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Dumbledore’s Dilemma

Euthanasia or heroism in Harry Potter? Also: Karl Rove Democrats. Classiness over class. Fair Tax plays fair. Plus more.

8.16.07

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DUMBLEDORE'S DILEMMA
Re: David Haddon's J. K. Rowling Condones Euthanasia in Latest Book:

Haddon's argument is ridiculous. Dumbledore was dying. He sacrificed his life to have Snape continue to be an agent against Voldemort. How long are intolerant evangelicals going to spread such rot? The irony is that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the most theological of the series. It presents an afterlife, and clear consequences are shown for how lives are lived. The American Spectator should be embarrassed at publishing Haddon's silly diatribe.
-- Doug Gibson
Ogden, Utah

Euthanasia???? Funk & Wagnalls defines it as "1. painless, peaceful death." Dumbledore's death doesn't meet that criterion. Or, 2. "The deliberate putting to death, in an easy and painless way, of a person suffering from an incurable and agonizing disease: also called mercy killing." Again, Dumbledore's death doesn't fit. How about giving your life for a principle, or to save others? That's what Dumbledore did, as we find out when we discover that Voldemort can't use the Elder Wand's full power because he wasn't the one who took it from Dumbledore's lifeless hands. Because of that, Harry Potter is able to overcome Voldemort and good triumphs. Under Haddon's sloppy definition McCoy can be charged with Euthanizing Spock in Star Trek because he let Spock into the radiation chamber so Spock could save the ship and crew. Only a fundamentalist jackass could describe heroic sacrifice of one's life as euthanasia.
-- John Gridley

Haddon's article is the kind of dumbass commentary that keeps alive the common view of evangelical Christianity as intellectually shallow; it is also an analog to the kind of left-wing paranoia expressed in places like the Daily Kos. Or maybe it's just the ramblings of a "writer and activist" in desperate need of a day job.
-- David Light
Maynard, Massachusetts

I respectfully beg to differ, at least on this point. Whether JKR realized it or not, she was endorsing (retelling) JC's sacrifice on the cross for others. Snape's "murder" of Dumbledore was not merely to save him pain/humiliation, but also to break the strength of the greatest "deathly hallow," a magical wand that defeated all others IF it was taken from the previous owner by force. By willingly surrendering the wand to Snape, the power of the wand was defeated.

Again, not particularly sure if JKR intended this point or any of the points attributed to her. Can't we all just read a book?
-- DK

I can't help but think that articles like this one are counter-productive. After all, you are reacting to entertainment and literary device and not to real life where this type of commentary belongs.

Let's look at it from this perspective: From the beginning of the series, Snape's true allegiance and motives have been carefully tucked away behind a veneer of mistrust and deceit. We are meant, of course, to imagine Snape as an agent of Voldemort and capable of great evil, and even though Snape appears to do the right thing again and again, Rowling still manages to make us not trust him.

Snape appears to kill Dumbledore in service to Voldemort, which drives the drama and finally makes us think we were right to not trust Snape all along. This too turns out to be a ruse, but it can't be denied that Snape did commit murder, so some mitigating circumstance had to be created. That circumstance turns out to be to save Dumbledore from a more horrible death that otherwise could not be avoided.

Mr. Haddon can argue, as he has, that this equates to euthanasia, but the words "lighten up" immediately jump to mind. In the sci-horror film Aliens, Corporeal Hicks made a pact with Ripley that one would kill the other in the event they were infected with an alien parasite. The alternative to being shot to death was to have the alien being rip through your chest in a gruesome and painful way with the end result still being death. I don't think anyone can reasonably say that they wouldn't prefer the bullet in this situation, but to equate this type of death to Kevorkian style euthanasia is a bit of a stretch, not to mention silly given the improbability of death by alien or magic spell.

