6

The wizarding world has always been sexually and racially advanced, far more than most western cultures. For example, already in 1920, America has a female magic president, and many students and Aurors are black, even back then.

However this is very weird compared to how backwards the wizarding world is in other regards. There's much less freedom of speech, no Miranda rights, no functional non-government economy, aurors have basically no restrictions to what they can do, and the ministry has the full right to manipulate and blacklist the press, lock up whoever it wants, interfere economically with any business and private institution, regulate everything, search without a warrant, suppress prisoners and legally apply the trace; heck they can even subject a student to a full wizengamot trial with no legal repercussions!

Why is there such a big disparity in how forward the wizarding world is some aspects, but so backwards in regards to other aspects?

In universe answers only please.

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    Not a dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/121598/… because here I want to know the difference between types of rights. – TheAsh says Reinstate Monica Dec 13 '18 at 21:12
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    They solve all their problems with magic. When you have a really big hammer, everything looks like a nail. Logic, ethics, philosophy, those are more like rachet wrenches, always slipping the wrong way... (I doubt it was thought through very well, or just written as old wizards like power just like old politicians do). – Radhil Dec 13 '18 at 22:00
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    Wizards aren't exactly "progressive" with regards to women's rights or racism, it seems more like it simply never ever occurred to any of them that either were of any importance when compared to whether or not you have magic. AFAIK, that goes back in the in-universe history as far as anyone can tell, certainly at least as far back as the Hogwarts Founders. – Harry Johnston Dec 14 '18 at 0:24
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    ... I'm reminded of this Terry Pratchett quote. – Harry Johnston Dec 14 '18 at 0:26
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    @HarryJohnston That's an excellent point. There's not much need to feel better than women or people of color when you can feel better than muggles. – ApproachingDarknessFish Dec 14 '18 at 1:19
8

It’s likely due to the Statute of Secrecy.

The wizarding world’s most severe laws are the ones surrounding the Statute of Secrecy. Since wizards internationally went into hiding, the most important wizarding law has been to keep magic secret from the Muggles. Each country’s wizarding government is held responsible for upholding the Statute within their own borders, and if they fail to, they can be punished by the International Confederation of Wizards.

“Adequate security measures were not enforced until the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1692 made every Ministry of Magic directly responsible for the consequences of magical sports played within their territories.”
- Quidditch Through the Ages

Each individual Ministry is held responsible for ensuring that Muggles aren’t exposed to magic, and must keep anything magical hidden, or be punished by the International Confederation of Wizards.

“In 1750, Clause 73 was inserted in the International Code of Wizarding Secrecy, to which wizard ministries worldwide conform today:

Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care, and control of all magical beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory’s borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Muggle community, that nation’s wizarding governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Wizards.”
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Because of this, the Ministries all try to avoid having anyone in the population they govern cause a violation of the Statute, which is almost certainly the reason behind the wizarding world’s strict laws. As an example, Rappaport’s Law was directly created as a result of a violation of the Statute of Secrecy.

In 1790, the fifteenth President of MACUSA, Emily Rappaport, instituted a law designed to create total segregation of the wizarding and No-Maj communities. This followed one of the most serious breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy, leading to a humiliating censure of MACUSA by the International Confederation of Wizards.
- Rappaport’s Law (Pottermore)

It was a very strictly enforced law, with harsh penalties for breaking it.

Rappaport’s Law enforced strict segregation between the No-Maj and wizarding communities. Wizards were no longer allowed to befriend or marry No-Majs. Penalties for fraternising with No-Majs were harsh. Communication with No-Majs was limited to that necessary to perform daily activities.
- Rappaport’s Law (Pottermore)

This particular law is a direct result of a violation of the Statute, and was a very significant law in American wizarding society. American wizards lived under stricter rules and more government supervision than those in other countries, because of this law protecting the Statute.

One of the most significant American magical laws was created in 1790, when MACUSA approved an edict to enforce total segregation of the wizarding and No-Maj communities. Rappaport’s Law, named after then-President Emily Rappaport, was created as a result of one of the worst breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy ever known, a breach in which the daughter of Rappaport’s Keeper of Treasure and Dragots and a Scourer descendant almost exposed the existence of magic worldwide. With the passing of Rappaport’s Law, intermarriage and even friendship between wizards and No-Majs became illegal in the United States.
- The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) (Pottermore)

It seems very likely that similarly, the strict laws made by other wizarding governments were to prevent their populations from violating the Statute, though their laws weren’t quite as strict as those in America. It’s made clear that wizarding governments prioritize maintaining the Statute over everything else, including the rights of the wizards they govern.

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    I like your hat Bellatrix! – Niffler Dec 14 '18 at 3:28
  • @padfoot Thanks so much! :) – Bellatrix Dec 14 '18 at 3:29

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