Dealing with Evil

Now I must admit I am unhappy with the title.  I would love to throw something about Harry Potter up there but it was not ringing right.  A proper title would be:  Dealing with Evil:  Lessons on How the Good Must Defend Itself from Evil drawn from Harry Potter, books 1-4.  A little much I think.

Harry Potter you say?  How on earth are you drawing this from Harry Potter?  Jared, what have you been doing this summer?  I assure you, Harry Potter has not detracted from my time with my girlfriend.  She is way more interesting than a wizard with a scar who rides a broomstick for sport.  Now that you have breathed a collective sigh of relief, let us move on.

Beginning while at home a couple of weeks ago I took it upon myself to reread the first book again.  Honestly only because I needed something fun to read at the time.  Disciplines of a Godly Man and Capitalism and Freedom were so meaty I found myself craving some ice cream, and I picked up the Soceror’s Stone.  Since then I have read the first 4 and will start the 5th when I have some free time.  But from these books I have drawn 3 actions the good must take in order to properly confront and defeat evil.

First the good must acknowledge that evil exists and recognize its forms in the world.  In the magical world of Harry Potte,r Lord Voldemort is the epitome of all evil.  His evil is distinctly different from the actions of the good.  The distinction between a servant and a crook, a good samaritan and a murderer are the black and white evil that exists in the world.  To deny that evil exists is the first step down the road to good’s destruction.  To deny evil is to accept those who are evil as good.  At all times the good must draw a thick line in the sand separating themselves from those who practice evil in the world.  The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, in the last chapter of the 4th book refuses to acknowledge that evil (Lord Voldemort) has returned.  Cornelius Fudge reveals what the good does not want to do:  assume that evil no longer exists.  Lord Voldemort may have disappeared for 14 years but everyone knew he was weak and on the run.  To not have pursued him while he was weak was a big mistake.

Second is that evil must be confronted.  The good must not run and hide from evil as those in Harry Potter are from Headmaster Dumbledore to Harry, Ron, and Herimone.  Edumnd Burke famously stated that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  In the 14 years after Lord Voldemort attempted to kill Harry Potter and his spell rebounded and broke Voldemort’s power the Ministry of Magic and the wizarding world breathed a sigh of relief and moved on.  That was their biggest failure:  not pursing Voldemort until he was stamped out for good.

Third we must be willing to fight evil.  Neville Chamberlain is history’s great example of a man afraid to right and willing to appease and I have no qualms about drawing similarity between Neville Chamberlain and Neville Longbottom of Harry Potter though as we learn more about Neville we see even he had more backbone than the former Prime Minister of Great Britain.  Headmaster Dumbledore shows that backbone at the end of The Goblet of Fire and the beginning of the Order of the Phoenix.

Good can prevail over evil but she must be vigilant.  Evil never stops and neither can good afford to take a day off.

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2 Responses to Dealing with Evil

  1. nateandhan says:

    Excellent post and observations on fighting evil from Harry Potter. I admit when I read the first two lines I wondered if it was going to be a post bashing Harry Potter. I am in the process of reading through them as well, just finished the 2nd.

  2. Micah says:

    Good post. I’d add to your first observation that you must not only recognize and acknowledge evil but you must call it by its name. Actually, it’s really an addendum to your first point. Notice that Harry and Dumbledore are the only ones who refer to Voldemort by his name. Everyone else refers to him as “He who must not be named”, or somesuch.

    The connection to real-life politics is not too hard to make. Think of the tsk-tsk-ing that followed certain phrases like “evil empire” and “axis of evil”.

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