Our theme for February is actually a challenge: write a piece without using first person pronouns (I, me, we, etc.).

The Journal of Magical Public Policy and Muggle Relations, vol. 176, no. 2
Muggles and the Moral Imperative of the Magical World
by Harmos G. G. Meppelsby

The wizarding world finds itself again divided on an issue as deep and recurring as blood: what to do about the Muggles. The debate is hardly original, tracing back to the 1692 summit of the International Confederation of Wizards when the decision to abscond from mounting Muggle persecution into self-imposed secrecy was made.[1] Since then, the wizarding world has invested great amounts of thought and resources into this calculated disappearing act and nearly as much thought into whether the exhausting effort is worth it.

And in these past two decades, the effort has become only more tiring. One hundred years ago, a wizard needed little more than a cursory knowledge of Muggle-Repelling and Memory Charms to divert an occasional non-magical trespasser. It seems, however, that the price of secrecy has risen from a couple simple spells to multiple Ministry of Magic departments funneling vaults of galleons into futile efforts to track and edit Muggle communications they cannot understand. The increasing fascination of Muggles with social technologies and applications such as Twitter means that a single misplaced dragon could be viewed by hundreds of Muggles across dozens of countries in mere minutes, a veritable nightmare for the now armies of Obliviators.

In fact, a recent study by the Ministry suggests that for the first time in wizarding history, Obliviate has crept into the Top Ten Most-Used Spells of the Year, couched between Accio and Lumos.[2] (It should be noted, however, that nearly a quarter of respondents said they couldn’t remember casting a spell in the past year. It remains unclear if this weakens or strengthens the conclusions.[3]) This, in addition to the increasing number of Muggle-born witches and wizards, has many questioning whether the charade remains worthwhile, if even possible. Thus, the wizarding world has been split into two camps: those campaigning for increased funds to magical security and increased contempt towards Muggles and those campaigning to begin the long journey of reintegration. While this rift has the Ministry indefinitely ground to a halt, it may be prudent to consider a perspective rarely taken by the magical world: the ethical implications of magical withdrawal.

Since the split of magical and non-magical individuals in the seventeenth century, the two communities have diverged in their approaches to everything from medicine to fashion. However, with the wizarding world’s persecution now generations behind, the time may have come to consider its moral obligations to its Muggle brethren.

Those who have spent even a trifle of time in the Muggle world have seen or heard many horrors that the wizarding world remedies easily. Non-magical comas have been proven curable by mandrake, many cases of depression can be solved by a simple awareness of Pogrebins, and numerous strains of cancer have been responsive to Patronus therapy.[4] The crucial question is if the wizarding community has an obligation to reduce Muggle suffering. Muggle philosopher Peter Singer describes this moral imperative well, stating, “The decisions and actions of human beings can prevent this kind of suffering. Unfortunately, human beings have not made the necessary decisions.”[5] The magical world is capable of significantly reducing Muggle suffering—Expansion Charms can increase refugee camps’ capacities, portkeys can safely transport asylum-seekers that would otherwise risk deadly passages, and Shield Charms can prevent gun deaths. The question is if the wizarding world will make the necessary decisions.

Or, rather, if it will make them again. Contrary to popular belief, moralistic investment in the Muggle community has been well-documented throughout wizarding history. In his 2000 publication History’s 100 Most Influential Squibs, Roansbark Weathervane detailed dozens of notable Squibs throughout the centuries who have dedicated their lives to serving Muggle society.[6] From Leonardo Da Vinci to Mother Theresa to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, these people have straddled the divide between the magical and non-magical communities quite deftly and have made noticeable contributions to each.

Additionally, there is the matter of witches and wizards with close ties to the Muggle world that have operated covertly to introduce certain magical items and remedies to Muggle populations. Because the Wizards’ Council passed and Ministry of Magic upholds laws forbidding any intentional intervention in the Muggle world, most evidence of this remains anecdotal. However, there are well-known stories such as that of Madame Melanie Caritas who in 1840 is widely believed to have befriended Scotsman James Braid and introduced him to the old wizarding practice of hypnotism so that he could treat her dear Muggle cousin and his neighbor Ms. Margaret Mason who suffered from a variety of chronic pains, allowing Ms. Caritas to go Acromantula hunting with her mind unburdened.[7] Since then, heart transplants, lasers, and spray cheese have all been introduced to Muggle society just as altruistically.

Unfortunately, there are always those who will discard ethics for pragmatics. And for those sorry individuals, it may also be important to note the benefit of more open borders with Muggle individuals. For their lack of magical abilities, Muggles have managed to make a series of enchanting developments of the past few decades that the wizarding community understands very little but could benefit from very greatly. For example, Muggles have developed amazing abilities to analyze information and predict patterns about the surrounding world through the practice of statistics, essentially unknown to the wizarding world. This leads to a Medieval and almost comical approach of the magical community to modern problems. In fact, just last month the Secretary Hughstus Mumps of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures claimed that climate change is the direct result of a recent population boom of Peruvian Vipertooth dragons.[8] Muggles, however, have analyzed these trends for decades and hold information that we in the wizarding community should very well learn from.

Thus, it seems fair to conclude that regardless of the direction taken in modern Muggle relations, the wizarding world should take more seriously its moral responsibility to aid its Muggle brethren when it can and its golden opportunity to learn essential skills from these very individuals it has so long fought to repel.

 

[1] A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot (Little Red Books, 1947)
[2] Annual Use of Magic Report: Top Ten Most-Used Spells of the Year (Ministry of Magic, 2015)
[3] This information was prized from Head of Magical Law Enforcement Dominic Sputter after three butterbeers and will likely require a few more butterbeers to remedy.
[4] Magical Remedies for Everyday Maladies by Poppy Pomfrey (Diagon Press, 2002)
[5] Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer (Philosophy and Pulbic Affiars, 1972)
[6] History’s 100 Most Influential Squibs by Roansbark Weathervane (Picadilly Press, 2000)
[7] My Tango with the Acromantula by Gildory Lockhart (Picadilly Press, 1990) as stolen from Ms. Caritas’ memory.
[8] Secretary Mumps conveniently left out that the rise in Peruvian Viperteeth is spurred by recent attempts to domesticate them and breed out their fire-breathing capabilities, rendering them not only the smallest but also coolest of all dragon breeds.

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