To make this argument makes you look like a crank with no appreciation for fantasy and entertainment, and it's why liberals' brains turn off when you speak.
-- Chuck Lazarz
Reading, Pennsylvania

I think David Haddon missed a critical point in his article. In the story, Dumbledore knows when and how he will die, and what will happen to him if he is captured in his weakness close to that time. In real life, we do not know when our Creator will determine our time is done, and what saving miracles He may have for us. We are real and should not destroy this body He has given us. The Lord Jesus Christ knew when and how he was to die and could have prevented it. Thankfully for us -- he did not.
-- Jack A. Summers

ROVE DEMOCRATS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Working the Anger Points and Lisa Fabrizio's The Brains:

Both Mr. Lord and Ms. Fabrizio expertly chronicle the Bush derangement syndrome that continues to spew from the MSM and the angry left. Facts, reality, common sense, and plain old decency are not in these people's lexicon. Mr. Kerry was correctly being held accountable by the Swift Boat Vets, back in the early '70s, when Mr. Rove was still a pre-teen. Dirty tricks, vis-a-vis Dan Rather's morbid obsession with the President's National Guard service, as opposed to say, Mr. Kerry's refusal to release his medical records to verify his medal quest, or, the 2000 election eve release of Mr. Bush's DUI, are "hits" by the Left that get a complete pass.

Mr. Armitage remains unquestioned to date, no gaggle of reporters stationed in front of his garage to insure he's not in hiding. Ah yes, the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the left in all its grandeur. I bet Texas never looked so good to Mr. Rove as it does today.
-- Anthony DiPentima

I had to laugh out loud at this passage (from Lord's piece):

"So what lesson have conservatives learned from Louis Howe and his Democratic Party descendants? After being beaten repeatedly for decades because of a refusal to draw the political line in the sand [...] They reached out to the natural majority of the center-right that is in fact the political governing majority of America, making plain what the differences were between liberal and conservative philosophy on issues ranging from war and peace to taxes, spending, guns and the social issues."

First, there is obviously NO "natural" center-right majority, since the majority of the electorate is loudly and proudly leaning center-LEFT these days. And the Republicans are now all by themselves (30%) in Loyal Bushie Extreme Rightwing Kool-aid Land. So be it.

I'm an Independent from New Hampshire and we're all laughing our butts off up here that the GOP thinks it's the "loony left" who wants out of Iraq. Since when did Independents become part of the "loony left" in your Republican circles?

Under Bush and Rove, the Republicans currently have a reputation with the next generation for (1) waging war incompetently, (2) running up tremendous deficits yet again, (3) giving needless tax cuts to wealthy Republicans and large corporations, (4) inserting earmarks for "bridges to nowhere," while bridges to somewhere collapse, (5) having a bunch of sexual deviates expound publicly about how sexually virtuous they are, and (6) giving a microphone to the advocates of some very un-progressive social issues, like not believing in evolution. And you still think "guns" are an election issue!

So, I ask: What lessons DID Republicans actually learn from their years in the wilderness? How to arrogantly LOSE Reagan Democrats for the next forty years?

This was the 2006 campaign slogan for the Republican Party after 12 years of GOP power: "Nancy Pelosi is very, VERY scary. PLEASE vote for us!"

From the sound of this article, Republicans still don't get what happened in November 2006.

Current GOP campaign slogan: "Hillary Clinton is a socialist. Please vote for us."

If this keeps up, November 2008 is going to be quite a time to remember. (Assuming, of course, that Bush's arrogance and utter incompetence doesn't blow us all up before then).
-- unsigned

"Most People's Historical Perspective Begins With the Day of Their Birth." -- Rush Limbaugh

Of the many true and right things Mr. Limbaugh has said over the years, the above provides the most insight into the Democrat/liberal mindset. Add that character flaw to their sanctimonious belief in the garbage shoveled by Mr. Howe and FDR that they are somehow superior human beings with superior ideas and attitudes and you have the recipe for the current "polarization." It is polarizing to question the judgment of fools who would appease the modern day fascist, but not to refer to the President as Hitler (who, by the way, these same clowns would surely even now be "negotiating peace" with).

Polarizing? Spend some time wallowing in the garbage on the Huffington Post, DailyKos, MoveOn, DNC, (I immediately shower afterward!) I find it beyond comprehension that these leftarded buffoons wallow in their own self-inflated superiority when they have been the architects of so, so much that has failed America and the people they claim to care so much about beginning with Social Security to the "Great Society" to the surrender of Vietnam to the next great boondoggle National (read Socialized) health care.
-- Stuart Reed

Lisa, I absolutely loved the way you ended the article.

