Quote 4

Mr. Alexander:   “The common people will let it go. Oh yes, they’ll sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be led, sir, driven, pushed!”

Mr. Alexander speaks these lines on the phone to one of his political accomplices in a scene late in the film. During the conversation, he plots a way to use Alex to topple the government. Mr. Alexander’s words suggest that not only is the government willing to sacrifice individual liberty for law and order but that average people, in order to have “a quieter life,” will make the sacrifice as well. After all, the government in A Clockwork Orange is a democratically elected government, and the people have chosen their own leaders. Throughout the film, Kubrick knocks down precious social beliefs, such as the belief that music can make men moral and that violence grows out of a troubled home. Here, too, the film challenges another idealistic hope of democratic societies: that morality can be found in the common people. Mr. Alexander’s words suggest this is not the case. At the same time, the lines show Mr. Alexander’s own hypocrisy. He claims to value individual liberty, but he looks on the collective body of individuals as just sheep to be “led, driven, pushed.” The verbs he uses to describe the way common people should be treated are indeed verbs someone might use to describe herding sheep.