Monday, August 01, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, the Tea Party and Tricksy Hobbits

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an editorial comparing the Tea Party and Hobbits. From the editorial:
"The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor."
Best comment:
"By the way, just in case in you don’t recall … the hobbits win in Lord of the Rings. They got a lot of ridicule from the elite and the powerful along the way, but they end up saving the West from ruinous destruction."
Not meaning to be too snide, but C. S. Lewis's take might apply here: "The answer to such people [who misuse literary imagery] is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them." Heh.

At the least the Wall Street Journal editors certainly didn't get Tolkien's theme about high intellect good guys (like Gandalf) realizing that the really dangerous part often has to be left to those not as high up and tempted by power. Remember that Gandalf refused to take the Ring?
[Gandalf:] "'But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.'

[Frodo:]"'But I have so little of any of these things! You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?'

"'No!'cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. 'With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.' . . . 'Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength.'"
(The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter 2)
The moral of Tolkien's story, missed by Wall Street Journal editors, is that it might just be the non-insider Tea Party people who don't have all that political know-how who need to lead the fight, rather than the politically wise beltway, establishment wizards.

Best headline: One DEBT to Rule Them All!!!

Apparently understanding hobbits is tricksy not just to Gollum and Sauron, but to Wall Street Journal editors too.

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