by Brad Nelson 8/20/15
Everyone wants to be a Hobbit. No one wants to be a Ranger • Conservatives don’t tend to be the touch-feely, artsy-fartsy types. They tend to be serious people (but with a healthy sense of humor). They are more likely to own a gun than a water pipe. They dig NASCAR, not those little Flintstone-like coffin cars driven by those who are trying to “save the planet” (but who might be better off saving themselves behind the solid metal of an SUV).
Still, one can appreciate the desire to be happy, free, contented, and full of the buzz of kumbaya. And you see that hope every day. You see the tie-dye liberals walking around, suspended sometimes on a cloud of fumes, and it can tug at your heart that what these grown children want is simply what most of us want: a little security, happiness, safety, friends, and a fulfilling sense of meaning.
And that’s all good. I admire this artsy-fartsy, touchy-feely crowd. We need compassionate people. We need nice people instead of mean people, even if they range toward the goofy just a bit. We need to surround ourselves with beauty and kumbaya vibes. That’s all to the good.
But from watching and thinking about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings lately, I couldn’t help thinking how nice Hobbiton (the land of the Hobbits) is. It’s a green environmental Utopia where everyone gardens, makes art, pals around with neighbors who are mostly of good cheer, sit on the porch and smoke weed, and have a glass of ale at the small corner pub and swap stories.
But as we see painfully portrayed in the books, Hobbiton is not a self-contained place. It is, in the end, devastated by outside forces of evil. It is an island that exists, and can only exist, because there are Rangers such as Strider unknowingly and selflessly protecting it. Being off to the side, to the West of Middle Earth, Hobbiton avoids many of the conflicts in and around the Eastern parts. But not forever, as we see in the books.
I would hope all conservatives understand, perhaps even share, the Utopian impulse to live a fulfilled, peaceful, and kumbaya life with like-minded people. But life does not allow sheep to live outside of the influence of wolves. And there are always wolves.
And it is a shame that this simple fact tends to put people at odds with those who would defend us from the harsh realities of the world. I’m sure that most of the Left’s animosity toward “pigs” is because the police are a reminder that their Utopian visions are false. The Utopian vision of the Left is that conflict arises because of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc., focused and enhanced by a Christian/capitalist society that has become very good at exploitation — and not because there are many bad people in the world.
This is a child-like mindset, but we must remember that it is widespread and that some people turn very mean when their cherished delusions are challenged. For the True Believer, Utopia and a widespread kumbaya are very possible. And they are so in love with this idea that they become hostile to the sheepdogs, to those who would remind us that there are real dangers out there.
One can see this in the dealings with Iran. Certainly these dealings betray a host of Leftist weaknesses and delusions. But I think not least among them is the idea that kumbaya is what all people want and that therefore if there is some angst in the world, it’s somebody’s fault (America’s fault, in this case) because we have not been “fair” or sufficiently “sensitive” to the various needs of the tribal “people of color” in the third world. This belief is so powerful, they will overlook giving nuclear weapons to crazies.
Hobbotin is a very compelling image. But it cannot exist without someone safeguarding its borders. And as our society regresses to a child-like state, it’s perhaps no wonder we have no answer to the illegal aliens pouring over our own. We would simply wish-away the reality of the world and our necessity to engage it as it is. We can try to make “sanctuary cities” but they never do turn into Hobbiton. They are more likely to be places where dissolution is concentrated.
Still, it’s a wonderful image. And, ironically, the only way it ever has a chance of taking root is if one foot is in kumbaya and the other firmly planted in the reality that there is always a Mordor out there which must be defended against.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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