Sam Gamgee wrote:Concerning "goodness" of orcs: Shagrat does not mean good without qulification. He only means good with respect to something else - they're good fighters, good orc soldiers, good at doing whatever it is that an orc does. Don't get this good confused with the good we are discussing. In this vague language of ours, we use good in many ways, both subjective, as related to some sort of use (a good murderer, a good orc), a false opinion (Gondor's war), or the Good itself (such as Manwë, Eru, That Which Is, etc.). Is this point ok?
They are used in different ways, yes, but I think that they should be considered as part of the debate. Here's why:the Orcs, Faramir, and many others use "good" refering to one who is skilled in the art of battle. I.e. something that they value for whatever reason. Similarly individuals on both sides of the war use adjectives describing things they don't like that are akin to "dirt" or "dirty." The orcs, for example refer to the emblem of Saruman as a dirty/flithy white hand. The fact that two groups so far removed who do not share cultural exchange (Orc and Gondor) use similar, even identical, linguistic structures in noting skill and value as well as loathing, is incredibly significant.
Orcs: Skilled warriors are good
Gondor: Skilled warriors are good.
and by extension, via the comment of Faramir,
Rohan: Skilled warriors are good
That means that all of their belief systems share value for a skilled warrior. To a cultural linguist or anthropologist this is quite significant. If we evaluated this from that perspective it would suggest a greater underlying value. Maybe something that in all cultures would be considered "good." That is certaily strong evidence for a universal value.