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A Clockwork Orange Debate: Do People Have a Right to make Wrong Choices?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 422 times Debate No: 83620
Debate Rounds (5)
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I have made this debate impossible to accept unless whoever wants to debate me on this can prove that they qualify for the following prereqs:

1. opponent must have done at least 7-10 debates already.
2. opponent must have seen A Clockwork Orange

If you want to debate me then you'll need to pm me about this debate and mention something about the movie that you could only have known if you watched the movie.

Total 8,000 characters per round

First round is for acceptance (and con briefly mentions why people DO NOT have the right to make wrong choices in preferably one sentence),
Second round is for opening arguments,
Third round is for negative cross examination,
Fourth round is for refutations to those negative cross examination,
Fifth round is for closing arguments.

-no trolling (should go without saying)
-only 'A Clockwork Orange' may be used as a reference


...So according to the movie A Clockwork Orange, do people have a right to make wrong choices or not?

The Positions:

I will be taking the position that people DO have the right to make wrong choices and to knowingly face the consequences of those choices.

My opponent will make the argument that people DO NOT have the right to make wrong choices, for the brief reason(s) con will mention, preferably one sentence.


Thank you to PRO for accepting me. I was worried I was too old, yes too old to begin debating.

I think it's hard to open without knowing the terms, such as "morality" "right" "wrong".

I would say overall people have a right to make wrong choices, with such strict parameters that they really don't. Can a right be inherent if it's revoked when acted upon? Can a right to do wrong exist, without hurting others... I would say not.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and I would like to apologize for the late argument. Anyhow, some definitions before we begin:

"Wrong Choices": An umbrella term for choices deemed bad or immoral by society, ranging on a spectrum from offensive slurs/harassment all the way up to violence. Practices which are considered taboo in a society, such as alcoholism or drug abuse, self-prostitution. Practices considered a "sin" by society, such as taking revenge, using profanity, appearing promiscuous.

"Right": that which is necessary to be recognized for an individual to have or act upon for the preservation of their humanity.

My opponent is free to tweak these definitions if necessary and within reason, otherwise they stand as defined.

Furthermore I would like to clarify that our positions would both be in favor of penalizing repurcussions for wicked behavior, but the question this debate is asking is whether people have the right to act on jerkish or wicked behavior bassed on the extreme example provided by the movie A Clockwork Orange.

1. Free Will

To take away the right of a person to make wrong choices forces that person to aways make the morally right choices regardless of the circumstances of what s/he is thinking or feeling. Free will is almost unanimously thought of as a human right unto itself and has been passionately defended by many thinkers and doers of the past.

Of course the controversial part of it is when people see that with free will comes the free will to make wrong choices, as I defined above.

The pastor himself in the movie disagrees with the Ludovico Treatment for this very reason; it takes away from the individual's ability to choose to be right. Rather than doing the right thing out of a heart of sincerity, it forces the individual to do right only because a governing force coerces them to. The Ludovico Treatment ultimately turns its patients into robots who are forced into being perfect people despite that it is unreasonable to hold a human being to perfection (I'll mention this more in my second argument).

I think we can all agree that we do not want people to make wrong choices. But if people are not given the right to make wrong choices, then free will cannot and does not exist. But to take away the free will of a person to make those wrong choices robs that person of their very humanity.

2. Perfection is Psychologically/Emotionally Impossible

People will never be perfect, and it is unfair and unjust to expect perfection from other people. Moreso to force people to do good. As in the movie A Clockwork Orange, after Alex has passed the Ludovico Treatment, his ability to choose wrongly has been taken away from him and it becomes physically impossible for him to be anything but perfect. This came with its benefits because he was unable to hurt other people, but at the same time, he was being psychologically manipulated into a standard of perfection that no human being could reasonably be held accountable to. When he returns to his home to find that his room has been given away to someone else, it makes him feel that he wants to assault the person who "robbed" him of his room, but he is physically unable to. When he tries to defend himself against being accosted by an angry mob of homeless men, he is unable to defend himself because he is forced to 'turn the other cheek'.

Imagine how this would play out in real life. If someone cuts you off in traffic, do you have a right to curse them out? It would be the wrong choice - but do you have the right to make that wrong choice? Does a father have a right to hurt his daughter's rapist? Does a woman have a right to become a prostitute in order to make money to survive? When Alex's droogs knock Alex unconscious in front of the house where he seemingly murdered a woman unintentionally, they essentially betrayed him. Betrayal is traditionally viewed as an immoral choice, as it points to a lack of loyalty, where loyalty is traditionally seen as a strong character trait. Technically it was a wrong choice for Alex's droogs to leave Alex at the crime scene, but it was because of their imperfection that they were capable of inadvertantly turning Alex in to face the consequences of his wickedness. It wasn't necessarily the 'right' choice, but what else could have been done?

3. Morality is subjective

Another problem with taking away a person's right to make wrong choices is - what are the wrong choices? I will concede that I have given a definition of what I would consider "wrong choices" to entail, but the definition that I provided is based on the general understandings of people in the world of what actually defines wrongness.

