Although the saga of good versus evil contained in the Lord of the Rings can be interpreted in various ways, I see the world at present in the throes of a gigantic struggle of good versus evil. George W. Bush, the US ruling class and the corporate media would like everyone to believe that this confrontation of good and evil is one of Western civilization versus Moslem fundamentalism or of the United States and its allies versus terrorism
What can history teach us about the truth of these rationalizations for war? Western civilization as embodied in the learning of the Greeks and Romans was actually saved from destruction by the Moslems, while Europe descended into the Dark Ages. The people of the Middle East have had many great civilizations, while the Europeans were still barbarian tribes. This is not a clash of good, humane Western civilizations against evil, barbarous Moslem civilizations. The United States has dropped cluster bombs, Agent Orange and depleted uranium on the civilian populations of other nations, not only killing immediately, but killing and maiming far into future generations. This is not the hallmark of a humane, civilized nation.
Neither is it a war of the United States and other countries against world terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic that has existed throughout history. The Russian revolutionaries used it against the Czar and his officials. A nation can't wage a war against a tactic. It is illogical. History does teach us that leaders of nations fabricate all sorts of excuses to deceive their people into going to war, usually for economic reasons. That is precisely what is happening now. These are false good against evil confrontation theories designed deliberately for propaganda and deception.
I have an alternative good versus evil confrontation theory that I believe bears a closer resemblance to reality. The world today is in a struggle between capitalism and fascism on one hand and democracy and socialism on the other hand. A capitalist democracy is an oxymoron because great inequalities in wealth always lead to great inequalities in political power. Class warfare has existed all throughout history and for the past 500 years capitalist and mercantilist nations have militarily conquered and exploited the natural resources and labor power of the Third World. The United States is no exception to this history of capitalist exploitation. US corporations have been just as intent as the British East India Company in enriching themselves at the expense of Third World peoples. The reason the United States is in Afghanistan and Iraq has everything to do with oil and nothing to do with terrorism or a clash of civilizations.
Returning to the Lord of the Rings saga, my opinion is that the real orcs are in the White House, State Department, Pentagon, CIA, the US ruling class and the corporate media. I know it may be difficult to view your favorite, smiling TV commentator as an orc, but try because these people are lying to you continuously, when the world is in a very dangerous and precarious situation. Of course, I have no trouble at all in visualizing George W. Bush as an orc. These politicians, capitalists, generals, CIA operatives and media personnel are your real enemies and not the Arab people or other Moslems.
They want to create a fascist world where corporations dominate completely and more and more of the public wealth is siphoned up by these tyrannical structures called corporations. Less and less of the money in the federal budget will go to the human needs of the American people and much, much more will be spent on the military industrial complex and tax cuts for the rich. They will attempt to privatize Social Security and Medicare so corporations can get their hands on some of that money. Corporations will attempt to break unions and prevent the creation of new ones in nonunionized sections of the economy. They will reduce wages, benefits and transfer all the US jobs they are able to the very cheap labor markets of the Third World. They will launch an all out assault on the environment; the rain forests will largely be destroyed; global warming will worsen; many species will become extinct; pollution will increase, and humanity may face a catastrophic situation in terms of survival. At the very least, there will be a diminished quality of life. The global incidence of starvation, lack of access to clean water and epidemics of disease will accelerate. The Soviet Union and most of the socialist world have disappeared, so these capitalists no longer have to worry about creating a humane version of capitalism to compete with socialism. They can simply pull out all the stops and clamp down on the working class, maximizing their profits in any way possible. There will be many more wars for control of natural resources and inexpensive labor. If future generations aren't going to live in a nightmare world, fascism must be defeated, particularly in the only remaining superpower, the United States.
In the movie version of the Lord of the Rings, Sam tells Frodo something important just after Frodo has nearly succumbed to the power of the ring. Sam says that in all the great tales that have been handed down from the past, people have always clung to one belief. That belief is that even in the darkest periods some good remains in the world and that good is worth fighting for. Sam is right. Good still remains in the world and is worth fighting for. Progressive people have fought before against the evils of slavery, feudalism and capitalism. Now the battle is against the most repressive form of capitalism called fascism. In the mythology of The Lord of the Rings the heroic battles were over the fate of a fictitious entity called Middle Earth. In reality the fight will be over the fate of the entire Earth.