Just when the marxoid bastards thought they had old-fashioned middle-class ways all but stamped out by their elimination of schooling, destruction by dilution of the academy, official endorsement of illiterate, antisocial 'pop music artists' and stupefaction of the masses through Big Brother, up pops a reincarnated Angela Brazil with tales of a group of literate, brave, sparky and very 3D children who, among a long list of unacceptable characteristics, do not speak estuary English, do not mouth politically correct crap, and do not watch TV or play computer games all day. Oh - at a very selective boarding school.
The left violently disapproves of Harry Potter because the books' popularity represents the resurgence of everything they hate and have struggled for decades to suppress. No wonder they and their friends among the literati are howling.
Long may their howling continue. It's music to my ears.
There is, of course, another great aspect to Harry Potter and that is the attitude to authority and especially the state. Harry and his friends constantly break, or bend, the rules and are proven to be right in doing so; that much is obvious.
However, even more evident is the iniquity of the state. Throughout the books, the state—in the shape of the Ministry for Magic—is resistant to change, moribund in the extreme. When Voldemort returns, the Ministry manipulates all of the news outlets to ensure that it is their agenda that gets through, as opposed to the truth. Sound likely?
It is the Ministry of Magic that sets all the rules as to what people are allowed to do, even to really quite intimate levels. The Ministry is also happy to collude with the evil Dementors as long as they serve the Ministry's agenda. Sound likely?
The Ministry's most prominent representative in the books, Dolores Umbridge, is a deeply unpleasant, rapaciously ambitious woman with a perverse attachment to petty and irritating rules, the breaking of which she rewards with sadistic and disproportionate punishments. Given all this, it is no surprise that she happily colludes with Voldemort in the final book in order to further her own personal ambitions. Sound likely?
And of course, it is the staff of the Ministry who are constant and dishonourable double-crossers, weak-minded traitors and selfish-regarding meglomaniacs. Most pertinently, it is the Ministry that falls, early on in the last book and with barely a struggle, to Voldemort. The purest evil in the wizarding world is allowed to overtake the Ministry of Magic through the collusion of evil people within the state and also by the state's control, for its own ends, over the media. Sound likely?
I have noted, with a great deal of glee, these not so subtle pointers that the state authorities, and those in power, are simply not to be trusted. It's good to teach our young people these eternal truths...
UDATE: an edited version of this article appears at LibertarianUK.net.
UPDATE 2: there's another good article on the same theme (but concentrating more on markets and government) over at The Taxpayers Alliance. [Emphasis mine.]
It is in these cases of market failure that the government often intervenes on the grounds that it will be able to achieve better results than unfettered markets. This is where the unfairness lies. The behaviour of markets in reality (i.e. with imperfections) is compared with an ideal about how politicians, bureaucrats and planners behave (i.e. as enlightened, public interested servants). Reality is compared to a hypothetical. It is this imbalance public choice seeks to reconcile by assuming that government agents are self-interested individuals seeking to maximise their own budgets and power. This leads to Parkinson's Law and the associated Empire Building that is so common in large organisations. As such, government failure occurs just as surely as market failure, and its results are frequently far worse than market outcomes.
Rowling starts the series of Harry Potter novels by describing a bumbling but well meaning bureaucracy, with numerous departments with ludicrous names and dubious raison d’etre. However, as the series progresses the ministry uses its power to cover up the rise of the villainous Voldemort, often by mobilising its full range of coercive power: detention without trial, torture (of children), altering the educational curriculum and turning the press into a propaganda rag. Furthermore, the “Ministry for Magic” is shown to have institutionalised previously sympathetic characters turning them into ambitious pen-pushers with no loyalty, whilst those characters who maintain moral worth are unable to progress up the government ladder. This is an unelected, overtly bureaucratic government that operates without a free press, and uses all of these advantages to pursue its own (damaging) agenda.
Go and read the whole thing.