Sleepwalking Into A Trap Of Our Own Making

I try to cherry pick TV programmes, set the recorder thingie and get around to watching things when it suits me. So I just got around to watching Adam Curtis’s The Trap- what happened to our dreams of freedom (BBC2, Sunday, 9pm and probably floating around out there on bit torrent I’m sure). This was part I of III and was, for me, riveting stuff and no great source of comfort but nonetheless intensely interesting and well argued. In this programme Curtis charted how cold war thinking has solidified academic and political thinking of how human beings are and how they really behave towards one another and how best to manage large numbers of them. This thinking theorised how all people and systems whether they be political institutions of government or the family unit itself, whilst saying it had the greater good of the many at heart would always end up acting in its own best interest. It looks like it will continue to tie this up with the current encroaching loses of individual freedoms that are being introduced by governments in the name of battling the war on terror, using the same language that says this is all for the greater good and to protect freedoms (whilst, in fact, eroding them). It’s bleak stuff and yet we know it’s happening and certainly in this country we seem to be sleepwalking into our own V for Vendetta scenario. It’s when I take such discourse into my heart and begin to wonder what can be done if this is all really the case that I remember some words by Professor Noam Chomsky:

“In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued – they may be essential to survival.

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

“The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.

“…jingoism, racism, fear, religious fundamentalism: these are the ways of appealing to people if you’re trying to organize a mass base of support for policies that are really intended to crush them.”

“The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.”

“If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.

Pleasant dreams everybody…

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3 thoughts on “Sleepwalking Into A Trap Of Our Own Making

  1. “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

    Chomsky of all people should count himself fortunate that most of us agree with that 😉

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