Skip to comments.What politicians can learn from Tolkien
Posted on 09/19/2019 9:14:40 AM PDT by rktman
What politicians can learn from Tolkien, Bill Federer recounts famous author's understanding of evils of human nature
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien describes man's insatiable lust for "the Ring of Power," as Gandalf exclaimed: "Always remember Frodo, the Ring is trying to get back to its master. It wants to be found."
When Frodo offered the Ring to Gandalf, Gandalf rebuked him, saying: "Don't tempt me Frodo! I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand, Frodo. I would use this ring from a desire to do good. ... But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine."
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
Washington warned: "If in the opinion of the People ... Constitutional powers be in any way particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent (of usurpation) must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield. ..."
Pretty well describes the progs.
“The precedent (of usurpation) must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield. ...””
I have no idea what that means.
It means that even though usurpation could create a temporary benefit, it would always also create large amounts of long-term and even permanent harm.
Thanks. I’m still having a hard time reading that it says what you’re saying, but I’m content to take your word for it.
Not to hijack this thread, but I just finished listening to “The Screwtape Letters”. Absolutely amazing. He saw exactly what we are enduring today.
The precedent (of usurpation) must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield. ...
I have no idea what that means.
Think about the precedent the democrats want to set when they seek to remove the President of the United States from power merely for POLITICAL ENDS.
It defies the true purpose for such an act, and is a dangerous precedent that they would hate to have turned upon them.
There is no justifying an unjust act, but you see it attempted everyday. People who harm or steal from others will always believe they have a reason.
‘Evil’ is usually at the bottom of the slippery slope. Setting a new precedent for transient gain is up the hill.
If you ever have the opportunity to see a one-man performance of “The Screwtape Letters”, make sure you go see it. A currently-touring performance came here this past spring and it was fantastic.
Which explains perfectly why the public schools do not study the Founders’ words any more. The average public-school victim does not understand them.
All I can say to that is Thank God, we won the Revolutionary War as I don’t think anyone has enough time to try to translate language such as that.
You used the word “study” and that’s what it would have amounted to. Should it be necessary to “study” to understand what someone is saying and what someone means? That’s like having to figure out what a politician means when he/she speaks.
If you allow usurpation even once, you have set a precedent.
That precedent, and the negative things that accompany the usurpation, do far more lasting damage than any temporary good the usurping provides.
Think of Banana Republics and their endless coups: one totalitarian regime after another, each done to stop evil, yet each producing a new, sometimes worse, evil.
Yes. I added my own, but your answer is a good one.
That was good. Thanks. I would have said it differently, but I’m not 350 years old.
Make that “I’m not 230 years old.”
Tolkien was a Christian, knew that humans are fallen, and understood the axiom: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The Valar sent the Five Wizards (Maiar) not to fight Sauron spirit to spirit, but to inspire the peoples of Middle Earth to oppose him.
Although Tolkien disliked allegory, and resisted thinking of the Valar and Maiar as “angels,” they were in essence similar: A Vala was more powerful than a Maia; the Valar, the rulers in Valinor, were fewer in number than the Maiar, their servants.
Both were eternal spirits with great powers who could incorporate (use a body), but did not have to do so. Gandalf of the Third Age, who took the form of an old man, was Olorin of the First Age. In that earlier time, he often influenced the Elves by planting thoughts in their minds, although he sometimes assumed the form of an Elf; he never declared himself as a being of higher power, because he did not want to arouse either terror or worship.
Sauron (The Abhorred) was originally Mairon (The Admirable); he was a Maia. Although he is certainly a type of Lucifer, who became Satan, the truer archetype of the Devil is Melkor (He Who Arises in Might), who became Morgoth (Black Foe of the World).
Morgoth was one of the two most powerful Valar; he chose evil. He seduced many lesser spirits, some of which became Balrogs, and one of the greatest Maiar, who became his most powerful servant, Sauron.
Morgoth was defeated by the Valar at the end of the First Age, but Sauron survived, and remained. He later took his former master’s place in Middle Earth as a despot.
The Valar later sent five Maiar (as Wizards) to deal with their fellow evil Maia, Sauron.
Both Gandalf and Galadriel - the second most powerful Elf of all time (after her cousin, Feanor) - understood that absolute power corrupts, and both of them refused to take the Ring - even to do good, and to stop Sauron.
Because each was already enormously powerful, the Ring would have enhanced that power far more than it would someone like Frodo, whose innate power was much less. (Think of a sledge hammer: A very strong man can do far more damage with it than a very weak one.)
In other words, both Gandalf and Galadriel refused a “usurpation” of Sauron’s power (the Ring) in order to overthrow Sauron. They knew that risking Sauron’s victory over Middle Earth was actually the lesser evil!
Although Tolkien was heavily influenced by Nordic Myth, his tales are clearly in a moral universe that is tacitly monotheistic: The “angels” are not gods; the One, Eru/Iluvatar, is the only true God, the Creator of the Valar, Maiar, Elves, and Men.
You don’t look a day over 210. :-)
P.S. That is why the attempted coup against Donald Trump is so dangerous, for the future of this nation, not just his presidency.
(230 years? The Constitution? I don’t entirely get it; I am not quite that old.)
I was just guessing approximately when George wrote it. I subtracted 1789 from 2019. I may have been off a few years, but I’m sure I was in the ballpark.
One of the better posts I’ve seen in my 22 years on FR. :-)
Reading the trilogy used to be an Autumn ritual for me. I lost track at 24 times. Now I just peruse passages; I have some of it effectively memorized.
One of the coolest things I found was to cross-reference themes from the Silmarillion and Akallabeth with TLotR and The Hobbit: The former were written first, but never published while he lived.
For example: Gimli the Dwarf asked Galadriel for a lock of her hair. This was a profound faux pas, but she granted this request to an honorable “enemy”; yet she had refused the same request from her own cousin, Feanor, in the First Age, because she saw the “darkness” in his soul.
The movie, Tolkien, was somewhat disappointing, since they (of course) diluted his Christian motivation, but it was otherwise interesting and well done.
Since The Screwtape Letters is dedicated to J. R. R. Tolkien, since Tolkien was a key Christian witness contributing to C. S. Lewis’ conversion, and since Lewis’ review of The Lord of the Rings helped the book to attain public stature, I do not think you are hijacking the thread.