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The Minister of the Interior comes into power during the
two years Alex is incarcerated. As the highest-ranking representative
of the State, the Minister embodies the government’s changing attitude toward
its citizens. The government he represents is even more repressive
than the one Alex knows in Part One, and its cardinal virtue is
the stability of society. To achieve this goal, the Minister has put
two sweeping policies into effect with regard to criminal behavior.
For already-incarcerated offenders, the Minister has decided to move
ahead with an experimental rehabilitation program that destroys
criminal tendencies. In this way, he can free up jail space for political
dissidents, who threaten the new State order. In his other policy
modification, the Minister gives badges to the remaining street
thugs so that these violent criminals can authoritatively impose
With the character of the Minister, Burgess satirizes
the tendency of socialist governments to overlook the needs and
rights of individuals who threaten communal order. Personal liberties
mean nothing to the Minister, and neither do principles. He candidly
admits to having sacrificed Alex’s individual, human qualities in
exchange for a passive young man who can’t help but act in a socially
acceptable manner. In these ways, the Minister differs from both
F. Alexander and P.R. Deltoid. Unlike the former, he doesn’t care
about principles, and, unlike the latter, he doesn’t bother to study
the origins of violence. Rather, the Minister possesses a distinctly
utilitarian attitude toward accomplishing the goal of total State
security. Ironically, this acutely pragmatic attitude also prompts
the Minister to cure Alex, when the Minister realizes that he needs
Alex’s endorsement to quell the public outrage stirred up by F.
Alexander. In ensuring society’s stability, the Minister always
observes the following mantra: “The point is that it works.”
Ace your assignments with our guide to A Clockwork Orange!