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  • Writer's pictureDan FitzPatrick

The Devil's Lament

Beelzebub (a/k/a “the Devil”) and his executive assistant were having cocktails on the terrace overlooking the Lake of Eternal Fire one night after a hard day’s work. The assistant looked over at the Devil and said “Hey, BZ, why so glum?”

“What? Oh, yeah, I guess I am a bit out of sorts. Ever since God threw us out of Heaven into this place and gave me control over all the materials things of the universe, I’ve had one single overarching goal: to completely undermine His plan for the happiness of men and women. Now that I am finally on the brink of complete success, I feel unfulfilled.”

“I think you are being too hard on yourself, BZ,” said the assistant. “Just look at all you’ve accomplished.”

“There hasn’t been a minute in Time when you haven’t had men and women fighting with each other. A couple of times recently you’ve even had the entire world fighting against itself. You helped them design a weapon that can destroy the entire earth many times over, then put it in the hands of unsavory characters and unstable governments. You even coined the phrase ‘Cold War,’ which is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one. You’ve put the things God hates most – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and (my personal favorite) sloth – top of the list for billions and billions of people, including most of their business and political leaders. For millennia you’ve been so confusing their minds by inventing false gods and religions that they almost missed the significance of His personal visit to them (that was a very close call).”

“You helped engineer the placement of some truly evil people in prominent positions in government and religious organizations – the Borgias were perhaps your finest moment – intending to discredit the shepherds and leave the flocks susceptible to conversion to our cause (you cannot be faulted for the fact that He promised them eternal protection from us).”

“Your brilliance has no equal in terms of how you turned love, our Enemy’s greatest gift, on its head, making men and women ashamed of, afraid of, indifferent to, abusive of and even violent toward the principal gift He gave them to promote their common happiness and ensure their continued survival.”

“Perhaps your most laudatory achievement has been your creation and promotion of the ideas of materialism and relativism. The 1960s were a particularly heady time. By fostering the idea that anything goes, you cleverly led men and women to put themselves and their own wants ahead of our Enemy and His will. They never even noticed it happening. If everyone is the master of his or her own fate, making decisions solely based on their whims and feelings, there is no need for an objective Truth; in fact, objective Truth becomes something to be attacked and discredited because it makes people uncomfortable. The way you pulled that one off was simply masterful!”

“And now you are on the cusp of seeing your most diabolical plan succeed. You managed to turn His early followers’ communal way of life into a political ideology you named “socialism.” It has worked perfectly, in every instance it has been tried, to destroy wealth, sow discord, restrict freedoms, undermine religion, and elevate the ambitious few into positions of autocratic power at the expense of the many. George Orwell almost caught us out with his phrase ‘All Animals Are Equal but Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others,’ but thankfully men and women have very short memories, and in any event most missed the point. The way you have inculcated this idea into mainstream thinking is nothing short of amazing: first, you infiltrated the universities, then you took over the elementary and high school curricula, quietly driving out references to those aspects of Western culture and history that were more favorable to the Enemy than to us.”

“I personally was very impressed with how you have implemented your long game with this particular gambit. You got Karl Marx to articulate and promulgate your idea of inherent and continual conflict between classes – first it was the workers and management (capital), then it was the wealthy and the poor – and now you have resurrected (excuse that unfortunate word choice) the conflict between and among minorities, which had actually been trending away from our benefit for some time. The ‘piece de resistance’ must be your concept of Critical Race Theory, in which you have hidden the wolf of Marxist ideology in the sheep’s clothing of ‘woke” fashion.” And the way you have got all of the humans tripping over themselves to invent new, “politically correct” names for everyday words is breathtakingly brilliant – you’ve outdone the Enemy’s original language trick at the Tower of Babel!”

“Well, thank you,” said the Devil. “You are right; my performance has been almost universally extraordinary. But there still remains one place on this world that continues to vex me: the United States of America.”

“Everything was going swimmingly in that newly populated land until that miserable group of educated men and women decided to declare independence from their absentee landlord king (who I thought was doing a terrific job messing with them). Worse yet, in doing so they invoked the name and protection of the Enemy, and He has not let me forget it!”

“That Jefferson fellow wrote up a document citing Natural Law to justify their behavior, and then they managed – with nothing but a ragtag assembly of farmers, laborers and merchants led by a tall Virginian with false teeth – to defeat what was then the most powerful nation on earth (I still kick myself for not seeing that coming). They wrote up an agreement that established a new form of government that improved on the old Athenian model, based on the heretical (from my standpoint anyway) idea that the people are sovereign over their leaders. That of course was a direct and complete repudiation of and threat to my concept of socialism, and I’ve been attacking it ever since.”

“I tried sowing conflict and even managed to come close to getting the new country to destroy itself in civil war. Then I got smart and developed a long-term plan to undermine its very foundations.”

