Assessing the Enemies of the Shire. He kindly cites what I hope is my entertaining fictional yet didactic explication of René Girard's cultural anthropology, The Dionysus Mandate, though this is not why I laud it. Nope.
What Gordon does in his post is this: he circumvents the usual heavy breathing, ego inflation, and tangential rabbit-chasing that typifies most discussion about the "enemies of the Shire." I attribute this, being a Catholic convert myself, to the ballast and stability he has accrued from staying in close proximity to the Eucharistic Table, for one thing. For another, he has kept his understanding of Girard's mimetic theory, or "anthropology of the Cross," as he would have it, as an active tool for explicating one's self, others, and culture in general. Mimetic theory, a clinical sounding phrase, is a breath taking instrument for plumbing the depths of Everyman and every People. If one frequents the Sacraments as a practicing Catholic ("in every sense of the word," as our pal and mentor Gil Bailie says), and firmly resolves to see the world and oneself through the hermeneutic of the Church's Magisterium, to which Girard's work merely adds a forensic footnote in terms of sin pathology, one has as sure footing, vision, wisdom, and humility one is likely to possess in the early days of the 21st century.
If I read him aright, Gordon and I share a vast pessimism about human nature, but a far more sustaining assurance in the providential grace of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May we all hoist a tankard of Green Dragon's finest one day in a Shire that is "safe and secure from all alarms."