THE TRAP: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR DREAM OF FREEDOM?

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THE TRAP: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR DREAM OF FREEDOM?

Postby Tripz » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:14 pm

EPISODE 1: F**K YOU BUDDY 59min

The program traces the development of game theory with particular reference to the work of John Nash (famous from "Beautiful Mind"), who believed that all humans were inherently suspicious and selfish creatures that strategized constantly. Using this as his first premise, Nash constructed logically consistent and mathematically verifiable models, for which he won the Nobel Prize in Economics. He invented system games reflecting his beliefs about human behavior, including one called "So Long Sucker---F*ck 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.

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.

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 and the theories would later be propagated through other segments of society.


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Re: THE TRAP: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR DREAM OF FREEDOM?

Postby Tripz » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:16 pm

EPISODE 2: THE LONELY ROBOT 59min

The second episode reiterates many of the ideas of the first, but develops the theme that the drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalize behavior and make humans behave more predictably, like machines. This was not presented as a conspiracy theory, but as a logical (although unpredicted) outcome of market-driven self-diagnosis by checklist, discussed in the previous program.
The program shows that people with standard mood fluctuations diagnose themselves as abnormal. They then present 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 behavior modified by SSRI drugs without any strict medical necessity.

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.

Game theory worked its way into civil service and the belief came about that those stating they are working in government to help public good should be fired as they must be lying. Only those who worked based on meeting targets with incentives should be rewarded. But people cheated the faulty system sometimes at the expense of safety of others as in the case of hospitals.

The program describes how the Clinton administration gave in to market theorists in the U.S. and how New Labour in the UK decided to measure and provide targets for everything it could including several things that are unmeasurable. This created a government that was sacrificing the greater good to appease immediate and often trivial desires of focus groups.




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Re: THE TRAP: WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR DREAM OF FREEDOM?

Postby Tripz » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:17 pm

EPISODE 3: WE WILL FORCE YOU TO BE FREE

The final program of Curtis' 2007 series focuses on the concepts of positive and negative liberty introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin. Curtis briefly explains 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 read Berlin's essays on the topic and wrote to him 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.
The program begins 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 explains how many political groups who sought their vision of freedom ended up using violence to achieve it.

Curtis looks at the neo-conservative agenda of the 1980s which argued that violence would sometimes be necessary to achieve their goals, except they wished to spread what they described as democracy. 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 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 U.S., 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 U.S. propaganda'valiantly fighting against the evil of Communism. In reality, argues Curtis, they were using all manner of techniques, including the torture, rape and murder of civilians. Contras were known to use CIA planes for drug runnings and the CIA also helped fund the Contras by illegally selling arms to the Iranians. Reagan's policies of promoting democracy did aust U.S. friendly dictators Augusto Pinochet and Ferdinand Marcos via elections.

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.

The program reviews the Blair government and its role in achieving its vision of a stable society. Curtis argues that the Blair government 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.



http://freedocumentaries.org/theatre.ph ... h=1000x720
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