Fr. Angelo M. Geiger writes in his first of a series of essays on Tolkien on Modernity:
Even religious men have lost wisdom and have failed to see that some things are greater than the sum of their parts, such as sacred scripture, the deposit of faith, the sacraments and even the liturgy. To know these things, they break them. Theirs is not the path of wisdom because the fruit of their knowledge is not freedom but control, which brings death, destruction and damnation. Tolkien called those who produced the atomic bomb “babel builders,” who hoped in vain that their creation would bring peace (Letter 102). So too, the architects of the “Church as Machine,” constructed in the service of Revolution or Counter-revolution, break the very thing they wish to reform or restore. For Tolkien the real danger was not open malice, but the self-deception of overcoming power by power. The real danger even today is the mirage of the benevolent Machine.
Saruman summarizes the argument for Gandalf thus:“As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order, all things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak and idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means.”This seems to be an accurate description of modernity, as well as the revolution against modernity, which by definition is “modern.” It is the spirit of the activist, the community organizer, the social engineer, the technocrat and the theocrat. All is permitted in the service of the good. This is not wisdom, but the logic of power.