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Moral Choices, Faustian Bargains, & Slugworth


photo credit: JeepersMedia Wonka Gobstopper USA Candy February 2014 via photopin (license)

The beloved children’s film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is based on a 1964 children’s novel by British author, Roald Dahl. The book inspired two feature-length films, one in 1971 starring Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson and the other in 2005 directed by Tim Burton.

The Gene Wilder version is brimming with moral teachings about the consequences of our personal choices and owning up to our mistakes. A remake in 2005 starred Johnny Depp as a creepy, child-like, Willie Wonka whom Depp admitted he patterned after Michael Jackson. In that version most of the timeless messages about boundaries and the consequences for our actions were noticeably removed.

The main test of character for the five children who win a tour of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory is an enticement to betray Willie Wonka by giving his secret recipe for “Everlasting Gobstoppers” to a guy named Slugworth. Unbeknownst to the kids, Slugworth works for Wonka.

Charlie takes responsibility for his mistakes and chooses not to take Slugworth’s bribe, returning the Gobstopper to Willie Wonka even after he has been awarded nothing.  He passes the integrity test that Wonka set out for the kids and becomes the heir to the chocolate factory and the Oompa Loompas to boot.

The rewards for strength of character aren’t always so clear and immediate but the rewards are profound nevertheless.   In less than 35 years however, Hollywood succeeded in portraying freedom without responsibility as a more appealing option than Liberty which demands it.

Free will, individual responsibility and being judged on one’s actions rather than one’s ethnic or collective cultural group are and will always be the enemy of socialism and communism. Is it any wonder that adherents to those authoritarian systems always work to demonize most religions and closet people of faith? To be successful in creating their socialist/communist nightmare, they must be God in their own universe and in yours too.

Citizens who hand over personal responsibility, don’t understand until it’s too late, that they are handing over their Liberty as well.  That’s what clears the way for the government to take control of both.

These timeless moral lessons don’t apply just to children. Have you been wondering how so many well-known “conservatives” could have sold out their principles and denied any modicum of curiosity about the fairness of our elections?  Maybe “Ole Slugworth” has been paying them a visit too.

From Nikki Haley to Mitch McConnell, and from John Roberts to Liz Cheney, the age of Trump has acted as a magic elixir that has revealed who they always were.

What sort of enticements and punishments did they accept to sell out the very people who awarded them that golden ticket in the first place? So far, there have been no consequences for their possible duplicity and deceit.

Like most Hollywood movies, this story leaves us with a few cliffhanger questions:

How do you sell boundaries and consequences to the public when freedom without responsibility has already been sold to them for decades as much more appealing?

Will the worst children in Washington ever be sent down the garbage chute for being the bad eggs they are?

Will we have an America to leave to the next generation?

Only Willie Wonka knows for sure.

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Karen Kataline

Karen Kataline is a commentator, columnist & talk show host. She holds a Master’s Degree from Columbia University and is a frequent guest host on AM Talk Radio. She has an active blog and her Op Eds can be seen online at Fox News, Investor’s Business Daily, Western Journal, Town Hall, The Daily Caller, FrontPage Mag, and The American Thinker.

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