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Encyclopedia > The Trap (television documentary series)
The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom

Title screen of The Trap
Genre Documentary series
Running time 180 min. (in three parts)
Director(s) Adam Curtis
Producer(s) Adam Curtis
Stephen Lambert
Writer(s) Adam Curtis
Starring
Country of origin  United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 11 March 2007 – 25 March 2007
No. of episodes 3
Preceded by The Power of Nightmares
Official website
IMDb profile

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom is a BBC documentary series by British filmmaker Adam Curtis, well known for other documentaries including The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares. It began airing on BBC Two on 11 March 2007.[1] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Documentary film is a broad category of cinematic expression united by the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... Adam Curtis at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2005 Adam Curtis (born 1955) is a British television documentary producer. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... is the 70th day of the year (71st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The year 2007 in television involves some significant events. ... is the 84th day of the year (85th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Power of Nightmares is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Documentary film is a broad category of cinematic expression united by the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... Adam Curtis at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 2005 Adam Curtis (born 1955) is a British television documentary producer. ... The Century of the Self is an acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Adam Curtis released in 2002. ... The Power of Nightmares is a BBC documentary film series, written and produced by Adam Curtis. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The series consists of three, one-hour programmes which explore the concept and definition of freedom, specifically "how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom."[2]

Contents

Production

The series was originally entitled Cold Cold Heart and was scheduled for transmission in Autumn 2006. Although it is not known what caused the delay in transmission, nor the change in title,[3] it is known that the DVD release of Curtis's previous series The Power of Nightmares had been delayed due to problems with copyright clearance, caused by the high volume of archive soundtrack and film used in Curtis's characteristic montage technique [1]. Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses of the word montage, see Montage. ...


Another documentary series (title unknown) based on very similar lines—"examining the world economy during the 1990s"—was to have been Curtis's first BBC TV project on moving to the BBC's Current Affairs Unit in 2002, shortly after producing Century of the Self [2].


Episodes

1. "F**k You Buddy" (11 March 2007)

In this episode, Curtis examines the rise of game theory during the Cold War and the way in which its mathematical models of human behaviour filtered into economic thought. Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is often used in the context of economics. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...

Interview with John Nash during episode 1

The programme traces the development of game theory with particular reference to the work of John Nash, who believed that all humans were inherently suspicious and selfish creatures that strategised constantly. Using this as his first premise, Nash constructed logically consistent and mathematically verifiable models, for which he won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics. He invented system games reflecting his beliefs about human behaviour, including one called "So Long Sucker---Fuck Your Buddy", in which the only way to win was to betray your playing partner, and it is from this game that the episode's title is taken. These games were internally coherent and worked correctly as long as the players obeyed the ground rules that they should behave selfishly and try to outwit their opponents, but when RAND's analysts tried the games on their own secretaries, they instead chose not to betray each other, but to cooperate every time. This did not, in the eyes of the analysts, discredit the models, but instead proved that the secretaries were unfit subjects. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... John Forbes Nash, Jr. ... John Forbes Nash, Jr. ... The Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (in Swedish Sveriges Riksbanks pris i ekonomisk vetenskap till Alfred Nobels minne), is a prize awarded each year for outstanding intellectual contributions in the field of economics. ... So Long Sucker is a board game which was invented in 1950 by John Forbes Nash, Mel Hausner, Lloyd S. Shapley and Martin Shubik. ... The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit global policy think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the United States armed forces. ...


What was not known at the time was that Nash was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and, as a result, was deeply suspicious of everyone around him—including his colleagues—and was convinced that many were involved in conspiracies against him. It was this mistaken belief that led to his view of people as a whole that formed the basis for his theories. Footage of an older and wiser Nash was shown in which he acknowledges that his paranoid views of other people at the time were false. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis denoting a persistent, often chronic, mental illness variously affecting behavior, thinking, and emotion. ...


