Fuck you Buddy!

Film zkoumá naše pojetí svobody. Konkrétně, jak k dnešním představám o svobodě vedl zjednodušený model lidských bytostí jako sobeckých stvoření, podobných robotům.

Adam Curtis, autor seriálu The Century of the Self a The Power of Nightmares natočil třídílný film The Trap: Whatever Happened to our Dream of Freedom (přeloženo jako Past: Copak se stalo s naším snem o svobodě).

Fuck you Buddy!

Human beings will always betray you
you can only trust the numbers

The ultimate little goal at the heart of our age is the idea of the individual freedom. President Bush I believe that freedom is the future of all humanity. In Britain are government has set out to create a revolution that will free individuals from the control of old elites and bureaucracies a new world where we are free to choose our lives and not be trapped by class or income into predestined roles. Delivery Britain from all the old class divisions all the old scriptures old prejudices to liberate the individual And abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, Britain and America have set out to liberate individuals from Tierney. For those leading it it is just the first step in a global revolution for democracy.

But if one steps back and looks at what has resulted, it is a very strange kind of freedom. The attempt to liberate people from the dead hand of bureaucracy has led to the rise of a new and increasingly controlled system of management driven by targets and numbers. While governments committed to creating freedom of choice in all areas have actually presided over a rise of inequalities and a dramatic collapse in social mobility.

The consequences has been a return of the the power of class and privilege. And abroad the attempt to create democracy has led not to just bloody mayhem but a rejection of the American-led campaign to bring freedom. Go home Yankee this year for your Vulcan freedom… right now

Andy has summoned up an antidemocratic authoritarian Islamism. This in turn has helped to inspire terrorist in Britain itself. In response the government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedoms. This is a series of films of how this strange world came to be created. It begins in the dark and frightening days of the Cold War and it will show what we have today is a very narrow and particular idea of freedom that was born out of the paranoia of that time. It is based on the image of human beings as selfish isolated as vicious creatures who constantly monitor and strategize against each other.

The films will show how politicians and scientists came to believe that this idea of human nature could be the basis of a new type of free society. But what none of them would realize is that within this dark and distrustful vision laid the seeds of a new and revolutionary system of social control. It would use the language of freedom but in reality would come to entrap us and our leaders in a narrow and empty world.

The Trap

at the end of the second world war America and American films celebrated not just victory what many believed would be the dawning of a new era. Back then freedom meant not as liberation from the not cease but also from the economic chaos and uncertainty have caused depression of the 1930s. Governments now believe that their role was to manage and control the economy. I protect society from the danger self interest at the heart of capitalism.

no longer did we worship at the shrine of no holds barred capitalism. No we have been through the depression of the 1930s we have been through World War II now we were talking about the need for government to be the major balancing elements in the economy. The individual is Philip Orton but government would make sure that we would never slide into it at the depression again.

Robert Kavesh – government economist 1950s
in the following years the bureaucracies of the heart of the state grew enormously. Their job was to regulate capitalism for the benefit of everyone. In an age of optimism there were a few who challenge this new vision. But one man on the margins was convinced that it would lead to disaster. He was an auction in aristocrat Frederick von Hayek would flood the not cease and taught at the University of Chicago. Hayek was convinced that the use of politics was far more dangerous than any props for this by But it wasn’t because it eventually led to Tierney and reduction of freedom. A terrible example that Hayek pointed to was the Soviet Union in their search for the utopia for Soviet leaders had tried to plan a control everything is had let them in to keep tearing a dictatorship. The same would now inevitably happen to the west he said, it was on what he called the Road to serfdom.

The only way of avoiding disaster, was to go back into the past. Back to the golden age of the free market where individuals follow their own self-interest, and government play little or no roel. out of this would come with Hayek called, a self directing automatic system, a spontaneous order created by millions of people pursuing their own game.

Frederick von Hayek will benefit our fellow man most if we are guided solely by the striving for gain. For this purpose we have to return to an automatic system which brings this about, self directing automatic system which alone can restore the liberty and prosperity. That is my fundamental conception. “Isn’t it the philosophy based essentially on selfishness what about altruism – Mark. It doesn’t come in Hayek’s ideas were dismissed by politicians and economists. The notion that one can create social order in a modern complex world simply by unleashing individual self-interest was seen as a failed and discredited idea. But proof that he might be right was about to emerge in the most unlikely of sources, from scientists struggling with the new terrifying uncertainties of the Cold War.

