Woody Allen’s nihilist liberalism goes activist

Echoing a remark by Malcolm Muggeridge, Mark Richardson at Oz Conservative writes that liberalism is the last surviving extreme ideology, and he gives several example of what he means by this extremism.

I added to the thread my own example of the extremism of liberalism: a recent Woody Allen movie I’d just seen. Here is a modified version of the comment I posted:

Liberalism is an extreme ideology that intends the destruction of our entire cultural-social order. Even Woody Allen is on the liberal activist bandwagon now. His latest movie, Whatever Works, starring Larry David in the Woody Allen role, is the most political, “evangelical” movie he’s made—evangelical in the sense that it aggressively advances the liberal creed. The creed consists of the following assertions (which are not new ito Allen’s work but are presented with unprecedented aggressiveness in this movie): Christianity and traditional values are for repressed subnormals who must be continually mocked and despised; each person must throw off the shackles of Judeo-Christian morality and the Ten Commandments to discover his or her true life-style self (menage a trois, homosexuality etc.); life is completely meaningless because we’re all going to die and each of us spends his time caring about things that are totally absurd and idiotic, but at the same time each person by following his or her desires, or else as a result of pure chance, ends up with just the right mate (or mates) to give him or her complete happiness.

In short, in Woody Allen’s world, there is no inherent truth or goodness, and everything that happens is due to chance; yet at the same time each person, once he or she breaks free of the false constraints of Christianity, enjoys a fulfilled relationship with just the right type of mate. But, if each person has a nature which is directed toward its true end, if there is a true fulfillment for each person, doesn’t that show that there is a good? Liberals, Darwinists and others want to enjoy the good, while denying the objective existence of the good and trashing the very idea of the good.

For example, the main character near the end of the movie suddenly takes a suicide leap through his loft window, but instead lands on top of a woman on the sidewalk who turns out to be the perfect woman for him and changes him from a fanatically misanthropic grouch into a happy guy. Yet even as he’s basking in his happiness in the last scene of the movie, he keeps insisting that everything is meaningless, It never occurs to him that such a remarkable event, a suicide jump turning into his meeting with his perfect mate, reveals the working not of chance but of a beneficent providence.

And that’s liberalism: you get to enjoy your own happiness, to boast of your own happiness, even while you keep telling others that there is no God, good, or meaning. You strip life of meaning, you poison the world for others, while you enjoy the good life for yourself.

* * *

By the way, I’m not recommending the movie. It is stunningly bad, and I watched it not out of interest but in numbed fascination at how bad it was. But it was worth seeing for the last scene, when its evangelical-liberal purpose suddenly comes into view.

- end of initial entry -

LA writes:

I found this very surprrising information about the Allen film at Wikipedia:

The film was shot in New York City, marking Allen’s return to his native city after a four-film sojourn in Europe.

Woody Allen has revealed that the script itself was written in the early ’70s, with Zero Mostel in mind for Boris, but that the script was shelved after the actor’s death in 1977. Thirty years later, Allen revisited the script in an attempt to create a film before a potential threat of a Screen Actors Guild strike. According to Allen, the only significant changes to the script involved updating the outdated social and political references.

I find this hard to believe. The movie’s nihilistic philosophy, the protagonist’s hatred and contempt for normal Americans, his extreme misanthropy, are things that developed at a later period in Allen’s work. There was a comic sweetness and romanticism in his earlier work, which here is completely absent, and, of course, comedy. There is zero comedy in this movie, not a single funny line. Also, he showed a negative attitude toward hostility in his 1970s films, let alone such things as a menage a trois, which here he approves of.

So it makes no sense to me that the script of “Whatever Works” was written in the early ’70s. Everything about it bespeaks a much later, much darker, much bitterer Allen—the Allen who began to embrace evil in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” in the late ’80s, and who raised a toast to the devil in “Deconstructing Harry” in the late ’90s.

Also, the notion that the Boris part was written for Zero Mostel is not believable, since Boris is your standard Woody Allen character in an especially obnoxious mode. In most of Allen’s movies, either he stars, or he has an actor who takes the Woody Allen part. Boris’s unhappiness with everything around him, as well as Larry David’s speech, mannerisms, facial expressions, are all typical of Allen’s screen persona. I am very doubtful that Allen wrote this script in the early ’70s and changed nothing but a few topical references when he made the movie in 2009. I think he made up that story for some reason..

Jeff W. writes:

What you are describing is an Eros cult. Its belief system seems to be that if you are not a subnormal, repressed Christian, the god Eros will lead you to the perfect mate and you will have really great sex. A related belief is that Christians never have really great sex because they are repressed.

Historically it is worth noting that real, thoroughgoing atheists have never more than a small minority in any nation. When people don’t believe in God, they still have to deal with the uncomfortable facts of eternity and the size of the universe. Because people do not like to feel completely insignificant, they abandon atheism to engage in some kind of worship. It can be anything: it can be worship of the state, or some kind of tribal cult, or an Eros cult such as you have described.

A problem with this Eros cult comes when the love is gone. Then the cultist will likely wonder if his sins have led to the loss of love. “Maybe I wasn’t tolerant enough,” he might think. “Maybe I had secret racist thoughts.” When this happens, cultists split from their mates to give Eros another chance to get it right.

It’s not much of a religion, but it promises rewards, places few demands, and allows its adherents to feel superior to Christians. Millions of foolish, ignorant, and degraded people apparently prefer a religion of this kind.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 05, 2009 07:00 AM | Send

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