Curtis examines how game theory was used to create the USA's nuclear strategy during the Cold War. Because no nuclear war occurred, it was believed that game theory had been correct in dictating the creation and maintenance of a massive American nuclear arsenal—because the Soviet Union had not attacked America with its nuclear weapons, the supposed deterrent must have worked. This is a subject Curtis examined in his first series, Pandora's Box, and he reuses much of the same archive material in doing so. Nuclear War is a card game designed by Douglas Malewicki, and originally published in 1966. ... This series details the consequences (often dangerous) of political and technocratic rationality, especially when used to crush common sense and a clear reporting of the facts. ...

Archive interview with R.D. Laing during episode 1

A separate strand in the documentary is the work of R.D. Laing, whose work in psychiatry led him to model familial interactions using game theory. His conclusion was that humans are inherently selfish, shrewd, and spontaneously generate strategems during everyday interactions. Laing's theories became more developed when he concluded that some forms of mental illness were merely artificial labels, used by the state to suppress individual suffering. This belief became a staple tenet of counterculture during the 1960s. Reference is made to the Rosenhan experiment, in which bogus patients, surreptitiously self-presenting at a number of American psychiatric institutions, were falsely diagnosed as having mental disorders, while institutions, informed that they were to receive bogus patients, "identified" numerous supposed imposters who were actually genuine patients. The results of the experiment were a disaster for American psychiatry, because they destroyed the idea that psychiatrists were a privileged elite able to genuinely diagnose, and therefore treat, mental illness. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... R.D.Laing. ... R.D.Laing. ... The Rosenhan experiment was a famous experiment into the validity of psychiatric diagnosis conducted by David Rosenhan in 1972. ...


All these theories tended to support the beliefs of what were then fringe economists such as Friedrich von Hayek, whose economic models left no room for altruism, but depended purely on self-interest, leading to the formation of public choice theory. In an interview, the economist James M. Buchanan decries the notion of the "public interest", asking what it is and suggesting that it consists purely of the self-interest of the governing bureaucrats. Buchanan also proposes that organisations should employ managers who are motivated only by money. He describes those who are motivated by other factors—such as job satisfaction or a sense of public duty—as "zealots". Friedrich von Hayek Friedrich August von Hayek (May 8, 1899 in Vienna – March 23, 1992 in Freiburg) was an economist and social scientist of the Austrian School, noted for his defense of liberal democracy and free-market capitalism against a rising tide of socialist and collectivist thought in the mid... Public choice theory is a branch of economics that studies the decision-making behavior of voters, politicians and government officials from the perspective of economic theory, namely game theory and decision theory. ... For other persons named James Buchanan, see James Buchanan (disambiguation). ... Public interest is a term used to denote political movements and organizations that are in the public interest—supporting general public and civic causes, in opposition of private and corporate ones (particularistic goals). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Zealotry. ...


As the 1960s became the 1970s, the theories of Laing and the models of Nash began to converge, producing a widespread popular belief that the state (a surrogate family) was purely and simply a mechanism of social control which calculatedly kept power out of the hands of the public. Curtis shows that it was this belief that allowed the theories of Hayek to look credible, and underpinned the free-market beliefs of Margaret Thatcher, who sincerely believed that by dismantling as much of the British state as possible—and placing former national institutions into the hands of public shareholders—a form of social equilibrium would be reached. This was a return to Nash's work, in which he proved mathematically that if everyone was pursuing their own interests, a stable, yet perpetually dynamic, society could result. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, FRS (née Roberts; born 13 October 1925) served as British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 until 1990, being the first and to date only woman to hold either post. ...


The episode ends with the suggestion that this mathematically modelled society is run on data—performance targets, quotas, statistics—and that it is these figures combined with the exaggerated belief in human selfishness that has created "a cage" for Western humans. The precise nature of the "cage" is to be discussed in the next episode.


