We Will Force You to Be Free

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).

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.


We Will Force You to Be Free

This series of films has told the story of the raise of a narrow and peculiar kind of freedom. The last two programs had shown how politicians from both the right and the left, came to believe in a simplistic model of human beings: the self-seeking, almost robotic creatures. Out of this came a new and simplified idea of politics. No longer did politicians set out to change the world, instead they saw their job as being to deliver nothing more than what these free individuals wanted. And at the same time, we too came to think of ourselves as simplified beings, whose behavior and even feelings, could be analyzed objectively by scientific systems, which told us what was the normal way to feel. And both we, and our leaders have come to believe this is the true definition of freedom, there is no other.

But there is. There is an alternative idea of freedom. But we have hidden it and forgotten about it, because it can be so frightening and dangerous. It is the dream of not only changing the world but also transforming people. And by changing them you can then free them from themselves. This film will go back and unearth that forgotten idea of freedom. It will show why it is so dangerous, and why it was hidden. But it will also show why this idea still holds us, because it inspires people. It offers hope and meaning in a way our narrow version of freedom was deliberately design to exclude. The architects of our present world set us a terrible trap. In seeking to protect us from the dangers of the other kind of freedom, they led us into a world without meaning.

To understand these two ideals of freedom, and how they came to oppose each other, you have to go back to the Oxford of the 1950s. And to a man who did more than anyone to define them. He was one of the most important liberal thinkers of the 20th Century. Isaiah Berlin. Berlin was an extraordinary figure. He was born in St Petersburg, and witnessed the Russian Revolution. His family then fled to Britain, and Berlin grew up to become one of the central figures in the British establishment. During the war he served as a diplomat in America, and got to know many of the young politicians who would later run America during the Cold War. In the 50s Berlin became a political philosopher at Oxford, and a celebrity: he was featured in Vogue, and appeared regularly on he BBC.

At the heart of Berlin’s thought was the question of individual freedom and how to protect it. – What I think, I think what ___ says which is the question of freedom. And how to protect it.

You want to feel free to make mistakes. I think I object not being ___, I object to paternalism. Ultimately, I think what I object to is being treated as a schoolboy, being told my own good. There are certain things that ___ being driven in a perfectly beneficent direction but perfectly disinterested and pure hearted… anyone like governments or a manufactures*, it doesn´t matter which. If human beings are children, we must first ___ together, create some institutions, make them work and we hope later we will see how well we done for them. And they will become rational intercourse of… This is exactly why the British Empire fell towards. Colony people in Africa is exactly how schoolmasters feel to our children, and it always leads to death* .

And for Berlin the greatest threat to individual freedom in the world was the Soviet Union. In October 1956, the hungarian people had risen up and ___ their communist government. In response soviet forces invaded, and brutally suppressed the rebellion, massacring thousands. The Soviet action shocked the world, and for Berlin it defined the central paradox of the age. How could the Soviet system which had been designed and built in the dream of liberating individuals from tyranny had become such an oppressive and tyrannical force in the world? Berlin believed that he had the answer, and he set out to explain what had happened. And in doing this, he was going to offer what he believed was a better and safer ideal of freedom.

In 1958, Berlin gave a lecture at Oxford Oxford which he called „Two Concepts of Liberty“, it will become one of the key ideological underpinnings of the Cold War. There are, he said, two very different kinds of freedom. One he called, positive liberty, the other, negative liberty. And to explain them, Berlin went back into the past. Both ideas is originated, he said, in the same impulse, more than 200 years before, at the time of the French Revolution, when individuals wanted to free themselves from the oppression of tyrants and despots. Positive liberty, Berlin explained, was born after the belief of those who led these revolutions that to be truly free, people had to be transformed, they had to become better, rational beings, and only the leaders knew what that idea of human being should be, and how it could be created.

This, Berlin said, led to a terrible logic in all revolutions: the masses, who did not realized what true freedom was, had to be coerced. At the height of the French Revolution, the Jacobin leader, Roberspierre, explained this: terror from a revolutionary government, he said, is very different from the terror used by tyrants in the past, because now, it meant the destruction of those whose moral corruption was barring the way to a new society of virtue. Terror has become, he said, the despotism of liberty against tyranny. Another of the jacobins, Saint Just put it more simply: “We must force the people to be free”. From the French terror to the short trials and the mass executions in the Soviet Union this logic always led, Berlin argued, to horror, and the very opposite of freedom.

Positive liberty, he said, will always fail because it was driven by a forced belief that there was one true answer to all human ills. Once you believe that you got the final answer to human ills, if it justifyng the answer, no sacrifice is too great for it, and even if you were to kill people for it. This is the one and permanent bliss happiness: of mankind of surely worth it. If you believe there´s a single answer to a single question, the true answer, all the other answers being false, and all these answers can be put together and harmonize with each other, and create the perfect universe, then there is a temptation, if you think you have it, to do awful things.

Against this corrupt idea, Berlin defined his other idea of freedom: negative liberty. Negative liberty, he said, was the freedom of all individuals to do what they want and nothing more. There should be governments and laws to ensure that individuals actions do not interfere with each others freedoms, but other than that power should be restrained. Negative liberty was a society deliberately without ideals, other than individuals desires and the freedom to indulge them. As the last two programs showed, this was a similar vision to the ideas of the economists and the technocrats of the Cold War.

