Natural Liberation and Harry Potter
August 1 , 2007
by William P. Meyers

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I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night, and it was entertaining. Evil, of course, is out in the world. The foolish government refuses to admit it. Harry Potter has to train a bunch of teenage wizards in secret to be ready to combat evil, because the school he attends, Hogswarts or something like that, is teaching from books rather than allowing the kids to actually practice black arts.

So you could read it as a metaphor encouraging teen rebellion. But against what? School, to be sure. The government, a least in this particular episode. Evil, but then Hitler, Stalin, and General Franco also imagined they were rebelling against evil. Evil is whoever is opposed to you.

If the book upon which this film was based had been written by an American author, I would say it was about rebelling against the public school system, a thought endearing to both the far right and the far left. The government take over of the wizard school sounds like how the teachers unions view No Child Left Behind. Many charter schools believe in project-based learning, and the elitism of Hogswarts matches how charter school parents think about their little wizards.

That is all very well and good, but I doubt it is the intended message of the movie. I also don't think the intention is to get kids meeting in secret pointing at each other with wooden sticks and practicing Latin.

Evil must be fought, and fighting is exciting. Wow, maybe the movie is about the War on Terror. Maybe the idiots in the government are Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe English and American kids should be secretly training with automatic weapons and Latin prayers to fight Islam.

Well, teen angst can be turned in many directions. To me the evil of the world is the destruction of Nature, including global warming, species destruction, and the general collapse of ecosystems we are seeing all around us right now (those of us who care to look). It isn't just George Bush and pals that are ignoring or minimalizing what is happening. It is most of the human race, and most of the leadership of the Democratic Party.

Wars, including civil wars, are a toss of the dice. The U.S. invaded Vietnam and murdered two million people to save the world for capitalism in the 1960s. Instead Communism triumphed and Americans became unwilling to use force, for a decade or so. Then, unpredictably, without the capitalists firing a shot, Communism collapsed.

Rebellion in America could take many forms. It could gain a Christian racist edge. It could be directed at the Republicans and for the Democrats. It could be against both parties, or it could take an anarchist turn against all parties and government itself. The rebellion could be confined to the ballot box, or it could take to the streets, or it could arm itself and start a civil war.

But most likely nothing will happen. Order of the Phoenix is, after all, just a movie. Playing at being wizards is a big ego trip for children, but the real idea is to get them to read, go to college, and fit right into the corporate system. The message of any one movie, even if clear, is quickly submerged in the next movie or TV show or hot band idol.

Meanwhile, ecosystems are collapsing. A sane government would put in place an immediate ban on all cutting of trees; stop the production of SUVs and encourage people to walk, bike, or ride a motorcycle; prohibit couples from having more than two children; and re-orient the industry of people into ecological restoration.

Do not expect sane government. Do expect slowly rolling eco-collapse. Don't expect the economy to collapse, until we are much closer to the end, but expect escalating food prices. Expect the unexpected. We are going non-linear, we are going chaotic. It may not be supernatural, but it is nature as humans have not had to face it since the paleolithic. Nobody knows what is worth packing for this trip: but a little revolution might make us feel like we are humans, not just pawns in corporate growth games.

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