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Anthony Burgess has envisioned an ugly potential future that came to be. In addition to such writers as George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, British authors seem to be the masters of creating fiction which predicts the worst possible societal, political, and cultural decay, based on contemporary observations of the latest trends in these three factors. In Clockwork Orange, Mr. Burgess portrays what was for him, a near-future Britain, in which economic failure, inept and corrupt government, and social malaise result in a society overwhelmed by crime. The main perpetrators are vast numbers of street-gangs roaming the cities, savagely assaulting, robbing, murdering, raping, and vandalizing...for fun. The gangs are largely composed of teenagers, who aside from their random violence, are also obsessed with drug-abuse and pop-culture, a pop-culture with its own trendy slang-language (based on Russian in this case). This scenario, exists now, in certain neighborhoods of specific cities! The vision did come true!


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The main character and narrator, is Alex, an average street-thug, who describes graphically the psychopathic crimes commited by his gang. Despite his vile behavior, one can't help but find a certain charisma in Alex. His one positive attribute seems to be his love of classical music, Beethoven specifically.

Alex eventually finds himself in prison, and volunteers for an experimental "treatment" in exchange for early release. This turns out to be a form of operant-conditioning, which programs him to be violently ill whenever he feels compelled to violence. The government endorses this new method, so as to make space for "political prisoners", by releasing "treated" street criminals. The result: Alex is released into a crime-ridden society, completely unable to defend himself! This becomes the major philosophical point of the story. The most disturbing fact is that some bureaucrats really do believe such concepts are an acceptable means of "establishing control".