Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Liked White Better - or: Saruman and Social Darwinism - Part Two

Continued from I Liked White Better - Part One.

Saruman stands in stark opposition to the doctrines of Christianity. They teach that the weak and the poor are the ones that have the most to teach us—and, because of that, we should care deeply about how they are treated. God himself came to our world and was willing to be viewed as the bastard son of a poor carpenter from an underprivileged town which everyone (even inhabitants of the equally despised region of Galilee) shunned and avoided. He never attempted to get in the In Crowd; he never tried to look like one of the Wise.

Instead, he was firmly on the side of ordinary people, rather than those with Much. He was, theologically, a hobbit—one of the little people from a fly-over state. He was against the rich, but not just those Communists call bourgeoisie, the rich in material goods, but those prosperous in smarts or special talents. Not that possessing those things is bad (after all, he did give them to us), but not admitting that they are a gift is a great sin—akin to “blasphemy against the holy spirit.”

"Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
(Matthew 19:23-24 ESV)

Pride was the original sin, both of Lucifer and Adam, the inability to admit God’s sovereignty. In that way, a man can be living in a shack in Africa and still be counted among the rich, because he is proud of what he does have; he says that it is “mine, my own, my preciousssss.” (All right, enough with the silly references).

On the other hand, a millionaire who lives in the Ritz could be counted among the blessed poor, because he has given it all to God (I actually do know a millionaire, and he’s one of the godliest people I know). It’s all a question of reliance. Who do you rely on, or what?

God is always an enemy to the self-sufficient, and it is those supremely prideful individuals that are Tolkien’s villains. While I do believe that earthly blessings come to the faithful, I think that being poor isn’t necessarily an indication of being cursed. Actually, rather the opposite: I think we’ve lost the definition of blessings. As my friend from Africa, talking about our numerous malfunctioning machines said, "All dese tings you have; dey give you so much trouble!"

Rachel Saint with the Waodani indians

“’Cause I’m just a little jealous
of the nothing that you have
you’re unfettered by the wealth of
a world that we pretend is gonna last.”
-Andrew Peterson “Land of the Free”

Jesus said that it was the meek and the poor in spirit who would inherit the kingdom of heaven. Material wealth and skills have nothing to do with it, in fact, he advises us to store up treasures in heaven, rather than earth. Those that live Jesus’ words literally will end up being poor in worldly terms – it is this group of citizens that people like Saruman would eliminate.

Saruman’s is not only an anti-Christian argument, but it’s very much an atheistic one. It is, after all, survival of the fittest (for a given definition of fit). There have only ever been a few truly atheist countries and all of them were characterized by a lack of compassion for the outcasts.

“The elephant in the atheist’s room, of course, is that there have only been three, maybe four, formally atheistic regimes in world history: Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. And let’s be frank – they weren’t improvements. Stalin’s openly and ideologically atheistic project killed 20 million people. That’s more people each week than the Spanish inquisition did in its 350 year history.”
-John Dickson

As America goes further and further down that road, we see more and more people designated as socially unacceptable. I don’t mean the poor. We choose certain sins as acceptable; we glorify killing, for instance, and vilify sexual sins. The poor are pitied, while, paradoxically, the uneducated—who are often in the same social class—are despised, and if they have an opinion, aren’t listened to because they don’t have a law degree.

We have sympathy for the cold and the hungry—which shows the effect of Christianity on Western culture. But on the other hand, children in the womb have been dehumanized. People who believe things that aren’t in line with popular mantras (“Born that Way” “Religions are just different roads up the same mountain” etc.) are called bigots and haters. Because this is so slowly working itself into the popular conscience, one day, the “bigots” are going to be in just as much trouble as surplus unborn babies.

Culture's heavy-handed condemnation of those who don’t agree with mainstream thought will result in those people being grouped into the Unacceptable category. They, along with aborted children, will become the weaklings that Saruman wants to exterminate. It doesn’t have to mean literally, but if the ideas of minorities (any minorities, not just those I agree with) are snuffed or covered up, America will slide into a sort of ultra-modern, enlightened realm a la China where it is possible to have illegal ideas. Do we want this slavery of thought?

Be warned: it will call itself freedom. But freedom from whom?

Anyone who doesn’t agree with Accepted Things will be persecuted. It starts with the weakest, those who cannot speak for themselves, but it will end with you and I, and when we speak we will not be heard. Martin Niemoller, a German pastor and friend of Bonhoeffer during WWII, said,

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

When a nation or any community views one person as more important or valuable than another, it has stepped onto a slippery slope from which there is no turning back. Even saying that someone’s opinion doesn’t matter is dangerous, because then those who are intelligent enough to decide things are called the Wise. And if one thinks onself enlightened because one has education, or fancies oneself a member of some higher, better class than anyone else, that’s only the beginning. Someday, there will be no one left to speak.

"'Are we not both members of a high and ancient order, most excellent in Middle-earth? Our friendship would profit us both alike. Much we could still accomplish together, to heal the disorders of the world. Let us understand one another, and dismiss from thought these lesser folk! Let them wait on our decisions! For the common good I am willing to redress the past, and to receive you. Will you not consult with me? Will you not come up?'
"So great was the power that Saruman exerted in this last effort that none that stood within hearing were unmoved."

"Book 3, Chapter 10: The Voice of Saruman" The Two Towers
Stand up,
Neo-Mayberry, Middle of Nowhere, America

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