Is the heart of a giant blast proof bunker 30 miles north of New York. Built in the late 50s it housed the largest computer in the world, linked to a system of radars around the world. Which constantly watch the Soviet Union. Every second thousands of pieces of information pour into this room to be analyzed for signs of danger. The new Jewish gadgets were designed as him knew they were dealing with a completely new type of conflict. Neither side can let it get out of control because of the terrifying consequences. So the strategists want to find a way of using this information 20s a page with the Soviets might be about to do. And to do this they turned to a new idea called game theory.

Game theory had been developed as a way of mathematically analyzing poker games. It looked to to the game as a system as a system where the players are locked together each trying to work out what the other things they will do. From that game theory showed rationally what the best moves were for each of the players.

Prof. Philip Mirowski, economic and political philosopher:
This is the type of war that have never been fought before and of course it would be so devastating that it’s almost impossible to consider all of its consequences. They still want to say that there was a rational way to approach such a virtual war. In game theory seem to offer that to them that you could in a sense a corporate year and a meet into your own thinking. That you could mathematically understand what your enemy would do to the point that you in your enemy were playing the exact same set of strategies.

The center for developing nuclear strategy was a military think tank called the RAND Corporation. The strategists at RAND use game theory to create mathematical models to predict how the Soviets would behave in response to what they saw the Americans doing. And out of this came the fundamental structure of the nuclear age. Hundreds of missiles protected in silos underground bomb and bombers in the 21st day, just as in a game they were strategic moves to convince the Soviets that if they attacked America would always have enough missiles to destroy them in return.

And in the rules of this game, fear and self-interest stop the Russians from attacking. But it created a stable equilibrium called the delicate balance of terror.

Alain Enthoven: nuclear strategist, RAND Corporation 1956 to 1960:
recommending missiles underground, missiles and submarines, and all that was a way of making that much more stable… sometimes the least explain it is we’re trying very hard to reduce the likelihood of nuclear war by creating Powell for all incentives for Russians not to just ardent in their war. Because we’re trying to give them incentives and not to attack either a nuclear attack or conventional attack, you know so incentives are important in that.

At the heart of game theory was a dark vision of human beings who are driven only by self interest, constantly distrustful of those around them. There was a mathematician at the RAND Corp. who would take this dark vision further he set out to show that one could create stability of suspicion and self-interest not just in the Cold War but in the whole of human society. He was the mathematical genius John Nash. Nash was portrayed in the Hollywood film beautiful mind as a tortured hero. In reality Nash was difficult and spiky. He was the Tories at RAND for inventing a series of cruel games the most he called, FUCK YOU BUDDY in which the only way to win was to ruthlessly betray your game partner.

Nash took game theory and try to apply to all forms of human direction. To do this he made a fundamental assumption that all human behavior was exactly like that involved in a hostile competitive world of the nuclear standoff. That human beings can’t be watched and monitored each other to get and to get what they wanted they would adjust the strategies to each other. In a series of equations for which he would win the Nobel Prize national that a system driven by suspicion and self-interest did not have to lead to chaos. He proved that there could always be a point of equilibrium in which everyone self interest was perfectly balanced against each other’s.

John Nash:
the equilibrium this equilibrium with his used, is that what I do is perfectly adjusted in relation to what you are doing, and what you are doing, or what any other person is doing is perfectly adjusted to what I’m doing or what all other people are doing. They are seeking separate optimizations like poker players.

Adam Curtis: is each player alone?

John Nash: that’s the idea, that they are alone that they are separate. To submit is very noncooperative. That is very selfish. And then what all of them do works together, deriving from that there is a payoff to all the players. As the equilibrium. But it’s understood not to be a cooperative idea.

But the stability of the equilibrium would only happen if everyone involved behaved selfishly. Because if they cooperated the results became a predictable and dangerous. A famous game was developed at RAND to show that in any direction selfishness always loved to the safer outcome. It was called the prisoners dilemma. There are many versions, all of them involve two players having to decide whether to trust or betray each other.

The prisoners dilemma
imagine you have stolen the world’s most valuable diamond, you have agreed to sell it to a dangerous gangster. He offers to meet you to change the diamond for the money, but you think he may kill you, so instead you tell him you will take it to a remote field and hide it. While the same time he must go to another field hundreds of miles away and hide the money. Then you will call him and each will tell the other hiding places. But just as you’re about to make the call you realize you could betray him, you keep the diamond and then you go and get the money while the gangsta searches for it was Lee in an empty field. But in the very same moment you realize that he probably thinking the same thing that he could betray you. You have no way of predicting how the other person will behave bad as the dialogue. But what Nash’s equation showed was that the rational choice was always the train the other person. Because that way at the worst you got to keep the diamond at the best you got both the diamond and the money.

