A Canticle for Leibowitz and Starship Troopers: The Movie Essay

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A Canticle for Leibowitz and Starship Troopers: The Movie

In this paper I intend to explore the attitudes toward the value of individual life vs. the value of a community as a whole expressed in A Canticle for Leibowitz and Starship Troopers: the Movie by analyzing their treatment of information control, euthanasia, and the idea of obtaining happiness through a sense of purpose.

Starship Troopers may be a satire of a fascist state or an apology for fascist ideology or neither (I don’t pretend to know which). In any case, it is a depiction of a possible state of affairs that could theoretically arise out of a futuristic fascist regime. The ideology advocated by this state, and for the most part by its subjects, is one that treats
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We also see students in a required class being taught the value of serving in the military in both practical and moral terms; not only is it is necessary if one wants to vote, but protecting one’s country makes one a functioning part of his country, a citizen rather than merely a civilian. The point here is that the public gladly accepts the information the government is feeding it and acts accordingly, in most cases by joining the military, out of faith that the state will promote the common good at the expense of individual freedom of thought. Even those who realize the facts are being distorted don’t grumble much. The one time a soldier points out an instance of misinformation, he is told that “people need to be lied to” in order to keep morale high.

On the other hand, in A Canticle for Leibowitz there is a strong resistance among the monks to attempts to control knowledge. The period of time known as the Simplification – when the masses became disillusioned with science after the nuclear fallout and tried to destroy all the information they could in an attempt to prevent or postpone the recreation of the technology that allowed such atrocities to happen – was seen as a mortal blow to the advancement of mankind and the cause of the beginning of a dark age. In fact, the sole purpose of the abbey of Leibowitz was to preserve as much of the knowledge of the “ancients” as possible.
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