Culture

Saving the Shire

(U.S. Geological Survey via AP)

I have a personal tradition of reading The Lord of The Rings every fall, and I am overdue in starting my yearly deep-dive. There are several sections of the trilogy that I savor, but the most heartbreaking portion of the story occurs in the final chapter of The Return of the King. His labors at an end, Frodo is preparing to leave Sam and Middle Earth for the Grey Havens. He tells his distraught friend, “I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.” As the trilogy opened, Sauron and Saruman were sending their hordes across the land to pillage, destroy, subjugate and exploit whatever stood in their way. A shadow loomed over that world, just as a shadow looms over ours now.

Consider:

  • Atul Gawande has been tapped by Joe Biden to helm global health development at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In a 1998 op-ed for Slate, Gawande weighed in on partial-birth abortion, advancing the opinion that it should not be banned. He stated that it is not all that different from other late-term abortions. In his piece on dilation and evacuation abortions, which involve dismembering the child, he stated, “Partial-birth abortion is, if anything, less grotesque. The fetus is delivered feet first. To get the large head out, the doctor cuts open a hole at the base of the fetus’s skull and inserts tubing to suck out the brain, which collapses the skull. Often, but not always, the fetus is injected lethally beforehand.” Technically, he is right. There is no dismemberment, but if you go back and read everything starting with “The fetus is delivered…” you can see he is talking about a live baby, killed after it is out of the mother’s womb. He even admits as much later in the article. Since it was written 23 years ago, there were still overtones about how tragic the procedure was, although Gawande maintained his support for the procedure to the end of the article.
  • Fast-forward to June 2021, and the introduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which allows abortions up until the moment of birth. I mean, once the baby is out, the woman is not pregnant anymore, if I remember my biology classes correctly. The problem should be solved, right? I will never understand the progressive fascination with death over any other possible alternative. Even when I was a young progressive at the age of 14 and marched in the streets chanting “Women have died because of Hyde!” I secretly wondered what the problem was with adoption.
  • In an article at National Review, Rich Lowry notes that the reason the story about the alleged whipping of immigrants by the Border Patrol grew legs and grew wings, flying right up to the White House, is because the Twitter mob and their accomplices willed it to be true, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
  • And speaking of Big Tech, you already know that YouTube has is banning any videos with the temerity to question the party line on COVID vaccines. Just days before, Facebook caught some heat for permitting human trafficking and knowingly allowing Instagram to damage the minds of children. At the same time, the company also apparently whitelisted users of its choice when it came to enforcing its standards. Don’t expect that to go anywhere soon. After all, while the powers that be run back to January 6th like a dog to its vomit, has anyone else noticed that the story involving the abused gymnasts has magically become old news? Where has the legacy media been on this? What feat of journalistic prestidigitation allowed this to occur?
  • President Biden has all but declared that those who choose to not take the COVID jab should face penalties, perhaps short of beheading. So one would think that someone who wants the vaccine would be welcomed to their nearest clinic with open arms, the beverage of their choice, and a swag bag. And maybe an Amazon gift card. But that was not the case for one New Hampshire man who wanted the vaccine because he lives with diabetes. He was turned away because he is white. While the vaccine may have its benefits, policies such as these only deepen the divide between the races and add fuel to the fire that COVID policy is more about political and social capital than it is about public health.

Clearly, the Shadow is in power, and we may not see a nation that resembles the one we had before that fateful Spring of 2021. And if we are only worried about the return of peace and prosperity in our time, then we become guilty of the same selfishness and narcissism that are the hallmarks of the progressive movement. We must commit ourselves to achieve goals that may not be realized in our lifetime. We must save the Shire, but even if we do not save it for ourselves.

Recommended: Is It Time for the American Church to Grow Up?

Ultimately, Middle Earth was saved not by soldiers, cavalry, knights, rangers, or wizards. It was saved by two diminutive ordinary people, who would have preferred to be left alone. But they also realized that there were things more important than themselves. People much like you who never thought that they would play a role in reshaping their world.