Contributors

Friedrich von Hayek Friedrich August von Hayek (May 8, 1899 in Vienna – March 23, 1992 in Freiburg) was an economist and social scientist of the Austrian School, noted for his defense of liberal democracy and free-market capitalism against a rising tide of socialist and collectivist thought in the mid... Philip Mirowski is a historian and philosopher of economic thought at the University of Notre Dame. ... Alain C. Enthoven, born September 10, 1930,[1] was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1965. ... Alternate meanings: See RAND (disambiguation) The RAND Corporation is an American think tank first formed to offer research and analysis to the U.S. military. ... John Forbes Nash, Jr. ... R.D.Laing. ... R.D.Laing. ... Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter. ... R.D.Laing. ... Thomas Crombie Schelling (born 14 April 1921) is an American economist and professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy, and arms control at the School of Public Policy at University of Maryland College Park. ... The Adam Smith Institute is a think tank based in the United Kingdom, named after the father of modern economics, Adam Smith. ... Sir Antony Rupert Jay CVO (born 20 April 1930) was the co-author, with Jonathan Lynn of the successful British political comedies, Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister (1980-88). ... BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which began in 1932. ... Yes Minister is a satirical British sitcom written by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn that was first transmitted by BBC television and radio between 1980 and 1984, split over three seven-episode series. ... David Rosenhan is a psychiatrist See also: Rosenhan experiment On being sane in insane places Categories: People stubs ... R.D.Laing. ... The Rosenhan experiment was a famous experiment into the validity of psychiatric diagnosis conducted by David Rosenhan in 1972. ... The Johns Hopkins Hospital is a teaching hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. ... Dr. Robert L. Spitzer is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. ... The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States and other countries. ...

2. "The Lonely Robot" (18 March 2007)

Interview with Napoleon Chagnon in episode 2, just before he terminates the interview early.

The second episode reiterated many of the ideas of the first, but developed the theme that the drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalise behaviour and make humans behave more predictably, like machines. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Napoleon A. Chagnon (born 1938) is an American anthropologist. ... Background Fluoxetine hydrochloride (brand names include Prozac®, Symbyax® (compounded with olanzapine), Sarafem®, Fontex® (Sweden), Fluctine (Austria, Germany), Prodep (India), Fludac (India)) is an antidepressant drug used medically in the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and many other disorders. ... what up?? Anxiety is a physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components (Seligman, Walker & Rosenhan, 2001). ... On the Threshold of Eternity. ...


This was not presented as a conspiracy theory, but as a logical (although unpredicted) outcome of market-driven self-diagnosis by checklist based on symptoms, but not actual causes, discussed in the previous programme. For other uses, see Conspiracy theory (disambiguation). ...


People with standard mood fluctuations diagnosed themselves as abnormal. They then presented themselves at psychiatrist's offices, fulfilled the diagnostic criteria without offering personal histories, and were medicated. The alleged result was that vast numbers of Western people have had their behaviour and mentation modified by SSRI drugs without any strict medical necessity. SSRI is an acronym that stands for several things: It is a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor SSRI also is used as the stock symbol for Silver Standard Resources Inc. ...


The Ax Fight—a famous anthropological study of the Yanomamo people of Venezuela by Tim Asch and Napoleon Chagnon—was re-examined and its strictly genetic-determinist interpretation called into question. Other researchers were called upon to verify Chagnon's conclusions and arrived at totally opposed opinions. The suggestion was raised that the presence of a film crew and the handing out of machetes to some, but not all, tribesmen might have caused them to 'perform' as they did. While being questioned by Curtis, Chagnon was so annoyed by this suggestion that he terminated the interview and walked out of shot, protesting under his breath. The Ax Fight (1975) is an ethnographic film by anthropologist and filmmaker Tim Asch, his wife Patsy Asch, and anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon about a conflict in a Yanomamo village called Mishimishimabowei-teri in southern Venezuela. ... Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... The Yanomami (also spelled Yanomamö and sometimes written with an ogonek under the first a as Yąnomamö) are an indigenous people of Brazil and Venezuela. ... Tim Asch (July 16, 1932 - October 3, 1994, Los Angeles, California), was a noted anthropologist, photographer, and ethnographic filmmaker. ... Napoleon A. Chagnon (born 1938) is an American anthropologist. ...


