Zinn: I’m much more suspicious of Frodo than you are. I’ve always viewed him as one of the most malevolent actors in this drama, precisely because of how he abets people like Gandalf. He uses a fake name, Mr. Underhill, just as Gandalf goes by several names: Mithrandir, the Grey Pilgrim, the White Rider. Strider is also Aragorn, is also Estel, is also Elessar, is also Dunadan. He has all these identities.
Chomsky: We call those aliases today.
Zinn: But is Sauron ever anything but Sauron? Is Saruman ever anything but Saruman?
Also not to be missed, the reduction of the whole conflict to the socioeconomics of pipeweed. Very funny satire.
Unlike most conservatives, I do not instantly dismiss everything Chomsky has to say. This is partly because, as somebody familiar with language, I think we owe him a debt for destroying B.F. Skinner’s grip on the psychology of learning with his demonstrations that it is impossible to account for human language (and human thought) with a Skinnerian behavioralist model. The human race should be grateful for that because Skinner was fixed to poison an *awful* lot of our educational system before Chomsky mopped the floor with him. And, as Chesterton observed, guys like Chomsky and Zinn are, like all revolutionaries, often prescient in their analyses of what is wrong with the current regime. The dude was talking about Manufacturing Consent and the way in which our media serve the Ruling Class and manipulate us years ago. We ignored that at our peril and now look where we are.
However, as Chesterton also observes, the problem of the revolutionary is that he typically has no clear sense of what it right and so he tends to substitute one crazy ideology for another. “Chomsky’s” and “Zinn’s” (and real life doctrinaire Marxists) utter inability to grasp the goodness at the heart of The Lord of the Rings is a result of their stone blindness to Tolkien’s fundamentally Catholic vision. If they could sweep away all that they (rightly) hate about our crony corporate Ruling Class of Mammon and Moloch and replace it with whatever it is they want, it would be just as oppressive a nightmare because, at the end of the day, they want the One Ring.
It doesn’t matter which secular ideology you choose to save you, because the other word for ideology is “heresy”.