Under the influence of this incantation [of “democratic” envy] those who are in any or every way inferior can labour more wholeheartedly and successfully than ever before to pull down everyone else to their own level.
But that is not all. Under the same influence, those who come, or could come, nearer to a full humanity, actually draw back from it for fear of being undemocratic. I am credibly informed that young humans now sometimes suppress an incipient taste for classical music or good literature because it might prevent their Being like Folks; that people who would really wish to be—and are offered the Grace which would enable them to be—honest, chaste, or temperate, refuse it. To accept might make them Different, might offend again the Way of Life, take them out of Togetherness, impair their Integration with the Group. They might (horror of horrors!) become individuals.
All is summed up in the prayer which a young female human is said to have uttered recently: ‘Oh God, make me a normal twentieth century girl!’ Thanks to our labors, this will mean increasingly, ‘Make me a minx, a moron, and a parasite’.
Meanwhile, as a delightful by-product, the few (fewer every day) who will not be made Normal and Regular and Like Folks and Integrated, increasingly tend to become in reality the prigs and cranks which the rabble would in any case have believed them to be. For suspicion often creates what it suspects. (‘Since, whatever I do, the neighbors are going to think me a witch, or a Communist agent, I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and become one in reality.’) As a result we now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell.
But that is a mere by-product. What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence—moral, cultural, social, or intellectual.
-C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters (Signature Classics), p. 291-292.