Could you give some examples of this? Because most of the alleged examples I’ve seen don’t hold water. I think that a serious case can be made that this happens a few times in the last book, but in the end I think it’s a misreading. For instance, with regard to Harry’s use of the “Cruciatus Curse” in defense of Prof. McGonagall, Rowling herself has commented that this was a morally flawed action, but understandable given the circumstances. I don’t have a problem with this. Good but flawed people may easily slip over into doing morally questionable things under extreme circumstances. The fact that Rowling portrays this doesn’t mean that she thinks it’s OK. Oddly enough, I think what most people find objectionable in this work of fantasy is its realism (with regard to moral choices). The decision to defraud the goblin would be another example, I think–it is a mistake to assume that this is portrayed as the right decision. The point is not that one can do intrinsically evil things for a good purpose, but that under extreme circumstances it is hard to tell which actions are intrinsically evil and which are simply less than ideal.
The debate in contemporary America about waterboarding is a good example of this. I find it funny that many of the folks who object to Rowling’s complex characterizations as morally ambiguous have no problem defending the government’s right to do some pretty dubious things in the name of “fighting terrorism.” Refusing to acknowledge that there are gray areas doesn’t generally make us more morally sensitive–it makes us less, because we think that if something isn’t clearly and obviously evil it must be OK. In fact there are a lot of things that may be justifiable under certain extreme circumstances but which no government or other group of people should be able to do on a regular basis.
I see a lot of good old-fashioned casuistry being rejected by “conservatives” these days under the false label of “relativism.” As Chesterton said, one doesn’t need to know exactly where the line between North and South America should be drawn on the Isthmus of Panama in order to know that the two continents are separate. It seems to me that many “conservatives” take the approach that if some government has decreed that the line is drawn in a certain place (the present political border between Panama and Columbia, for instance), that settles the question and any attempt to question this amounts to “relativism.”