The highly anticipated final installment of The Hobbit film trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” opens nationwide today. The epic conclusion to the film series has led to increased interest in the literary history and background of its creator, J.R.R. Tolkien. Few people know that Tolkien’s work was riddled with not only his theological philosophy, but his political philosophy, as well. And even fewer people know that Tolkien’s political views were based on a belief in limited government and economic freedom.
New York Times bestselling author Dr. Jay Richards and Dr. Jonathan Witt shed light upon Tolkien’s little-known conservative beliefs in their recently released book about Tolkien entitled The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and The West Forgot.
Richards, a Catholic, and Witt, an Evangelical Christian, 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, including “The Hobbit” trilogy, or how this passion grew directly from his theological vision of man and creation.