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Our two towers: Winning the war on terrorism means confronting Western versions of Saruman
http://www.worldmag.com/subscriber/displayarticle.cfm?id=10203 ^ | Gene Edward Veith

Posted on 01/07/2005 12:20:53 PM PST by Caleb1411

J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings triology is about the epic struggle of "the free folk of the West" to ward off and defeat the temptations and the enemies that would destroy them. As such, the movie version has had a powerful cultural resonance for the free folk undergoing the war on terrorism. Now all three movies are available in extended DVD versions, forming a single 12-hour saga that sheds light on one of the strangest phenomena of our current war: the alliance between our left-wing intellectual establishment and radical Islam.

In Tolkien's epic, all of Middle Earth is under attack. Sauron, the demonic Dark Lord whom the free folk assumed had been defeated long ago, is back in force, determined to wipe out everything good in Middle Earth and make it like his own hellish realm of Mordor.

But Sauron has an ally from within Middle Earth, who represents that civilization's highest accomplishments. Saruman the White is the head of Gandalf's order. He is an intellectual, a scientist, a technologist. Saruman decides to support Sauron. Whereas Sauron uses wraiths, dragons, monsters, and his own occult powers, Saruman uses the power of scientific rationalism. He genetically engineers a breed of super-Orcs. He invents gunpowder to blow up fortress walls. He cuts down the forest as fuel for his factories, turning his own once-beautiful realm into a Mordor-like wasteland.

The "Two Towers" of the trilogy's second title refer to the Dark Tower of Sauron and the White Tower of Saruman, the two different but allied threats against which the free folk must contend.

Tolkien was not writing political allegory, but similar alliances have characterized the last two centuries. When Hitler assaulted Western civilization, he had enthusiastic allies in Western intellectuals, such as the existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger, the modernist poet Ezra Pound, the deconstructionist literary critic Paul de Man, and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. With the next threat of Communism, Western intellectuals and artists were even more open in siding with the Soviets working to bury us.

Today, much of the Western intellectual establishment supports the Islamic terrorists. This goes beyond simple opposition to the war in Iraq. (Tolkien also depicts the response of hopeless pacifism, as in King Theoden—still under the influence of Saruman's agent Griga Wormtongue —when he laments, "Hasn't there been enough killing?" and refuses to attack the enemies at his door.) The hardcore leftists want the Iraqi insurgents to win. Filmmaker Michael Moore calls them "minute men" and "freedom fighters." Left-wing websites celebrate the killing of American soldiers and claim solidarity with Muslim revolutionaries. Some of the most virulent anti-Israeli rhetoric can be found in American and European universities.

Western leftists are feminist, pro-gay, and morally permissive. And yet, they are willing to make common cause with radical Islamists who brutally repress women, punish homosexuals by execution, and impose the harshest of legalistic codes. Just as Sauron would eat Saruman for dinner, Western intellectuals would not last one day under an Islamist republic. And yet, the hatred Western intellectuals have for the civilization that brought them into existence is so great that they will embrace its every enemy. How can this be?

University professors and students have long been deconstructing the great achievements of Western civilization, chanting in anti–liberal arts demonstrations, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go." The vogue of multiculturalism has meant criticizing Western culture in favor of non-Western cultures. Many Islamist terrorists are graduates of these universities, which schooled them well in the evils of the West.

One clue might be found in the terrorist taunt that "we love death more than you love life."

Those who are willing to kill others and themselves to make an abstract political statement share a mindset with those who see nothing wrong with aborting children, euthanizing sick people, and using human embryos for medical experiments.

The Saurons and Islamists hold to a religious nihilism, full of a spiritual energy that is wholly negative. The Sarumans and left-wing intellectuals hold to a secular nihilism that is equally negative. The free folk must confront the two towers, both the Minaret and the Ivory Tower. —•


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: clashofcivilizations; islamofascism; lotr; theleft; westerncivilization
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1 posted on 01/07/2005 12:20:54 PM PST by Caleb1411
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To: BibChr; rhema

Ping


2 posted on 01/07/2005 12:21:33 PM PST by Caleb1411
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To: Lil'freeper

Ping


3 posted on 01/07/2005 12:21:44 PM PST by big'ol_freeper ("Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought."-Pope JPII)
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To: ecurbh

ping!


4 posted on 01/07/2005 12:29:51 PM PST by Lil'freeper (Error 404. The page you requested was not found.)
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To: Caleb1411

I always believed that Hitler was Tolkein's inspiration for Sauron.


