A Clockwork Orange and International Relations

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Okay, so I’ll have to work hard to segway this into a piece on international political matters, but hang with me. Last week, I began viewing the movies of one of my two favorite directors, Stanly Kubrick. (Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, 2001.) My other favorite director is Ridley Scott (He’s working on a film adaption of The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman..Yes!)

Kubrick’s movies, to me, are incredible with their psychological intensity and dark atmospheres. Plus, Kubrick’s camera work is without peer.

I watched A Clockwork Orange, after having not seen it in a decade or more. The film raises the interesting questions about a government’s role in society, and what if any limits there are when it comes to controlling a criminal element. The main character, Alex DeLarge, is a sociopathic monster, who skips school so that he and his gang can wonder about wreaking as much havoc on society as possible. A “bit of the old Ultra-Violence, if you will.”

When Delarge is convicted of the murder of a woman whose house he’d broken into, he is sent to a correctional facility and finally becomes  part of a government sponsored experiment to rid him of criminal inclinations, particularly rape and assault (Delarge loves both). The drugs injected into him do the job, but he is accidentally given an aversion to his favorite music, that of Beethoven. Finally, trapped in the house of a man whose wife Delarge had raped years before, he is driven to a suicide attempt by Beethoven’s music. In order for the scientists to avoid the charges that their experiment was responsible for Delarge’s attempted self-destruction, they undo the the “anti-crime” experiment, at which time Delarge immediately returns to his old self.

I do wonder what would happen if such a drug as that used on DeLarge existed. After all we already chemically neuter some men who are serial rapists. The film poses the question: Can forced good behavior qualify someone as being good?

So where am I going with this? I saw a quote from Kubrick when the film, A Clockwork Orange faced the charge of being fascist.

He said this: “It is quite true that my film’s view of man is less flattering than the one Rousseau entertained in a similarly allegorical narrative—but, in order to avoid fascism, does one have to view man as a noble savage, rather than an ignoble one? Being a pessimist is not yet enough to qualify one to be regarded as a tyrant (I hope)…The age of the alibi, in which we find ourselves, began with the opening sentence of Rousseau’s Emile: ‘Nature made me happy and good, and if I am otherwise, it is society’s fault.’ It is based on two misconceptions: that man in his natural state was happy and good, and that primal man had no society…Rousseau’s romantic fallacy that it is society which corrupts man, not man who corrupts society, places a flattering gauze between ourselves and reality. This view, to use Mr. Hechinger’s frame of reference, is solid box office but, in the end, such a self-inflating illusion leads to despair.”

So, my long and needlessly winding raod leads me to speak of the man I think is mainly responsible for the horrible romanticism of the Left. For their complete inability to deal with bad people, even if those people would kill millions. That man is Jean-Jacques Rousseau. From him, all the watery dreamlands of the Leftists flow. This thinking has done untold damage, even to the point of allowing millions to starve because some think we should only be eating from small, locally grown gardens, and that Genetically Engineered foods are all bad. What can be worse than starving to death in the arid plains of Africa? New crops can be made that are resistant to killer fungus. Crops that need less water.

All of this points a withered finger at Rousseau’s romanticism, which is a fancy word for fiction. We must face the real world. Rousseau would of course have argued that he did see the world as it was. But do his children, the modern (especially European) Leftists see reality? If they can claim they do, then they should stop resisting GE crops and feed dying children.  

And yes, this is a military concern. Starving people have been the American soldier’s problem for a long time. Read, Blackhawk Down.

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One thought on “A Clockwork Orange and International Relations

    Amos Volante said:
    March 20, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Oh yes, the Orange will not be so easily forgotten, nor Kubrick!

    Good analysis.

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