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  1. I’m reading it in the shop today between tourists — but am only on page 139; please don’t tell us too much yet. ;) Give us another couple days!

    Comment by LukeInSedona — July 24, 2007 @ 8:02 pm - July 24, 2007

  2. Don’t worry, Luke, the notes for my first post(s) about the book do not address its content, only the cultural “moment” and its mythic aspect.

    I don’t want to give it away because, well, I know exactly where you are in the process, wanting to experience this for yourself.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — July 24, 2007 @ 8:12 pm - July 24, 2007

  3. Thanks. (And looking forward to reading your thoughts on the subject; I’ve seen some arguments for conservative gov in these books as well.)

    Comment by LukeInSedona — July 24, 2007 @ 8:55 pm - July 24, 2007

  4. [...] Original post by GayPatriotWest [...]

    Pingback by Politics: 2008 HQ » Blog Archive » J.K. Rowling is a Conservative — July 24, 2007 @ 9:57 pm - July 24, 2007

  5. Notice a recurring theme in Harry Potter, the unwillingness of the Wizard Establishment to acknowledge or confront an existential threat (Voldemort) even to the point of being unwilling to call it by name.

    There’s a distinct parallel between this theme and the unwillingness of (at least half of) our own political establishment to acknowledge the existential threat of Islamic Fascism, or even to call it by name. (Britain, for example, banning the use of terms like “Islamic Terrorism”)

    Comment by V the K — July 24, 2007 @ 10:15 pm - July 24, 2007

  6. yes, V the K, there’s that.

    And so much more.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — July 24, 2007 @ 10:24 pm - July 24, 2007

  7. I look forward to the “more”. And: I understand if you have to delay a few days, to not spoil it for good people like Luke :-)

    Personally, I’ve never liked Harry Potter. The rules of its universe have seemed much too arbitrary for me, especially given the plethora of other good writers out there. I think Megan McArdle might have posted along those lines recently? But, for a long time, I’ve been saying “A few too many violations of the Law of Identity [i.e., that things, in fact, have a nature and mere wishing won't change them] for my taste.”

    If in fact, JKR has been writing in code this whole time about themes like (say) personal responsibility and dealing with what is: then maybe I haven’t given the franchise a fair chance. So, I look forward to being sold on it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 24, 2007 @ 10:44 pm - July 24, 2007

  8. #7

    Personally, I’ve never liked Harry Potter. The rules of its universe have seemed much too arbitrary for me

    You might like this article about the economics of magic, ILC.

    Comment by John in IL — July 24, 2007 @ 10:56 pm - July 24, 2007

  9. One thing I’ve noticed about Harry Potter can best be described by Don Rumsfeld’s famous quotation about known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. JK Rowling tends to pull some things from absolutely nowhere, things that you would never have guessed. And then there are some things that you could have possibly guessed, but never would have. In any event, I bought the book on impulse on Saturday afternoon, started reading it about noon, and finished at 1:30 a.m.

    About comment #5, I’ll just say this. I don’t think the parallel is exact. The ministry of magic fully recognizes the threat, but they don’t want to panic people. The real message there is a warning against governments thinking they know what’s best for the people and trying to manipulate information people see to maintain control over them. A friend of mine once called it “social engineering” and I think it’s an accurate term.

    Comment by Joel — July 24, 2007 @ 11:16 pm - July 24, 2007

  10. Joel, hmmm… perhaps the analogy, then, is to bureaucrats and politicians (who shall remain nameless, ha ha!) receiving the briefings on the gravity of the threats facing us, but calculating that it will be better for both the public (less panic) and themselves (a political edge) if they remain silent.

    John IL – That’s the one. The Megan McArdle article. It turns out I only saw an extract before; thank you for the link to the full edition!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 25, 2007 @ 2:19 am - July 25, 2007

  11. I haven’t read any of the books either. I have too many others on my docket. However, I may move the books to the top.
    Once upon a time, I had no interest in HP. Fantasy literature has just never been my bag. I do enjoy the movies though. I’ve not seen all of them all the way through, but what I have seen has been pretty cool.

    I don’t dig dissertations (anal exams) of stories either. Sorta takes the fun out of it for me. Guess that’s why I hated English Lit. “Yeah, Animal Farm is about communism. No shit. Next story!”. My brother hated it when teachers told him what they were supposed to get out of a story based on their interpretation. I hated it because the teachers were telling me exactly what I just read. I got it the first time. But I suppose there were those in my class who didn’t get it. Since I was the only person in my class who found Shakespear amusing, I’m not surprised.

