The following is part one of a new series by ECW contributor Michael Gladius.
It is called ‘In Search Of Middle-Earth’, and I think it fits extremely well into the somewhat unique focus of this website.
Look below for my own take on the matter too 🙂
In Search Of Middle-Earth: What A Post-Reconquest World Would Look Like
by Michael Gladius
Greetings to you, gentle reader, and welcome to a new series on the counter-revolution.
Everybody agrees that society is flawed, and needs reform. However, we do not all agree on what the ‘fixed’ or ‘natural’ society should look like.
If we are to make any progress towards our goals, we must articulate what the end-result is, and plan backwards.
In this series, I will describe what a truly counter-revolutionary society would look like, and articulate several key components to accomplish this.
Their physical and cultural values will be taken into consideration, and the example of history will be referenced extensively. At its core, however, a counter-revolutionary society’s primary consideration will be the individual and common good of its people.
Part 1: The Shire
Everybody loves the Shire.
It’s colorful, beautiful, peaceful, and happy. It is the sort of place we wish we could retire to, deep down inside. Or perhaps we would prefer to live there now: a quiet life, free from the drama of the modern world, where we can raise a family without fretting about money 24/7.
The Shire epitomizes the simple life, a life that is simultaneously harder and more leisurely than our current lives today. Yet this new balance feels more natural, more ‘right.’
Why is this the case?
The first reason is agrarianism.
The Shire has towns and hamlets, infrastructure and commerce, but no major cities. There are plenty of workers in the shire who are not farmers, but the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants work the land.
Urbanism is not the natural state of humanity, as it divorces man from the earth and the natural world. European folk cultures (and indeed, all folk cultures) are almost exclusively agrarian.
Within an agrarian system, tradesmen, craftsmen, and artisans are still relevant, as are administrators, philosophers, scientists, and rationalists. The difference is that every man has greater ownership over his destiny than he does today.
This leads us to the second reason: widespread ownership of private property. In the Shire, farmers own the land they work. Craftsmen and artisans own their tools. Families own their own homes.
This is almost unthinkable today, in the era of renting, loans, mortgages, and credit debt. Our entire system revolves around money without property, in the manner of the merchant class, the bourgeois.
Yet it is today’s reality that has it wrong, not the world of the Shire.
Under Capitalism, the masses do not own the tools of production, nor the land they work, and so are wholly dependent upon the few who can employ them at their leisure.
We still maintain our pride, since we are not legally obligated to work for another man, but in practice we must work for another in order to eat. This abnormal state of affairs is filled with stress and anxiety, as one false move may cost us our livelihoods.
(See illustrations of all this below in Clips from Glengarry Glen Ross)
Nor does socialism work to restore private property, but proposes to abolish it completely, and make both the human agents and the tools of production into property of the state. Such a system is unthinkable to a counter-revolutionary. The Shire is not Isengard.
The Third reason is the centrality of family.
The Shire is full of children, and families are tight-knit. Everybody works, just like today, but the family works together.
Most families own their homes, farmland, and businesses, and are answerable to no CEO.
Business is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself; it is servant to the family’s needs.
The nuclear family is the base unit of society, not the individual or tribe. This is particularly important, as our opponents either believe in a society comprised of an amorphous mass of individuals, or view the family as merely a subdivision of the larger tribe, not an autonomous unit in and of itself.
Self-motivated individuals are not hampered by the counter-revolutionary system, but those who are not alphas will not be harmed by the system either.
If society is an amorphous mass of individuals, as libertarianism and socialism both agree, then there are no social bonds except brute force and expediency. Everyone becomes interchangeable through conformity, or anarchy ensues.
On the other hand, if the family is merely a subdivision of a tribe, and not autonomous in and of itself, then it leads to de-emphasizing individualism and often to repression of women.
Medieval women were more empowered than any other women in their own time, yet this did not undermine Christendom. In fact, it rebuilt society after the Greco-Roman tribal system failed. It was only after the Renaissance and Reformation, with their slavish devotions to Classical and Biblical masculine ideals, respectively, that women lost many of the rights they had enjoyed during the Medieval period.
In the Shire, the home is a central part of life, not merely sleeping quarters for independent wage earners (to paraphrase Bertrand Russell’s critique), and children have a much more satisfying, intimate relationship with their parents.
Extended families live near each other, interact with each other regularly, and support each other. Family is society’s safety net, and the building block for nearly every aspect of civilization.
Under this system, women can see marriage and motherhood as broadening their lives, rather than a distracting commitment that subtracts from their careers.
