Sunday, January 05, 2003

Billmon has an excellent post up on The Daily Kos that really hilights the problems with trying to use The Lord of The Rings as a model for how we should handle our current geo-political problems. He points out that those who would use it as the model for how "moral clarity" is necessary in the fight against evil forget that our opponents in our present age are not as clear-cut as the apparent evil that is Sauron. We are fighting other human beings, not orcs. Yet "moral clarity" can produce in us a tendency to see everyone who is not "with us" as being sub-human and thus worthy of slaughter. For me the most inspiring element of LOTR is Gandalf's chastising of Frodo when Frodo wishes death on Gollum. "Do not be so quick to pass out death and judgement," he advises, "even the very wise cannot see all ends." Many on the right would call that bleeding-heart squishiness. That doesn't mean it isn't true.

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