Film of Richard Dawkins propounding his ultra-strict "selfish gene" analogy of life was shown, with the archive clips spanning two decades to emphasise how the severely reductionist ideas of programmed behaviour have been absorbed by mainstream culture. (Later, however, the documentary gives evidence that cells are able to selectively replicate parts of DNA dependent on current needs, although it doesn't mention that this process is in fact controlled by other genes. According to Curtis such evidence detracts from the simplified economic models of human beings.). This brought Curtis back to the economic models of Hayek and the game theories of Cold War. Curtis explains how, with the "robotic" description of humankind apparently validated by geneticists, the game theory systems gained even more hold over society's engineers. Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... The Selfish Gene is a controversial book by Richard Dawkins published in 1976. ... Analogy is both the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), and a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. ...


The programme describes how the Clinton administration gave in to market theorists in the US and how New Labour in the UK decided to measure everything it could, the better to improve it, introducing such artificial and unmeasurable targets as: William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... New Labour is an alternative name of the British political Labour Party. ...

  • Reduction of hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa by 48%
  • Reduction of global conflict by 6%

It also introduced a rural community vibrancy index in order to gauge the quality of life in British villages and a birdsong index to check the apparent decline of wildlife. The Rural Commmunity Vibrancy Index is a statistical measure designed by the British Governments Countryside Agency which is meant to measure the potential for, or reality of, community participation in rural settlements. ...


In industry and the public services, this way of thinking led to a plethora of targets, quotas, and plans. It was meant to set workers free to achieve these targets in any way they chose. What these game-theory schemes did not predict was that the players, faced with impossible demands, would cheat.


Curtis describes how, in order to meet artificially inflated targets:

  • Lothian and Borders Police reclassified dozens of criminal offences as "suspicious occurrences", in order to keep them out of crime figures;
  • Some NHS Hospital Trusts created an unofficial post of "The Hello Nurse," whose sole task it was to greet new arrivals in order to claim for statistical purposes that the patient had been "seen," even though no treatment or even examination had occurred during the encounter;
  • NHS managers took the wheels off trolleys and reclassified them as beds, while simultaneously reclassifying corridors as wards, in order to falsify Accident & Emergency waiting times statistics.

In a section called "The Death of Social Mobility", Curtis also describes how the theory of the free market was applied to education. With league tables of school performance published, the richest parents moved house to get their children into better schools. This caused house prices in the appropriate catchment areas to rise dramatically—thus excluding poorer parents who were left with the worst-performing schools. This is just one aspect of a more rigidly stratified society, which Curtis identifies in the way in which the incomes of the poorest (working class) Americans have actually fallen in real terms since the 1970s, while the incomes of the average (middle class) have increased slightly and those of the highest earners (upper class) have quadrupled. Similarly, babies in poorer areas in the UK are twice as likely to die in their first year as children from prosperous areas. Lothian and Borders Police is the police force for the Scottish council areas of the City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian. ... NHS Hospital Trusts provide acute health services within the British National Health Service. ... The emergency department (ED), sometimes termed the emergency room (ER), emergency ward (EW), accident & emergency (A&E) department or casualty department is a hospital or primary care department that provides initial treatment to patients with a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries, some of which may be life-threatening and...


Curtis's narration concludes with the observation that the game theory/free market model is now undergoing interrogation by economists who suspect a more irrational model of behaviour is appropriate and useful. In fact, in formal experiments the only people who behaved exactly according to the mathematical models created by game theory are economists themselves, and psychopaths. Psychopathy is currently defined in psychiatry and clinical psychology as a condition characterized by lack of empathy [1] [2] or conscience, and poor impulse control [3] [4] or manipulative behaviors. ...


