Prof: Dr. DeJong
Tuesday, May 28th, 2019
Government Involvement and Effectiveness in Correlation to Justice: A Critical Analysis of Dystopian Texts and the Youth Criminal Justice Act
The concept of justice is defined as just behaviour and treatment, but this is not necessarily always the case in dystopian societies. Justice is utilised in sovereign countries by governments to maintain a sense of law, order and structure. Though the question that often arises is to what extent is government involvement in justice effective? And to what extent does it pose a threat to its citizens? Anthony Burgess’ “A Clockwork Orange” (1962) presents a society where the government uses justice and reformation as a political device, as opposed to a means of maintaining order and structure within their country. In this society, ordinary citizens have fallen into a passive stupor of complacency, blind to the insidious growth of a rampant, violent youth culture. Similarly, in James DeMonco’s film Purge: Election Year, we see a government that takes the enforcement of justice and order into their own hands and create a system to eliminate individuals or communities they don’t deem fit for society. It may seem that these vicious ideas and actions only occur in movies and text, but it is surreal to believe that may be present in such an advanced first world country such as Canada. In the Globe and Mail executive director, Kim Pate’s article, “The Death of Ashley Smith: Prison’s Cannot Handle the Mentally Ill” (2017) we see a young girl used as an exemplar in a system of justice deployed by the Canadian government, known as the Youth Criminal Justice Act. When we carefully evaluate each of these sources, we are able to clearly see a common thread, being the governments initiative in reinforcing justice, but also a failed outcome.
Often justice is used by governments to restore order in society and reform the people in said society. In the novel, “A Clockwork Orange”, we meet a protagonist by the name of Alex, who is a rebellious and violent fifteen-year-old living in a society governed by an repressive, totalitarian super-state, in which ordinary citizens have fallen into an acquiescent complacency, blind to the insidious growth of a rampant, violent youth culture. Alex, being a part of this aforementioned group, does many despicable acts throughout the novel which include, but are not limited to: rape, murder, assault and vandalism. When a night of “twenty-to-one” (Burgess, 5) and “viddy what turns up” (Burgess, 6) goes wrong, Alex gets arrested by law enforcement. Though rather than putting him in confinement, the political party decides to implement their own justice system on Alex and use him for their own political gains.
This is a cruel and manipulative way of gaining political stance and popularity; making themselves seem as though they care for their citizens. Like Alex, one may ask “Does God want goodness or the choice...