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Harry potter through the eyes of an objectivist

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As not an objectivist, I am very curious to know how objectivists take a book like Harry potter (seriously, not just as entertainment)

The main theme is "LOVE" that sounds like its something that should be very "anti" objectivism. all this mushy "feelings" of love.

Sacrifice - objectivism is against that too.

But I think Tom Riddle, as the evil charachter fits in beautifully. he charms all the right people, wow, one can almost confuse him with Ellsworth Toohey. As Midas Mulligan once said, who is more evil than someone who has no pity? Someone who uses another's pity for him as a wheapon. In "Chamber of Secrets" Tom uses Harry's piy for him as a way to believe that Hagrid was the culprit. poor orphan who doesnt want to go back to the muggle orphenage...

Also Snape: so unpopular, he seems SEEMS to be so evil!

I believe that because he is such a self centered man, and he SO doesn't care what others think or say about him, that he has been the hero this whole time. We don't know about it, because Harry isn't supposed to know yet.

Harry, is compared to Howard Roark, of John Galt. 'people' don't affect him at all. not abuse from them (muggle school, Dursleys, Daily Prophet) and not fame (Hogwarts, Qwiddich, Colin Creevy etc.)

what do Y'all think?

Edited by Marty McFly
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Riddle ~ The ultimate selfless person. He wants power over others. He does not live, he avoids death. If he won the war, I think he would find that it would not get him much.

Snape ~ The jury's still out. At worst, he's the ultimate pragmatist--betraying where it suits him. At best, he did what he did because he knows something that we don't. I'm inclined to believe the latter. I don't think a world with Riddle as king would suit Snape at all.

Harry ~ Not an Objectivist hero, but no one ever said he was. He stands up for what he believes in. He fights to save his friends, no matter the cost. Some people say he's sacrificial, but I don't see it, really. He values his friends enough to not want to live without them. For a kid that spent ten years of his life utterly alone, I don't think that's an unreasonable thing. If he wanted to be sacrificial, he'd let Ginny come with them to save her happiness, even though it would kill him if she died. Of course, that's still a possibility, but I think that if he changes his mind, he'll probably find that he wants Ginny with him, and not just change it because it's what Ginny wants him to do.

Just my initial thoughts. :dough:

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Here is an article from the Ayn Rand Institute about Harry Potter:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=New...cle&id=5335

Interesting article, if only for this part:

By contrast, consider the ghoulishly titled Say Cheese and Die! (from the popular Goosebumps series, by R. L. Stine). Here, a cursed camera causes death and destruction whenever it snaps a photo. The main character, who repeatedly capitulates to his friends' insistence that he use the camera, is cowardly, panic-stricken and ineffectual. The story ends on a foreboding note, as the hiding place of the indestructible camera is discovered by local bullies, who prepare to use the camera again.

This book is appalling not for its supernatural elements but for its sheer malevolence: the "hero" is powerless, innocuous-looking objects wreak devastation, evil is invincible. A child overexposed to the malevolent universe of Goosebumps--or Beavis and Butthead, or South Park--might well wonder why he should risk getting out of bed in the morning, never mind why he should strive to master his schoolwork or to excel in sports.

I never thought it was possible to see the ARI to publish something soo ridiculous. This is like arguing that if children are overexposed to violent video games that they will become criminals, as that they are incapable of seperating fiction from reality.

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I never thought it was possible to see the ARI to publish something soo ridiculous. This is like arguing that if children are overexposed to violent video games that they will become criminals, as that they are incapable of seperating fiction from reality.

I agree, it certainly erodes the author's credibility in my mind.

I remember the Goosebumps books when I was a kid, I think I read a couple of them but never really got into them simply because I found them boring.

Btw, what kind of recommendation is "Little Lord Fauntleroy?" Good luck getting kids to read that...

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Interesting article, if only for this part:

I never thought it was possible to see the ARI to publish something soo ridiculous. This is like arguing that if children are overexposed to violent video games that they will become criminals, as that they are incapable of seperating fiction from reality.

I don't think that's a ridiculous claim at all. Fiction is largely about conveying a certain sense of life. If a child picks up elements of the Goosebumps sense of life, that's really a tragedy; if he picks up elements of the Harry Potter sense of life, in general that will be good.