Contributors

For other persons named James Buchanan, see James Buchanan (disambiguation). ... Philip Mirowski is a historian and philosopher of economic thought at the University of Notre Dame. ... Robert Edward Rubin (b. ... Robert Bernard Reich (born June 24, 1946) was the twenty-second United States Secretary of Labor, serving under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. ... Thomas Frank Thomas Frank (born 1965) is an American author who writes about what he calls cultural politics. He is the founder and editor of The Baffler and the author of several books, most recently Whats the Matter with Kansas?. Other writings include essays for Harpers Magazine, Le... Professor John Maynard Smith[1], F.R.S. (6 January 1920 – 19 April 2004) was a British evolutionary biologist and geneticist. ... Napoleon A. Chagnon (born 1938) is an American anthropologist. ... The Ax Fight (1975) is an ethnographic film by anthropologist and filmmaker Tim Asch, his wife Patsy Asch, and anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon about a conflict in a Yanomamo village called Mishimishimabowei-teri in southern Venezuela. ... Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. ... The Johns Hopkins Hospital is a teaching hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. ... Dr. Robert L. Spitzer is a Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. ... The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is the handbook used most often in diagnosing mental disorders in the United States and other countries. ... Arthur Levitt Jr. ... Kevin Phillips (born November 30, 1940) is an American writer and commentator, largely on politics, economics, and history. ... John Forbes Nash, Jr. ...

3. "We Will Force You To Be Free" (25 March 2007)

Archive interview with Isaiah Berlin

The final programme focussed on the concepts of positive and negative liberty introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin. Curtis briefly explained how negative liberty could be defined as freedom from coercion and positive liberty as the opportunity to strive to fulfill one's potential. Tony Blair had read Berlin's essays on the topic and wrote to him[4] in the late 1990s, arguing that positive and negative liberty could be mutually compatible. He never received a reply, as Berlin was on his death bed. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Sir Isaiah Berlin, OM (June 6, 1909 – November 5, 1997), was a political philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the 20th century. ... Positive liberty is an idea that was first expressed and analyzed as a separate conception of liberty by John Stuart Mill but most notably described by Isaiah Berlin. ... The philosophical concept of negative liberty refers to an individuals liberty from being subjected to the authority of others. ... Sir Isaiah Berlin, OM (June 6, 1909 – November 5, 1997), was a political philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the 20th century. ... Coercion is the practice of compelling a person to involuntarily behave in a certain way (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. ...


The programme began with a description of the Two Concepts of Liberty, reviewing Berlin's opinion that, since it lacked coercion, negative liberty was the 'safer' of the two. Curtis then explained how many political groups who sought their vision of freedom ended up using violence to achieve it. Two Concepts of Liberty was the inaugural lecture delivered by Isaiah Berlin before the University of Oxford on October 31, 1958. ...


For example the French revolutionaries wished to overthrow a monarchical system which they viewed as antithetical to freedom, but in so doing ended up with the so-called Reign of Terror. Similarly, the Communist revolutionaries in Russia, who sought to overthrow the old order and replace it with a society in which everyone was equal, ended up creating a totalitarian regime which used violence to achieve its ends. The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... Also see:  Early Modern France The House of Bourbon is an important European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. ... For the Doctor Who British TV serial, see The Reign of Terror (Doctor Who). ... Russian Revolution can refer to the following events in the history of Russia: The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a series of strikes and anti-government violence against Tsar Nicholas II The Russian Revolution of 1917, which included: February Revolution, which resulted in the abdication of Nicholas II of Russia...


