There has been a disturbing trend regarding the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, in which this work of propaganda has been not only taken at face value, but its lies propagated further through the films of this generation’s Goebbels, one Peter Jackson.
Let us peruse the claims made by these stories, and highlight the contradictions within them that point to their primary role as propaganda for the brutal and violent reign of the war criminal Aragorn.
We are presented with a world of dubious economic reality, asked to believe that most of the lands are deserted and unpopulated, despite the presence of cities and towns that inexplicably have stable food supplies despite the apparent demonstration through the wanderings of the protagonists that the countryside is empty of farms of any kind. And that highlights a larger problem. Arnor, the western half of Middle Earth is lawless, completely depopulated, and contains absolutely no real rule of law. The absence of population is explained as the result of the destruction of the western kingdom some thousand years before the events of the story.
This is untenable for many reasons. If there is no population, where do the trade goods in the cities come from? Where does the food come from? Why are there maintained roads through the countryside? For instance, the bourgeois hobbits have exquisite homes despite never working, access to prodigious amounts of food with no apparent large scale farming, and ready supplies of narcotics. Goods such as these do not simply materialize out of thin air. And while I’m sure that apologists of this propaganda might have manufactured talking points on this subject, I will posit a question that they cannot answer.
Why does Bree have an inn?
Inns exist for travelers to stay at. But if these lands are empty, then there would be no need for an inn. The answer is that the emptiness of the land is a lie. It is empty of the socioeconomic classes of people whom the propagandist finds acceptable, and the rest have been washed out of the story.
We find a similar population problem elsewhere: Rohan boasts absolutely no sustainable economy as it is presented in the text. Neither does Gondor. The pseudo-feudal structures of these societies would require great masses of peasants to support the tip of the pyramid, which is the only concern the propagandist has at all. But why leave the peasantry out? Such people might be disagreeable to an apologist for medieval propaganda, but great trouble is exercised to describe these lands being empty of people other than the elites, leading me to conclude that this was not an omission due to taste, but due to a central concern of the books. That is, the peasant population has been intentionally written out of these stories.
Let us also note that in the course of this story, nominal protagonists are taken prisoner by the forces of evil at least twice, while not a single soldier is allowed to surrender by the so-called forces of good. Yet descriptions are presented repeatedly of battles in which the forces of either Gondor or Rohan pursue fleeing enemies and execute them to the last man. While one cannot expect such backwards civilizations to be signatories to the Geneva Conventions, one can at least hold them accountable for the unwritten rules of warfare going back thousands of years.
Indeed, the casual contempt the “men of the west” have for even the possibility of ethnic peace is disturbing to say the least. In the appendices of this triumph of propaganda, it is made clear that the new king spends a goodly chunk of the rest of his life hunting down and massacring en masse the populations of orcs and other undesirables in his newly conquered territories. The inability of this text to even acknowledge the fundamental humanity of the enemies of its heroes is quite disturbing, and clearly the product of a deranged and possibly fascist military dictatorship built upon racial purity.
On at least two different occasions in the course of this series of novels and its prequel, the final member of a species is murdered in its home by our nominal protagonists. The last of the dragons, and the last (as far as anyone knows) of the Balrog. While the propagandist labors to argue that the lands controlled by these native beasts has been stolen from dwarves, even he must admit that in the case of the Balrog, the dwarves delved too deep and woke the creature. Thereby demonstrating that in fact it was the dwarves infringing on the territory of the Balrog. And really, this is taking the propagandists’ argument too seriously anyway. Rather than investigating the possibility of rehoming these creatures to a safer location, or acknowledging that perhaps the survival of a species might be have its own importance, the propagandist instead argues for the annihilation of these noble species.
As a further point, note that the nominal antagonists of these stories, Sauron and Saruman, both have built their power bases upon a core of industrialization powered by loyal subjects willing to fight and die for their vision of the future. The protagonists are agrarian without apparent agriculture. Even the lowly soldiers of these armies of “good” are landowning elites. So who works their lands?
Though, I am loathe to use that vile racial epithet that is the only surviving record of this noble people handed down to us.
These inconsistencies and bits of evidence point to the only real conclusion that can be drawn. A violent uprising of an alliance of rural peasantry and a burgeoning industrial middle-class was brutally suppressed by the protagonists of these books. Vastly outnumbered in the field, they nevertheless won the war through the combination of assassination and ethnic cleansing, and justified their actions through this monumental work of propaganda.
Please, do not dishonor the memory of the silent dead by continuing to pass on these lies.
Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at www.burningviolin.com. You can email him here and order his novel here.