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On being foolishly elvish
, in a Tolkien context:
Nobility, not perfection. In The Silmarillion
, the Elves' history, like ours, is mainly war, tragedy, and darkness. They envy us our mortality, as we envy them their immortality. (Envy is one of the stupidest of sins, the only one that never caused a single moment of even false joy.) Though Tolkien is both temperamentally and ideologically conservative, the Elves are bad conservatives: they want to embalm the present. Seeing the downward slant of the present, they try to preserve the past. They are not evil
like Sauron, who always wants to sing “I Did It My Way”, but they are foolish
because they sing “I Believe in Yesterday”. We too are foolishly Elvish when we want to hold onto our youth, or the initial experience of falling in love, or when we seek the enoughness of eternity that we all innately long for in places where it can never be, somewhere in time.
Using this definition, but in the current political context, it seems it is nostalgic liberals who are being foolishly Elvish (for Move On read Move Back), their vision of the future being fogbound, their rewriting of the past Soviet-style.