“A Necessary Evil”: C. S. Lewis and Government in a Technological Age

Timothy J. Demy

Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2013; 4: 44-54

Following a long line of Christian thinkers through the centuries CS Lewis believed in the necessity of government, but he also feared the possibility that the state would infringe upon the individual and collective rights of its citizens. Such a possibility was not construed by Lewis as overtly oppressive or done with malice but, rather, something that might arise out of well-intentioned actions by leaders, politicians, and bureaucrats who abused science and technology in the furtherance of the state—democratic or otherwise. As a retrospective study viewing one individual’s concerns regarding technology, Lewis’s cautions of governmental overreach and control of citizens demonstrate the importance of understanding the increasing technological capabilities available to governments as well as the benefits and detriments of technology in civil society and the political order, today and in the future.


Keywords: democracy, government, technocracy