Monday, March 4, 2019


Tom Nichols tells us that while in Oxford he came across some previously unknown letters from Screwtape to his nephew. Wormwood has been reprieved and assigned to a subject in North America. I hope this won't be the only one of the newly discovered letters he will share:
My Dear Wormwood,

By now you know that it was only through my good offices that you have been released from the House of Incompetent Tempters so soon. For you, it has been an eternity, but your stay was shorter than you deserved, and you have me to thank for it.

Your letter of effusive gratitude is not only pointless but offensive. Yes, I secured your release because I am your uncle—a relationship I cannot escape, no matter how embarrassing your failures during your last posting on Earth. But Hell is built on realism, not emotion. The truth of the matter is that this current stage of our war with the Enemy is in a critical phase. We face dedicated counterattacks on all fronts. We have also, however, been faced with a flood of foolish souls who seek damnation in such numbers that we are nearly overwhelmed in our ability to escort them to Our Father Below in anything like an orderly fashion.

This is our good fortune, to be sure, but it has forced us to press back into service even such manifest failures as you. Do not for one moment believe that your return to duty reflects confidence in your abilities: your previous debacle in mid-20th century England, in which the Enemy relieved a man from your grasp before your very eyes, is a loss that even now rumbles the empty stomachs of your fellow devils.

I have therefore interceded with the Office of Tempter Assignments to send you to a battlefield on which even an idiot like you might succeed. .... (read it all)

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