GB, you did not bore me, you caused my brain to sieze.
[I know that smilie is supposed to indicate shock, but it looks the way my head feels right now: both turned on and stuck--like a paper jam in a printer.]
Tolkien recognized that Faerie Story revealed the possibilities of Freedom from these Dark Forces. In a way TLOTR is more about political/economy and Narnia about the Sacred Feminine and Pagan Desire, but both were reflected in each other.
I totally need to unpack what you wrote earlier to even try to tackle the above concluding remarks. First, Communal Values and Feminism: There's nothing like having a baby to make you appreciate communal values. You WANT to be proud and self-sufficient and empowered (so that you can feel safe inside--we all want to feel safe inside--and so that you can maintain some measure of self-respect). But having a baby makes you temporarily handicapped. Like they should give new moms a sticker similar to the icon with the person in the wheelchair, only make it a lighter color to indicate that the real handicapped people come first. Because, when the baby is really little and floppy, you are pretty much stuck half of the time operating with the use of only one arm. Try making a taco, tying your shoes, getting in and out of a store if there is no automatic door. You know, and if you are nursing, you've basically got this fragile barnacle attached for at least 20 minutes out of every 2 hours. I don't know, maybe try imagining that you are responsible for maintaining a 3,000-year-old Ming dynasty teacup, only you have to keep it constantly out and exposed to the world because it needs to be cleaned and fed and given air and otherwise held on your person almost 24/7, and you have to try to function--like go to the bathroom and brush your teeth and eat and sleep and shower and be civilized. Maybe not a great analogy. But the 3,000-year-old teacup conveys the idea of the anxiety involved, except you can't say, "Oh, screw it," and smash the damn thing to get out of the sense of suspense and responsibility. And you're out in the world, trying to take the thing to the doctor to get its shots, and to buy it diapers and so on, and thank HEAVENS that the world out there is full of other people who have already had babies, and particularly imaginative and empathy-filled people who have not, because people will open doors for you and hold down papers for you when you have to sign things, and otherwise tolerate your slowness. You know, and then when your 3,000-year-old teacup starts to walk, you've got to keep it from getting squished by cars... And as soon as you start to get really good at it and used to this responsibility, you're likely to get a second teacup. And you really need other people to take the teacup for you sometimes so that you can get a break, otherwise you will lose your mind. And your needs widen as your teacup grows. You hope that people obey traffic laws and speed limits, and you look for crime-free, litter-free, pollution-free places. You want good doctors and good policemen and good construction workers, teachers, soccer coaches, and providers of safe food and drugs. You know, you are no longer content to be a free agent, responsible only for yourself, free to live and let live: you start to really care that other people behave themselves and care about the larger community. You know, and you really start ultimately to be concerned that other people raise their teacups well so that their teacups don't get your teacup pregnant.
Arg. Sorry for so much blabbage. So we need community. But there's also the story of the Grasshopper and the Ants, you know, where the ants work their butts off all summer, filling up their anthill with food and such, while the Grasshopper plays his fiddle and dances and sings doo de doo de dooo. Then when winter comes, the Grasshopper is stuck outside in the snow with no food and no shelter. So the ants let him live with them. How nice of them! Let's hope Grasshopper learned his lesson. But what if Grasshopper tells his other grasshopper friends and the ants get invaded by a swarm of freeloading dudes who are 50 times bigger than each of them--and I don't know, maybe some of the grasshoppers have 3,000-year-old teacups as well. How fair is that for the ants? Especially the really industrious ones who sweat and sacrifice and maybe take Calculus and Organic Chemistry and think of better food-fetching strategies?