Many video games don't have the scope or depth to significantly portray a sense of life. Think about writing a novel about shooting someone in an ally, a novel where every possible action can be controlled by 3 buttons. Now, some video games do have much more scope, such as the Zelda series; I think for games like this, sense of life elements can be picked up by children and integrated into their views of reality.

We probably overestimate how much this occurs, though. Adults have relatively well-formed senses of life that are resistant to change, and they're better at disregarding works of art that don't jive with their senses of life. For children this is much less true, and I'd bet by far the most important influence on them is their parents and home environment. Still, I wouldn't buy all the Goosebumps books for a child (maybe read 1 or 2, like I did as a kid); I would buy all the Harry Potter ones.

EDIT: As a footnote to anyone who hasn't read The Romantic Manifesto: it's worth reading.

Edited by BrassDragon
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I remember being profoundly affected by a book when I was young (I forget which one); it was quite malevelonet and caused me to be upset for several months after it was read to me. I don't think it was a silly statement at all.

But you see how you don't even remember that book? I also read some malevelonet books in my life, (I might have even read a book or two by R L Stein) I dismissed these books as "stupid" and promply forgot them. On the other hand, a book like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged affected me so profoundly, that I looked into Ayn Rand's bio and Philosophy. (that's how I found you guys)

Edited by Marty McFly
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But you see how you don't even remember that book? I also read some malevelonet books in my life, (I might have even read a book or two by R L Stein) I dismissed these books as "stupid" and promply forgot them.

Whether or not you're able to denounce a book as unrealistic depends on whether or not you have a developed sense of life, and how well the book jives with that sense of life. You probably were moved by AS because it worked with what you already believed. That may not have been the case if you were much younger.

By the way, that LaszloWalrus forgot the book's name is simply a testament to the fact that he was very young; it has no bearing on whether or not the book profoundly affected him.

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I haven't read any Goosebumps books, nor does my son, so I'm curious: in what sense are these books "malevolent"? I'm guessing that the stories are scary. However, is that scariness what's being termed "malevolent" or is there something else? For instance, do the main characters usually come out okay in the end? Do they "win" in some sense? If they do win in the end, is it the result of their cleverness, their ability to act despite their fears, or some other aspect of their characters; or, is it often some chance event that brings things to their conclusion?

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In (almost) every Goosebumps book, the protagonist is unbelievably weak and unable to cope with the huge force of evil unleashed against him. The end of almost every Goosebumps book involves the protagonist seemingly okay, only to have an even more powerful evil come back to attack him in the end, often as a result of his own stupidity or irresponsability.

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In (almost) every Goosebumps book, the protagonist is unbelievably weak and unable to cope with the huge force of evil unleashed against him. The end of almost every Goosebumps book involves the protagonist seemingly okay, only to have an even more powerful evil come back to attack him in the end, often as a result of his own stupidity or irresponsability.

I remember a couple of years ago, I was talking with a friend who told me he had just gotten a book on Tibet by Aurel Stein. I was flabbergasted: "R.L. Stein has written a book on Tibet? That must be appalling." Then when we straightened it out, he was flabbergasted: "Why would think I'd have anything to do with R.L. Stein?"

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In (almost) every Goosebumps book, the protagonist is unbelievably weak and unable to cope with the huge force of evil unleashed against him. The end of almost every Goosebumps book involves the protagonist seemingly okay, only to have an even more powerful evil come back to attack him in the end, often as a result of his own stupidity or irresponsability.

From what I remember of the books, I'll second that analysis.

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  • 3 weeks later...

On July 18, 2004 the French daily Le Monde ILIAS YOCARIS published an article called “Harry Potter, Market Wiz” and it caused a small sensation. Yocaris HATES Harry Potter, but all the reasons he givers for doing so are the exact same reasons I love him. This is a translation of the article from the French:

NICE, France — With the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling has enchanted the world: the reader is drawn into a magical universe of flying cars, spells that make its victims spew slugs, trees that give blows, books that bite, elf servants, portraits that argue and dragons with pointed tails. On the face of it, the world of Harry Potter has nothing in common with our own. Nothing at all, except one detail: like ours, the fantastic universe of Harry Potter is a capitalist universe.