"But keep in mind, should the fantasists on the far left ever see their real wish come true and impeach George W. Bush, they would then have to contend with his 'other' brain, Richard B. Cheney. And that would be a movie I'd pay to see." That would have to be every liberal's worst nightmare, Dick Cheney as president, even for a few days. I suspect that's one of the reasons talk of impeaching Bush is just that, TALK.

It would also be a nightmare for Iran, Syria, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

Fear not, fair libs. Rove won't be out of the fray for long. He will emerge shortly in the campaign of Mitt or Rudy and will re-open that can of whup-ass he has laid on you in the last two presidential campaigns. If you thought the hysterical press was ranting about his departure, wait until you see their fear manifest when he comes back after them. Rest up, Dem-Slayer-and come back soon!
-- Ralph Alter
Carmel, Indiana

GIVE MITT A CHANCE
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Catching Mitt:

Boy! Does this article hit the proverbial nail -- hard! I find it interesting the candidates judge each other by how long they have been pro-life. I wish someone would poll members of the pro-life community to learn how long any of us has been pro-life. One year, two years, ten years or fifteen? Does it matter? What matters is what you are today and if you will stand up for your (new/old) beliefs.

I have been pro-life fifteen years. Before that I was pro-choice because that was a decision each person had to make for himself. It is the same way I view my Christian faith.

It just happened one day I actually slowed down for a moment and thought through the pro-life beliefs. They made sense and now I am vociferously on the side of preserving life in all its various forms! I suspect Mitt Romney feels the same way. Lay off him, guys. Might I remind you Rudy is pro-choice. Why not go after him, since he actually disagrees with you?
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

CLASSLESS ACTS
Re: Quin Hillyer's When the Culture Is All Too Common:

One Sunday evening the late '50s, when I was eleven or twelve, the whole family was watching the Ed Sullivan show. The act on at the moment was the June Taylor Dancers (kind of a small scale version of the Rockettes). The dancers' costumes were cut higher above the thigh than I had ever before seen. As I was on cusp of puberty, of course I very much appreciated the girls showing so much leg. At the same time I remember feeling a little shocked and a little troubled, wondering if Taylor's tappers had gone too far, at least for a family show. Maybe so, I remember thinking, but at least this is as far it'll ever go on television: we've reached the outer limits of allowable skin.

HAH!
-- Chuck Vail

This is what results when people are allowed to exercise their "freedoms" with ever-lessening restrictions. Where the media is allowed to present crude despicable behavior in glorified fashion and common decency is ridiculed and denigrated.

The boundaries are pushed with each succeeding generation aided by these "times of plenty" which makes it easy to come and go, and do as we please while dispensing with religion that our parents and grand parents believed was essential for governing our day to day lives. It's no accident that pride and self-respect in what we do and how we present ourselves has diminished among consumers of pop-culture as we distance ourselves from the Almighty.

Quin's summation of today's widespread decadence and decay are the advance stages of liberalism.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

Welcome to America's heartland! America's great unwashed, those that Democrats claim to care about...well unless they're actual citizens that are gainfully employed.

Yeah, maybe we're not the prettiest, the most well read, nor no too fashion conscious. But these less than average types are also the types who will wade ashore at the next Iwo Jima or root out the jihadis of the Anbar province. They keep Wal-Mart as well as the average shop owner in business. These commoners also take the brunt of the elitist invective that helps remind us who are really full of themselves in this country.

I love these people because when it comes to having a good time, they are not text-messaging their friends in a corner, they are instead, shakin' it down on the dance floor. Enjoy that Chardonnay with those uptown 'friends;' I be gluggin' beer with the common folk.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Quin Hillyer replies:
I want Mr. Jones to know that I'll glug beer before sipping Chardonnay any day of the year. Some of the worst offenders against common courtesy and decency are the "upper" classes, while good ol' middle Americans have a sense of propriety. My column was not about social class, but about classiness.

FAIR PLAY
Re: The Washington Prowler's Ready, Ames, Fire:

This article by "The Prowler" is in error when it states that, "The FairTax organization, which has been asking all Republican candidates to support its proposal of a national retail sales tax, has not endorsed a candidate, though Huckabee has said he supports the plan."

