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The Trap: Whatever Happened To Our Dreams Of Freedom? 29 March 2007

Posted by David in BBC.

Last night I watched all three parts of “The Trap: Whatever Happened To Our Dreams Of Freedom?” by Adam Curtis. Sadly I was very disappointed.

The series was based around this premise basically (but greatly elaborated with various irrelevant information thrown in); politicians and economists have concluded that we’re all selfish individuals, and so created choice in public services to drive up standards. This lead to the bad targets lead culture of New Labour, which lead to “welcome nurses” so everyone was seen by someone within 3 hours at A&E, crimes being reclassified as occurrences, corridors renamed wards etc – just to meet the target. He is very wrong. The “targets” culture is not from choice theory, but the centralised obsessiveness of the left wing. True choice theory lets the users decide, not the State and its “targets”.

He then decides we’re ruled by “negative liberty”, best defined as “live and let live”, which has no purpose, instead of “positive liberty”, where the State “re-educates” to “make us free”. Curtis thinks this [negative liberty] is wrong, believing we need the State to give us purpose and drive society.

Curtis is clearly a left-wing nutter. He lists “redistribution of land and wealth” as a necessary part of democracy, which it isn’t under any theory of democracy. In the third part he even lists all the terrible examples of “positive liberty” such as the USSR, Cambodia, French Revolution etc,then says “but not all positive liberty has to end like this” – having just explained how it does.

His advice for us is truly alarming. Please BBC2, no more of Mr Adam Curtis.



1. heston blumenthal - 10 June 2007

… and you sound like a right wing/wet liberal nutter. Clearly the content and message of this excellent production was way over your head. All the time the BBC broadcasts gems like this I will be quite happy to pay my ever-increasing licence fee. Stick to ITV is my advice to you, as you plainly can’t cope with logically expressed and rational arguments.

2. The Bicycling Chameleon - 10 June 2007

Heston, how is there logic in Curtis’ arguments that we need positive liberty when he himself has listed all the terrible examples of it? And how is a state based targets culture related to an individual based choice culture? Please keep your arguments to the point and not resort to cheap personal attacks.

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