Using violence, not simply as a means to achieve one's goals, but also as an expression of freedom from Western bourgeois norms, was an idea developed by African revolutionary Frantz Fanon. He developed it from the Existentialist ideology of Jean-Paul Sartre, who argued that terrorism was a "terrible weapon but the oppressed poor have no others." [5]. These views were expressed, for example, in the revolutionary film The Battle of Algiers. Frantz Fanon (July 20, 1925 – December 6, 1961) was a French author from Martinique, essayist, psychoanalyst, and revolutionary. ... Existentialism is a philosophical movement emphasizing individualism, individual freedom, and subjectivity. ... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (pronounced: ), was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. ... The Battle of Algiers (in Italian, La Battaglia di Algeri) is a 1965 black-and-white film directed by Gilles Pontecorvo. ...


This programme also explored how economic freedom had been used in Russia and the problems this had introduced. A set of policies known as "shock therapy" were brought in mainly by outsiders, which had the effect of destroying the social safety net that existed in most other western nations and Russia. In the latter, the sudden removal of e.g. the subsidies for basic goods caused their prices to rise enormously, making them hardly affordable for ordinary people. An economic crisis escalated during the 1990s and some people were paid in goods rather than money. Yeltsin was accused by his parliamentary deputies of "economic genocide", due to the large numbers of people now too poor to eat. Yeltsin responded to this by removing parliament's power and becoming increasingly autocratic. At the same time, many formerly state-owned industries were sold to private businesses, often at a fraction of their real value. Ordinary people, often in financial difficulties, would sell shares, which to them were worthless, for cash, without appreciating their true value. This ended up with the rise of the Oligarchs—super-rich businessmen who attributed their rise to the sell offs of the '90s. It resulted in a polarisation of society into the poor and ultra-rich, and indirectly led to a more autocratic style of government under Vladimir Putin, which, while less free, promised to provide people with dignity and basic living requirements. Business oligarch is a near-synonym of the term business magnate. The choice of the word oligarch denotes the significant influence such wealthy individuals may have on the life of a nation. ...


There was a similar review of post-war Iraq, in which an even more extreme "shock therapy" was employed—the removal from government of all Ba'ath party employees and the introduction of economic models which followed the simplified economic model of human beings outlined in the first two programmes—this had the result of immediately disintegrating Iraqi society and the rise of two strongly autocratic insurgencies, one based on Sunni-Ba'athist ideals and another based on revolutionary Shi'a philosophies.


Curtis also looked at the neo-conservative agenda of the 1980s. Like Sartre, they argued that violence would sometimes be necessary to achieve their goals, except they wished to spread what they described as democracy. Curtis quoted General Alexander Haig then US Secretary of State, as saying that "some things were worth fighting for". However, Curtis argued, although the version of society espoused by the neo-conservatives made some concessions towards freedom, it did not offer true freedom. The neo-conservatives were ardent supporters of the Augusto Pinochet regime in Chile which used violence to crush opponents in a virtual police state. For other persons named Alexander Haig, see Alexander Haig (disambiguation). ... Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte[1] (November 25, 1915 – December 10, 2006) was President of Chile from 1974 to 1990, as well as head of the government junta from 1973 to 1974. ...


The neo-conservatives also took a strong line against the Sandinistas—a political group in Nicaragua—who Reagan argued were accepting help from the Soviets and posed a real threat to American security. The truth was that the Sandinistas posed no real military threat to the US, and a disinformation campaign was started against them painting them as accessories of the Soviets. The Contras, who were a proxy army fighting against the Sandinistas, were—according to US propaganda—valiantly fighting against the evil of Communism. In reality, argued Curtis, they were using all manner of techniques, including the torture, rape and murder of civilians. The CIA funded the Contras by allegedly flying in cocaine into the United States, as financing the Contras directly would have been illegal. Sandinista! is also the name of a popular music album by The Clash. ... For other uses, see Contra. ...