Hogwarts is a private sorcery school, and its director constantly has to battle against the state as represented, essentially, by the inept minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge; the ridiculous bureaucrat Percy Weasley; and the odious inspector Dolores Umbridge.

The apprentice sorcerers are also consumers who dream of acquiring all sorts of high-tech magical objects, like high performance wands or the latest brand-name flying brooms, manufactured by multinational corporations. Hogwarts, then, is not only a school, but also a market: subject to an incessant advertising onslaught, the students are never as happy as when they can spend their money in the boutiques near the school. There is all sorts of bartering between students, and the author heavily emphasizes the possibility of social success for young people who enrich themselves thanks to trade in magical products.

The tableau is completed by the ritual complaints about the rigidity and incompetence of bureaucrats. Their mediocrity is starkly contrasted with the inventiveness and audacity of some entrepreneurs, whom Ms. Rowling never ceases to praise. For example, Bill Weasley, who works for the goblin bank Gringotts, is presented as the opposite of his brother, Percy the bureaucrat. The first is young, dynamic and creative, and wears clothes that "would not have looked out of place at a rock concert"; the second is unintelligent, obtuse, limited and devoted to state regulation, his career's masterpiece being a report on the standards for the thicknesses of cauldrons.

We have, then, an invasion of neoliberal stereotypes in a fairy tale. The fictional universe of Harry Potter offers a caricature of the excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model: under a veneer of regimentation and traditional rituals, Hogwarts is a pitiless jungle where competition, violence and the cult of winning run riot.

The psychological conditioning of the apprentice sorcerers is clearly based on a culture of confrontation: competition among students to be prefect; competition among Hogwarts "houses" to win points; competition among sorcery schools to win the Goblet of Fire; and, ultimately, the bloody competition between the forces of Good and Evil.

This permanent state of war ends up redefining the role of institutions: faced with ever-more violent conflicts, they are no longer able to protect individuals against the menaces that they face everywhere. The minister of magic fails pitifully in his combat against Evil, and the regulatory constraints of school life hinder Harry and his friends in defending themselves against the attacks and provocations that they constantly encounter. The apprentice sorcerers are thus alone in their struggle to survive in a hostile milieu, and the weakest, like Harry's schoolmate Cedric Diggory, are inexorably eliminated.

These circumstances influence the education given the young students of Hogwarts. The only disciplines that matter are those that can give students an immediately exploitable practical knowledge that can help them in their battle to survive.

That's not astonishing, considering how this prestigious school aims to form, above all, graduates who can compete in the job market and fight against Evil. Artistic subjects are thus absent from Hogwarts's curriculum, and the teaching of social sciences is considered of little value: the students have only some tedious courses of history. It's very revealing that Harry finds them "as boring as Percy's reports cauldron-bottom report." In other words, in the cultural universe of Harry Potter, social sciences are as useless and obsolete as state regulation.

Harry Potter, probably unintentionally, thus appears as a summary of the social and educational aims of neoliberal capitalism. Like Orwellian totalitarianism, this capitalism tries to fashion not only the real world, but also the imagination of consumer-citizens. The underlying message to young fans is this: You can imagine as many fictional worlds, parallel universes or educational systems as you want, they will still all be regulated by the laws of the market. Given the success of the Harry Potter series, several generations of young people will be indelibly marked by this lesson.

Ilias Yocaris is a professor of literary theory and French literature at the University Institute of Teacher Training in Nice. This article was translated by The Times from the French.

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Incidentally, I just remembered the name of the book (without looking it up); it was Piano Lessons Can be Murder.

I remember that particular Goosebumps title (one of the first I read) - and I didn't find it particularly malevolent. Reading a Goosebumps novel or any other horror story is fun - it provides a short, rather tame, thrill, and certainly sparks the imagination. Sometimes, as a child, I was so scared after reading one that I couldn't sleep - but I loved it. Learning what scares you - and what can't, is a valuable learning experience. Of course, after awhile I stopped reading them because they didn't affect me anymore - I'd figured out the formula and learned to seperate fiction from reality. But while my interest lasted they were alot of fun - overall, I'd disagree with the previous opinions here and recommend Goosebumps - if not for anything else than variety in the books your child reads.

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  • 2 months later...
Riddle ~ The ultimate selfless person. He wants power over others. He does not live, he avoids death. If he won the war, I think he would find that it would not get him much.

