Adam Curtis produced another documentary called “The Power of Nightmares.” It is essential viewing for understanding the true nature of conflicts in which America finds itself engaged. It picks up where “The Century of the Self” leaves off. In a disillusioned age, the neo-conservatives in America and the Islamic fundamentalists are two remaining idealists camps. Neo-conservatives will adopt the teachings of Leo Strauss and try to reinvent the American myth as an epic battle of good versus evil to combat mortal relativism and nihilism and motivate the American people to a shared purpose. For the Islamic fundamentalists, Sayyid Qutb saw many of the same issues as the Straussians but believed Islam would be able to provide the moral framework necessary to prevent what he saw as the moral decay of the West while benefiting from the progress.
“The Power of Nightmares” tells the story of the neo-conservative paranoia. They first gained political influence under Reagan and successfully got him to label the “Soviet Union” an evil empire. Much of the basis of this view was based on fantasy and fabrication. The rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union was, in large part, due to an internal collapse from the stress of Mikhail Gorbachev‘s reforms to fix the broken, corrupt and failing communist system. However, the Islamic fundamentalists who were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan shortly before the collapse would also take credit.
Part 2 shows how the techniques and delusions to vilify the Soviet Union were used to smear President Clinton, from Whitewater to Vince Foster, and the eventual discovery of the affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Part 3 presents the events of September 11th and the actual results of the invasion of Afghanistan. The results are startling, it shows Al Qaeda is mostly a fantasy. The sleeper cells, terrorist strongholds, and vast networks simply don’t exist. Dirty bombs don’t work. Al Qaeda is mostly a phantom, a collective figment of the imagination. Right now, it exists mostly as idea. An idea that will be given form by occupations of Middle Eastern countries, continued support of brutal dictators, the continued injustice of the Palestinians and torture and injustice to the innocent people we do capture in trying to fight it.
This new age we live in, the politicians have chosen the other side of the Machiavellian equation.
Since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved. – Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
In this age of self-centered, consumerist interest, the only way politicians find to motivate their disillusioned populace is through fear. The more dire the fear the greater the power. It is a fear that is accepted unquestionably by the guardians of information, the media. The documentary is completely worth watching, it quite possibly will change your entire perspective.