FairTax has been asking all presidential candidates to support the FairTax Act of 2007 -- Republican, Democrat, and otherwise. The strict policy of FairTax.org is that its representatives and volunteers may not advocate any political candidate, when acting on behalf of FairTax, because of the FairTax plan's multi-partisan appeal.

Currently, Mike Gravel distinguishes himself as the FairTax advocate among the Democratic Party presidential contenders. At the upcoming Democratic debate, we FairTax'ers -- who are representative of many political parties -- hope that the following video question will be asked of the Democratic candidates, as it recently was asked of the GOP candidates debating on "This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos."

Please make it a point to correct the record on this.

Appreciatively,
-- Ron Babin
Michigan FairTax Association
Volunteer Deputy State Director
Sterling Heights, Michigan

FRIENDS
Re: Russell Seitz's letter (under "Russellmania") in Reader Mail's Dog Day Mix:

In his August 15th response to my tirade on Seitz's statement that "may, ""could" and other qualifiers are "weasel words" as asserted by Mr. Chesser, Mr. Seitz's takes the cop-out that he doesn't have cable TV and can't understand how he's responsible for my displeasure with The Weather Channel.

Mr. Seitz dismisses my example as to why these "candid acknowledgment[s]" of the limitations in the scientific data are less than worthless. OK, maybe I shouldn't focus on TWC, but I figured that the example was easy to follow and could be readily understood, even by the layperson. My mistake, so let's take a different tack.

When I was going to college a few years ago (OK, a LOT more than a few), if I were to use the "may, "could" or "possible" qualifiers, I would get my butt handed to me by the professors if I didn't explain the limits of the qualifiers. For example, if I made the statement that something "could" happen, I would have to include an additional statement like "but the data does not support this conclusion at this time." This places a neat boundary on what I presented: part was fact based on data, the rest was conjecture or predictions based on possibilities the data did not definitively support.

I believe that as scientists and engineers, we are required by our own ethical standards to speak to what we know based on facts, even if these facts don't meet our preconceptions, and leave conjecture as a possibility to be explored. It means we don't put qualifiers, or in Mr. Seitz's terms "candid acknowledgment[s]" of the limitations in the scientific data, on statements without at least explaining their limitations. But it isn't apparent that this is being done, or if it is done, than the end user of the data or information is conveniently dropping the explanations to make a point, and the originator of the data or report isn't complaining too loudly, if at all. Hence we get the declarations that human caused gross temperature and sea level increases will definitely occur, that the debate is over, the scientific consensus is in, and deniers are only slightly better than jack-booted fascists. Has Mr. Seitz ever won a debate by a de facto declaration that the debate was over and he won?

I believe this was Mr. Chesser's original point, to which I may not have spoken as well as I could.
-- Karl F. Auerbach
Eden, Utah

After looking at his blog, I find Russell Seitz a much more reasonable fellow than I gave him credit. I have not gotten my criticism of the climate change panic off talk radio. I work during the day and can only read. I expect that he might not like my sources but it doesn't fit into his talking point. My problem with science salesmen like Mr. Seitz comes from my work experience as an engineer. I have seen their mays, possiblys and pontentiallys in many different settings.

Mr. Seitz appears unaware that some of his colleagues play a significant role in the media propaganda blitz. Hockey sticks and 10 warmest years are propaganda tools released to media outlets for only one purpose. Criticizing Al Gore is a nice start but serious scientists must take the bats to their colleagues that are willing to become whores for the Al Gores of the world. When scientists give their colleagues a pass for unethical behavior they inherit their reputations.

I won't be reading any lengthy scientific proceedings on climate change but will develop an opinion on the matter anyway. I have to since there are many political types who are trying to make radical changes to my life who won't be reading it either. That opinion will have to be developed by using trusted sources willing to spend more time than I can give to this activity. Scientists who make press release propaganda, comment on every hurricane, tornado, tsunami, string of hot days, cold days, forest fire, excessive precipitation, drought or whatever weather provides the helpful anecdote won't make the trusted source category. Science writers or scientists that emphasize consensus over substance are not credible either. The idea that the state of knowledge cannot be summarized is bilge. When it gets summarized with words like may, possibly or potentially nobody should be trying to influence public policy.
-- Clifton Briner

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