I think I know what at least one connection to Tolkien is: they live like hobbits with no fancy technology, factories or modern "innovations". Tolkien was something of a luddite. He severely disliked factories and the horrors they produce like weapons and other dangers. He came of age just prior to WWI and was a journalist during that war. The horrors he saw, all made possible by factory production, strongly influenced him to turn away from these dark satanic mills, etc. I can't honestly blame him, and who can say we are happier now with all of our fancy junk? Of course its a double edged sword, and its easy to romanticize the past, but if we could take the best of technology and remove the excesses, pollution and waste, who can say we wouldn't be a more successful and happy race?