But if you trusted the other person you run the risk of losing everything, because he might betray you. It was called the sucker payoff. What the prisoners that Lem expressed was the strange logic of the Cold War, the optimum solution, offering to get rid of all your weapons, provided the Russians did the same, could never happen. Because you couldn’t trust them not to cheat. So instead you ever stability, created by balance of dangerous weapons on both sides. What Nash had done was to turn that into a theory of how the whole of society worked. It had a Norma’s implications for politics because it proved that one could have a society based on individual freedom that would degenerate into chaos. But the price of that freedom would mean a world in which everyone would have to be suspicious and distrustful of their fellow human beings.

The Nash equilibrium is important because one of the great fears of politics is that self interest would lead to utter chaos, and what the Nash equilibrium suggests is that rational pursuit of self-interest even in the face of implacable hostile enemies, will lead to a kind of order in which all players agree upon the strategies that they’re playing, and that those strategies make sense of them. But at the same time it’s also paranoid because it’s the idea of a human being sitting alone in a room being able to totally reconstruct their opponent their opponent is totally implacable, totally hostile and totally bent on their destruction. But there was a small problem with Nash’s equations, they didn’t seem to correlate with how she beings actually behave towards each other. In the real world.

When the prisoners dilemma game was tested on the secretaries of the RAND Corporation, none of them play the rational strategy. Instead of betray each other they always trust each other, and decided to cooperate. And what no one realized was John Nash himself was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He had delusions in which you believe that those around him who wore red ties were communist spies, and that he was part of the secret organization that could save the world.

John Nash: you don’t want to admit that you were crazy, you see the other people as crazy but you’d like to think that of yourself is not crazy, as irrational. So I thought there was some secret organization of humans or secret beliefs among some categories of humans, and I thought I had some relation to that. I heard voices, and I ultimately realized that I did hear anything but something that I created in my own mind. I was talking to myself mentally.

In 1959 Nash was forcibly committed to a mental hospital. And he would spend the next 10 years battling schizophrenia. But despite the obvious problems with Nash’s theory, the young technocrats of RAND were convinced that in them, laid the seeds of a new form of ordering society based on the free individual. Because the quotations provided a scientific basis for the alternative vision that Friedrich von Hayek had called for. But for the moment these ideas remain confined to a few thinkers at the heart of the nuclear establishment.

But Nash’s ideas were about to spread the most surprising way. Thousand miles away was a radical psychiatrists who had a vision, see want to make people free of all constraints that he believed control their minds without them realizing it. And to make them free, like Nash, he would fundamentally question and undermine the old ideas of trust and love.

R.D. Laing, psychiatrist :
Is love possible? is freedom possible? is the truth possible? is it possible to be one’s actual self with another human being? Is it possible to be human being anymore? Is it possible to be a person, do persons even exist?

R.D. Laing had begun work as a psychiatrist in mental hospitals in Glasco in the 1950s. It was a violent and frightening world in which the doctors tried to men to control schizophrenics as best they could. Laing had noticed a psychiatrist hardly ever spoke to the schizophrenic, so as experiment he took 12 women and spent months talking to them about themselves and their lives, the results were dramatic. After just a few months all 12 were well enough to leave the hospital. Within a year Lincoln discovered all of them had returned to the hospital. His attempted at a cure has failed completely.

R.D. Laing: after this experiment, these women left hospital and after another you there are back in. No one knew why that common in 1st Pl., no one knew why they had to come back again. Will that shifted my focus of attention and interest and research interests out into the actual circumstances where this thing called madness is incv ubated.

Link began to investigate the the families of the schizophrenics, his research led him to a hidden, closed world where he studied how the members of the families behave towards each other in private. And he became convinced that the roots of this madness lay concealed in this unexamined world. The doctors and nurses who use chemicals and ECT to try and return the patience to their families are making a terrible mistake. They were setting them back to the private whore that I first created the madness. If this were true than the doctors although they believed they were doing their public duty and was best for the patient, were in reality violet agents of oppression.

I think it’s very important, that a doctor remember his duty, to give the patient what is best for them in their long-term interest, which isn’t always with the patient asked for. If you want to go home to your relatives of the relatives, have to be reasonably sure that you will fit in reasonably well in their home, so that they can go on living a normal life.

