[Note: I cannot reveal exactly how the following letter came into my possession other than to say that Screwtape used a phrase that caught the attention of Homeland Security.]
January 7, 2011
From: Screwtape, Demon-in-Chief of Great Britain
To: Toadbutt, Demon-in-Chief of America
My dear Toadbutt,
I was most pleased to learn of your promotion to the leadership of the American Division. I expect you will soon be moving from Kansas City to that glorious cesspool Washington D.C.
Now that that detestable season of Christmas (How I hate that word!) is over, we demons will have our day, for most of our patients will have made and broken their pathetic New Year's resolutions to mend their petty faults. They always miss the point, don't they, thank badness!
I have many happy memories of Kansas where I spent the early years of my first mission under the guidance of that master tempter Vermion. It was he who convinced me that the gradualâ€”not dramatic--erosion of the patients' conscience was the right strategy. When he was given the special assignment of what Americans call "The Bible Belt," we came up with the novel solution to attack the food culture of our patients.
Yes, it was Vermion who first pushed that perceptive motto "A foul mind in a foul body." And to foul up our patients' bodies we went subtly after their culture. The humans of that very large area of Middle America were already in love with greasy, deep-fried food like catfish and fries and ever-tempting sweets and pastries like donuts. (My favorites are the jellied ones with the little sprinkles).
What we achieved was to instill the notion that it was more convenient and more fun (wonderful word) for mothers to take their little ones to what came to to be called "fast food" restaurants. At the end of our ten-year push, we could boast that the Bible Belt had the highest concentration of fast food outlets in the entire world.
And what results we got in that part of America!
- The highest rates of heart attacks!
- The highest rates of high blood pressiure!
- The highest rates of diabetes!
- And best of all, those delightful corollaries to sick bodiesâ€”the highest rates of drug addiction and divorce!
Yes, my years in the American Midwest and South were wonderfully demonic and still bring me great joy.
Finally I wish to compliment you for your work in rekindling what some of our American patients call American exceptionalism the notion that their country and their culture is qualitative superior to all other countries and all other cultures. Oh, how our Master Below loves it when humans adopt concepts like that. Hasn't he always stressed that it is Pride ”lovely Pride”that under girds all the worst (or should I say best) human failings of the spirit?
And those American exceptionalists are thinking in the same old ruts that have ever been part of the human psyche ”our real frontier: First, use criteria to judge your culture that your culture already has decided are the "true" criteria.
Secondly, ignore the criteria of other cultures. What do they know?
And finally, ignore or downplay anything in your history that puts you in a bad light. This last tactic invariably makes so-called "Christians" the biggest of history's hypocrites. In the area our patients call Texas, they've even invented a special form of history, which I believe ought to be called the Texas Style of Historic Omission. I have a warm place in my heart for places like Texas, which has so many Christians, and so much behavior that delights Our Master Below.
A last point ”humans everywhere worrying about what they call "terrorism." Goody! You and I know where successful terrorists go. They descend to that very special pit where they will be face to face with the Supreme Terrorist himself!
Your British cousin in the spirit,