Socialism and the Shire

Socialism could work. Hey, as long as I’m talking make believe let’s chat about the Lord of the Rings!

J.R.R. Tolkien first described the precinct of the Hobbits, The Shire, as “a district of well ordered business”. If any description best encapsulates The Shire, then that is it. Each Hobbit attended to his own affairs, but also looked to bring something of value to his neighbors. This is the heart of ethical capitalism. Look for problems to solve, or needs to meet, exert your efforts to produce such or do so, and, in so doing, provide for one’s own livelihood and that of one’s family.

The Shire works because neighbors depend on one another’s hard work. Each has a role, and is expected to exert effort for the benefit of himself and others. There are gaffers and millers and “shirrifs” and such, but there are no grifters, panhandlers, swindlers or wolves. Sure, Tolkien describes the envy one family member feels towards the Bag End Bagginses, but such things are bound to be. Make no mistake, though there are no Hobbits on welfare. And isn’t that wonderful?

The Shire is an enclave, protected by high thorny hedges and surrounded by bucolic prairie lands. As such, the Hobbits had gradually forgotten the outside lands. They forgot that there are enemies out there in the world. They were insulated, safe, and comfortable- and this made them complacent. They took for granted that all communities would be ruled by such order, reason, and mutual beneficence, rather than tyranny, might, and thralldom. If an enemy did arise, would a Hobbit even be able to tell before it was too late?

Enter Sharky. Those who have only seen the films, may not recognize the character, for indeed he does not appear in any of them. In the books, a recurring theme between Frodo and Samwise is the mutual love of The Shire and a desire to return to its peaceful pastures and knolls. But, Sharky gets there first. And, he isn’t just an ordinary usurper, he is Saurumon the fallen Istari. Sharky may have had his intrinsic Mayar powers stripped away, but Gandalf left him one weapon yet- his tongue.

With nothing more than words and deceit Sharky despoils the Shire, enslaves the Hobbits, and uses men to intimidate and imprison any would be dissenters. The four Hobbits arrive to find their beloved home enthralled by the disgraced wizard. It smites heavily upon them, because “it comes home to you, as they say” that the last battle, of that epoch in Middle Earth, would be for their homes, families, neighbors, and native land.

I have thought for a while that America is much like the Shire. Our political and economic systems have been fairly stable. Violence is on the decline. The specter of racism, Pre-Obama, had all but been vanquished. We were a nation of “well ordered business”. Communism and Socialism and National Socialism had never taken root here, and so, we supposed, that is how it would always be.

Then came Senator Sharky Sanders, whispering his sweet promises of free medicare (it only costs 32 Trillion) and free college for all (it only costs 75 Billion). One wonders why they don’t just offer free ice cream, as well. We unsuspecting Hobbits heard these promises, and for most of us, we heeded them not. We were not alarmed, nor did we sense treachery. Most of us just ignored it. Many of us are not even aware of the terrible toll Socialism has taken on Venezuela, let alone the communist countries in the Far East.

Just as Saurumon had Wormtongue, Sanders has Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist sycophant who’s major accomplishment in life is her Quinceañera. But, she too has a tongue. She’s hailed as the next savior of the Democrat party, as many who voted for Obama cast ballots for Trump. It seems there is no room in the D party for moderates. Now, Sharky and Grima want to bring the same failed economic and political systems to our shores. It is not a Ring of power that Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez will turn to, but rather foreign interlopers, just as did Sharky and Wormtongue. They will be using Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, despite their hypocrital cries of “Collusion!”. They have already been using Soros money, for years, to get the job done.

The Hobbits are not easily duped, but they are easily controlled. They know what’s right, but they lack the might to withstand such powerful onslaughts. It will take battle hardened warriors to rally our wearied friends, neighbors, and countrymen, and lead them into the fray. Whether that be on Facebook or Main Street, Christians and our Conservative and Libertarian allies, must continue to expose the Left for the bankrupt (it will quite literally leave us broke) system of lies and hate that it is. They hope to scour the Shire, but together we can send them packing.

We fight them with our prayers and with our love and with our reason. We fight them by starting businesses and hiring young people to work in them, instilling our entrepreneurial ethics along the way. We fight them by strengthening our churches and Ladies’ Auxiliary. We fight them by having them over for coffee and cakes.

I’m suggesting radical intentionality. If you want to be a radical, you’ll need to act like the Cleavers. People need to see princes like Aragorn and ladies like Arwen. You’ll need to spit polish your spiritual armor and gird your loins for peace. How can Marx hope to stand up to the disarming gentility and wisdom of Gandalf?

“The whole gospel of Karl Marx can be summed up in a single sentence: Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others. Never under any circumstances admit that your own failure may be owing to your own weakness, or that the failure of anyone else may be due to his own defects – his laziness, incompetence, improvidence, or stupidity.” -Henry Hazlitt

Protesting the Flag and the Pledge?

  1. The Pledge of Allegiance was designed by Statists in 1892, to coerce a more nationalist/communistic, socialist populace, according to the Cato Institute. It did not catch on nationally until after WWI, when victorious Americans were feeling a great swell of nationalist exuberance. Example: Prior to the Civil War a gentleman thought of himself as a Virginian or Pennsylvanian, and now he is more likely to think of himself as an “American”.
  2. There is nothing innately Christian about pledging allegiance to anything or anyone but Christ himself.
  3. NFL, NBA, MLB players are exercising their constitutionally guaranteed free speech and freedom of protest.
  4. Outraged sports fans should vote with their attention by tuning out, and with their dollars by not spending on team gear.
  5. Christians should exercise their free speech by witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus, and being good citizens.
  6. If the NFL/NBA/MLB suffers from loss of revenue, then they will change. Money is their goal, not politics and not entertainment.
  7. If Hollywood loses revenues, because stars and starlets can’t keep their gobs shut, then so be it. The free market will ensure that what makes money will continue to be what makes it to the screen.

For me personally, I do feel proud to recite the pledge. I do not think it makes me a socialist or a GOPer. It simply unites me to my countryman in a way that is, I think, good and natural. I am not naive. I know our nation has much to repent. But, I also know it has been used mightily of God, in our heyday.

In middle school, I realized that saying the pledge was not perfectly in sync with my Christian values. It made me feel like I was committing idolatry. This was uncomfortable for me. I stopped rising for the pledge. Truth be told, it more an act of youthful rebellion against ensconced tradition. It irked me that I had to rise and recite. I chaffed at that. This was not some deeply held religious belief, like say, Hasidic Jews refusing to join the IDF. I determined that America, and her flag, did not deserve my allegiance.

Today, I rise for the anthem, and sing it. I stand for the pledge and recite it. I love this country, “for which it stands.” But, I am aware of their origins and limitations. I do not conflate the armies of the US, with the heavenly host. And, I do not expect our political leaders to work miracles, solving all of our earthly woes- they are neither saints nor prophets. Only Jesus can do that.

Let’s pray for national repentance. Let’s pray the our Lord drains the swamp. Let us be devoted to one another in brotherly love, from sea to shining sea. Be a light. Add your purifying savor to the broth. Feed his sheep. This land is your land, after all. God gave it to you as a gift and a calling.