"…here and now as in the darkness-before-dawn prior to the Age of Reason, the son of a sufficiently powerful noble would simply take for granted that he was above he law. At least when it came to a little rape here and there.There were places in Muggle-land where it was still the same way, countries where that sort of nobility still existed and still thought like that, or even grimmer lands where it wasn’t just the nobility. It was like that in every place and time that didn’t descend directly from the Enlightenment. [emphasis mine]”
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality p. 103
Generally, I love Methods of Rationality and there are some moving and insightful parts in it. However, this little part really bothers me because it reeks of racism and isn’t even factually correct.
I’m assuming the author meant post-Enlightenment Europe when he referred to times and places descended directly from the Enlightenment. Post-Enlightened Europe has not fully realized that ideal nor any other society. Some societies have been more successful than others in upholding this ideal but the world can’t be separated into egalitarian societies and non-egalitarian societies.
The ideal of equal treatment under the law is a worldwide trend, not an ideal only finding headway in Europe. That ideal gaining traction anywhere other than Europe is not because of Europe and imperialism.
It was not born only in Europe during the Enlightenment. It can be found in the Qur’an which predates The Enlightenment and Muhammad actually made attempts to create an egalitarian society not in Europe. Native Americans also tried to uphold that ideal when Europeans first landed on America and massacred the Native Americans.
I think the author is better versed in science than history. I know more science than history and really appreciate some of Harry’s insights about science but he, and the author who speaks through Harry, but I do not appreciate the author’s ignorance of history.