“These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has, perhaps, faced no greater threat than it does today. But I say this to our citizenry: we, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you! Your Ministry… remains… strong!”
—George W. Bush*
This piece was originally submitted as a book report to fulfill the author’s ENGL 1102 requirements. Any similarity to other UGA think pieces about Harry Potter is purely coincidental.
Picture this. The year is 1996, the place is England. The West is at high tide, as Ronald Reagan had crushed the Soviet Union the previous decade. For a brief moment, all is tranquil. But reports about the end of history are much exaggerated.
Crash! A bridge spanning the Thames is attacked by a group of black-clad cultists. The extremists target the critical infrastructure because of its symbolic importance, and because it allows them to inflict the maximum number of civilian casualties.
The fervent cultists behind the attack — who revel in death, going so far as to adopt the death’s head as their seal — do so under the direction of a charismatic leader who orchestrates the operation from afar. His end goal? A backwards caste society run by a tiny elite of true believers who adhere to strict regulations concerning intermarriage with the lower caste.
The group’s vision of a medieval society requires the destruction of the fragile liberty cultivated for centuries in England, the birthplace of the Magna Carta. But this group’s claims extend much further. Their ultimate goal is dominion over the world.
Who can save the world from taking the last step into a thousand years of darkness? Why, Harry Potter, the Chosen One. That is because Harry Potter is a neocon, and the books bearing his name are the strongest defense to date of the George W. Bush / Tony Blair Global War on Terror.
Of course, author J.K. Rowling would deny this fact, but who are you going to believe: Rowling, or your lying eyes? The truth is screaming from every page like a Death Eater locked in
Guantanamo Bay Azkaban.
First, consider the world that Harry Potter is defending. It is a charming, pluralistic society where wizards coexist with Muggles. The Irish-Catholic Weasley family lives alongside the non-conforming Lovegood family, which is Wiccan or something. As other sage thinkers have noted, there is also equality under the law for men and women in the wizarding world — equality that would surely be curtailed under the harsh, neo-fascist rule of the Death Eaters. There is robust freedom of the press and a somewhat competent though overweening government in the Ministry of Magic, which mirrors in many ways the government at 10 Downing Street. In other words, it is a world not unlike our own! Too bad it is besieged by the fanatical enemies of freedom.
And there are many such enemies. Not only
Osama Bin Laden Tom Marvolo Riddle, but also his predecessor Gellert Grindelwald, the dark wizard of Eastern European heritage (source: Harry Potter Wiki) sentenced to life imprisonment in Nurmengard for crimes against humanity. He is fated to die in his cell — much like Slobodan Milošević, the Serbian warlord who was the target of liberal and conservative interventionist (neocon) military efforts before the launch of the global war on terror.
On the side of freedom are Harry and the gang, the Churchillian Minister Rufus Scrimgeour — who makes a fine stand-in for George W. Bush —, and the Order of the Phoenix, which is clearly the Project for a New American Century.
This sets the stage for the final ultimatum, which comes at series’ end. Neither can live while the other survives. Negotiation, waffling, and half-measures are no good in the clash between good and evil at the Battle of Hogwarts. Neocon Harry Potter understands well the gravity of the challenge. And he prevails.
core Al Qaeda Voldemort & Co. vanquished, the series ends on a foreboding note at Platform 9 and ¾. What some readers see as the author clumsily tying up loose ends is in fact a subtle, esoteric — Straussian, you could say — message about how the world works. Rather than live off the coattails of their fame in a cushy office position, Harry and his pal Ron have become Aurors, the wizarding equivalent of CIA field operatives. As Draco Malfoy nods curtly to Harry, the stage is set for the next battle. The dark wizards are out there regrouping, and Neocon Harry knows from experience just how fragile the free world is.
In conclusion, the parallels are too obvious to ignore. By penning the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling has struck a resounding blow for freedom. If you disagree with this assessment, you are just kidding yourself. While some isolationists may claim this is a silly exercise in projection, it is in fact the definitive statement on the brave politics of the Harry Potter series.
—Flint Hawkman III is a freshman studying criminal justice. He is a member of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
(Like what you see? Support THE ARCH CONSERVATIVE!)
*Not really. But think about it.