is a liberal's wet dream.
The most glaring reason is the huge plot hole. I've bitched about this before. Like I said back then, if you like the books and movies without irony, do not read on. Damn the torpedoes, spoilers ahead!
First off, let's get the plot hole right out of the way:
Mmmkay. You know a liberal would require the heroes to do it the hard way for character development and redemption - scourging themselves like a bunch of mad monks at Deranged Monkery (what? Nuns are in nunneries) Central, hair shirts and all. It just doesn't count if someone doesn't suffer. Smeagol redeems himself. King Theoden redeems himself from the mind bending parasite Grima Wormtongue - a minion of Saruman, who gets his comeuppance from a bunch of anti social trees.
But wow, at what a cost! If the Quest had just air dropped the ring into Mt. Doom, wouldn't all of Sauron's works (supported by the power of The Ring and the other lesser rings) have crumbled to dust just like it did in the end? Same ring being destroyed. Same powers eroded.
So, let's look at some of the associated costs. First off - Saruman - a rogue wizard who had really gone off the reservation. He's become an outwitted minion of Sauron, using a Palantir without a license. So, if the Rings are all destroyed, Saruman's power would certainly be diminished. He wouldn't automatically become good - as he was capable of evil even after Sauron's fall, but he'd have been easier to contain and eventually destroy. Why do I say that?
Well, for one thing, there would be a heck of a lot more humans alive to do that very thing in this alternate version. The Rohirrim and the armies of Gondor would be intact. Aragorn would still have legal claim to rule, and he was no peacenik. There would be a metric boatload of Elves that didn't die. They were planning on leaving anyways, but still. Too late for the Dwarves in Moria, though. The Balrog? Welp, that's one more thing ya gotta do before ya go, Gandalf. Yer tasks aren't quite done, just yet. There won't be a huge supporting cast of orcs - remember, they all get swallowed up by the earth when the One Ring is destroyed, as well as trolls, Nazgul and their steeds, and so on.
The new Sheriff in town would have a far easier time dealing with the lesser miscreants left over after Sauron's fall. The Men of the South? Well, Aragorn still has The Dead as a weapon - since he didn't have to waste them on Sauron. Too bad about the Olyphants. Samwise might get to see them on an air tour someday - those Eagles can't always be doing good deeds for free. I'm sure that they get hungry, too, and killing the occasional horse probably wouldn't be good PR. Trade an old nag or a steer for a ride, and everyone's happy. Capitalism at it's best.
Would the Ents still become involved? Good question. They were decidedly neutral, but were driven by events to defend themselves. Saruman did destroy all those forests, though, even before the Ring came into Frodo's possession. Tough call.
Boromir would still be alive. He wanted the nuclear option, so in Liberal Utopia - he had to go, period. Dad would still be stuffing his face with grapes and such, but he'd be out of power. Remember, Aragorn had the support of Gandalf and the Elves, plus probably the Rohirrim. He's got the necessary lineage to rule. Would there be civil war? I'd doubt it. Remember how Boromir acknowledged Aragorn's legitimacy? Even if ol' Dad was around the bend, Boromir saw the truth and Faramir wasn't stupid.
What about Smeagol? So what? What about him? "Oh, we can't kill him, he might play a part in the future I can't see." Ok, so in the video above he ends up in the fire pits of Doom anyhoo. He never did actually redeem himself - his greed got him killed no matter. The Ring ended up getting torched either way. He's a great example of classic recidivism. There is just no hope for some people or warped hobbits, so why do the rest of us have to suffer on their account? "Oh, but Jeffro - he couldn't help himself. The Ring warped him - he had no control." Yeah, whatever, silly liberal. I maintain that the Ring removed inhibitions, just like a lot of today's recreational drugs do. It exposed and turned his "bad side" loose. Bilbo (yeah, remember him?) didn't lose his essential goodness, despite an occasional lapse of bad manners, and he even gave up possession of the Precious. So spare me the moral relavism in regards to Smeagol. He was a greedy, selfish little bastard before the Ring came along. It just enabled him to be a worse individual.
And the Hobbits - they came back to The Shire as changed beings, able to lead their compadres against Sharkey's minions. Remember, Sharkey was Saruman kicked out of Orthanc in the long, drawn out version. Would the hapless Pippin and the more pragmatic Merry be able to withstand Sharkey should wend his way out of Orthanc after the Ring was destroyed? Maybe, maybe not. Remember, though, we've still got a bunch of elves still around who didn't get killed, a former Ranger (who is intimately acquainted with The Shire) in charge back at Gondor, Gandalf, and some Ents who seem predisposed to liking the little furry footed creatures. I ain't gonna worry about it - they're still the same characters, just not exposed to all the death and destruction.
All I know is Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin wouldn't stand for this sort of crap. They'd have the Walls of Mordor knocked down tout suite. They'd have a geothermal power plant up and running at Mt. Doom and the oil (you just know Mordor is sitting on a huge pool) pumping right outta there. They might even have the Southrons manning the rigs - taking the fight right outta their thinking. Capitalism at it's finest, I say.