A Timely Lord of the Rings Analogy

Ian Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute makes this analogy between our current situation and the Lord of The Rings [HT: Instapundit]:

[W]ith even liberal anger against the President growing, perhaps the analogy at the end of this Daily Show segment is worth considering further. The orcs who are despoiling the free enterprise system draw power from the One Ring, the might concentrated in Washington DC and which corrupts even the most noble souls (to be charitable to the President). In order to stop the orcs, we shouldn’t just change the Ringbearer(s) every few years, we need to destroy the Ring itself.

Tolkien was not a libertarian. But he was extremely suspicious of government, an attitude reflected in The Lord Of the Rings and even more in some of his other works. There is a clear synergy between his view of state power and that held by most libertarians. The necessity of destroying the Ring of Power (as opposed to having it wielded by a benevolent ruler, as proposed by several characters at different points in the story) drives home the point. So too does the critique of socialism in “The Scouring of the Shire.”

Unfortunately, however, Murray doesn’t quite get the LOTR analogy right. The ringbearers (Frodo and, briefly, Sam) were the ones trying to destroy the Ring, not use it. Our power-seeking political leaders are actually more analogous to the Ringwraiths – people seduced by their desire for power into becoming the Ring’s and Sauron’s minions.

UPDATE: It seems to me that commenters who angrily attack me for claiming that Tolkien was a libertarian could have saved themselves some trouble by reading the part of the post where I say that “Tolkien was not a libertarian”; he was a conservative traditionalist whose views were strongly influenced by his Catholicism. He was also, however, deeply suspicious of government power, a view evident in both the Lord of the Rings and many of his other writings.

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