Dr. Strangelove: Fear and the Deterioration of Moral Values

There are a number of characters in Dr. Strangelove who are devoid of moral values. Jack Ripper, Buck Turgidson, and Dr. Strangelove specifically show very little value for human life. Jack decides to start a nuclear war to keep his bodily fluids pure, Buck talks about 10 to 20 million human deaths as if it is a trivial matter, and Dr. Strangelove gets excited about a doomsday device and believes humanity can be saved by selecting a small group to live in mining shafts. When each of the characters spoke about these topics during close-ups, I noticed that they were sitting in slanted or unbalanced ways, especially Dr. Strangelove, which emphasized the instability of the characters and their way of thinking. They all share an excitement for violence and destruction with no regards to human life. The Russian government also showed little concern for human life by making a doomsday machine while fully aware of what the consequences would be if the bomb were to go off.

Fear was a major driving force in most of these decisions made. The fear of infiltration, attack, retaliation, and being technologically behind all lead to the deterioration of morals and ultimately to the end of the world. It seems that when the fear of nuclear war and the apocalypse is present, morality is thrown out of the equation and human lives are nothing more than numbers that need to be calculated like when Dr. Strangelove described his mine shaft survival plan. Dr. Strangelove is the embodiment of human immorality and even moves and acts similar to a machine. This could possibly represent him lacking that which makes humans human. His view on life is less like a human’s and more like a machine’s, similar to the doomsday device.

Does this film serve as a warning that fear is actually the biggest threat to humanity?


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