Monday, January 10, 2005

Liberal Tolkien?

Professor Bainbridge dips his toes in literary waters with an intriguing post.

My point is not that Kirk and Tolkien are right; to the contrary, I tend to be considerably more enthusiastic about the merits of capitalism and technology than either of them. My point, however, is that there is a strain of conservatism - with which I have some sympathy - that views much of modern life with profound skepticism. It's the same strain that worries about stuff like suburban sprawl, factory farms, and the like.

The core problem for this brand of conservatism, which I've never seen properly worked out, is how we reconcile Kirk's loathing of the "the impersonality and monotony of Detroit's economic development" and his concomitant belief that "that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all." How do we reconcile preventing the former without infringing on the latter?

Read the whole post if you have a moment -- a good read, and worthy of reflection -- especially those who enjoy Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.

I too wrestle with the benefits vs cost of technology. My flippant response is that I would have loved to have lived in the 19th Century (with 21st Century medical technology).