5 posted on 01/07/2005 12:33:06 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: Caleb1411

Very interesting and insightful post! But what gives you the notion that "Tolkien was not writing political allegory" - if you throw in a bit of deeply-felt religion, that is precisely what he was writing.


6 posted on 01/07/2005 12:33:52 PM PST by troglodyte (troglodyte)
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To: Caleb1411

Those in the Ivory Towers better beware the hyperconservative Ents - slow to anger but unstoppable once motivated. I think I hear some noises coming from the forest of "flyover America" now.


7 posted on 01/07/2005 12:37:22 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus (Americans first!)
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To: 2Jedismom; 300winmag; Alkhin; Alouette; ambrose; Anitius Severinus Boethius; artios; AUsome Joy; ...

Ring Ping!!

The Hobbit Hole :: Troop Support Projects

Anyone wishing to be added to or removed from the Ring-Ping list, please don't hesitate to let me know.

8 posted on 01/07/2005 12:37:26 PM PST by ecurbh (.. .-.. --- ...- . .... .- .. .-. --- ..-. - .... . -.. --- --.)
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To: NewRomeTacitus
"Those in the Ivory Towers better beware the hyperconservative Ents - slow to anger but unstoppable once motivated."

I agree...actually, they awoke the Ents' anger on 9/11/01.

I really like the minaret and Ivory Tower analogy to the Two Towers, the author was spot on there.

9 posted on 01/07/2005 12:41:25 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: Caleb1411

If the Palestinians loved their children half as much as they hate Jews....they could never send them out dressed in explosive vests...to kill themselves and Israeli children...

They certainly would not celebrate such insanity...nor would Saudi Arabia be able to pay them enough to murder their own children in order to murder other children..

So why is it...we support Saudi Arabia anyway...gotta be a reason?


10 posted on 01/07/2005 12:42:49 PM PST by joesnuffy (Moderate Islam Is For Dilettantes)
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To: troglodyte; ecurbh; HairOfTheDog
But what gives you the notion that "Tolkien was not writing political allegory" -

Actually, Tolkien would tell you that.

11 posted on 01/07/2005 12:43:05 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (No tag line to see here. Move along...)
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To: troglodyte
But what gives you the notion that "Tolkien was not writing political allegory"

Because Tolkien himself said so in the foreward to LOTR:

"As for any inner meaning or 'message', it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical. As the story grew it put down roots (into the past) and threw out unexpected branches: but its main theme was settled from the outset by the inevitable choice of the Ring as the link between it and The Hobbit. The crucial chapter, 'The Shadow of the Past', is one of the oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels."

12 posted on 01/07/2005 12:43:06 PM PST by ecurbh (.. .-.. --- ...- . .... .- .. .-. --- ..-. - .... . -.. --- --.)
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To: Caleb1411
Winning the war on terrorism means . . .

Smashing the loud mouth, anti-American socialist democrats and all members of the left in the mouth and slamming their stinking watermelon heads against a brick wall if need be and shipping their stinking carcasses to a Soviet gulag in Siberia. Defeating terrorism at home is first in my book and the left and democrats are number one on my list as terrorists of the Republic and Constitution and the American way of life. Leftism and socialism is not the American way. Love of God, Country and the Red, White and Blue are. Not the love of the hammer and sickle and everything Soviet.

13 posted on 01/07/2005 12:43:52 PM PST by RetiredArmy (DEMOCRATIC PARTY : Enemies of the Republic)
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To: Corin Stormhands

That he was or that he was not?


14 posted on 01/07/2005 12:44:11 PM PST by TalonDJ
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To: Caleb1411
Whereas Sauron uses wraiths, dragons, monsters, and his own occult powers, Saruman uses the power of scientific rationalism. He genetically engineers a breed of super-Orcs. He invents gunpowder to blow up fortress walls. He cuts down the forest as fuel for his factories, turning his own once-beautiful realm into a Mordor-like wasteland.

Sorry, but this is just another vapid example of people reading into Tolkien what they want to get out of him. Making gunpowder? Cutting down forests? Sounds a lot to me like a liberal describing corporate interests and the "military-industrial complex." There's a reason the sixties hippies loved "Lord of the Rings" (besides the pipe-weed). By the way, 10 points to the first person who can recall which liberal first used the term "military-industrial complex"--no fair if you have to Google it.
15 posted on 01/07/2005 12:44:42 PM PST by drjimmy
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To: troglodyte

Tolkein himself swore up and down that he never wrote the book as an allegory. He simply wanted to write a great story, with the pipedream hope that it might be considered the mythology of the UK, which, he claimed, missed out when the Normans squashed Anglo-Saxon culture on the island.


