Meet the enemy of big government: J.R.R. Tolkien

Co-authors delve into the political significance of the works of a literary giant

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 22, 2014 – Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan once famously said: “I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” J.R. Tolkien, one of the world’s most beloved authors, likely would have agreed with President Reagan, much to the surprise of many literary critics.

In THE HOBBIT PARTY: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and The West Forgot, coauthors Dr. Jay Richards, a Catholic, and Dr. Jonathan Witt, an Evangelical Christian, show how Tolkien’s Middle-Earth novels championed liberty, trade and limited government, key issues in the upcoming midterm elections. They believe Tolkien’s novels of Middle-Earth draw us a map to freedom and liberty.

Richards and Witt explain why Tolkien rejected big top-down solutions for what ails society, but not from a lack of concern for the downtrodden and dispossessed. He was deeply worried about where Western democracy was headed and about the many people it was damaging. But he believed the way to confront cultural decay was, well, culturally — in other words, not through government edicts or government planners or government “sharers” but through the leavening work of great and good art, through discourse grounded in truth and reason, and through the hard and patient work of modeling whatever is worth rescuing and cultivating in civilization.

Several books have explored how Tolkien’s faith informed his fiction. THE HOBBIT PARTY is unlike any other book on Tolkien in that it focuses on how his passion for liberty and limited government also shaped his work, or how this passion grew directly from his theological vision of man and creation.

“This book is a ‘drop everything and read it’ book,” says Thomas Howard, author, Dove Descending: A Journey into T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” “Richards and Witt have opened up an often ignored aspect of Tolkien’s work, namely the sense in which his myth bespeaks a political and economic order that stands in stark, even violent, contrast to the presiding power structures that dominate this unhappy globe. It should be made required reading in all courses in political philosophy. It’s a glorious book.”

For more information, to request a review copy, or to schedule an interview with Jay Richards and/or Jonathan Witt, please contact Kevin Wandra (866-777-2313, ext. 701 or KWandra@CarmelCommunications.com) of Carmel Communications.

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