Tolkien on Politics

J.R.R. Tolkien, world-famous as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, wasn’t much for politics. Nevertheless, he did have some strong opinions on the subject.

The following is from one of his letters, quoted in Secret Fire by Stratford Caldecott (pg. 124):

“I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remained obstinate! …[Government] is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people.”

And this from another letter, quoted on pgs. 124-125:

“I am not a democrat, only because ‘humility’ and equality are spiritual principles corrupted by the attempt to mechanise and formalise them, with the result 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.”

Hmm… I wonder what he’d think of current revelations that the Internal Revenue Service, an organ of the government funded by all the taxpayers of America, used its auditing powers, and other powers, to place obstacles in the way of conservative groups while at the same time smoothing the path for left-wing organizations.

Tolkien thought the ruling class was getting way, way, way too big for its britches in the 1950s. He should see it now that the Orcs really have gotten hold of it.

2 comments on “Tolkien on Politics

  1. My late (and beloved) husband used to say, “When God is left out of anything, it dies.” Could that be the problem with many of those
    those sitting in office chairs in D. C.?

    1. Yes, I think so. Those people in Washington think they ought to have God’s job. I think some good, Old Testament-style smiting is in order.

Leave a Reply