    I doubt there’s any faster way to turn me off than to over analyze literature. Talk about an ice cold shower.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 25, 2007 @ 2:39 am - July 25, 2007

  12. Conservative men AND Harry Potter fans? Be still my heart.

    #10. That gay conservative– I hope you do. The books are soooo much better than the movies. And each book is better than the last. I read Deathly Hallows in 18 hours and am re-reading it cus it was so much fun.

    And yes, the Harry Potter books (especially the last) are filled with conservative themes: good v. evil, the need to confront evil and the danger of denial and appeasement, personal responsibilty, deep distrust of goverment, warnings against anyone who claims to be working “for the greater good”, the idea that big government is always just one step away from tyranny, the value of life, sanctity of the soul, redemption, sacrifice, and that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”

    and perhaps my favorite…. that if you want to hear the truth, you have to listen to talk radio cus all the other media are lying to you. lol.

    Comment by Will — July 25, 2007 @ 5:44 am - July 25, 2007

  13. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”

    Now that is a tricky theme, Will. Since love is good, it almost comes out souding like sacrificing one’s life (for one’s friends or whatever) is a good thing. But of course, it isn’t. It’s terrible. A reflection or effect of the world’s evil (people), at very best; not part of life-as-it-ought-to-be. I feel sad for everyone who takes fighting the world’s evil people as his profession (police, fire, military) and then ends up with the short straw.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 25, 2007 @ 10:54 am - July 25, 2007

  14. Actually, let me go farther.

    It seems to me the greatest good – repeat, greatest – would NOT be for a man to lay down his life for his friends. But rather, for the man and his friends to have behaved in such a way all along, that nobody one lays down his life – except the other guy, the evil one.

    As a not-so-tongue-in-cheek conservative “authority” for this, I cite Patton.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 25, 2007 @ 11:27 am - July 25, 2007

  15. Sorry – greatest *love*, not good. (Make the substitution, it still works.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 25, 2007 @ 11:36 am - July 25, 2007

  16. and perhaps my favorite…. that if you want to hear the truth, you have to listen to talk radio cus all the other media are lying to you.

    Talk radio in HP? Interesting. How long is the book? I saw it at Publix the other day next to their HP cupcakes. Looked kinda thick. If I had nothing to do, I think I could knock that out in a day or so. However, I’ve never read a whole book of any length in one sitting.

    I’m sure the books are better than the movies. They usually are. Other than the story, my favorite part of the movies are the FX. It would be cool to have moving paintings and newspapers with moving photos, but my favorite would have to be the mess hall ceiling and the various holiday decorations.

    On another note, TGCpartner (Hispanic, former Catholic) was always worried that the whole wizards and witches deal was too evil. I reminded him that the Pope said HP was ok. We had a few discussions based on what little I knew. I was surprised when I returned from the wine aisle at Publix to see him reading the last page or so. He also hates reading. Says he got his fill for life at university.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 25, 2007 @ 11:58 am - July 25, 2007

  17. I’ve never read even one of them.

    Comment by rightwingprof — July 25, 2007 @ 3:12 pm - July 25, 2007

  18. I saw “Order of the Phoenix” with Hubby and we were mightily impressed. Can’t wait to see the last two films based on JK’s last two books.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 25, 2007 @ 6:14 pm - July 25, 2007

  19. And just as a PS – for anyone else who has seen “Phoenix” – was it just me, or did the uppity witch who replaced Dumbledore bear a striking resemblance to Dianne Feinstein?

    Similarly, her attitude was clearly lifted from Shrillary Clinton.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 25, 2007 @ 6:23 pm - July 25, 2007

  20. Lisa Schriffren compared the new British PM, Gordon Brown, to former Minister of Magic Cornelious Fudge:

    Specifically, Brown’s strong desire not to call Islamic terrorism by name echoes the insistence of the head of the Wizard government, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge — to refer to their mortal enemy, Voldemort, as “he who must not be named.”

    Read Deathly Hallows over the weekend – loved it.

    Comment by Robert — July 25, 2007 @ 6:35 pm - July 25, 2007

  21. Def. agree with the idea that there is some conservative ideals in the HP universe. A but of libertarianism too, one would think.
    To lift an example from the OotP movie: to disagree with the teaching style of a ministry-appointed teacher was equated by her as disloyalty to the government itself. Clearly, a “bad guy” moment, and one that has parallels and lessons for us now.

    Comment by torrentprime — July 25, 2007 @ 7:03 pm - July 25, 2007

  22. 19: Hmmm…Maybe if you use names Shilary Clinton enough, then that will become her real name. It is so like fascist conservatives to attack things like a person’s name cause they can’t make a real, thoughtful agruement against their positions. Then again, women are so much an easier target than men, right? I notice most folks here don’t make attacks on liberal men that include terms “shrill”.