“For too long, they had been loyally following the Enemy. I had to stop or at least interfere with that. So, I turned their own little ‘First Amendment’ language against them and converted ‘freedom of religion’ to ‘freedom from religion’ (how I love doing that sort of switcheroo!). I got into the head of that O’Hair woman and the next thing you know, all mention of the Enemy is gone from the schools and ultimately from most public discourse (I’m still trying to get it removed from their money). I got them to stop saying that pesky pledge of allegiance to their flag, and even to burn the wretched thing!”

“As you noted, I quietly changed the curricula in their schools and universities to abandon the teaching of Western civilization values and the 'great books,' replacing them with all sorts of other ideas that I convinced them in the name of ‘diversity' had equivalency with what they had believed before. I made sure to eliminate or significantly scale down teaching on the history of their country’s founding and focused more on actions that were in more keeping with our agenda rather than His, so that now entire new generations of Americans are growing up ashamed of and angry at the country of their birth!”

“I actually came really close to achieving my goals there when I took advantage of a really big financial crisis to promote the idea of government-as-the-solution (i.e., socialism), but even though I kept the same person in power as their president for almost sixteen years, I just couldn’t get it to stick. I had a lot of fun populating the various state and national political offices with characters of my liking, but despite all the corruption, vice, deceit, chicanery, fraud, mendacity and pure evil I could infuse them with, their mortality kept them from permanently changing things to my liking (though in quite a few cases I kept them in position for decades). A few times – no less than a handful – I let someone slip into the top position who managed to halt or even slightly reverse my progress, but as soon as they were gone, I was able to resume without much objection.”

“For too long I put up with another aspect of that confounded First Amendment – the so-called 'free press.' But I was not to be stymied by another human invention, so I completely co-opted the media. That may have been my finest hour.”

“You may recall that that old Oxford don C.S. Lewis once wrote, pretending to talk for us, that ‘It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.’ That was pretty perceptive of him, actually.”

“By inventing the 24-hour news cycle at a time when there was not enough real news to fill 24 hours of live coverage, I created the need to provide ‘fill.’ It was not much of a stretch to convince them to fill time with commentary, and then to get them to blur the lines between opinion and commentary. The next thing you know, almost all of the 'news' that some outlets were publishing or airing was simple opinion in disguise (I really do like to re-use tried-and-true tactics like the old wolf in sheep’s clothing trick). By thus saturating all of the principal sources of information with non-news, I was able to keep the humans confused and off-guard as I continued to advance my plan.”

“The apex of my achievement in this area has been getting the leadership of that wretched country to take actions that are clearly (or would be clear to anyone not confused by media coverage of other issues) not in the best interest of that country or its citizens. They had managed (after fifty years of notice of the problem) to become energy independent. That had to change, and I changed it with the stroke of a pen. They had started to re-assert themselves on the international stage. That too had to change, and now I can use globalism, NGOs and the self-interest of other countries to help me drive them back to submission. I made them almost completely dependent on one single other country (an obvious long-term enemy) for cheap consumer goods. They realized that and tried to address it, but it was too late. Now that country is their greatest existential threat, but I continue to muddle their minds so that they do not fully realize it.”

“I feel that I am so very, very close to getting what I have always wanted in that country, yet I have this nagging feeling that I could be set back again. I’ve been monitoring public sentiment, and it feels like there is a growing disconnect between what people are saying to the pollsters and the media is reporting, on the one hand, and what is truly in their hearts. It feels suspiciously like the time when Jefferson and his cronies started that initial revolution. Oh, I don’t think there is any appetite for war or violence, but I sense an anger building that is directed at their current leadership. I’m worried that we may see the election into office of more people who want to advance the polices of the last guy I got rid of. That definitely would not make me happy.”

“I wouldn’t worry too much about that, BZ,” said the assistant. “You have a terrific track record of getting your way over time. And don’t forget your truly greatest triumph – you have managed to convince most humans that you don’t even exist!”

“Yes, you are right. At times I’ve even come very close to convincing them that the Enemy does not exist, or if He does, that He is indifferent to what they are going through. The stumbling point has always been those teachings of His and the way He chose to die – all so very counterintuitive to human nature and the teachings of this world that people continue to try to puzzle it all out. But me, that’s a different story. They tried many times to depict me in grotesque form, which actually has been quite easy for me to characterize as superstitious nonsense. If it is not 'cool' in today’s world to believe in the Enemy, it is considered downright foolish to believe I exist, at least as a force for evil (another word I’ve successfully downplayed to the point of almost total abandonment).”

“I have to say that I get a special kick out of the fact that they’ve developed a television series called 'Lucifer' in which I am depicted as having abandoned my throne here and retired to Los Angeles, doing good and righting wrongs. How delightfully ludicrous!”

“So now, my good feind, let’s put away all such portentous conversation and sip our cocktails here by the Lake. I never tire of the show.”

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