Sunday, January 06, 2008

Power of Nightmares

Adam Curtis' documentary "The Power of Nightmares" starts with the statement:

"In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares."

here is a good example:

In a way, this is also an expression of the American belief in USA's "Manifest Destiny" - a moral idea which helped it annex of territories. Something to akin to the "manifest destiny" of Roman Empire, as described by Joseph Schumpeter in a 1919 essay:

"There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interestswere not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest - why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressivedesigns."

Needlless to say, the documentary "The Power of Nightmares" was never aired in USA!!!

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