What would J.R.R. Tolkien say about Brexit?
J.R. R. Tolkien died in 1973, the year that the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community which later evolved in the European Union. He did not have the chance to feel all the charm of his country being in the EU. However, we can arrange for an imaginary experiment to understand how and why one of the greatest Englishmen of the last century might feel towards the EU and the possibility of leaving it.
One of the most dangerous things in the EU is extreme bureaucratization and the rule of a self-imposed selective elite oriented towards the ideas of progress, which instigates mass migration and does not care about nations’ identities. Tolkien described such society in the chapter The Scouring of the Shire:
A lot of Men, ruffians mostly, came with great wagons, some to carry off the goods south-away, and others to stay. And more came. And before we knew where we were they were planted here and there all over the Shire, and were felling trees and digging and building themselves sheds and houses just as they liked. soon they began lording it around and taking what they wanted.
... Everything except Rules got shorter and shorter
J.R.R. Tolkien was a conservative who opposed the intentions of the state, or the European Superstate, to control the lives of ordinary people, as he stated in one of his letters to his son Christopher:
My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control, not whiskered men with bombs) - or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy ...
He opposed the modern state as a giant, hyper-rationalist mechanism where governance is concentrated in the hands of people greedy for power who have sinful Luciferical aspirations to dominate and do everything to realize this dream of hyper-rationality:
The mediævals were only too right in taking nolo episcopari as the best reason a man could give to others for making him a bishop.
This is also why he rejected the alienated nature of modern state and praised any sign of human, non-bureaucratic or politician-typical behavior of those who rule:
Give me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you care to call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers.
If he was outraged by the bureaucracy of the Britain of his times, then you can imagine his reaction to Brussels with its ruling mechanisms and regulations.
According to the EU founders, the union was to become one of the blocs of a future Global World where the national identities of peoples will be blurred. This idea was supported by European as well as American globalists. In his lifetime J.R.R. Tolkien was a strong opponent of this idea, stating in a letter to Christopher Tolkien from December 9th, 1943:
The bigger things get the smaller and duller or flatter the globe gets. It is getting to be all one blasted little provincial suburb. When they have introduced American sanitation, morale-pep, feminism, and mass production throughout the Near East, Middle East, Far East, USSR, the Pampas, el Gran Chaco, the Danubian Basin, Equatorial Africa, Hither Further and Inner Mumboland, Gondhwanaland , Lhasa, and the villages of darkest Berkshire, how happy we shall be. At any rate it ought to cut down travel. There will be nowhere to go. So people will (I opine) go all the faster. Col. Knox says ⅛ of the world's population speaks 'English', and that is the biggest language group. If true, damn shame - say I. May the curse of Babel strike all their tongues till they can only say 'baa baa'. It would mean much the same. I think I shall have to refuse to speak anything but Old Mercian. But seriously: I do find this Americo-cosmopolitanism very terrifying
Extremely interesting is Tolkien’s description of Saruman, in which he was intentionally made to sound like a “progressive” politician, like the representatives of the British and European political class, in justifying everything in the name of order and progress. His argumentation in The Lord of the Rings is quite similar to those who terrify Britons by saying that leaving the EU will mean a loss of influence on the great power concentrating in Brussels:
A new Power is rising. Against it the old allies and policies will not avail us at all. This then is one choice before you. us before. We may join with that Power ... There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.
In his essay "On Fairy-Stories" Tolkien responds to criticism of escapism,which is something that the supporters of Brexit are accused of:
If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, do not we consider it his duty to escape ?. . .If We value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
According to J.R.R. Tolkien, the futility of resistance to evil is no cause for retreat. Germanic identity, the identity of the ancestors of the Englishmen, was eschatologically oriented towards the Death of Gods, but this did not make them join Chaos and Evil. Many believe that the outcome of the referendum in the UK is a foregone conclusion. Multiple electoral frauds are expected, but this should not stop those who want to resist:
The fundamentally similar heroic temper of ancient England and Scandinavia can not have been founded on (or perhaps rather, can not have generated) mythologies divergent on this essential point. 'The Northern Gods', Ker said,' have an exultant extravagance in their warfare which makes them more like Titans than Olympians; only they are on the right side, though it is not the side that wins. The winning side is Chaos and Unreason'-mythologically, the monsters-'but the gods, who are defeated, think that defeat no refutation. ' And in their war men are their chosen allies, able when heroic to share in this 'absolute resistance, perfect because without hope'.
One of the last arguments from the camp of remainers is that Brexit can broaden internal divisions within the UK since the majority of the Scots, Welsh and the Northern Irish are against Brexit and if the UK will leave, this decision will be made predominantly by Englishmen. Tolkien would not have been bothered by this because he described himself as a patriot of England, not Britain, and saw England as a prisoner of British imperialism (which was not even as ethnically rotten as EU imperialism today). He said:
…I love England (not Great Britain and certainly not the British Commonwealth (grr!))..
I have the greatest sympathy with Belgium - which is about the right size of any country! I wish my own were bounded still by the seas of the Tweed and the walls of Wales ... ("The Tolkien Family Album," (1992), page 69).
If J.R.R. Tolkien were alive today, he most certainly would have voted for Brexit. He knew the price of freedom and wanted another future for England rather than its manipulation and destruction by the bureaucratic machine of Brussel's liberal monster.