Likewise, the men can avoid the trap that doomed the Greeks and Romans: the ideal citizen, whose lack of a family frees him up to dedicate all of his time to serving the state (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=860).
Under Medieval Christendom, this role was filled by the monasteries, and celibate priests. The destruction of the monastic/communal life in Protestant territories during the Reformation led to the breakup of European unity, and began the decline of family life.
Through industrialism, these gaps were soon filled in by the state, leading us to where we are today.
The fourth reason we love the Shire is what we might call ‘heirloom culture’.
Things in the Shire are made to endure, passing from one generation to the next. These heirlooms are usually practical, but not always. They are always beautiful, however.
Hobbits are terribly unorganized, but not unsanitary. Sentimental items, memorabilia, and the like are precious to them. I’m sure plenty of them keep records of quotable moments in their family’s history, and learn them along with all their genealogy.
Everything the hobbits make is hand-crafted with care and love. The artisan has an organic relationship to his work, as the farmer has to his land and crops.
To the artisan, his work bears his mark, and contains a piece of him; some inspiration, some joke, some challenge, some part of his nature and personality. If he did not have to give it away or sell it, he would be perfectly happy and treasure it.
Likewise, the one who commissions him for such a piece treasures it because it is made specifically for him by a specific artisan. Nothing is mass-produced or interchangeable, everything is uniquely precious. Local tastes, local fashions, and local identity do not override a common heritage and culture, but rather enrich it.
The fifth reason is an anti-bourgeois attitude.
As mentioned earlier, the bourgeois came from the medieval urban merchant class, a tiny minority with little influence beyond the city walls.
With the passing of Feudalism, the merchant class grew powerful and their culture became accepted as the new normal.
Yet this urban, quantitative, rigorous, rationalistic, and detached culture could not be compatible with the rural peasant, the qualitative artisan, the relaxed Catholic, the ecstatic mystic, nor the lavish spenders.
In the north of Europe, Puritanism and the bourgeois stripped away the riches and trappings of the churches and monasteries, reducing everything but commerce to private initiative. In contrast, the Catholic south of Europe embraced the Baroque culture, which spent lavishly on beautiful buildings, art and poetry, and the adornment of every aspect of living (https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=2580).
The Shire’s inhabitants resemble the latter: their lives are not measured by productivity or wealth, they are measured by joy and fulfillment.
They are hard workers, but not fanatical. They do not organize and track every minute of their lives for earthly or heavenly bankers, they gaze upon the world with childlike wonder and awe. They know that speed is the enemy of contemplation, and that if anything is worth doing, it is worth doing slowly (https://www.catholicgentleman.net/2017/07/resisting-cult-speed/).
Europe can become agrarian again.
It will not happen overnight, but it doesn’t need to. The modern state of affairs is deeply in debt, and only credit is keeping the sinking ship afloat.
When the bubble bursts, there will be many hungry people, and plenty of opportunities for revival in the countryside.
When mass production fails, people will learn thrift again and will learn to treasure their heirlooms again. You, gentle reader, can get a head start today. The process must be organic, like the growth of a mighty oak tree.
Let us return to the Shire, and live the lives we were meant to lead.
I think Mr. Gladius’s article makes extremely good points. He describes well the beauty and sacrality and value inherent in rural, traditional societies like Tolkien’s Shire, especially contrasted with our modern urbanist, materialist world of today.
It is easy to think such societies no longer exist, but they do.
I myself grew up in a county of 10,000 people which had about 500 Mennonites in it, and they absolutely lead lives similar to those which Mr. Gladius describes above.
They had large families, worked in farming (approx. 33%), logging (approx. 33%), and crafts/cooking/small family-0wned business’s/etc (approx. 33%).
Their women were not ‘oppressed’ in any way, but they either stayed home raising their children or worked in family-owned stores and enterprises. The men were not ‘hyper-masculine’, but solidly male and unapologetic.
Both sexes dressed traditionally, and young men and ladies were brought up to be married, and did not engage in ‘dating’ or anything else before marriage (which usually occurred in their late teens/early twenties).
There were also around 300-500 polygamous Mormons who lived on the north end of the county, and they lived very similar lives.
Both groups had flaws, but they demonstrate that it is absolutely possible to still lead such lives today, not just individually but within large groups of people.
Let us hope that we will be successful in the goals of Reconquest and Preservation, and someday have all our lands re-embrace the best aspects of these lifestyles.
Referenced & Related Content
Vikings: Season 1
Asatru: A Native European Spirituality by Steve McNallen
Why We Fight</ u>