Snape ~ The jury's still out. At worst, he's the ultimate pragmatist--betraying where it suits him. At best, he did what he did because he knows something that we don't. I'm inclined to believe the latter. I don't think a world with Riddle as king would suit Snape at all.

Harry ~ Not an Objectivist hero, but no one ever said he was. He stands up for what he believes in. He fights to save his friends, no matter the cost. Some people say he's sacrificial, but I don't see it, really. He values his friends enough to not want to live without them. For a kid that spent ten years of his life utterly alone, I don't think that's an unreasonable thing. If he wanted to be sacrificial, he'd let Ginny come with them to save her happiness, even though it would kill him if she died. Of course, that's still a possibility, but I think that if he changes his mind, he'll probably find that he wants Ginny with him, and not just change it because it's what Ginny wants him to do.

Just my initial thoughts. :)

The Death Eaters ~ racist, Social Darwinist-types. What they advocate---> Genocide. Who they support---> Lord Voldemort (with emphasis on the "lord" part with them... :P )

But what about...HERMIONE! She's my favorite character! I think she is by far the most Objectivist of the three. Her passion for knowledge via studying/learning, her intellectual prowessness, her wanting to free the enslaved house-elves and her creation of S.P.E.W., her walking out of Divination class, not jumping to conclusions without evidence...

Just my initial thoughts.

Edited by intellectualammo
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I remember that particular Goosebumps title (one of the first I read) - and I didn't find it particularly malevolent.

I have read every Goosebumps book. There is quite a range in quality and malevonlence, and by the time I turned six or seven, none of the books scared me at all.

Having said that, some of the books are truly awful, particularly Piano Lessons Can Be Murder. Others, espcially late in the series, became more and more outlandish.

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The Death Eaters ~ racist, Social Darwinist-types. What they advocate---> Genocide. Who they support---> Lord Voldemort (with emphasis on the "lord" part with them... :P )

I agree with your interpretation of Death Eaters. However, I think Voldemort is exploiting their prejudice for his own ends (immortality and power). According to some areas of fandom, the Death Eaters were once known as the Knights of Walpurgis (the quote is unclear):

"'…in here is the history of the Death Eaters and I don't know that I'll ever actually need it — but at some point — which were once called something different — they were called the Knights of Walpurgis…'"

Depending on how you interpret it, she could mean that she originally called them that, or that the characters did. (Ach, passive voice!) Anyway, I digress.

Assuming she means that the characters originally called the Death Eaters something different spawns a whole line of speculation of a KKK-esque age-old underground organization that Voldemort merely molded to fit his own designs. Personally, I like the idea, and even if it's false, the ingrained pureblood prejudices are apparent regardless.

What I'm getting at is that I don't think Riddle really ever cared about the pureblood nonsense. He just saw it as an easy way to win the right people over to his side. All he really had to do for power was to stir up the disgruntled purebloods and make them think he was going to implement the kind of biased laws they wanted. What he's really after is immortality by living through power over others. Pathetic, but there you are.

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spawns a whole line of speculation of a KKK-esque age-old underground organization that Voldemort merely molded to fit his own designs. Personally, I like the idea, and even if it's false, the ingrained pureblood prejudices are apparent regardless.

Interesting that you mentioned the KKK. I think the Death Eaters have reminded me of them...with their racist rhetoric and using terror, like at the Tri-Wizard camp...In the movie version of GoF I think that it is important to note (as I have on another forum) that the Death Eaters were dressed sort of like the KKK...they were wearing pointed hoods! Did you notice that? In the GoF, they weren't said to be pointed at all...just "hooded". It is my opinion that that element was added to the movie...to further how relational the two groups are to each other, philosophically and so forth.

What I'm getting at is that I don't think Riddle really ever cared about the pureblood nonsense. He just saw it as an easy way to win the right people over to his side. All he really had to do for power was to stir up the disgruntled purebloods and make them think he was going to implement the kind of biased laws they wanted. What he's really after is immortality by living through power over others. Pathetic, but there you are.

I agree. It reminds me of how Cameron used the skin heads (for want of a better word to call them) in "American History X"...in a way. They too even had marks to signifiy something having to do with Camerons group...can't remember what though...

Which brings up another point...swastika and the Death Mark...

Edited by intellectualammo
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