A different illustration is found among the elves of Lorien, in their love of beauty and their love of nature. They are Sylvan Elves (East Elves) but the rulers they choose to obey are Eldar (West Elves). They choose to be ruled by people better than themselves, in other words, exactly as we choose to be ruled by people worse.

Gene Wolfe, The Best Introduction to the Mountains

For, ahem, some reason, I was inspired to look up this classic 2001 essay today. So many good passages here:

“What [Tolkien] did, then, was to plant in my consciousness and yours the truth that society need not be as we see it around us.”

(via triadic)