Friday, May 11, 2007

Tolkien and unexpected consequences of wars

Over on David Louis Edelman's blog he's reading through the complete works of J. R. R. Tolkien. He has some interesting comments on comparing the Silmarillion to The Hobbit. Basically the Hobbit is pretty uneven. There is a nasty transition from children's tale to borderline postmodern novel particularly how the post conflict world is treated he concludes with this comment.
Actually, if you want to think about it another way, The Hobbit provides a nice little allegory to the U.S. situation in Iraq.
He then lists various comparisons. This is not only allegory for the Iraqi adventure but for just about any war.. Let's take three examples.
  • American Civil War. Crushing northern victory followed by abject failure during Reconstruction leading to one century of Jim Crow laws.
  • World War I leads to the rise of Communism and Fascism.
  • World War II is followed by increasing communism which led to a multigenerational conflict the Cold War and the final dissolution of European empires French, British and Dutch.
You can probably come up with other examples feel free to list in the comments if you want. Wars are invariably turning points of history even if our social historian friends don't want to admit it.

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