16 posted on 01/07/2005 12:45:18 PM PST by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: TalonDJ; ecurbh
Was not, see ecurbh's Post #12.

Tolkien rejected the notion of political or religious allegory.

17 posted on 01/07/2005 12:45:38 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (No tag line to see here. Move along...)
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To: Caleb1411
One clue might be found in the terrorist taunt that "we love death more than you love life."

Those who are willing to kill others and themselves to make an abstract political statement share a mindset with those who see nothing wrong with aborting children, euthanizing sick people, and using human embryos for medical experiments.

18 posted on 01/07/2005 12:46:05 PM PST by Tax-chick (To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just.)
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To: troglodyte

Check http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1316165/posts


19 posted on 01/07/2005 12:47:31 PM PST by OSHA (I wish Huck Finn's last name was Fillary.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYachtClub; BykrBayb; LakeLady; bridgemanusa; Darksheare; Dr Snide; faithincowboys; ..

ping


20 posted on 01/07/2005 12:48:24 PM PST by stockpirate (Check out my homepage and learn about sKerry and his Socialist friends.)
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To: drjimmy

Saruman did create some sort of bomb (the book is not as clear as the movie is), and used it to breach the walls of Helms Deep. He also started clear-cutting the forest around Isengard, and had actually started earlier in the book than he did in the movie. In the book, the Ents were already aware of Saruman's cuttings before the arrival of Pippin and Merry, though in the book many of the clearcuts were simple maliciousness on the part of orcs.


21 posted on 01/07/2005 12:48:42 PM PST by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: troglodyte

It was not allegory. Tolkien said so.

It was JUST a good story. Jeez...

Also, Orthanc was a dark tower, made of black stone, and Saruman originally was a good guy with the same charge to combat Sauron, but was turned to evil by the lure of the One Ring.

When Saruman realized that Sauron would probably acquire the ring first, then he allied himself with Sauron.


22 posted on 01/07/2005 12:50:30 PM PST by StoneColdGOP (Better to have government by the masses than government by the asses.)
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To: drjimmy

Eisenhower?


23 posted on 01/07/2005 12:51:24 PM PST by FreedomPoster
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To: troglodyte

Tolkien was not writing "allegory", that is, he was not writing a fake "history" that paralleled what was going on in 1944 (he started writing it in 1938, and in 1944 was writing the Two Towers section of the novel).

However, he was writing imagined "history"...and did note that historical stories had APPLICABILITY to the present day world.

So anytime we confront evil, we see similarities. Islamofascism is no different from the evils of Naziism or communism: They seek to take over the world with power to remake simple human beings, and to replace God (Eru in the books) with themselves...there is no place in these utopias for simple hobbits who seek merely a normal family life and simple pleasures like beer and parties...

Ironically, Tolkien compared Saruman with the materialistic West, including the USA, which gloried in mechanics and industry but ignored nature and having fun (hobbits). That is why the "greens" love him...


24 posted on 01/07/2005 12:52:52 PM PST by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: Caleb1411
The free folk must confront the two towers, both the Minaret and the Ivory Tower.

Very well put!

25 posted on 01/07/2005 12:53:06 PM PST by livius
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To: cake_crumb
Sauron, and Melkor before him, existed in Tolkien's mind long before Hitler came to power. But be that as it may, the similarity between Michael Moore and a Balrog is unmistakable!
26 posted on 01/07/2005 12:53:49 PM PST by Redcloak (My New Year's resolution: To make up a new tag line.)
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To: troglodyte
But what gives you the notion that "Tolkien was not writing political allegory" - if you throw in a bit of deeply-felt religion, that is precisely what he was writing.

I really think you have that backwards. No doubt their was some "political" allusion, but IMHO, it is a timeless Biblical good vs evil epic and very much in the the Catholic tradition --- evil is 100% evil yet seductive and powerful far beyond the ability of flawed humanity to resist. Only the most innocent, pure and humble spirit could possibly defeat the evil.

