The Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings as a Lens into Constitutional Interpretation: A Possible Synthesis of Natural and Positive Law
14 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 1, 2017
The nature of identity in the U.S. lies in the Constitution. Perhaps this is due to “veneration” of the document. It has also been argued that the Declaration of Independence holds a seminal role in the American identity.
The rift seems to occur with the concept of a “living constitution,” whereby the concept of an ever-evolving jurisprudence allows for an evolving interpretation of the Constitution as society changes.
This rift is demonstrated the world of J.R.R. Tolkien. In The Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion, the various being of Middle Earth have distinct natures. The elves seek beautiful things, the orcs are former elves that have been corrupted, the dwarves are logical, etc. However, their natures are subject to change. This is exemplified when Melkor one of the original beings, created by Eru Ilúvatar (the original being), turns dark when the original singing of the Ainur becomes dissonant with Melkor’s choice to sing differently.
Natural law has been compared to originalism. Again, it may be fair to compare natural law to the order set by Eru Ilúvatar. If this premise is accepted that natural law is originalism, the order set by Eru Ilúvatar, then the dissonance caused by Melkor can arguably be the concept of a living constitution.
This deviation from Eru Ilúvatar’s original plan does not have to necessarily be negative. There are others who fall out of line with the original conception of Eru Ilúvatar, such as men who are endowed with the gift of a short life and thus are industrious and creative. Arguably, it could also be extended to the world of Hobbits who are evidently related to men -- but their origin story is never clearly delineated in any of Tolkien’s writings.
Thus, this shows that the story of the Silmarillion primarily and in part The Lord of the Rings can exemplify rifts of originalism and living constitution doctrines. These perhaps are not just relevant for US Constitutional interpretation purposes.
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