Battlepanda: Harry Potter and the Road to Serfdom?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter and the Road to Serfdom?

(Spoiler Warning: this post links to an interview that contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I quote from a paragraph containing spoilers, but I've ROT13 encoded it.)

With the publication of the final Harry Potter book, the crew at Reason Magazine have been engaging in one of their favorite pastimes, reading libertarian themes into pop-culture works. Here's Brian Doherty:
While speaking at the libertarian gathering FreedomFest in Vegas over the weekend, a panel on Atlas Shrugged was confronted with the question: in 50 years, will libertarian gatherings be mulling over the continuing libertarian significance of Potter? My firm answer: It remains to be seen, only time will tell, the future is inherently kaleidic and unknowable, etc.
Well, I hate to disappoint Mr. Doherty, but it seems clear that J.K. Rowling doesn't share that vision. In an interview with Today (contains spoilers), Rowling revealed what she thinks the surviving characters go on to do after the end of the series, and they don't go on to build an anarcho-capitalist Utopia.
Nf sbe uvf bpphcngvba, Uneel, nybat jvgu Eba, vf jbexvat ng gur Nhebe Qrcnegzrag ng gur Zvavfgel bs Zntvp. Nsgre nyy gurfr lrnef, Uneel vf abj gur qrcnegzrag urnq.

“Uneel naq Eba hggreyl eribyhgvbavmrq gur Nhebe Qrcnegzrag,” Ebjyvat fnvq. “Gurl ner abj gur rkcregf. Vg qbrfa’g znggre ubj byq gurl ner be jung ryfr gurl’ir qbar.”

Zrnajuvyr, Urezvbar, Eba’f jvsr, vf “cerggl uvtu hc” va gur Qrcnegzrag bs Zntvpny Ynj Rasbeprzrag, qrfcvgr ynhtuvat ng gur vqrn bs orpbzvat n ynjlre va “Qrnguyl Unyybjf.”

“V jbhyq vzntvar gung ure oenvacbjre naq ure xabjyrqtr bs ubj gur Qnex Negf bcrengr jbhyq ernyyl tvir ure n fbhaq tebhaqvat,” Ebjyvat fnvq.

Uneel, Eba naq Urezvbar qba’g wbva gur fnzr Zvavfgel bs Zntvp gurl unq orra ng bqqf jvgu sbe lrnef; gurl eribyhgvbavmr vg naq gur zvavfgel ribyirf vagb n “ernyyl tbbq cynpr gb or.”

“Gurl znqr n arj jbeyq,” Ebjyvat fnvq.
(Decode the ROT13 here, or follow the link to the interview. It does contain spoilers.)

Of course, Doherty is free to look beyond the text, like this London fan waiting in line for Deathly Hallows last week. But there is such a thing as reading too much into a work.

Harry Potter is not John Galt, and J.K. Rowling is not Ayn Rand.