27 posted on 01/07/2005 12:56:51 PM PST by Ditto ( No trees were killed in sending this message, but billions of electrons were inconvenienced.)
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To: LadyDoc
One of the marks of great literature is that the themes transcend time and can be understood by people of future generations. There is a reason why people still read Shakespeare, Dickens, and of course, Tolkien.

Although not written as an allegory, there are times in history when the themes of The Lord of the Rings leap out at us from history books or front pages. Today is one of those times.

I think it is appropriate to ask ourselves "How is the war on terror like the war against Mordor? If we were casting the roles from current public figures, who would most fit in what role?"

Tolkien had no way to know that we would be in a struggle with Islamic terrorists. However, evil often has the same face, and his novels are eerily prescient in their themes.

28 posted on 01/07/2005 1:01:25 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Little Pig
I have no qualms with the accuracy of what the author of this piece says that Saruman did. But what he calls Saruman's "scientific rationalism" could just as well be called Saruman's "war mongering anti-environmentalism." The author also notes disapprovingly that "Western leftists are feminist, pro-gay, and morally permissive," which may be true but has nothing to do with "Lord of the Rings." While Tolkien's characters were morally chaste, you have to consider Eowyn quite the feminist, hiding her appearance in order to go off to war. And don't get me started on the hidden meanings in the relationship between Sam and Frodo!

My main point is that whenever someone takes old works and tries to make points with them about modern occurences, they are simply echoing what they already believe.
29 posted on 01/07/2005 1:03:12 PM PST by drjimmy
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To: FreedomPoster

Ike it was.


30 posted on 01/07/2005 1:05:38 PM PST by drjimmy
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To: Miss Marple

Brilliantly put.


31 posted on 01/07/2005 1:07:17 PM PST by EllaMinnow (Dems are drunk on sour grapes!)
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To: Redcloak

You know, now that you mention it Michael Moor does remind me of Griga Wormtongue.


32 posted on 01/07/2005 1:24:59 PM PST by usurper (Correct spelling is overrated)
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To: drjimmy
"Ike it was."

But I wouldn't call Ike a "liberal." He was correct on his warnings about the "military industrial complex" that tended to spend for the sake of spending as opposed to spending to meet realistic threats. Ike understood the military better than an president and he understood the Congress and their penchant to pork.

Although Ike's warning was picked up and distorted by the left to oppose any spending, his point was valid. Kennedy (of the "Missile Gap" election) ignored Ike's warning and opened the spigots, Johnson was overwhelmed by providing guns and butter, (sweet & sour pork) and in the 70's "butter" (social pork) won. By the 80s, we needed radical spending to catch up from the 70s maladministrations and come the 90s, we over reacted in the opposite direction with the so-called "peace dividend" diverting military spending to feed the powerful and ever hungry "bureaucratic-institutional complex."

Now, Rummy is taking heat from both the left and right for attempting to rationalize threats and spending. Maybe 50 years after Ike asked for some rationality on the most deadly serious portion of the budget, we will take his words seriously and we will quit making the DoD budget a political yo yo.

33 posted on 01/07/2005 1:30:17 PM PST by Ditto ( No trees were killed in sending this message, but billions of electrons were inconvenienced.)
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To: drjimmy
Sorry, but this is just another vapid example of people reading into Tolkien what they want to get out of him.

You make fun of this, and then comment in another post about the implications of the relationship between Sam and Frodo? Just what is it that YOU are reading into that relationship? I read about two characters who were a team in bringing about the destruction of the Dark Lord, but reading your statement makes me think you read something a bit more salacious! Vapid indeed!

34 posted on 01/07/2005 1:41:35 PM PST by Alkhin (Tributaries - http://awanderingconfluence.com/blog)
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To: Miss Marple

AMEN! I agree!


35 posted on 01/07/2005 1:43:17 PM PST by Alkhin (Tributaries - http://awanderingconfluence.com/blog)
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To: Redcloak
" But be that as it may, the similarity between Michael Moore and a Balrog is unmistakable!"

I always thought of Moore more as the Uruk Hai type...

36 posted on 01/07/2005 1:57:20 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: Miss Marple
"I think it is appropriate to ask ourselves 'How is the war on terror like the war against Mordor?' "

The Islamakazis are obviously the orc hordes and IMO the author is correct in analogizing the left as Saruman, I'd like to add Denethor to that analogy, because so many people have run around for so many years, thinking only THEY understood the threat of terrorism. Then when it happened in the US, those same people insisted that we all might just as well give up now and do whatever the terrorists want because everything was all over.