In the early 60s, links up with psychiatric practice in a Harvey Street in London. He offered radical new treatments for schizophrenia and quickly became a media celebrity. But his research into the causes is good for any had convinced him that much writer range of human problems were caused by the pressure cooker family life. Link decided to investigate how power and control were exercised within the world of normal families. And to do this you would use the techniques of game theory. Lang had learned about game theory when he visited the mental reef search Institute and tell while towing California. A group of research scientists there were trying to use game theory as a way of analyzing human interaction. And Laing saw is the perfect tool to dissect what went on between the members of families in britain.

Dr. Morton Shatzman, psychiatrist and colleague of RD Laing:
laying to use game theory in his analysis of families, he was concerned with games not in the sense of fun but games in the sense of people playing by rules, some of which were explicit and some of which they were unaware of and which in a sense were secret. He thought he’d uncovered a fresh way of looking at human relations, those secret games that people had.

this was a way in which it could be subject to some sort of scientific investigation, he could be quantified, it you can give people questionnaires. It was very much the application of game theory that’s exactly what it was.

Link to 20 couples in Britain, and using a complex system of questionnaires, she analyzed how each of them saw the other moment by moment in their daily life. Continually asking them what they secretly thought the other really intended. Following game theory even coded the responses have been analyzed by computer. Out of that Laing produced matrices which showed how how just as the Cold War, couples use their everyday actions and strategies to control and manipulate each other. His conclusions were stark, that what were normally seen as acts of kindness and love, were in reality weapons you selfishly to exert power and control.

Clancy Sigal, colleague of R.D. Laing:
Laing really did feel that the family was an arena for strategizing, love was a way in which one person tried to dominate another person. I love you, but I’m making a condition for that love which is impossible for you to fulfill. And so that nothing you can do to earn my love even though I’m telling you, you have to earn my love.

From this research, Laing argued that the modern family far from being a caring nurturing institution was in reality a dark arena, where people played continual self-esteem is at each other. Out of this struggle came stability in society but a bleak and limited existence for all the individuals involved.

R.D. Laing: the so-called normal families that I studied over the course of this… is like walking into a carbon monoxide gas chamber, people induced their children to adjust to life by poisoning themselves to to a level of subsistence existence that they called life.

Laing was radicalized by his findings. He believed that the struggle for power and control that she uncovered in the family was it inextricably linked to the struggle and her power and control in the world. In a violent and rough society, the family had become a machine for controlling. Lane believe that this was an objective reality revealed by his scientific methods, above all by game theory.

But these varied methods contained within them, bleak paranoid assumptions about what human beings are really like. Assumptions born out of the hostility of the Cold War. And what Laing was actually doing was helping spread these bleak paranoid ideas into other areas of society. Into the very way we thought of ourselves and our relationships to each other.

Clancy Sigal: He gave the message that I have seen things that you can hardly imagine. A bleak cold landscape out there that I’m going to do my best to armor you against and we will walk into there together and we will protect each other back out there in this cold bleak landscape, but don’t you ever bullshit yourself that it’s anything more or better than that, because that’s where it is.

Laing wrote a series of books with titles like politics of experience that became huge bestsellers, and he became one of the leaders of the new counterculture movement. The aim of the movement was to make people realize that none of the state institutions of the post war world could be trusted. Those that claim to be motivated by public duty and a desire to help were really part of the system I was trying to control your mind, industry or freedom.

„Their whole mind is like a cabbage, there suppressed, they cant do exactly what they want, they haven’t got any freedom, haven’t got any freedom to do exactly what they want under the system.”

One have to be constantly on guard, never trusting anyone even those who said they loved you.

R.D. Laing: a lot of people caught in the trap that feel they ought to trust or believe the person they love, because they love them. But I don’t see that follows at all.

What Laing and the counterculture movement for doing, was tearing down Britain’s institutions in the name of freedom. And they were about to find the most unexpected allies, they would be joined by a group of economists from the political right who had exactly same aim and are becoming immensely powerful. This group were all inspired by the ideas of Frederick von Hayek, and most of them had also worked at the RAND Corporation. And they brought with them the sophisticated mathematical techniques like game theory, they would use these techniques to prove scientifically that the idea of public duty which are underpinned in which public life for generations, was a sham and a corrupt hypocrisy. Their ideas would begin to demolish the old institutions of the British state. They would also introduce the paranoid assumptions of the Cold War ever further into the heart of British society.

