully-interactive DVD “The First Taste is Free,” part of the award-winning Brimstone Series prepared by our Inhuman Resources Department.

Central to your uncle’s remarks was the overarching, strategic principle that our prey is kept “hardly, if at all, in a full state of spiritual responsibility. They do not understand either the source or the real character of the prohibitions they are breaking.” On a tactical level, social conformity helps to redefine a mere political system, democracy, as a moral absolute in which no man recognises his betters and all is pulled down to the lowest common denominator (which provides us here with many tasty meals). What modern perspectives can you and your team provide us from earthside?

We do not know what new insights Screwtape may provide in his address, but this time Dr. Slubgob wants his own response to be competitive. Which individuals or events or tactics does the Enemy employ to frustrate our efforts nowadays? What new motivational tools may be of use to a modern Tempter? I await your thoughts and remain in gratitude,

Yours Satanically,

And big hugs!


Ms. Suzanne Sulfurmann-Burns

Secretary to the Principal

The Tempter’s Training College

29 Good Intentions Boulevard

Hell, 28904-98070

Note to The Imaginative Conservative readers: might you identify new threats to evildoing and modern, “proactive” (ugh) daemonic strategies—or, more likely, new approaches to old ones—that would be appropriate in Principal Slubgob’s response? Please post them here.

The original 1959 address can be found here.

Disclaimer: The Imaginative Conservative has no formal or informal relationship, financial or otherwise, with The Tempter’s Training College, Ltd. or any part of its parent company.

Stephen Masty

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.
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Published: Jan 2, 2011
Stephen Masty
Stephen Masty (1954-2015) was a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. He was a journalist, a development expert, and a speechwriter for three US presidents, British royalty and heads of government in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. He spent most of his adulthood working in South Asia including Afghanistan, and he was a writer, poet and artist in Kathmandu.
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3 replies to this post
  1. Many souls can be captured by misapplied environmentalism treating humankind as “just another species” equal to all others – and not as a Divine creation capable of Higher Reason and thus commanded to protect an ordered world.

    Daily Telegraph writer James Delingpole describes it through a real civil service grandee with the comic moniker of an antagonist in a G. K. Chesterton novel: “Sir Crispin Charles Cervantes Tickell is one of the most influential people behind the idea of man-made global warming…There is one other threat that he sees as even more urgent than AGW – the human race itself… we are a cancer on the planet… “a malignant maladaption in the corpus of living organisms, and behave and reproduce like a virus out of control.” We are “infected tissue in the organism of life.” “More than ever,” he writes, “humans can be regarded like certain species of ant.” (1)

    Once toppled from his place at the top of creation, Man himself becomes the threat to a secular Eden and, logically, any means of reducing the human population may be justified (e.g., was Hitler’s slaughter of millions ‘good for the planet?’). And signally, once people believe that they are no more than other animals, then they are freed to pursue any mere appetite unfettered, as other animals do.


    Stephen Masty

  2. My dear fellow,

    It just can't be emphasized enough that religion is for the weak of mind, a stool they sit upon until their feet can reach the floor and then they will run as far and as fast as they can away from it. It would be advisable to enlist someone like Joy Behar, who dislikes prayer because it replaces thinking. Brilliant observation!

    Also, the shaking and nodding of the head during all conversations is to be better employed. This means, I understand what silliness is spewing from your mouth, but I simply cannot comprehend how you can think anything outside the realm of my own thoughts and arguments. To suggest otherwise implies, well, ignorance and a lack of compassion towards others.

    Also, have you ever considered a re-brand? The modern Tempter is certainly nice, but what about the modern Humanist– catchy, eh? And there is less implication. You have my permission to use it.

    Cordially at your service!

  3. Many souls may be forfeit by patriotism, not the hometown, ice-cream-social, front-porch variety but rather as heretical Dualism, a condom of cruelty and imperialism that shields men from perceiving their own sins and those of their own communities. Lew Rockwell describes “an ancient nationalist/Manichean instinct variously alive from the Roman empire in the ancient world through the 19th-century British experience. The idea here posits that one's own state is the light, and the rest of the world is the dark. We must constantly be on the march to light the darkness through military might in order to assure the progress of humanity. This explanation posits a core chauvinism that has taken hold of this sector of American opinion, and it is hardly surprising. It's a very low intellectual orientation, however, as unthinking as it is unseemly. It also stands in direct contradiction to all the talk about the desire to limit the state.” (1)

    Stephen Masty

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