Failure of Liberalism in "Dr. Strangelove"

898 WordsOct 17, 20124 Pages
Tessa Wilson PSC 3030 October 6, 2011 The Failure of Liberalism in Dr. Strangelove Though Stanley Kubrick wrote Dr. Strangelove as a comedy, the premise and plot of the film are extremely realistic and suspenseful, this in part accounts for why the nightmare comedy was so successful. The main objective of the film was to show how military and civilian leaders would attempt to cope with an outbreak of an accidental nuclear war. However, in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways, it also addressed many of the concerns and hypocrisies of the American public views on liberalism in America. In spite of the prevailing view of democracy as “good” and communism as “evil” at the time, America was being just as evil as the Soviet Union…show more content…
While President Muffley is what liberalist would consider the majority of the human population, in this film he is played out as more of a minority of human behavior. Despite the overwhelming acts of the individuals in Dr. Strangelove that contributed to the ultimate demise of mankind, the state, which is the second level of analysis for liberalism, was also a major actor in Earth’s destruction. None of the individuals in the film could have caused such destruction if the state hadn’t first built the weapons that made it possible. The United States and the Soviet Union were competing in a race to make the most superior weapons. The Russians even went as far as to make a Doomsday Machine that would destroy all human, animal, and plant life on Earth as a method of retaliation, which is the unequivocal liberalist view of immoral behavior. Aside from that, the lack of cooperation among the states played a serious role in the outcome of this film. Instead of the two states involved cooperating and reaching a level of understanding, they chose to use power and destruction as tools for manipulating the other side to act accordingly. In the end, it was this more than anything else that led to the worst outcome possible. While liberalism has a more idealistic view of human nature and the international system, it is put into question by the film Dr. Strangelove. Instead of improving moral and material conditions and making societal progress, the actors in
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