Aragorn’s laissez-faire love for Bree (and other passages on political authority)

Following on yesterday’s post on Tolkien’s social and political philosophy and distributism, here are a few (random) quotes from Tolkien touching on political authority:

On Tolkien’s Augustinian view of political authority: “Touching your cap to the Squire may be damn bad for the Squire but it’s damn good for you.” (Quoted in Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, 133)

On Aragorn’s monarchical power: “A Númenórean King was monarch, with the power of unquestioned decision in debate; but he governed the realm with the frame of ancient law, of which he was administrator (and interpreter) but not the maker. In all debatable matters of importance domestic, or external, however, even Denethor had a Council, and at least listened to what the Lords of the Fiefs and the Captains of the Forces had to say. Aragorn re-established the Great Council of Gondor, and in that Faramir, who remained by inheritance the Steward (or representative of the King during his absence abroad, or sickness, or between his death and the accession of his heir) would [be] the chief counsellor.” (L 324)

On Aragorn’s laissez-faire love for Bree: 

[Gandalf:] “the King will come there again one day; and then you’ll have some fair folk riding through.’

‘Well, that sounds more hopeful, I’ll allow,’ said Butterbur. ‘And it will be good for business, no doubt. So long as he lets Bree alone.’

‘He will,’ said Gandalf. ‘He knows it and loves it.’

On Mandos and the necessity of law requiring no more than justice: “Healing by final Hope, as Manwë hath spoken of it, is a law which one can give to oneself only; of others justice alone can be demanded. A ruler who discerning justice refuseth to it the sanction of law, demanding abnegation of rights and self-sacrifice, will not drive his subjects to these virtues, virtuous only if free, but by unnaturally making justice unlawful, will drive them rather to rebellion against all law. Not by such means will Arda be healed.” (MR 246)

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2 thoughts on “Aragorn’s laissez-faire love for Bree (and other passages on political authority)

  1. Pingback: Bree-land, enclave of Libertarianism | The Flame Imperishable

  2. Pingback: Gandalf, O.S.A. | The Flame Imperishable

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