In the early 70s the government bureaucracies of Britain began to collapse. Those around them blamed a growing economic crisis, but it was clear that something much more fundamental had gone wrong. What was supposed to be is to do how people had become distracted. Those around them seem to have turned against the very people they were supposed to serve.

Examples of bureaucratic inefficiency
A group of right-wing economist in America not before theory that they said it explained why this was happening. At the heart of their idea was game theory. They said the fundamental right of life and society was one of millions of people continually watching strategizing against each other all seeking their own personal advantage, an assumption had become a truth. The self-interested model of human behavior that had been developed in the Cold War to make mathematical equations work have now been adopted by these economists as a fundamentalist truth about the reality of all human social interaction.

Prof. Thomas Schelling economist and game theorist:
We’re always trying to infer the intentions of the other, we’re always trying to convey our intentions, either deceptively or truthfully. We’re always trying to find ways to make believable promises and sometimes to make believable threats, threatening the Soviet Union, threatening a misbehaving animal or child, a neighbor. I think what we’re doing is called strategizing. What does he think that I think he thinks that I think he’s going to do? it has to come to some sort of equilibrium, what is it that we can both recognize is the obvious thing to do.

What this meant argued economists was that the politicians in your craft believe that they were working for what they called the public good, was a complete fantasy. Because to do that depend on creating shared goals in society based on self-sacrifice in ultra was in. But in a world that was really driven by millions of suspicious, self-seeking individuals, such concepts could not exist out of this came a theory of public choice, and a group of economists who were determined to describe politicians dream that they were working for the public interest their leader was called James Buchanan.

James Buchanan: There’s certainly no measurable concept thats meaningful that could be called a public interest, because how do you weigh different interests of different groups and what they can get out of it. The public interest as a politician thinks, it does not mean it exists, it means what he thinks is good for the country. If you come out and say that that’s one thing, but behind this hypocrisy of calling something the public interest as if it exists, that’s what I was trying to tear down.

In 1975 Mrs. Thatcher became leader of the conservative party and Buchanan’s ideas have power full influence on her and the group of radicals gathered around her. A right wing think tank advising Mrs. Thatcher brought James Buchanan to London for a series of seminars, and he explained starkly why the British state was failing. It was pure game theory. Because there was no agreed version of the public good, the bureaucrats and the politicians scheme that strategize in their own self-interest. Building up their power and their own empires. They claim to be helping others in fact it is the very opposite. And the result was economic chaos and a breakdown of society.

Madsen Perie, founder Adam Smith Institute:
it was chaos, there is no other word for it. And then public choice theory came along and told us why. It’s because the self interest of the group’s that have managed to acquire control of the process, is such that they are directing these activities to their own advantage at the expense of the rest of society. When public servants and politicians say they’re pursuing the public interest, the words of those are public service, the actions are those of self interest. Maximizing personal advantage.

Now this is certainly not true because contrary to popular belief both myself and my staff here, we take a very very great personal interest in individual people.

As the British economist are a lot of control political and bureaucratic elite who had dominated Britain since the war found themselves under attack from both the right and the left. Where once they had been wrote figures who would created a new world, now they were a cheese of being agents of control, not freedom.

Thatcher: we’ve been robbed/wrong by men who live by allusions, the allusion that you can have freedom by government decree.

And these new theories began to spread to the public imagination. The writer who was part of the group advising Mrs. Thatcher began to write a sitcom that explicitly put forward the theories of public choice. As well as being funny, it was ideological propaganda for political movement.

TV show example of how this was ideological propaganda. Yes Prime Minister

Sir Anthony Jay, creator of yes Minister:
The fallacy that public choice economics took on, was the fallacy that government is working entirely for the benefit of the citizen. This was reflected by showing that in any programming its minister, we show that almost everything that the government has to decide is a conflict between two lots of private interest, that of the politicians and that of the civil service. Trying to advance their own careers and improve their own lives, and that’s why public choice economics, which explains why all this was going on was at the root of almost every episode of yes Minister and yes Prime Minister

At the same time, R.D. Laing was continuing his assault on what he saw as the corrupt elites. He was about to use his growing power to attack one of the most powerful professionals in America, the medical and psychiatric establishments. The result would be dramatic, but the outcome would be very different from what Laing intended. His ideas would undermine all controlling medical elite, but far from liberating people, what would actually emerge would be a revolutionary new system of order and control. Driven by the objective power of numbers.