37 posted on 01/07/2005 2:05:38 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: troglodyte
Tolkien explicitly rejected the notion that he was writing political (or any other type of) allegory. He's on record as hating allegory.

He was writing a myth, in which certain truths about human nature and human interaction are captured in a fictional setting which has no direct correspondence to any actual events.

38 posted on 01/07/2005 2:09:32 PM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: drjimmy

Eisenhower, right?
Exactly how the Urak-hai are made is not described, but GE is as good a guess as anything else.
I don't see much "reading into" of Tolkien here, jmho.


39 posted on 01/07/2005 2:15:17 PM PST by FierceKulak
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To: cake_crumb

No way. Moore is too fat, lazy, and (my impression) and chicken to be an Uruk-hai. Maybe he could be a rabble-rouser amongst the Easterlings or Wild people.


40 posted on 01/07/2005 2:21:19 PM PST by FierceKulak
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To: Caleb1411

My only quible with this is that it really isn't that clear which two towers are being refered to in the title. In the book there are actually 5 towers (3 held by the bad guys, 2 by the good guys) and you can make a pretty compelling argument for any combination. I've always leaned towards Orthanc and Mordor myself but it's not that cut and dry, my second favorite interpretation are the tower at Helms Deep and Minas Tirith, the sites of the two big refusal to yield battles (one fought in this book, the other prepared for in this book and fought in the next). Then there's also the Witch King's tower (moved to the third movie) which the ring passes close by which couples nicely with either Orthanc (both towers were once owned by the good guys and built for defense) or Mordor, plus a few other combos of the five.

But for purposes of this essay Suaron's and Sauroman's homes work best, and from that assumption it's otherwise spot on.


41 posted on 01/07/2005 2:26:16 PM PST by discostu (mime is money)
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To: Caleb1411

Good article, but I must point out a nit: "Griga Wormtongue" should be "Grima Wormtongue".


42 posted on 01/07/2005 2:48:12 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: FierceKulak
He's certainly as large as a múmak.
43 posted on 01/07/2005 3:03:35 PM PST by Redcloak (My New Year's resolution: To make up a new tag line.)
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To: ecurbh
Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels."

Evil is evil. Nothing changes it's mo.It is the same yesterday today and tomorrow, if you understand his thought process in this way. It doesn't matter what name you use, Hitler,OBL,etcetc, they all are spawn from the same burning hole of Satan.

44 posted on 01/07/2005 3:10:15 PM PST by marty60
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To: FierceKulak
"No way. Moore is too fat, lazy, and (my impression) and chicken to be an Uruk-hai.

Hmmm...good point. Wormtongue. He's a perfect Wormtongue

45 posted on 01/07/2005 3:15:38 PM PST by cake_crumb (Leftist Credo: "One Wing to Rule Them all and to the Dark Side Bind Them")
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To: Caleb1411
Those who are willing to kill others and themselves to make an abstract political statement share a mindset with those who see nothing wrong with aborting children, euthanizing sick people, and using human embryos for medical experiments.

So true, because neither group believes that human life has an intrinsic worth.

46 posted on 01/07/2005 4:09:01 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: NewRomeTacitus
I think I hear some noises coming from the forest of "flyover America" now.

The Huorns from the Plains. ;o)

47 posted on 01/07/2005 4:11:12 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Caleb1411
Sauron? Saruman? Gandalf the Gay was on our side, right?


48 posted on 01/07/2005 4:23:38 PM PST by x
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To: SuziQ

Ah, you've read that compilation of super-dense pre-LOTR stories in "The Book of Lost Tales"? The jewels found in there were almost worth the mental pain trying to understand it (I'm only a sub-genius).

Despite Tolkien's objections I can't help but see how his subconscious folded events from his time into his conscious effort to weave his lands' folklore into a new mythos. By that light I think this article's author was quite in the right by applying the mythos to modern political reality. The seemingly endless battle between good and evil remains a constant while only the characters change. Stay good!


49 posted on 01/07/2005 7:05:13 PM PST by NewRomeTacitus
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To: discostu
My only quible with this is that it really isn't that clear which two towers are being refered to in the title.

The Two Towers in the title of the book do refer to Orthanc, where Saruman resides at Isengard, and to Barad-dur in Mordor where Sauron is, so your leaning is correct. The title refers to the the alliance between Saruman and Sauron.

50 posted on 01/07/2005 8:53:15 PM PST by Disambiguator
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