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‘Oppenheimer’ Is Not A Win For Conservatives

Christopher Nolan's “Oppenheimer” dominated the Oscars on Sunday night, taking home seven awards in total, including Best Picture. It's tempting to count this as a victory for conservatives in the culture wars. The Academy responded to audience pressure to portray American achievements beyond the racist and feminist sensibilities reflected in films like “Barbie'' and “Killers of the Flower.'' It means they approve of the movie. Month. ” But doing so reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the film. The best director Nolan can muster is a deep ambivalence toward America's role in the world, resulting in a lack of confidence in Hollywood's usual It creates an anti-Americanism that's even more insidious than bad propaganda, but it's perfectly aligned with a progressive worldview.

This victory was as unexpected as expected.When first announced, left-wing critics whined About the movie “”lack of representation” Focusing on the history of the Manhattan Project, complaint The film's lack of diversity is as shallow as it is absurd. But in an age when activist tantrums are securing diverse casts everywhere from ancient Greeks to European aristocrats, this is more than enough to derail an eight-figure project. Considering the public nature of the Oscar Awards, racial quota, “Oppenheimer” had to rely on Universal's behind-the-scenes diversity push to even get nominated in the first place. But among the 10 films nominated for Best Picture, it was one of the only ones that stood out as traditional Oscar fodder. This epic, built on the theory of history's greatest figures, was masterfully crafted by a veteran director with great acting talent and nearly $1 billion in box office revenue. performance income.In a world without identity politics, Oppenheimer is the only genuine choice.

But if left-wing activists can ignore their short-sighted virtue signals, this movie will be much closer to their view of science, history, and even America itself than the worldview of conservative apologists. You'll know it's something. “Oppenheimer” does not celebrate American power, triumph, ingenuity, or exceptionalism, but views all these claims through a highly critical lens.not much focus how More than a moral issue, we made the bomb. Should I have one?

Oppenheimer is portrayed as a complex figure who straddles the line between moral righteousness and devotion to his country. There is nothing wrong with this framework in itself, but the difference is that the “right thing” is conveyed in an imaginary communist/humanist sense, that is, as communist propaganda. Nolan asserts that Oppenheimer was not a communist. Also, I'm glad he was.

We first meet Oppie as an idealistic young physicist who teaches at Berkeley and is a man who pursues science itself. The theoretician's dream of splitting the atom was born out of a spirit of discovery and progress toward human flourishing, not to cement American military superiority. His first emotion is fear when news breaks about a possible bomb. Nolan would have us believe that this is a communist sensibility. Although he himself is not a party member, everyone around him, including his older brother, lover, students, and subordinates, seems to be party members, and Oppy himself is sympathetic to them. He is well-versed in communist literature, brings his ideology into his classroom, helps students form trade unions, and even provides cover for Soviet spies. They are artists, intellectuals, and free spirits. Those who resist in government and academia are rigid, conformist, insensitive or cruel. Oppenheimer only suppresses his sympathy, knowing that if his extremism continues he will not be allowed to lead the project. He decides to cosplay his patriotism to further his own professional selfishness and arrogance.

Yet Nolan will try to make us believe this is actually the case. truth Patriotism — not a concern for American national interests, but a higher, more humane concern for world peace and personal prosperity (far beyond naiveté for non-Marxists). The Soviets clearly understood this kind of patriotism. As the war ended, Nolan portrayed the Soviets as a reactionary party. Like Oppy himself, they saw science as a noble pursuit, and their push for an arms race was simply out of fear of American invasion. If left alone, they will likely use nuclear fission for good, for the advancement of humanity. Meanwhile, the American government, personified by Oppenheimer's bureaucratic adversary Louis Strauss, was portrayed as a power-hungry opportunist. Director Nolan hinted that he may have unnecessarily bombed Japan, knowing that America had already won the war. In another scene, Oppenheimer and Albert Einstein wax poetic about whether things would have been worse for the world if Nazi Germany had developed the bomb first. They're not so sure.

Once in charge, Oppenheimer considers it his duty to suppress these impulses in accordance with his own noble purpose. Communists are the most patriotic Americans. After the war, he used his reputation as a national hero to advocate against nuclear proliferation and is once again portrayed as a man of the moral high ground. Because of this, he finds himself once again in the crosshairs of the vengeful US government. The nuclear debate is decisively framed as a matter of hindsight. Nuclear weapons are bad. The world would be a better place without them. Liberal political scientists have spent decades unraveling this theory, but it remains just that. Arguably, without nuclear deterrence, the Cold War would have intensified. Only a naive Marxist could believe that the Soviet Union had no interest in domination.

After a vicious Senate hearing meant to smear Oppenheimer, the film concludes definitively, casting Oppenheimer in a sympathetic light. He was not a communist and was being unfairly persecuted by vile and vindictive government officials. But at the same time, it was precisely his communist sensibilities that made him sympathetic. We remain trapped on the “right side of history,” where only traditional Americanism stands, a progressive worldview in which the ark of history swings toward human prosperity, peace, and technological progress.

Clearly, such moral complexity is prohibited for leftists who refuse to obscure the evils of American imperialism. But Nolan is far more friendly to this view than the conservative vision of Oppenheimer as a national hero. In effect, Nolan is trying to rip his baby out. In the traditional sense, Oppie is a patriot because he brought victory to the United States, but he is also a patriot in the radical sense because he knew all along that it was wrong. He is portrayed as a great man, but only because he knows he is great. do not have He's a great man. This film should have something to discover for both the right and the left.

But Nolan, even in his own words, shows that Oppenheimer's “complexity” is not all that complicated. The moment he faces the real consequences, he abandons his youthful radicalism. Berkeley's dean told him to stop talking nonsense or he would not be chosen to lead the Manhattan Project, which carries influence, status, and historical significance. Like a radical college student paying his first taxes, he quickly abandoned his stupid “principles” and decided to play his game. Now, we can say that his complexity stems from multiple motives. He wanted to be part of something bigger than himself, the scientific process and the future of the country, a complementary combination of self-interest and selfless enlightenment.

But being a true radical means uncompromising rigor. It is impossible to be an enlightened humanist and yet a vicious egoist if you believe that the former is irreconcilably inconsistent with your particular interests in the latter, even if the latter is only part of your motivation. you can't. He supported American imperialism for his own convenience. That's all that really matters.

In his simple praise, Nolan inadvertently reveals the true nature of his communist sensibilities. In the world of Marxist theory and activism, we rarely see people who stand by their uncompromising principles and destroy themselves for their ideals. He is almost a respectable person. He is the Oppenheimer of the much more common world, a true communist. He is a radical opportunist, a romantic revolutionary, a determinedly weak man who delights in entertaining wild notions of truth and justice until they affect him. Not only does he betray everything you believe in, he betrays everything he believes in.

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