R.D. Laing: the space where you can meet with her where she’s back and be frightened that you’re going to put her away. Or that you’re going to do anything to her

Laing was now a celebrity in America, and was one of the leaders in what was called the anti-psychiatry movement. Psychiatry link said it was a fake science, uses a system of political control to shore up a violent collapse in society. Its categories and madness and sanity had no reality, madness was simply convenient label used to lock away those who want to break free. Hundreds of young psychiatrist came to Laing’s talks, and one of them was inspired and decided to find a way of testing whether what Laing said was true or not. Could psychiatrist in America distinguish between madness and sanity, he was called David Rosenhand, and he divides the dramatic experiment. He assembled a people including himself, none of whom have ever had any psychiatric problems. Each person was then sent across the country to specific mental hospital. An agreed time, they all presented themselves at the hospital, and told the psychiatrist on duty. They were hearing a voice in their head. That said the word thud. That was the only lie they should tell, otherwise, they were to behave and respond completely normally.

Adam Curtis: and then what happened?
David Rosenhan: They were all diagnosed as insane. And admitted to the hospital
Adam Curtis: all of them? all of them  and/or any of them insane?
no, there was nobody who can judged these people as insane. but I told friends, I told my family, I get out when I get out thats all. I’ll be there for a couple days, then I get out. Nobody knew I’d be there for two months.

once admitted, all a fake patients acted completely normal. Yet the hospital refused to release them, and diagnosed seven as suffering from schizophrenia, and one from bipolar disorder. They were all given powerful psychotropic drugs. Here they found there was nothing they could do to convince the doctors they were sane. And it quickly became clear that the only way out, would be to agree that they were insane. And then pretending be getting better.

David Rosenhan: the only way out was to point out their correct, it said I wasn’t sane, I am insane. But I’m getting better. That was an affirmation of their view of me.

When Rosenhan finally got out and reported the experiment, there was an uproar. He was accused of trickery and deceit, one major hospital challenged him to send more fakes to them, guaranteeing that they would spot them this time. Rosenhan agreed, and after a month hospital proudly announced that they had discovered 41 fakes. Rosenhan then revealed he had sent no one to the hospital.

the effect of the experiment was a disaster from American psychiatry. It destroyed the idea that they were a privileged elite with the specialist knowledge. But those in charge realized that psychiatry cannot just give up, another way has to be found of understanding and managing peoples in her feelings in modern society. Unlike R.D. Laing, they turned to the objective purity of mathematical analysis. They set out to create a scientific system of diagnosing people’s inner mental states in which all human judgment would be removed. And replaced instead with a system based on the power of numbers. They gave up on the idea that they could understand the human mind and cure it. Instead, American psychology created a new set of measurable categories that were only based on surface behaviors of human beings. Many were given new names like attention deficit disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Paul McHugh psychiatrist in chief, John Hopkins Hospital:
psychiatry says we don’t know the causes of any of these conditions, and then just said, this is what they look like, this is what depression looks like, this is what ADHD looks like, this is what PTSD looks like, this is what multiple personality looks like, whether they exist in any particular way. Or they exist the same way, or if they are the same kinds of things didn’t matter, this is just what they look like.

What mattered was that these disorders could be observed and thus recorded. The psychiatrist created a system in which the diagnosis could literally be done by computer. The observable characteristics of each of disorders were listed precisely. And questionnaires were then designed that asked people whether they have those characteristics. The answers were simply yes and no. So they could be asked by lay interviewers, not by psychiatrists. The computer would then decide whether people were normal or abnormal.

The lay interviewers ask specific questions and notes them, that person is not making the diagnosis. That data is fed into a computer, the computer program then looks at the pattern and makes the diagnosis. So the diagnosis was made by the computer, there was no clinical judgment required.

The psychiatrist then decided to test the system. At the end of the 1970s. They sent interviewers out across America with it what the questioners. Hundreds of thousands of people selected at random, were interviewed. Up to this point psychiatrists had only dealt with individuals who felt they needed help. This was the first time that anyone had gone out and asked ordinary people how they thought thought and felt. And the results, when processed by the computers were astonishing. More than 50% of Americans suffer from some type of mental disorder

Dr. Jerome Wakefield, psychiatrist:
these studies revealed very high rates of mental disorder. Very very very high rates of disorders out there after population has mental disorder at some point. Half the population has a mental disorder at some point, 17% of the population has depressive episode at some point. These figures astonished people, these are enormous rates. And the general conclusion was, there is a hidden epidemic.

