The Mythos of J. R. R. Tolkien    
    Stephen Goodson explores the sympathies of the author of The Lord of the Rings    

According to a survey by the Folio Society in 1997, as well as a poll by Waterstone's, the booksellers, in January of that year, The Lord of the Rings was voted readers' "favourite book of all time." The recent filming of the book has popularised it once more, and stimulated speculation as to what fuelled this extraordinary work.

While many aficionados are content to treat The Lord of the Rings as an epic fantasy, some have detected an underlying repugnance for the industrialisation of the countryside and the damage of total war.

In June 1997, Ross Shimmon, chief executive of the Library Association, commented:-

‘It's astonishing that The Lord of the Rings has this impact. The idea of a parallel world... I wonder whether it's something to do with trying to make sense of the world around us.’

Candour reader

A 20-year subscription to the patriotic journal Candour and a faithful preservation of its 24 volumes, may well provide some clues as to what were Tolkien's innermost thoughts, ideas and beliefs.

Candour was founded by A. K. Chesterton, a cousin of G. K. Chesterton, as a successor to Truth magazine, of which he had previously been Deputy Editor. Chesterton, a distinguished veteran of two world wars, had earlier edited Oswald Mosley's publications in the 'Thirties. In 1954 he established the League of Empire Loyalists, whose antics and interventions at Tory meetings proved to be a constant source of irritation and embarrassment to both Eden and Macmillan. In 1967 the League merged with the old British National Party (not to be confused with the present party of the same name) and the Racial Preservation Society to form the National Front, with the Greater Britain Movement joining the merger a short time later. Chesterton assumed the role of leader.

In 1973, Tolkien's copies of Candour were sold out of his estate for £10. In 1997, I inherited these newsletters from Chesterton's secretary Moyna Traill-Smith. The quotations from Candour which follow have all been underlined by Tolkien with a red biro.

Empire tragedy

The dissolution of the British Empire was viewed by Tolkien as a tragedy, which would have permanent negative consequences for its indigenous populations:-

‘Africa is not peopled by Black Europeans, but it is a continent full of tribes mentally and morally at the dawn of history.

‘Self-government does not mean democracy - Liberia and Abyssinia are two warning lights. African hegemony would lead to the suicide of the White community in East and Central Africa and to the ruin of African hopes of sustained progress.’ (3/10 August 1956, page 44)

Tolkien was disillusioned about the effectiveness of modern democracy, and considered both the media and high finance to be inimical to its success:-

‘The concentration of the power of the Press has long since made a mockery of whatever degree of informed democracy we may have once known...’ (10 February 1956, page 50)

‘The true equation is ‘democracy’ = government by world financiers.’

‘The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer.

‘Throned above all, in a manner without parallel in all past, is the veiled prophet of finance, swaying all men living by a sort of magic, and delivering oracles in a language not understood of the people.’ (13 July 1956, page 12)

Monetary reformer

It was in the field of monetary reform that Tolkien displayed his most passionate concern. His indignation about the evil of usury - the creation of money out of nothing and then lending it out at interest - is reflected repeatedly:-

‘There should only be one source of money: one fountainhead from which flows the nation's blood to vitalise commerce and industry, ensure economic equity and justice and safeguard the welfare of the people... In other words, it has always been and still is our contention that the prerogative of creating and issuing the money of the nation should be restored to the State.’ (3/10 August 1956, page 48)

Utilising the above background, a brief exegesis of The Lord of the Rings may be attempted. The centre of all evil is the Dark Lord Sauron, who has enslaved the people of Middle Earth through the rings of power. There are seven rings for the dwarf lords, five for the elven kings, nine for mortal men, and one to rule and bind them all in darkness and slavery forever. These gold rings were ‘forged’ in the fires of Mount Doom and are symbolic of the central banks and their monopolistic powers, which enable them to create money out of nothing and lend it out at interest to the gullible people. With their unlimited financial power, they are able to control the mass media and spellbind the general public with their propaganda. Eventually good prevails over evil and the Ringwraiths, the Orcs and Uruk Hai monsters are defeated.


So who was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien? Did he support the NF? Probably not in any meaningful way, but indisputably he was sympathetic to its anti-immigration and anti-Common Market policies, having endorsed Chesterton's views over two decades.

There is little doubt that Tolkien was a patriot, and that his conviction that the civilising effects of the British Empire were a blessing to be enjoyed by all has been proven correct. The torment of death, debt and destruction, which Africa has subsequently endured, bears regrettable testimony to that fact.

Above everything else Tolkien may be judged as an ardent supporter of monetary reform. He understood that money is not a form of wealth, but a medium for the exchange of goods and services. He sought social justice through the adoption of an honest money system, which would distribute the benefits of the technological age to all mankind, and provide a secure basis for a future of progress and prosperity.

Tolkien could have written a treatise on political economy, and, if published, it would in all likelihood have achieved only a limited circulation. By employing a powerful allegory, he has subconsciously embraced and influenced the minds of untold millions with his mythos.

Stephen Goodson is leader of the Abolition of Income Tax, and Usury Party in South Africa, information about which can be obtained from its website at

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