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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Harry Potter – Not Good Writing but a Good Thing?

I have just watched a Harry Potter movie on TV. I think I have seen two or three before. And I have read one of the books, can't remember which one – no plans to read another one. I am quite certain that the films are better than the books – after all the casts are magnificent.

All the same, I think that, despite the muddled plots, the whole HP phenomenon is wholesome. I am delighted to hear that J K Rowling (wonderfully old-fashioned, that name) is a half-billionaire – always pleased by innocent success. Moreover, she is credited with getting young teenagers to read – can't be bad.

The three other writers with whom she will always be compared are J R R Tolkien, C S Lewis and Philip Pulman. The first two are incomparably superior and the latter is totally malign – well, I would think that wouldn't I? Perhaps PP writes as well as (or better than) JKR but the two are amateurs compared with Tolkien and Lewis. Well, Tollers and Jack were actually educated to a degree that is very rare these days – yes, we've got Roger Scruton, Peter Hitchens, a few dozen magnificent Americans and a few dozen other luminaries I am too lazy to name (but they don't write books for children).

So why am I writing an encomium for Rowling, when I regard her as being a children's writer of the third or fourth rank? The answer is that she knows the difference between Good and Evil – and that the struggle between the two is central to her writing.

More particularly, she describes a situation in which those who should be relied on to be on the side of the angels, The Ministry of Magic and the acting headmistress of Hogwarts (stupid rather than evil), have been subverted by "the dark side".

This is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

Almost all our institutions have been subverted by political correctness. Incidentally, the term PC was not coined by those on the right; it was a totally non-ironic description of their own thinking by progressives on US campuses in the period when Alan Bloom wrote The Closing of the American Mind.

Our governments are in thrall to Keynesianism, in spite of the fact that we have had the best part of a century to observe that it has never worked.

Good on you, J K. Perhaps very few of your readers have drawn the parallels between Harry Potter's world and ours in terms of economics – all the same, most will have ingested the lesson that Evil must be resisted. Pity that Ben Bernanke is not as ugly as Lord Voldemort.

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