    Comment by Kevin — July 26, 2007 @ 1:50 am - July 26, 2007

  23. It is so like fascist conservatives to attack things like a person’s name cause they can’t make a real, thoughtful agruement against their positions.

    You mean like Bushitler? Please, Kevin. You wouldn’t know a fascist if one bit you on the ass and forced you into a internment camp. You don’t know what the hell fascist means. The other mindless fcuktards on DU use it all the time so it sounds cool, right?

    Get back to us when you get a dictionary. Until then, you may cram it where the sun don’t shine.

    And while we’re at it, what in christ’s name is an agruement???

    You may go now, piss ant.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 26, 2007 @ 4:30 am - July 26, 2007

  24. #14

    As a not-so-tongue-in-cheek conservative “authority” for this, I cite Patton.

    I should have cited my source as well. That passage comes from the Bible, John 15:13, and I think even Patton would defer to St. John.

    Now perhaps there “shouldnt” be evil in the world, but alas there is. And many people believe, as do I, (and many faiths teach) that there always will be, until the very end times. So while I see where youre coming from, I couldnt disagree with you more. While it would be nice if the world could be so ordered that evil never crossed your path, or sacrifice were never necessary, that just isnt realistic. And even if it could, there is still no greater sacrifice–giving up everything– one can make for another than to die for them. Hence no greater act of love. As Lily dies for Harry, as Snape dies for Lily, as Dumbledore dies for Harry and Draco, and as Harry is willing to sacrifice himself (not to mention Jesus who sacrificed himself for the world.)

    Comment by Will — July 26, 2007 @ 4:37 am - July 26, 2007

  25. #16 I’d love to have the Great hall’s enchanted ceiling. And I love the special effects too. Cant wait to see the special effects for the 7th movie, they should be awesome. And yeah, theres a short bit with talk radio, I laughed out loud.

    Comment by Will — July 26, 2007 @ 4:49 am - July 26, 2007

  26. #22

    fascist conservatives

    is an oxymoron. Conservatism wants the government to have LESS control over everything, and less influence on people’s lives…it is liberalism that wants government to have more and more power and control over every facet of life that is responsible for fascism, communism, naziism, etc…

    The extreme of liberalism is tyranny, the extreme of conservatism is anarchy.

    Comment by Will — July 26, 2007 @ 5:01 am - July 26, 2007

  27. I think even Patton would defer to St. John.

    I wouldn’t be 100% sure of that, Will.

    Also, as I mentioned, I was citing “authority” tongue-in-cheek. My philosophy is that people should think for themselves, or decide arguments on their merits. St. John espoused a philosophy, at least in this instance we’re discussing, that is at best “easily mis-applied”, let’s say.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 26, 2007 @ 11:55 am - July 26, 2007

  28. While it would be nice if the world could be so ordered that evil never crossed your path, or sacrifice were never necessary…

    But that isn’t what I was talking about, so you may be in danger of arguing with a straw man. In fact, I disagree. If the world were ordered that way, there would be no free will.

    …there is still no greater sacrifice–giving up everything– one can make for another than to die for them.

    Absolutely true. There is no greater sacrifice one can make. (Note the emphasis.)

    Hence no greater act of love.

    And that is not true. You’re conflating (that is, structurally equating) sacrifice and love. That equation is wrong. Except, of course, in Christian philosophy which is what I am disagreeing with (or objecting to) here.

    The greater act of love, Will, would have been for more people to have behaved morally and responsibly and creatively all along, in such a way that the evil one was dealt with firmly from the beginning and was, in the end, the only one who had to die for anyone.

    Sacrifice may, sadly, become necessary and even be admirable. But it is not – in fact, it is never – the greatest love.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 26, 2007 @ 12:06 pm - July 26, 2007

  29. While it would be nice if the world could be so ordered that evil never crossed your path, or sacrifice were never necessary…

    But that isn’t what I was talking about

    Sure sounds like it to me…

    The greater act of love, Will, would have been for more people to have behaved morally and responsibly and creatively all along

    Which of course is fantasy. The world isnt like that, never has been. And frankly, its nonsensical to suggest that the love of one person for another is contingent upon the actions of some third party or parties. First and foremost, love requires living in the real world.

    Love is an individual act. It doesnt take a village to love a child, it only takes one person. You and only you are accountable for how much you love someone else, no matter what anyone else does or has done or doesn’t do. And what St. John is referring to in that passage is the value you place on that loved one. And we can only talk about value in terms of what we would sacrifice (as a capitalist, surely you recognize that.)

