TD Bank’s vow to make the FATCA experience “comfortable” for the affected clients invoked a powerful impression on my psyche, one which remained ineffable for a few days. I’ve written about a paternalist leadership style, and certainly this fits: the US federal government and its representatives exhibit most of the characteristics of paternalism in its relations with other countries and this is becoming increasingly intolerable.
However, it was yesterday as I watched again the Harry Potter series that I began to grasp better the idea that was eluding me. Through her characters, J. K. Rowling pegs certain stereotypes in our day: the incompetent politician, Cornelius Fudge, the unscrupulous reporter, Rita Skeeter, and the sickly sweet bureaucrat, Delores Umbridge. Despite her feminine pink attire and her pictures of kitty-cats on the wall, Umbridge is a torturer and an abuser of human rights. Thus, she promises through her overt femininity to make torture and banishment a comfortable experience.