The Lord of the Rings was written between 1937 through 1949… years of dark waters, indeed.Although the situation in Iraq has improved - despite the best efforts of the defeatist Democratic Party, inheritors of the "war no more" traditions of Neville Chamberlain - the battle against the Islamofascists continues.
A few years before Tolkien put pen to paper, an event took place that a man of his education would have undoubtedly been aware. On February 9th, 1933, the ruling elite of the world’s great Civilization held a debate in the Oxford Union. With thunderclouds growing dark across the English Channel, at a time when resolute action could still have averted the worst catastrophe the world has ever known, these elites resolved that “This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country.”
The Resolution passed by a vote of 275 to 153. Needless to say, this vote did not avert the fight. It guaranteed it.
How much of the weight of that, I wonder, sat along side him as he penned page after page about the decline of the Men of the West. For taken in its entirety, The Lord of the Rings is about the collective regeneration of the will and courage of a previous age, and ends with the hope that the greatest days of the City lie yet ahead.
When contrasting our civilization and theirs, ask yourself - which society would I rather live in:
- if gay
- if a woman
- if a poor person
- if driven to petty thefts by hunger
- if struggling to start a small business
- if holding an unpopular opinion
- if a religious minority
I hear people when they tell me that I can't judge a society by the way they treat their people. After all, I'm told, I have to be fair - why, I might feel the same way, were I living there.
Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. People raised in a society without access to a free press (truly free - and INCLUDING bloggers) tend to accept their norms without thinking. And, if I lived there, I might also dutifully parrot their unthinking prejudices.
Civilization is a construct - that's a fancy way of saying that it doesn't come naturally. What civilization really is, is a legally binding agreement that there are rules, and that ALL shall abide by them. Even the rich. Even the majority. Even the minority. The rules apply to all.
It was a revolutionary idea in 1215, when the Barons of England forced the King to sign the Magna Carta. Later, application of that principle spread to the common man. And, eventually, to the colonies of America.
This week, a student asked whether I was a conservative. She explained that she had been taught that conservatives believed that rules should be applied to all. She said that liberals believed that sometimes, the rules weren't fair, and that they could be ignored, if the situation required it (I'm paraphrasing somewhat, I don't remember her exact words). At the time, I thought, "So?"
Somewhere along the way, she's been given the idea that, as a Black person, bending the rules works in her favor, so is a good thing. While this may have been true recently, she's been cheated of knowledge of history.
"Back in the day", bending the rules allowed White men to escape punishment for crimes against Blacks.
That's what happens when the rules can be bent for the benefit of a few. Whether it benefits you, personally, depends on whether the ones in power are you and your allies, or those who despise you.
Either way, sometimes the application of the rules, or failure to apply them, causes some injustices. I just prefer the system that allows me to predict what the outcomes will be, based on the law (rules).