Seminar Assignment – V for Vendetta
2a) Describe the differences between the fascist Norsefire government’s and V’s anarchist view of a “healthy country.” How do Norsefire and V define the role of the government and the role of the citizen differently?
The chaos and fury of the violence of the post-apocalyptic Britain initiated the radically right-winged Norsefire regime: fascists that united with the surviving big companies and businesses, giving them the appearance of wealth and stability. Yet, even if the Norsefire regime did agreeably bring order back to the country, there was a price to pay: ethnic and racial minorities like Black people, Indians, and Pakistanis were gathered and place in concentration camps. Religious groups such as Jews, Muslims, and other minorities such as homosexuals and political leftists were also abused. Once all the plausible enemies were eliminated, Norsefire began centralize their power over the country. They started to use their influence in the Church of England, making it more powerful and influential. They promoted and demoted members of the clergy as they thought appropriate. They also took over the television companies, creating NTV (Norsefire Television), and carried out technologies that could closely monitor the society, including closed-circuit television.
V, the anarchist protagonist of the story, threatens their control over the state. He seeks to overthrow the regime and allow the people to decide their own fate. Anarchy means “without rulers.” Anarchism makes no prohibition on the existence of leaders, but rather slightly requires a prohibition on all rulership. Thus, anarchism does not prohibit retaliatory violence, only initiatory violence. Yet, responsive force must be proportional to the aggressive force. One tactic V uses throughout the story is the bombing of government buildings. First, V blows up the concentration camp, the Parliament, the Old Bailey, the Jordan Tower, and Downing Street, which was the headquarters of the dictator. All of these buildings are understood to be unowned. The state claims ownership of them, which was only accomplished through expropriation, usurpation and theft. The state’s so-called “ownership” over these buildings is completely illegitimate. Since the buildings are not properly owned by anyone, V’s destruction of them is not considered theft. V kills a number of people throughout the story. Those anarchists who accept the premise of an eye for an eye have no reason to consider this tactic unethical as long as the force used is never excessive or aggressive, that is, as long as the forced used by V is in proportion with the force used by the aggressor against whom V is using retaliatory force.
2b) How does the Norsefire government use the media to control the population? How does V use the media to subvert and undermine Norsefire’s thought control?
Norsefire, the political party that reigns over England after a nuclear holocaust attempts to control the population through propaganda in the media. In the movie, it seems as though everyone has a television in their home and there is only one channel, which is controlled directly by Norsefire (TVN). Norsefire use the media to manipulate the public’s views on life. Norsefire changed the past in order to create a future that would benefit themselves. In reality hundreds of thousands of people were killed by Norsefire but the people believed it was a virus because Norsefire made it seem that way. It seems the media is not only used as an instrument of fear but it can be used as a form of mind control, brainwashing the unsuspecting citizens.
Also, Sutler uses the supposed terrorist threat as a pretext for genocide, along with an ongoing propaganda campaign in the state-run media, to cow the public into silence and appoint himself High Chancellor, turning the country into a single-party republic with himself...
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