However such policies did not always result in the achievement of neo-conservative aims and occasionally threw up genuine surprises. Curtis examined the Western-backed government of the Shah in Iran, and how the mixing of Sartre's positive libertarian ideals with Shia religious philosophy led to the revolution which overthrew it. Having previously been a meek philosophy of acceptance of the social order, in the minds of revolutionaries such as Ali Shariati and Ayatollah Khomeini, Revolutionary Shia Islam became a meaningful force to overthrow tyranny. Ali Shariati (Persian: علی شريعتی‎) (1933–1977) was an Iranian sociologist, well known and respected for his works in the field of sociology of religion. ... Ayatollah Khomeini founded the first modern Islamic republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ruhollah Khomeini (آیت‌الله روح‌الله خمینی in Persian) (May 17, 1900 – June 3, 1989) was an Iranian Shia cleric and the political... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


The programme reviewed the Blair government and its role in achieving its vision of a stable society. In fact, argued Curtis, the Blair government had created the opposite of freedom, in that the type of liberty it had engendered wholly lacked any kind of meaning. Its military intervention in Iraq had provoked terrorist actions in the UK and these terrorist actions were in turn used to justify restrictions of liberty.


In essence, the programme suggested that following the path of negative liberty to its logical conclusions, as governments have done in the West for the past 50 years, resulted in a society without meaning populated only by selfish automatons, and that there was some value in positive liberty in that it allowed people to strive to better themselves.


The closing minutes directly state that if western humans were ever to find their way out of the "trap" described in the series, they would have to realise that Isaiah Berlin was wrong and that not all attempts at creating positive liberty necessarily ended in coercion and tyranny.


Contributors

Sir Isaiah Berlin, OM (June 6, 1909 – November 5, 1997), was a political philosopher and historian of ideas, regarded as one of the leading liberal thinkers of the 20th century. ... Kenneth Clark presenting the BBC TV series Civilisation. ... Front cover Civilisation (full title, Civilisation: A Personal View) was a popular TV series outlining the history of Western society produced by the BBC and aired in 1969 on BBC Two. ... Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge (March 24, 1903–November 14, 1990) was a British journalist, author, satirist, media personality, soldier-spy and Christian scholar. ... Stuart Hall (born 1932 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a cultural theorist from the United Kingdom. ... Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (pronounced: ), was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. ... Frantz Fanon (1925 - December 6, 1961) was perhaps the preeminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. ... Oxfam International logo Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working with over 3000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. ... Michael Ledeen (born August 1, 1941) is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. ... For other persons named Alexander Haig, see Alexander Haig (disambiguation). ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Elliot Abrams Elliott Abrams (born January 24, 1948) is an American lawyer who has served in foreign policy positions for a number of U.S. Presidents, most recently George W. Bush. ... Robert Parry is an American investigative journalist who has written extensively about the Iran-Contra scandal. ... Francis Fukuyama Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama (born October 27, 1952, Chicago, Illinois) is an American philosopher, political economist and author. ... Jeffrey Sachs Jeffrey David Sachs (born November 5, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American economist known for his work as an economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and Africa. ... NTV, a Russian television channel (HTB in Cyrillic) was a pioneer in the post-Soviet independent television media. ...

Ratings

While commending the series, Radio Times stated that The Trap's subject matter was not ideal for its 21:00 Sunday time slot on the minority BBC Two. This placed the three episodes against Castaway 2007 on BBC One, the drama Fallen Angel, the first two of a series of high-profile Jane Austen adaptations on ITV1, and season six of 24 on Sky One. However, the series secured a consistent share of the viewing audience throughout its run: Current Radio Times logo Radio Times is the BBCs weekly television and radio programme listings magazine. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Castaway 2007 is a follow-up to the BBC series Castaway 2000 in which 36 men, women and children from the British public moved to a remote Scottish island for a year. ... BBC One is the primary television channel of the BBC, and the first in the United Kingdom. ... Fallen Angel is an ITV series broadcast on 11 March 2007 based on the Roth trilogy of books by Andrew Taylor. ... 1873 engraving of Jane Austen, based on a portrait drawn by her sister Cassandra. ... ITV1 is the name, in England, Wales and the Scottish borders, for a terrestrial, free-to-air television channel, broadcast in the United Kingdom by the ITV network. ... For other uses, see 24 (disambiguation). ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ...