What needs to be understood is that not having the right to make wrong choices in Ireland is going to be experienced very differently than not having the right to make wrong choices in Iran. The wrong choices as defined by a Republican will be totally different from the wrong choices as defined by a Democrat. By a Green Partier. A Libertarian. An ascetist. A hedonist. An existentialist. A nihilist. A Christian. An Atheist. etc. etc....

This is what is wrong with the Ludovico Treatment in the movie A Clockwork Orange. At the end of the day, who gets to decide what is right and what is wrong? Who decides what people do not have the choice to do? Who decides what is immoral, and what should not be allowed to have the free will to act upon? Will a Christian decide? A Mormon? A Buddhist? Ultimately, who gets to decide what you don't have the right to act on, regardless of your beliefs?

Earlier in the movie A Clockwork Orange, Alex does engage in consensual intimacy with two other women; but how would this be effected in a world without free will considering we live in a world where premarital lust is viewed as immoral relative to the wait-for-marriage paradigm? If premarital intimacy is perceived in an immoral light, then would people be allowed to make the 'wrong choice' of premarital lust? Do people not have a right to engage in this behavior if it is viewed immorally?



A Clockwork Orange Debate: Do People Have a Right to make Wrong Choices?
A Clockwork Orange Debate: Do People Have a Right to make Wrong Choices?
A Clockwork Orange Debate: Do People Have a Right to make Wrong Choices?

The issue at bar is really liberty and where one's liberty begins and another's ends.

First of all we do need to tweak the issues of humanity, morality, etc.
Thus far they have been defined by behavior, action. This is false. Behavior tells us nothing about morality or humanity. Only INTENT can tell us if morality (subjective or not) is present, or humanity.

For example-Bob saves a kitten in front of Susan. This appears to be an altruistic action, yet in reality the motive in Bob's heart is to gain Susan's trust such to rape her. See-actions don't tell a thing. Sometimes Killing is the MORAL thing to do, the HUMAN thing to do.

So we can't go by behavior for such things as "humanity" or "Right and Wrong" no, no. That's a bit juvenile, a bit Christian ("thou shalt not..." <---clearly a false concept of morality, as morality cannot be absolute in such behavior defined ways as shown).

Now that we understand morality and humanity, etc... are INTERNAL things, not external, nor observable with any certainty. This already presents major problems for Ludoveco addressing morality.

The problem we then run into is where IS morality changed? Can it be changed by law? The subjective cultural agreement OF morality can be defined this way-but an individual's morality can only be influenced so much-the rest is internal, and unobservable by parole officers or otherwise. The movie makes it clear that Alex"s morality NEVER CHANGES, nor does he have any boost in humanity. No, Alex remains the same internally. Meanwhile, his behavior, his ability to ACT on his free will has been constrained. This is no indicator of morality or humanity, but only of CRIME. Crime will decrease, morality and humanity within any Ludoveco Technique recipient will not, as Alex demonstrated with the Bums, at home, with the sexy woman on stage, and the abusive man likewise. He had the same desires in each case; his morality and lack of humanity had not changed.

However, there was one indicator that a change may have been occurring, and a crucial one. Alex generally exhibits all the signs of a narcissistic personality disordered person and then some: He"s clearly a sociopath. But one begins to wonder if he begins to obtain some empathy. Oh right-we learn at the end he does not" especially if you read the book, chapter 22-once he"s "CURED oh my brothers!" he RETURNS to his original ways, proving the morality never changed, not ONE BIT. Nor did his humanity, he likely rather simply became BETTER at leading droogs, and committing crimes after his horrible experience not being able to commit them for so long!

So, what are "wrong choices" again? Those things society shakes their head at essentially I think our definition offers. This alone indicates why they CANNOT make wrong choices-because generally these "wrong choices" mean a wrong to someone else, a theft of someone else"s rights.

Did the obnoxious yoga woman have a right to peacefully enjoy her evening pretentiously with her cats? Of course she did. Did little Alex have a right to break and enter, scare her and murder her with intent to rob her? No, he stole that right. We cannot allow people to have the right to do whatever they want, or it would be like "Israel". Where you can murder a baby (arson) and its family, burning down their home, and not even need a real defense" be guilty of it, and get 6 months"

In "Israel" the "settlers" are allowed to commit any wrong they want" one look at Palestine, especially the genocide open air-weapons-lab in Gaza or the Apartheid in West Bank" tells you why we must constrain every ones" ability to commit wrongs, at least where they infringe on the basic rights of others.

