Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Harry Potter's Influence on Millenials

The Question: Did Harry Potter influence the political views of millennials?

(A millennial is someone coming of age during the 90s—the generation that came after Generation X and the Baby Boomers.)

The Facebook post suggests that Harry Potter did: It turned millennials against the administration of G.W. Bush, helped elect Obama, and made an entire generation turn rock-hard liberal.

I disagree. First, we are moving beyond the conservative/liberal divide. People previously divided are converging in opinions and ideals on issues as they recognize common ground. Political factions and parties will always be with us, but realignment will happen. Not a shift between Democrats and Republicans, but something more fundamental.

For example, education. Both major parties are for the 20 year old reform agenda that is destroying public schools. A huge backlash is in motion. This is one of several issues that will redefine us as we push onward into the postmodern world.

But this was supposed to be a fun post. Harry Potter, you know? Tarantellagra to make a fool dance! Rictusempra for all those who can’t stand to be tickled. And for you comment trolls: Peskipiksi pesternomi!

What I liked about J.K.Rowling’s narrative was that it induced one to be skeptical of government authority. She introduced a new generation to the consequences that could occur should corruption enter government and reach to the highest levels.

Further, even when government’s intentions were good, the overregulation was hilarious and instructive. Do we really need government to decide how thick the bottom of our cooking pots should be? Why should they hold power over who can use a certain type of transport? And the bureaucracy of inane departments: isn’t there a subtle message about limits on government scope?

Often as I read Harry Potter I would laugh out loud about the subversive message Rowling sent her readers. Pompous ministers were mocked; ridiculous regulation was laughed at by the most popular characters. Power-hungry politicians were questioned even if they wanted too much power to do what was right and moral.

European-style socialist government was disrespected. That’s a good thing.

Rowling attacked the evils of racism, totalitarianism, and intolerance. She promoted diversity and looking at others as equal in social status: Dobby is a free elf.

 I’m afraid the early Boomers are a disappointment and the later ones don’t offer much either. As one of the latter group, I can talk about my generation. Look to the young.


Did Harry influence them? I certainly hope so.