1. "F**k You Buddy" (11 March 2007) ~ 1.4 million viewers; 6% audience share


2. "The Lonely Robot (18 March 2007) ~ 1.3 million viewers; 6% audience share


3. "We Will Force You To Be Free" (25 March 2007) ~ 1.3 million viewers; 6% audience share


Featured music

The Karelia Suite is a collection of pieces composed by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. ... Johan Julius Christian Jean / Janne Sibelius ( ; December 8, 1865 – September 20, 1957) was a Finnish composer of classical music and one of the most notable composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ... I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One is an album by Yo La Tengo. ... Yo La Tengo is an American indie rock band, based in Hoboken, New Jersey. ... Painful is a 1993 album from Hoboken, New Jersey rockers Yo La Tengo. ... Yo La Tengo is an American indie rock band, based in Hoboken, New Jersey. ... Here Come the Warm Jets is (Brian) Enos first solo album, recorded in the space of a few weeks, shortly after he was expelled from Roxy Music by that groups leader, Bryan Ferry. ... Brian Eno (pronounced ) born on 15 May 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England) is an English electronic musician, music theorist and record producer. ... Power, Corruption & Lies is the breakthrough album by Manchester band New Order, released in 1983 (see 1983 in music). ... This article is about the alternative rock/electronic band New Order. ... Assault on Precinct 13 is a 1976 action / thriller movie, directed by John Carpenter. ... John Howard Carpenter (born January 16, 1948) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, film score composer and occasional actor. ... North by Northwest (1959) is a comic thriller by Alfred Hitchcock produced at MGM. It was premiered in the San Sebastian International Film Festival. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The original monokini, designed by Rudi Gernreich in 1964. ... Stereo Total is a Berlin-based French-German duo. ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... Peggy Lee (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002) was an American jazz and traditional pop singer and songwriter and Oscar-nominated performer. ... Another Green World is an album by experimental musician Brian Eno, released in November 1975 (see 1975 in music). ... Brian Eno (pronounced ) born on 15 May 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England) is an English electronic musician, music theorist and record producer. ... Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) is a 1974 rock album by Brian Eno. ... Brian Eno (pronounced ) born on 15 May 1948 in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England) is an English electronic musician, music theorist and record producer. ... The Thing is a 1982 science fiction film, directed by John Carpenter. ... Ennio Morricone (born November 10, 1928; sometimes also credited as Dan Savio or Leo Nichols) is an Italian composer especially noted for his film scores. ... Carrie is a 1976 American horror film directed by Brian De Palma based on the novel by Stephen King, with a screenplay written by Lawrence D. Cohen. ... Pino Donaggio is a composer from Burano, Italy. ... LCD Soundsystem is the debut album of the artist of the same name (a. ... LCD Soundsystem is the musical project of producer James Murphy, co-founder of dance-punk label DFA Records. ... This article is about the anthem La Marseillaise. A sculpture popularly called La Marseillaise is part of the sculptural program of the Arc de Triomphe. ...

External links

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 62nd day of the year (63rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year (70th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  1. ^ The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?. BBC Newsnight. Retrieved on 2007-03-11.
  2. ^ The Trap—What Happened To Our Dream Of Freedom?. BBC Press Office. Retrieved on 2007-03-11.
  3. ^ BBC TWO Autumn 2006. BBC Press Office. Retrieved on 2007-03-11.
  4. ^ http://berlin.wolf.ox.ac.uk/letterstoberlin.html
  5. ^ Sartre: The Philosopher of the Twentieth Century, Bernard-Henri Lévy, p.343

 
 

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