It just happens that I was trying to read Ayn Rand recently. I gave up--for much the same reason that I gave up reading the Silmarillion
earlier--it takes a lot of patience and detemination to read. I wanted to understand the world my parents lived in when they were young adults, and Ayn Rand was a big influence on my dad. We all know that in the 50s in the US there was major fear and paranoia about communism. One thing I did get from perusing Ayn Rand was that she feared that the government, or some communal entity, would start to dictate how many chemists our society needed and how many teachers and so on and that people would be ASSIGNED their roles rather than being able to develop their real talents and be who they really wanted to be, and that, as a result, we would have a lot of really flat dissatisfied chemists and teachers who weren't very fired up by their jobs and who ended up doing kind of B- or C+ work. She believed that dictating effort, drive, discipline, and achievement from above would just suck all of the motivation out of people, and that really, if people were allowed to pursue their own self-interests, those interests would ultimately work for the good of the whole (i.e., we want chemists who looove chemistry and who will work really hard and who will be rewarded and encouraged to do great jobs). She writes as if there's a real danger that the government will become an all-powerful machine, impersonal and imperfect, and impossible to control. It does seem that people in the U. S. were much more worried about communism/socialism than were people in Europe. [This is a chunk of history that I really need to explore more.]
Then, I remember from the C. S. Lewis biography-ish movie Shadowlands, that Joy Davidman says to him that she's a communist because with the rise of Hitler, she felt that she only had two choices: to be a fascist or a communist. And that line just gets said and the movie goes on and the issue is not raised again. So I've always thought, "Huh...don't understand that one...gotta save it for later inquiry." Then there's this miniseries with Ken Brannagh and Emma Thompson, made right after they did Henry V and were in their golden phase, ...this miniseries about English translator working in Russia just prior to WWII. You know, and the Europeans have/had much more of a sense of reaction against the class/aristocracy system than did people from the U. S.. Much more of a sense of communalism/socialism in reaction to the old system of people being stuck in this or that class. So what does that mean? Having to make an either/or choice betwen communism and fascism? People living in America would have said, "Neither!"
The code of chivalry (in the sense of putting the Feminine on a pedestal) essentially protects babies and tender young 'uns and allows their caretakers to focus on taking care of them. Being a baby-raiser makes you vulnerable and in need of protection and support. Women aren't THAT helpless otherwise. [Well...probably wouldn't match well against football players, so probably wouldn't do as well in combat, but there are a lot of wimpy boys who wouldn't make it on the football field either and would get stuffed into lockers and trash cans...and men figured out how to use those guys...made them into monks? Guys who stayed in the rear to run the mess tent and repair the gear?] We need to be a cooperative species. Hmm...but the chivalric code also rewards achievement. Some knights are going to lift weights and eat their spinach and not fiddle around playing video games, but will run and sweat and practice and lose sleep and liesure to become better and better at what they do, not always just to protect babies and the beeeeautiful women who raise them--because I really think that this is usually something that motivates an older man...maybe one with grandchildren--but younger knights will want to gain honor. Hmm...I think it's a mixed motivation (thinking on personal experience, watching hard-working soldiers and noticing what seems to motivate them to throw themselves on the grenade, so to speak, it's a mix of love for county and all of the babies and trees and green grass and lovely slender girls and Mom and friends and pizza and Big Macs in it, and also the love of the job itself, the joy of playing with those cool machines and learning awesome techniques like jumping out airplanes and blowing big things to smithereens, and the ethic of excellence and self-actualization, because they reeeeeeeaaally love the medals....but oh hell, the soldier ethic is a totally communal one--with some tiny self-aggrandizing totally symbolic rewards for personal excellence). What about Achilles? Isn't the "honor" that he desires just the external reward that his society gives to those who are really good at protecting the babies?
I am SO SORRY for blabbing on and on and on like this
Can I summarize or clarify the issues that I most would like you to respond to? Help me figure out this idea that there's an either/or choice that needs to be made between Communism and Fascism, and please demonstrate more clearly how Capitalism is a "dark force" or that democratic control of such forces is necessarily better. And is capitalism symbolized by the grasping attitude and desire for control/power that the ring generates? Say more, please.