Well Done, Nephew

My Dearest Wormwood,

You have, at long last, redeemed yourself in the eyes of your adoring uncle. I had all but lost hope, poppen. Your latest report pleases me, almost beyond words.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten your efforts to draw our patient out of his church, although it took far longer than it should have. Indeed, you have competently succeeded to convince him, despite the urging of the Enemy, that he needn’t bother to attend, or to observe any longer the ancient relics of tradition in his worship. He has finally come to realize that he is, as Our Father Below would have it, “a god unto himself.” He worships as he chooses nowadays, which usually is not at all. When he does worship, it is on his own terms. Well and good. We’ll take what we can get, at least for now. I commend you for that success.

However, let us focus on this pesky thing called “freedom,” which has always been a bit of a nuisance, and to which you have, at least until now, paid far too little attention. Yet, what a brilliant inspiration by your former preceptor, the inimitable Slubgob, who has managed to shut down the freedom of the entire world through fear, with the use of a tiny microbe. Magnificent. Even beyond limiting commerce and industry to the point where our patient is likely to suffer future deprivation, and perhaps even starvation (dare we imagine?), Slubgob has deftly convinced those in charge to shutter the churches, so these so-called Christians could not worship freely if they wanted to. If only he had taught you to be so resourceful. I do now expect you, my dear nephew, to make the most of the situation, before our patient comes to his senses. As I have said many times, never allow a good crisis to go to waste.

Fortunately for us, until the present our subject has used his freedom, such as it is, for his own selfish purposes, which has worked to our advantage in so many ways. Yet, these things can so easily get out of hand. It has always been of great concern to me that he would someday recognize that his quaint notion of liberty (which we would commonly refer to as “license”) hardly comports to the freedom offered by the Oppressor, who likes to think of himself as the author of freedom, yet demands that it only come through obedience to him, alone. Been there, done that, as they say. Such freedom is as much a self-contradiction as the notion of love. What utter nonsense; yet humans can be so gullible, as we know. 

Happily, our patient’s seemingly insatiable desire for freedom (which thankfully seemed to peak in the last century) has at last been exceeded by his desire for security, lately because of this new virus. Such has been our plan all along, as you know. We now have him enthralled. He has made his “choice,” as it were. Those in power, under the leadership of the High Command, will find him much more compliant today than in the past, I venture to posit. 

Meantime, I leave it to you to exploit the acute “social distancing” (what a delightful term) to which he has subjected himself at the behest of those in authority. You must take every opportunity to make it appear that this tactic of isolation is for his own good and for the good of others. Whatever you do, keep him mindful that he must remain in isolation from others, so he cannot possibly join with them to conduct the so-called higher “civic duty” (what idiocy) of caring for those in need and protecting those who are most vulnerable in society, et cetera. 

Again, I leave it to you, nephew. I look forward with great relish to your next report. I am quite sure that you do not wish to disappoint me again, Wormwood. Need I remind you what happened the last time? 

Your affectionate uncle,

//S: Screwtape

You may also like


  1. The Screwtape Letters has long been a favorite of mine. Such ingenious thought went into the structure and plot of that story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.