In the wizarding world, everyone carries a gun and no one can trust the government.
When you think of Harry Potter, at least in the context of modern American culture, it’s undeniable that the political left has cited this series of children’s fantasy novels frequently enough to use it as a sort of literary cudgel against its partisan opponents. . .
One need only look at the 2016-era musings in relatively major publications to know that this is a truism in American politics. (For example, to see « »Harry Potter readers more likely to dislike Donald Trump: study”; The wealth “Guess what Harry Potter fans call Donald Trump?“) When quoted, Harry Potter supporters often refer to the series’ themes of “love being the most powerful magic” and “light overcoming darkness”. Fine and dandy designs, no doubt .
However, given the often ethereal and intangible nature of these themes, coupled with the overuse of Harry Potter fans to quote these novels for political purposes, the real tangible lessons of the literary series are too often overlooked: the right to own and bear arms, as well as maintaining a small-L libertarian outlook toward government.
You don’t have to dig deep into Harry Potter lore to know that these two concepts are not only prevalent throughout the book series, but are also easily transferable to a real-life setting. For the uninitiated, Harry Potter is set in a universe where everyone and their moms pack heat in the form of a magic wand. These magical devices serve as a place to channel the magical powers of a witch or wizard, which allow the user to do everything from simple tasks to directly killing people with a whisper of a few words and a flick of the wrist. .
Given the obvious dangers present in the wizarding world, children of the age of an elementary school student not only receive these incredibly powerful tools, but also learn from the start how to use them against those who would seek to harm them ( the so-called “defense against the dark arts”). If one doesn’t see an obvious parallel (and potential political prescriptions) with our strong Second Amendment culture, may I recommend that a stop at the optometrist be in order.
Along the same lines, the Harry Potter universe is replete with example after example of abject government failure. At the local level, the administrative body that runs Hogwarts (the school where our protagonists find their instruction) consistently and systematically fails not only to protect its students from existential threats, but actually encourages their underage students to seek out the threats that place such students in situations where significant bodily harm or death is expected.
At the same time, the responsible government of the entire wizarding community is filled with career bureaucrats who fill unnecessary roles and accomplish little. The entire fifth novel in the series hits this point by developing a narrative that demonstrates that even a trustworthy government is prone to use propaganda, stifle free speech, and even judge a teenager for his “lies” both that they have never faced a real and persistent threat to their constituents. Familiarities abound.
Without a doubt, Harry Potter is one of the most gun-friendly fictions written in the last half-century. That it took over 20 years for someone to report it is the real surprise. Likewise, the series demonstrates to the reader that a healthy skepticism of those in power is not just a subtlety, but a necessity.
Guns and libertarianism. These are the real lessons of the Harry Potter franchise.
Henry Rymer, graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School (’19), currently practices law in Utah and often argues that Gandalf is the most powerful wizard in existence.