Tolkien

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Tolkien

  • Kristopher Bowles

    “My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) – or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy.” J.R.R. Tolkien

    Let us discuss the themes of liberty within the Tolkien world.

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  • John Faust

    This is tough, I never thought of Tolkien in this way.  I mean, we can start from the large idea and work our way in.  Sauron was a tyrant who wanted to take over the world.  He used gifts (the rings could also be considered political bribes or favors, the promises of power) to enslave the governments of other civilizations.  The Hobbits didn’t seem to have much government, but as far as I have read, their government wasn’t all that fleshed out.  That said, they had enough of a court that declared Bilbo dead and auctioned off his things.

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    Kristopher Bowles

    Tolkien was a devout Catholic and, unbeknownst to me until recently, apparently an anarchist/monarchist. There was a book that came out not too long ago titled ‘The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom that Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot’ in which it discusses themes of liberty within Tolkien’s stories.  He apparently was more a fan of weaving his beliefs into the story without making them overt to not ruin the story itself.  I have not yet gotten into the book itself, but thinking about it many things do make sense.  The ring itself was to “rule them all”, humans were unable to wield it as they would become corrupt with power and become tyrants. Sauron himself as you stated was already a tyrant in search of total domination. I believe in the Silmarillion he expands upon many aspects of middle earth in regards to their beginnings and ruling classes.  As I understand it the hobbits themselves didn’t have much in regards to rulers at all, just peace keepers who enforced property rights.

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      Mike Reid

      I’m reading LotR for the third time (if you count skimming through to the fight scenes as a child), and it just keeps getting better.

      I love that it’s elitist AND anti-authoritarian.

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    Greg Pasquale

    The Shire had a few official titles but they were mostly honorary or hereditary and as mentioned above, basically concerned with peace and property rights.  The closest they had to an elected official was the Mayor of Michel Delving.  Sometimes elected, sometimes inherited.  As far as I know the Mayor didn’t do much except show up at dinners and parties and make speeches – and of course smoke pipeweed.  Frodo was acting Mayor when Saruman threw the current mayor in jail.  And Sam was Mayor 7 times after he returned from the War of the Ring.  Even as a kid when I read them, I always got the feeling the hobbits got to do pretty much what they wanted and if some form of transgression occurred word would spread fast and the entire Shire would be in an uproar and things put back into their proper place rather quickly.  The shire folk seemed to handle things on their own without even deferring to the Mayor.  As for the wider Middle Earth things got a bit more complicated.

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    John Faust

    I just discovered this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D-f9Qej6Hw.  Do any of you know this guy?

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    Properal

    The Libertarian Tradition
    J.R.R. Tolkien as Libertarian by Jeff Riggenbach

     

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      Mike Reid

      Thanks, @properal !

      Listening to it now. Love that voice!

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    John Faust

    I imagine that Tolkien would have seen what a government out of control was capable of in ww2.

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    Zeroth Position

    The One Ring is a strong metaphor for belief in the state. People want to possess the ring, but it ends up possessing them. The ring cannot be used for good and will enslave the entire world forever if the wrong person gets it. Fortunately, some people understand that it must be destroyed. The quest to do this nearly kills them, but they manage to get the job done (with a bit of unintended help from Gollum).

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    John Faust

    So, in a way, Gollum is similar to King Joffrey. Although, in that analogy, king Joffrey has the ring and uses it willy-nilly until someone decides they want it. I like where you are going with that thought process though.  The Ring is the State.

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