Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy

(Via Jerry Pournelle)

Benjamin Barton of the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) College of Law has written an essay (abstract and full paper available here) examining the government apparent in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. If his point of view is correct, it’s a pretty dark sort of government, run by and for bureaucrats.

Given Ms. Rowling is from the UK, is that any surprise?

Consider this partial list of government activities: a) torturing children for lying; b) utilizing a prison designed and staffed specifically to suck all life and hope out of the inmates; c) placing citizens in that prison without a hearing; d) allows the death penalty without a trial; e) allowing the powerful, rich or famous to control policy and practice; f) selective prosecution (the powerful go unpunished and the unpopular face trumped-up charges); g) conducting criminal trials without independent defense counsel; h) using truth serum to force confessions; i) maintaining constant surveillance over all citizens; j) allowing no elections whatsoever and no democratic lawmaking process; k) controlling the press.

Yep, sounds familier. Overstated, but familier.

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