Lessons from Fantasy- the wisdom of J.R.R. Tolkien

Many people know of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit;” younger folk are more likely to know his work through the film adaptations of his work, while old fogeys like me read and loved his stories in printed form first, then enjoyed the movies, too. Young or old, however, Tolkien’s tales touch us.

However fun his tales may be, however, MiddleEarth is a fantasy. How will revisiting the imaginary perils of Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and other fantasies help us? What do we, liberty loving folk faced with the all-too-real waking nightmare of a totalitarian takeover of our Federal Government, have to learn from a scholar who created a history, a culture and even a language out of whole cloth? Quite a lot, actually. There are reasons why Jeff Cooper, Colonel of Marines and founder of GunSite Academy, had Tolkien’s works on his recommended reading list.

Tolkien was not only a scholar and an author; he saw his world torn apart during World War 1, where he served in France until contracting trench fever and subsequently trained soldiers for service at the Front. He lived through the Nazi Blitz and the horrors of the Second World War. He knew war as only those who have fought it can and forever after viewed the world around him through the keen and experienced eyes of an accomplished historian and literary scholar, yes, but a veteran, as well.

Tolkien knew that ideas have power. He also knew how those who would rule can deceive common folk- “with the result [of democracy being] that we get not universal smallness and humility, but universal greatness and pride, till some Orc gets hold of a ring of power – and then we get and are getting slavery.”

Sound familiar? Here are a few of many reasons why I find reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” serves not only as a comfort, but to remind me of Tolkien’s nuggets of wisdom:

“It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.” Tolkien reminds us that dark times and terrible events do not mean doom, a worthwhile reminder when we gaze in dismay at the corruption, greed and power-lust revealed to-day.

“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.” (Fellowship of the Ring) Those who have broken the Republic-that-was piece by piece and step by step did so not in the quest for knowledge, but in the pathological quest for power. In any case they have certainly left the path of wisdom. (I am reminded of our current Speaker-for-the-Orcs infamous quote- “we have to pass the law to know what is in it.”) When they do realize what they have broken, it will be too late. For all of us.

“The treacherous are ever distrustful.” (the Two Towers) Only 5 words, but what a wealth of wisdom in them! We see this in every action by the Left: Loyalty oaths and screening for the troops. Screening and mental health examinations for people to exercise their Constitutional rights, changing a right into a privilege revocable at government whim. Fortifying Washington-that-was into Mordor-on-the-Potomac, not as fiction or fantasy, but in the harsh light of reality. Baseless accusations against patriotic Americans founded on their own intended acts.

“Yet also I should be sad,’ said Théoden, ‘for however the fortune of war shall go, may it not so end that much that was fair and wonderful shall pass for ever out of Middle-earth?’
‘It may,’ said Gandalf. ‘The evil of Sauron cannot be wholly cured, nor made as if it had not been. But to such days we are doomed. Let us now go on with the journey we have begun!” ( the Two Towers)
And so should we. The evils of the ongoing putsch against the remains of the American Republic-that-was will never be wholly cured. Orcs are walking the halls of government of what once was a free country. We must walk the path in front of us, however unpleasant it may be, with our eyes open to the risks on all sides, but focused on the path we must take, the path that leads to a rebirth of Liberty.

“‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’” (Fellowship of the Ring) That bears repeating.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” We cannot change what has happened. We cannot wish away the end of the rule of law in America. We CAN change what happens now, and in the future. What will you do, O gentle reader, to resist the tide of tyranny flowing forth from Mordor-on-the-Potomac? What will you decide to to do with the time that is given us? Will you yield yourselves to despair, as the Orcs and their lackeys who infest Mordor-on-the-Potomac so desperately want you to do, or will you stand for the Light, for your liberty, for the freedoms bequeathed to you by generations gone? It is well to remember that you need not stand alone, either.

“You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin–to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours–closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.” (Fellowship of the Ring) Merry and Pippin, as Frodo’s friends, refused to let him act alone. Friends, trustworthy faithful people that you know, and that know you, are the best assets you have in your resistance to tyranny. Cherish your friends. Listen to their wisdom, help them when they need help, advise them wisely when asked, be a friend in deed, not solely in word. Frodo would never have made it to Bree, let alone to Mount Doom, had it not been for his friends. We who love Liberty are not alone; we have 75 million potential friends out there on our side. If we were not a mortal threat to the left, they would not act as they have.

I could continue quoting Tolkien’s work at length, but I think my point is made. There is much beneficial wisdom in Tolkien’s work, if we ourselves are wise enough and brave enough to act upon it. Acting without thinking is foolishness, but having the wisdom to know what to do and NOT doing what must be done is worse.

With regard to all who seek the Light,

1 comment

  1. In my arrogant opinion, LOTR is the best and most important novel ever written in the English language — for the reasons you cite and many others.

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