I lied. In addition to the pieces on natura pura and textualism that I recommended in the previous post, I should stress — with a capital S — the importance of reading Joseph Pearce’s two recent pieces at The Imaginative Conservative: “Distributism in the Shire: The Political Kinship of Tolkien and Belloc” and “Tolkien and Belloc vs. Richards and Witt.” Pearce, who is well known for his books on Tolkien, Belloc, Chesterton, and Solzhenitsyn, takes issue with Jay Richards and Jonathan Witt’s questionable new book, The Hobbit Party. Both men are unabashed economic liberals aligned with the Acton Institute, and so it comes as no surprise that they have no shame hijacking Tolkien and his seminal creation to provide apologetic heft for their brand of free-market capitalism and limited government. Pearce, rightly, cries, “Foul!” From the second of Pearce’s articles:
In an effort to end on the cheerful note of finding something to cheer about in [The Hobbit Party], I can indeed find much that is good and insightful. The overarching problem, however, is that the authors’ ideological agenda reduces the whole book to a woeful and unconvincing effort to squeeze the square peg of Tolkien’s traditionalist genius into the round hole of the authors’ modernist ideology. It’s akin to trying to squeeze the majesty of the Church into the travesty of the factory chimney. It doesn’t work.