Skip to comments.Our Two Towers: Winning the war on terrorism means confronting Western versions of Saruman
Posted on 01/17/2005 10:49:24 AM PST by jfreif
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 Theodenstill 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 antiliberal 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.
You mean the Eye of Sauron - CBS?
He forgot to mention that the western left is also atheist, another tenet they don't share with the Islamists. Good article.
ASV Prov8:36But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me love death.
Hahaha..nice. This is a pretty good article.
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The article is referring to the movie version of the story rather than the book version... a lot of the character motivations were changed for the movie version.
Now playing : Lord of the Rings IV, the Twin Towers, featuring Ted Kennedy as Wormtongue........
There is a lot of truth to this. The actor who portrays Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen is an unabashed anti-war activist with a particular disdain for GWB. How can these people understand the spirit of JRR Tolkiens LOTR and not make the connection with the events happening today? Tolkiens Aragorn is a model of virtue, a seeker of truth and justice and above all a leader of men in a time where indifference and petty political squabbles endanger the world of men against an organized and ruthless enemy in Sauron. Tolkien would surely be saddened by this fact had he been alive today.
Actually, the author is somewhat incorrect on at least one point. Tolkien may not have specifically referred to "The Hobbit", or the "Rings" trilogy as being 'political allegory' or 'spiritual allegory', but they were both and in no uncertain terms, either.
Tolkien's long association with C.S. Lewis and others in their writing group, was a meeting of some of the best minds, and produced some of the clearest thinking of the 20th century.
Though affected by other, earlier influences in their individual lives, Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia", and his "Space Trilogy" were as much allegorical signposts pointing towards/warning of the decline of western morality and intellectualism and the corollary rising of various sorts of totalitarian statism as were J.R.R. Tolkien's works.
Moreover, they both clearly understood the problems of the human condition which led to such upheaval, although it is questionable they were specifically thinking in narrow, prophetic terms vis-a-vis the renewed rise of Islam.
Would that these venerable spiritual and intellectual "Two Towers" of reasoned discourse and penetrating thought were around today, available for pungent analysis and cogent comment.
LOL. That's great!