“Should it be wizards first, then?” she asked.
“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
Harry looked at Kingsley. His mouth opened slightly, then closed. “I will give you the gift of silence in exchange for that,” he said at last, turning and reaching for the door. “Let’s go.”
“While you can still call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells,” Dumbledore said, “there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years.”
“I think I understand,” Harry said. “The right to life is the source of all rights -— and the right to property is their only implementation.”
Dumbledore smiled. “Which means…”
“Which means that without property rights,” Harry exclaimed triumphantly, “no other rights are possible.”
“The Ministry of Magic has fallen,” Neville said in despair.
Harry laughed long and loud. “You should not mourn the government,” he told Neville. “The state has never shed a tear for you. Why waste your tears on it?”
He picked up his wand. “For my part, I withdrew my consent to be governed years ago. Taxation is destroying private resources.” A smile played across Harry’s lips. “I hope they destroyed the national bank, while they were at it. I should like to see the goblins of Gringotts face their real enemy — deregulation.”
“It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success,” Remus said, “not the number of followers.”
“In other words,” Harry said, “failure is triumph, up is down, white is black, and wrong is right. Success determines success, Remus, and only a failure would suggest otherwise. If Voldemort kills us all tomorrow, no one will build a monument to our successful convictions.”
HERE LIES DOBBY, the stone read, A FREE ELF.
Underneath, in slightly smaller letters, it continued: What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion. Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state—and nothing else. If one upholds freedom, one must uphold man’s individual rights; if one upholds man’s individual rights, one must uphold his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness—which means: one must uphold a political system that guarantees and protects these rights—which means: the politico-economic system of capitalism. Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries. Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind. A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone’s orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone’s opinions, threats, wishes, plans, or “welfare.” Such a mind may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a wand is not an argument. It is from the work and the inviolate integrity of such minds—from the intransigent innovators—that all of mankind’s knowledge and achievements have come. It is to such minds that mankind owes its survival.
The gravestone was seven and a half feet tall.
Voldemort advanced on Harry. “Is it love again? Dumbledore’s favourite solution, love, which he claimed conquered death, though love did not stop him falling from the tower and breaking like an old waxwork? Love, which did not prevent me stamping out your Mudblood mother like a cockroach, Potter — and nobody seems to love you enough to run forward this time and take my curse. So what will stop you dying now when I strike?”
“Do you know the hallmark of the second-rater?” Harry asked, lighting a cigarette as if he were Zeus himself, the god who held lightning in his hand. “It’s resentment of another man’s achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone’s work prove greater than their own—they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal— for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire.”
Voldemort shook his head, his inability to grasp lofty ideals the result of a government-issued education. “It matters not! It matters not whether Snape was mine or Dumbledore’s, or what petty obstacles they tried to put in my path. I crushed them as I crushed your mother, Snape’s supposed great love. Oh, but it all makes sense, Potter, and in ways that you do not understand. Dumbledore was trying to keep the Elder Wand from me. He intended that Snape should be the true master of the wand. But I got there ahead of you, little boy — I reached the wand before you could get your hands upon it. I understood the truth before you caught up. I killed Severus Snape three hours ago and the Elder Wand, the Death Stick, the Wand of Destiny is truly mine!”
“What an interesting misunderstanding of property rights,” Harry said mildly, flicking his cigarette in the direction of the Dark Lord. “They are no guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it.”
“I have earned the Elder Wand through my own achievements,” Harry continued. “I create wealth; you merely attempt to loot it from others. I shall carry on my search for an equal,” he said, “though I do not believe I will find one in my lifetime.”
He pulled out a gun and shot Voldemort in the heart. “A gun is not an argument,” he said to no one in particular, “but this conversation was growing dull anyway.”
NINETEEN YEARS LATER
“I’m taking the children down the Platform 9 3/4s to see them off to school,” Ginny said to Harry. “Want to come?”
“I build trains,” Harry said, adjusting his hat so that the brim sat low over one eye, “I don’t watch children board them.”
Ginny respected him for it.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.