Friday, January 24, 2003


Tim Gillin writes:

The great Peter Jackson movie adaption of J.R.R Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS has been doing great guns in cinemas around the world. Tolkien of course was a devout Christian, arch-conservative and opposed to authoritarian and arbitrary power of any sort.

This recent article at the Acton Society site discusses Tolkien's opposition to centralised state power. This theme has been discussed elsewhere in more detail. This article by William Stoddard for example discusses Tolkien view of decentralised power and finds connections with the anarchic society of old Iceland and the "distributivist" ideas of G.K. Chesterton and Belloc. (There is a critique of Distributivism here)

The author is however unaware that Tolkien attended the same school as Hillaire Belloc whose 1912 book THE SERVILE STATE inspired F.A.Hayek to write his classic ROAD TO SERFDOM written during WW2. Hayek of course influenced Milton Friedman, whose son, David Friedman finds some inspiration in old Iceland for his preferred anarcho-capitalism.

Tolkien was of course an expert on Northern languages, including Icelandic, and Anglo-Saxon culture. His work was an attempt to imaginatively "rediscover" the "lost" mythology of Anglo-saxon England prior to 1066 and the imposition of "the Norman Yoke". In a sense he was the first Euro-skeptic!

It is well known that Tolkien converted C.S. Lewis back to Christianity. The core of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is however not politics or economics but "the Christian virtues". When you explore the dates for Frodo's departure from "The Shire" to the climax of the adventure, you discover the story begins on Christmas Day and finishes on Good Friday (although I am sure other Tolkien fans may disagree on this!).

This longish (15 page) biography of Tolkien is one of the best on the web.



Taken verbatim from the Quick Takes column in the Chicago Sun-Times:

News Item: Securities and Exchange Commission forms Public Company
Accounting Oversight Board to oversee the accounting profession.

News Item: Public Company Accounting Oversight Board members vote
themselves annual salaries of $452,000, with the chairman to receive

From Jerry Lerman, posting of 23rd January.



Hooray! The Wall St. Journal have put an article by Bjorn Lomborg on their editorial page. That should help stiffen the resolve of the Republicans over Kyoto.

I have posted a bit lately about how the Leftist influence has gutted modern academic psychology of most of its claim to be a science. Roger Sandall does a similar but much more witty expose of modern anthropology

Joanne Jacobs reports: Congressional investigators created a fake school -- Y'Hica Institute for the Visual Arts -- in London, and applied for federal loans for three non-existent students to study abroad. All were approved by the Department of Education.

Razib has a long post on the alleged connection between Christianity and respect for individual liberties. He does not seem to realize it but he makes an excellent case for my claim that our tradition of respect for individual liberties is of Germanic rather than Christian origin. (See about halfway through my article here).

Michael Darby talks about the current Australian bushfires and points to crazy Greenie policies that have made this bushfire season unprecedentedly bad.

The Wicked one has two stories about the amazing stupidity of bureaucracy.

Chris Brand says that we should recognize and rejoice in diversity -- by acknowledging racial differences.

An excellent joke on Samizdata

China Hand says that the Chinese are at least frank about admitting that they use bugging devices to eavesdrop on people.

You can carry a loaded gun onto an aircraft in the U.S. and get only a warning if you happen to be connected with a TV talk-show host.


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