Monday, December 11, 2006
Morality in Harry Potter
I am very disturbed by the morality that Harry Potter teaches children, particularly in the realm of political discourse. The whole "Wizarding World" is constatly locked in this deadly, dangerous, epic struggle against an evil wizard (Lord Voldemort) who is bent on taking over the entire world, not just the wizarding world.
The Wizard Council, if they were truly going to do the right thing, ought to approach the United Nations Security Council, and various foreign leaders and plan a strategy for moving forward in the campaign against Voldemort. There's no way, that "magic" is so much more powerful than modern technology that the US military, or the NATO peacekeeping forces wouldn't be able to handle the small rabble of Death Eaters he has at his disposal. He has maybe a few hundred. The US military is many thousand strong, with guns, bombs, and missiles, and jets.
Their isolationist attitude is counter-productive. The rest of the population has a right to know what sort of danger they are in. Everyone ought to have a say in how magic might be used to benefit humanity as a whole you see? And there are plenty of things in the muggle world that the wizards would benefit from as well. For instance, the internet, Facebook, Wikipedia, MSN Messenger, automobiles, cell phones, etc. By cutting their children off, by playing "Muggle artifacts" off as quaint or not as useful as magic, they are actually forgetting the utility of a highly sophisticated civilization.
And this is nothing when it comes to the learning of the modern world. There are so many philosophers, scientists, and theorists (from Plato, to Nietzsche, to Darwin, to Marx, to Hawking, to Buckminster Fuller) that they don't get exposed to. Without a proper training in college level ethics and philosophy and science, for chrissake, they are not going to have a very balanced view of the world, nor can they be expected to use magic in a way that is benevolent and responsible.
And what about literature? What about Keats? What about Shakespeare? What about Douglas Adams? Dickens? Isaac Asimov? Nabokov? Dosoevsky? They don't get any of this stuff. At least, not that I can see.
J.K. Rowling, you're on notice, until Harry Potter reckognizes that the muggle world is not such a terrible, "backward" place.