More surveys were done and yet again. Computers return the same disturbing data. This survey show that underneath the surface of normal life, millions of people who never before would’ve been thought of as mentally ill were secretly living with high levels of anxiety. The psychiatrist began screening programs across the country, and for many people that check was where liberation, their private suffering was finally being recognized.


Paul McHugh, psychiatrist in chief, John Hopkins Hospital:
These new categories of disorders spread quickly in society, and terms like borderline personality disorder, and it’s this compulsive disorder took hold of the public imagination. But as this happened, had unforeseen consequences. Millions of people began using the checklist to monitor and diagnosed themselves, they use them to identify what was aberrant and abnormal in their behavior and feelings. But by definition is also set up a powerful model for them of what the normal behavior and feelings to which they should aspire. Psychiatrists began to find more and more people coming to them demanding to be made normal. It was just a matter of asking people a couple of questions checking the boxes in the diagnostic formula, there you are, you have this disease, or I have this disorder, I better go to my doctor and tell him what I needed. And it was an amazing experience and a great change, most people do not previously at any rate, want to see themselves as, in some way psychiatrically injured. But now they tell me they have an ideal in their mind about what the normal person is. I don’t fit that model, I want you to polish me down so that I fit.

This new system of psychological disorders had been created by attack on the air gets in power of the psychiatric elite. In the name of freedom. But what was beginning to emerge from his was a new form of control, the disorders and checklist are becoming a powerful and objective guide to what were the correct inappropriate feelings in an age of individualism and emotion. But this is a very different system of order, the longer people told how to behave by the elite. Instead, they now use the checklist to monitor their own feelings and police their own behaviors. They were reassured that these new categories were scientific and could be checked by the power of numbers.

Thatcher: four they were the party of yesterday, and tomorrow is ours.

In 1979 Mrs. Thatcher had come to power in Britain. What she promised with to create was a society based on the dream of individual freedom. People would be liberated from arrogant elites and state bureaucrats of the past, that Mrs. Thatcher knew that she would have to find a new way of managing and controlling these free individuals in a complex society. In order to avoid chaos. And to do this, just let the psychiatrist in America, she would turn to systems based on the objective power of numbers. The underlying the new mathematical models, would yet again be the dark and suspicious vision of human beings that the Cold War strategists had assumed. This vision, but now a trade to the very heart of the British state.

The Thatcher government had begun in the early 80s by selling off many of the states it state owned industries. But it’s beginning to that within the modern world. There were large areas of the state which would have to remain under government control. You Mrs. Thatcher was determined that three than two from the old forms of men. To do this, she would bring in a system no longer run by ideas of public duty, instead, public servants were would be incurred by the incentives to follow their self-interest. It was all in keeping with the idea ideas of of the inventor of public choice James Buchanan. He believed that it was. It was those politicians and your crafts, bureaucrats who preach the idea of public duty that were the most dangerous. Who he called the zealots. They had to be gotten rid of.

James Buchanan: we’re safer if we have politicians who are a bit self interested in greedy, then if we have the zealots. The greatest danger of course is the zealot who thinks that he knows best or she knows best for the rest of us, as opposed to being for sale so to speak.
Adam Curtis: so in that sense you could then use incentives.

James Buchanan: The zealot is not nearly as readily influenced by monetary incentives or incentives of office as the non-zealot. So you don’t want to many zealots in their. If our success depends on the goodness of the politicians and bureaucrats, then we’re in real trouble.

It was a dark and pessimistic bird vision of human motivation, but it was about to become the basis for a new system of managing the British state.

Thatcher: proposals represent the most reaching reform of the national health service in its 40 year history. They offer new opportunities and pose new challenges for everyone concerned with the running of the service.

In 1988 Mrs. Thatcher announced the complete reform of the way the national health service was run. The fundamental aim was to overthrow the power of the medical establishment, and replace it with a new efficient system of management. To do this, Mrs. Thatcher turned to a man who had been one of the nuclear strategist of the RAND Corporation. At the height of the Cold War. He was called Allen ANTOBEN? Back in the 50s and Tobin’s job had been to think the unthinkable, to plan how to fight and win a nuclear war. To do this he had designed a mathematical system which would use nuclear weapons as rational incentives to manipulate the other side. And Tobin had designed charts that show how many megatons of bombs to drop on which cities and how many people it would be necessary to kill to prove to the Russians that was in their self-interest to come to the bargaining table.

