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TOLKIEN and democracy

Mr. Eden in the house [parliament] the other day expressed pain at the occurrenc
es in Greece 'the home of democracy'. Is he ignorant or insincere? Demokratia wa
s not in Greek a word of approval but was nearly equivalent to 'mob-rule'; and h
e neglected to note that Greek Philosophers -- and far more is Greece the home o
f philosophy -- did not approve of it. And the great Greek states, esp. Athens a
t the time of its high art and power, were rather Dictatorships, if they were no
t military monarchies like Sparta! (no. 94, December, 1944).
I am not a 'democrat' only because 'humility' and equality are spiritual princip
les corrupted by the effort to mechanize and formalize them, with the result tha
t we get not universal smallness and humility, but universal greatness and pride
, till some Orc gets hold of a ring of power -- and then we get and are getting
slavery (no. 186, April, 1956).
My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood,
meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) or to unconstitutio
nal Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other
than the inanimate real of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither
power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if the
y remained obstinate! If we could go back to personal names, it would do a lot o
f good. Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing
and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so to refer to peopl
e . . . .the proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job
of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on),
is bossing other men...
Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportun
ity. At least it is done only to a small group of men who know who their master
is. The mediaevals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best rea
son a man could give to others for making him a bishop. Grant me a king whose ch
ief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power
to sack his Vizier (or whatever you dare call him) if he does not like the cut o
f his trousers. And so on down the line. But, of course, the fatal weakness of a
ll that after all only the fatal weakness of all good natural things in a bad corr
upt unnatural world is that it works and has only worked when all the world is mes
sing along in the same good old inefficient human way . . . . There is only one
bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamiting facto
ries and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as patriotism , may remain a h
abit! But it won t do any good, if it is not universal.
(to Christopher,1943, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien appears on pages 63 to 64
of the Houghton Mifflin edition, published in 1981)