One has free will to better themselves, to live, to seek happiness, etc" but NOT at the wrongful expense of another. Wrong and Right may be subjective, but that doesn"t matter-what matters is where and when it would be okay for one to commit a wrong" Nowhere-because wherever they are, if it"s "wrong" where they are, they can"t do it, and it is perceived as a threat to the greater good. In most cases of wrong (murder is always wrong for example, yet not always defined the same-who is a person, who is not, etc" some people can be "murdered" and it"s not "murder" or "wrong". Look at what Americans did with Saddam Hussein" did he get a trial? Wasn"t he murdered? Wasn"t he murdered for murdering people? Lol

Clearly what"s wrong depends on where you sit-but all must agree, that they would prefer those AROUND them didn"t do them "wrong" and if they"re allowed to by law, by "right" then little Alex might become the norm! If we don"t remove the nod to the wrongdoing behavior (you can"t remove their free will, only their ability to ACT on it with ludoveco) it is by default then a RIGHT behavior, as no indicators to suggest otherwise.

So if we don"t on paper at least define these things, we"d leave each individual to decide "right" and "wrong" in their own minds in the moment, if such concepts would even exist without the greater cultural/legal claims of them existing. And considering the majority culture is Christianity, and ALL SINS ARE FORGIVABLE in Christianity except the one against a dead rabbi". My god!!! Imagine how people would behave" or at least 80% of them ;)
Debate Round No. 2


Now moving into the refutation stage, I would mention that my opponent has brought up some good points. A few things concerning them, however;

- Free Will: My opponent brings up the notion that even without the ability to act externally from the Ludovico treatment, an individual can still have free will internally, and that the free will of an individual is therefore not infringed upon.
To this point, I would reply, yes and no.

Yes in the sense that Alex, for instance, still has free will internally.
However I would also say no, to an extent he does not; and the reason I say this is for totally existential reasons.

The very identity of a person exists as a result of their external actions, not necessarily their internal actions. I can believe internally that I am a master of karate, but I can never really be a master of karate unless I am actually doing karate which may be considered masterful. I cannot be said to be breathing unless I am actually, physically breathing. One's very meaning in life depends on the ability of the individual to make choices, and to take responsibility of the consequences, good or bad. Thus, if the ability of an individual to take responsibility for their wrong choices were revoked, then life would be meaningless because it would become impossible to err and then learn from it. Imagine going bowling with guard rails in front of the gutters - gutter balls suddenly become impossible, and with every throw of the bowling ball it is certain that you will score, no matter what. Then ultimately, it becomes a pointless game, because there is no way to fail

One's definition and meaning in life rests solely on the individual's ability to make choices; therefore, one's ability to exist depends on the external actions of an individual as well as the internal actions; and finally, if one's ability to exist depends on external actions as well as internal actions, then an individual's humanity is absolutley infringed by the Ludovico Treatment as the results of which rob the individual of their ability to make external actions which the operators of the Ludovico Treatment consider to be immoral from their subjective point of view.

Now I hope that what I am saying here is not being misconstrued; Alex in A Clockwork Orange was certainly a very undesirable and antisocial individual who would certainly be better off in a jail or mental institution. Clearly it was an abominaiton of an action for Alex to choose to use his free will to, of all possible things, murder the yoga woman. But what I am saying is that an individual has a right to make these wrong choices and to accept the consequences of those choices later on - such as, in a jail or mental institution.

- And Morality:
Ultimately, I need to stress the concept of subjective morality. Understandibly, we want to make a world where evil does not exist. We want to be able to have people make the right choices. But which choices are the right ones and the wrong ones, and furthermore, who, in a world with the Ludovico Treatment, would decide the wrong choices from the right ones? Almost everyone would agree from their point of view that Alex was a bad person, sure - but does his example justify the use of a psychological process which would easily become abused by those who wield it? In a reality where morality is subjective, it would be impossible to create a machine that makes people moral. The only thing it would achieve would be to make people into clones of what the Ludovico Treatment's operator personally considers to be moral. I would think that even on the surface it could easily be seen that cloning people into the same forced pattern of externally active morality by the power of Ludovico visually looks dystopian in its own right. That, I believe, would be a frightening place to live in.


Brendan_Liam forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Impact94 forfeited this round.


Brendan_Liam forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4


Impact94 forfeited this round.


Brendan_Liam forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Brendan_Liam 10 months ago
Posted by Impact94 10 months ago
Yep, it sounds like you've seen the movie Brendan_Liam so I'll challenge you
Posted by Brendan_Liam 10 months ago
i matched your criteria... yet was rejected... clearly a cherry picking BS debate.
Posted by Brendan_Liam 10 months ago
You have messages blocked little Alex... So it's impossible to accept even if you follow your rules...

But I can follow them here: I've often longed to go to the Korova Milk Bar for a bit of Moloko Plus and a bit of the ol in-out in-out after with my droogs.

(read the book too)
Posted by Maikuru 10 months ago
Certainly people do have the right to make wrong choices. They just then run the risk of facing consequences for those choices. The more interesting debate is *should* they have the right to make wrong choices.
Posted by Kirigaya-Kazuto 10 months ago
This is very interesting debate and would have relished the chance to debate you on this topic but do not meet your criteria. So instead I shall simply watch and wait.
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