    Is your loved one more valuable to you than a roll of nickels? Is your loved one more valuable to you than your home? And what St. John correctly points out is that you dont have anything more valuable than yourself. No matter how much money or how many possessions you have, nothing you own is worth more than your self. And therefore the greatest love you can have for another is to value them more than you value the most valuable thing you have to give, which is, and can only be, yourself.

    Comment by Will — July 27, 2007 @ 6:08 am - July 27, 2007

  30. Will, I’m not sure who you’re quoting. As near as I can tell, though, I said:

    The greater act of love, Will, would have been for more people to have behaved morally and responsibly and creatively all along, in such a way that the evil one was dealt with firmly from the beginning and was, in the end, the only one who had to die for anyone.

    and you said

    The world isnt like that, never has been.

    Then what the heck are our troops doing in Iraq, and what are we doing, trying to thank them and fund them?

    It is a matter of scale. Since people have free will, including the freedom to act like irresponsible ostriches as well as heroes, the glass will never be entirely empty, or entirely full. But here’s your real-life example. Because our troops, police, CIA, etc. are fighting terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places, the evil ones die – instead of us having to, and instead of our defenders having to die in larger numbers. The better we all support them, the easier their job is. The easier their job is, the more evil ones do the dying and not them (or us). That’s good.

    So no, I don’t want our defenders to sacrifice themselves. I won’t be impressed by their “love” if they do. I want them to make the other guys, the evil ones, do the sacrificing. I will be impressed by their smarts if they do that, and by OUR love, if we have enough clarity to support them in doing that.

    I find it a little odd, Will, that you would call that (which is going on in the world as we speak) a “fantasy” and not Harry Potter.

    its nonsensical to suggest that the love of one person for another is contingent upon the actions of some third party or parties…

    Which I didn’t. It sounds like you’re not hearing me.

    we can only talk about value in terms of what we would sacrifice…

    That, precisely, makes no sense. A value is something you act to gain and/or keep. You wouldn’t act to gain and/or keep it, if the action weren’t a profit for you – a net *gain* of, well, things (or people or qualities) you value.

    Sacrifice is the opposite. Sacrifice is when you throw it away – taking a loss. An intelligent person sacrifices their life when, and only when, (1) they have made a commitment so profound that they wouldn’t want to live without it, and (2) tragically – whether through other people’s moral and practical failures, or their own, or terrible bad luck, or whatever – they have been boxed in. It’s bad when it happens, or at least very sad; not something to romanticize.

    the greatest love you can have for another is to value them more than you value the most valuable thing you have to give, which is, and can only be, yourself.

    As a literal statement, taken by itself, that is obviously true. But I perceive you here as wanting to conflate it with the supposed necessity and glory of tragic sacrifice. That, I don’t agree with.

    I’ll give you this: If everybody behaved perfectly all the time, writers wouldn’t have anything to write about. JKR wouldn’t have had books to write.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 27, 2007 @ 11:32 am - July 27, 2007

  31. And Harry Potter is really George W. Bush. LMAO. This blog gets funnier and funnier….

    Comment by sean — July 27, 2007 @ 11:53 am - July 27, 2007

  32. the greatest love you can have for another is to value them more than you value the most valuable thing you have to give, which is, and can only be, yourself.

    As a literal statement, taken by itself, that is obviously true.

    I know. That’s why I said it. Thats what the passage in John is talking about, and why I referred to it.

    No one except you has ever claimed theres a necessity for tragic sacrifice. And the idea that if we only loved our troops more, none of them would die is precisely the kind of nonsensical claptrap Im talking about. Its war! People die in war, from both sides- – no matter how much you love them. And quite frankly, I’m done with this conversation. I abhor this kind of meaningless pseudointellectual gobbledygook.

    Comment by Will — July 28, 2007 @ 2:21 am - July 28, 2007

  33. 23: Seriously, can you reply without name-calling? another way fascists work – belittle people by engaging in name calling to avoid the real topic.

    Comment by Kevin — July 29, 2007 @ 11:06 am - July 29, 2007

  34. Dan, you might find the references to Tolkien in this Gates of Vienna post worhtwhile.
    -Jeremiah

    Comment by Jeremayakovka — July 30, 2007 @ 9:36 pm - July 30, 2007

  35. Kevin vomits: “another way fascists work – belittle people by engaging in name calling to avoid the real topic.”

    Sort of like yourself, Wonkette, DailyK, MyDD et al?

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — July 31, 2007 @ 3:53 pm - July 31, 2007

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