Out of this Tobin had developed a technique he called systems analysis, it was a technique of management that he believed could be applied to any type of human organization. It’s a was to get rid of all the motion on subjective values that confused and corrupted the system. And replace them by rational objective methods, mathematically defined targets an incentive. Tobin had first tried to apply the system back in the 1960s, when he was filming military. The secretary of defense Robert McNamara asked him to help transform the way the Pentagon was run. Tobin began by getting rid of the idea that patriotism should be the guiding force in America’s defense. And replacing it with a rational system based on numbers.

Alain Enthoven, US Department of Defense 1961 to 1969:
The approach we brought to the Pentagon was one based on rational behavior. Previously that had been at the high-level. It was kind of a political thing. And we were trying to make it more an analytical thing. In defense, most people thought it ought to be done on the base of patriotism. There was quite a bit of that emotion, feeling, are you patriotic, and so what. And I was there, with my slide rule and geeky sort of MIT’s sort of style.

Adam Curtis: what did the military think of you?
AL A. and Tobin: Well, I think that they hated it.

what replace patriotism and notions of public duty in were mathematical measurable outcomes. But McNamara’s experiment had ended in disaster. When you try to run the Vietnam war and irrational mathematical way. The performance targets and incentives. The most infamous example had been the body count, it had been designed as a rational measure of whether or not, America is winning the war. But in fact, troops simply made it up or even shot civilians to fulfill their performance targets. And in 1967 McNamara had resigned. But, but Tobin was undaunted and next he applied his systems to design a rational way of managing healthcare. He began us in America, but in 1986. Mrs. Thatcher had asked him to come and do the same for the NHS in Britain. Just if you challenge the power of the generals in the Pentagon, now he would do the same for the doctors in Britain.

Tobin: I think in both cases with the military and the defense department and with the doctors both here and in Britain, that you have the power of organized beliefs of authority and hierarchy and the  system needed to be reconfigured in such a way as to give incentives to do a better job as a matter of how would you read why are the incentives to motivate self-interest, to create proper incentives to reward efficiency and can we measure it. So that was a challenge to the power of organized medicine.

what Tobin had proposed for the MHS. He called the internal market. In fact what it was was a mathematical simulation of the of the free market, numbers were used to create measurable outputs and performance targets all levels, while competition was created driven by system of incentives. All of this mimic the pressures of the free market on public service. For those who set out to create it, it it was the engineering of a new freedom. They were liberating millions of public employees from the arrogant control of all the older leaves. Instead, a new and objective method based on numbers set the targets which individuals were then free to achieve any way they wanted.

Mattson, P., government adviser, new public management system:
it basically set free their talents. Before they had simply been instruments doing what they were told now, the suddenly, they were creative minds allowed to examine and say why we do this, and that sense of freedom that comes in thinking, these were their targets and not something I had been wished on them from up high. And that was a very important part in part of motivation, for they felt they owned their targets.

It was a very narrow and specific type of freedom. It meant shedding all ideas of working for the collective or public good. And becoming instead, an individual constantly calculating what would be to one’s advantage and a system driven by an defined by numbers. At the root of this were the simplified self-interested creatures that John Nash had created back in the 1950s to make his game theory equations work. But now, the aim of the system of targets and incentives was to transform public servants into just these simplified beings. Individuals would populate only what was best for them and did not think any longer and wider political terms.

The various vision of these individual isolated humans that they are only information processors. There is no emotion involved, that people don’t get their some of their motives from participating politics from emotional feelings of being part of something larger. Then themselves. None of that is allowed in this together theorem. And so what we have is we have this image of these little information processors who might possibly care about their family or whatever but would, but I mean. The idea that they have the interests of the welfare of the whole heart is thought to be naïve.

Footage from the Cold War.
Thatcher, talking about freedom.

In November 1989, the Berlin wall collapsed in the Cold War it was finally over. A new era of freedom had begun, but the shape that freedom was going to take would be defined by the victors. A West. As this program has shown, the idea of freedom that had now become dominant in the West was deeply rooted in the suspicion and paranoia of the Cold War.

Next, this idea takes over politics itself, as it seems to offer a better alternative to democracy. But what actually leads to his corruption and growing rigidity, and the dramatic rise of inequality. And we will come to believe that we really are the strange isolated beings of the Cold War scientists have invented to make their models work. This bleak vision, far from liberating us will become our cage.