They had ____ an ideal of society that comprised only of millions of self-seeking individuals, which the mathematics said would lead automatically to stability and order. What Berlin was doing, was giving this vision a sense of destiny, and historical inevitability. By counterposing negative liberty to positive liberty with its inevitable horrors, Berlin was saying, that this kind of society was the only safe alternative for the West in the Cold War. It was the kind of freedom it was fighting for. Berlin´s lecture was published, and it became a defining vision for a generation who set out to educate the masses that all attempts of revolution however seductive and romantic, would always lead to disaster.

And the power always had to be restrained. What is that I hear, that note of urgency of indignation, of spiritual hunger? Yes, it’s Beethoven it’s the sound of the european man once more reaching for something beyond his grasp. Oh freedom, freedom, come to us again.” This cry has echoed through the all the countless revolutionary movements of the last century. They suffered from the most terrible of all illusions, they believed themselves to be virtuous, and in the end were destroyed by the evil beings they had brought into existence. And the other half of the message from the Cold War intellectuals, was that systems should be created to restrain politicians power.

Especially those leaders who said they wanted to do good for us, because inexorably, they would become tyrants. Every tyrant in history has said that he wants power to do good for his fellows. And don’t you think that… that the necessary thing is to check* and stop people having power? I hate government, I hate power. I think that man’s existence in ___ he achieves anything is to resist power, to minimize power. To device systems of society in which power is the least ___. But Isaiah Berlin knew that it was going to be difficult to achieve and maintain this negative idea of freedom, and in his lecture, and throughout his life, he warned of the danger it would face.

Those who promote negative liberty, must never come to believe it is an absolute idea, because such a belief in one final answer always leads to coercion and the opposite of freedom. But this was exactly what was going to happen, and Berlin’s warning would become a prophecy. Ironically, this corruption of negative liberty, would begin with the researchers of positive liberty. In the wake of the Soviet disaster, a new and even more extreme version of positive liberty was about to rise up in the Third World. It would be a revolutionary vision of transforming individuals through violence.

It would spread and begin to destabilize the balance of power in the world. In response the followers of negative liberty in the West would decide that they had to confront and roll back this tide. Out of this would emerge a strange mutant idea. It would use violent revolutionary techniques to create a world of negative freedom. In the late 50’s a series of wars of liberation began. People who had been ruled by colonial powers forced to free themselves. One of the first was the Algerian Revolution. Led by a marxist group the FLN.

Out of the struggle emerged a powerful new figure, a black intellectual called Frantz Fanon, who became a leading ideologist of the revolution. Fanon believed that the West excercised its control by getting inside people’s minds, turning them into passive zombies. The only way for individuals to free themselves from this, he said, was through violence, including terrorism. Violence was not just a battle against the military, the very experience of the armed struggle would, Fanon said, be cathartic, would awaken the revolutionaries from the West insidious form of control, and turn them into what he called, „New Man“.

A famous film called The Battle of Algiers was made which dramatized Fanon’s ideas. This is the bit that interested Fanon, the siege* of liberty by the opressed people. And he thought that there was something liberating about that very act of armed siege* of defeating the enemy and the self respect which would arise from an autonomous struggle of that kind. Constructing the new man entirely, the freed out of the struggle, as if the traumas of the past of previous relations could be washed away*. As if the revolutionary war would be a sort of blanking out of everything, a complete tabula rasa, start again from the beggining.

Behind Fanon’s ideas was the very specific western idea of freedom, the existencial ideas of the Philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. Fanon had been educated in Paris in the 1950s, and had become a friend of Sartre’s. And he had been deeply influenced by Sartre’s idea that individuals are trapped in a narrow and bleak idea of freedom by the pressures of the society around them. To achieve true freedom, Sartre said, one had to find ways to break through this illusion. And what Fanon did, was turn this idea into a revolutionary theory.

And his ideas became the guiding force behind nearly all the Third World revolutions of the 60’s and the 70’s. They inspired Che Guevara, Yasser Arafat, and Steve Biko in South Africa. And Fanon’s ideas also inspired Sartre himself. Sartre believed that they could be applied not just the Third World, but in the West himself. He became convinced that it was only through revolutionary violence that individuals in the West could truly free themselves from the controls of bourgeois society. You have to understand that all revolutionaries understand today that there’s no way of overthrowing modern society except by violence, for the very good reason that this society defends itself by repression and violence.

I’m defending a revolutionary cause because my personal goal, which is that of all those here, is to overthrow bourgeois society. After ideas like these, came waves of terrorists attacks in Europe in the early seventies. Those who led the attacks believed that the terror was the way of breaking through the bourgeois façade to a new freedom. Then, in 1975, the logic of this idea reached its most extreme incarnation. When the Khmer Rouge’s revolutionaries liberated Cambodia. Their leader Pol Pot, had also studied revolutionary theories in Paris, and he believed that the only way for Cambodian society to reach utopia, was to destroy the whole of bourgeois society, and start again, back to year zero.

Within a hours of arriving at the capital Phnom Penh, the Khmer Rouge set about slaughtering all the middle classes, some 3 million people in the end, because under Pol Pot’s logic, they stood in the way of allowing the rest of the people to become truly free individuals. Pol pot also appealed to many Cambodians living in France, intelectuals, professionals, doctors, teachers, to come back to Cambodia in 1975-1976, to help the new regime to build a new society. And many of the men who came back were actually slaughtered, murdered actually on the airport when they arrived in the planes.

Just this was a sort of ___ destruction of any opposition of any source of intellectual differencies of the society that Pol Pot was going to build would have no opposition inside or outside of Cambodia. The chaos caused by these revolutions, also begun to destabilize the balance of power in the world. And this would inexorably bring them face to face with America, and its global battle against communism. But what this clash was going to lead to, was the rise in America of a new militant idea of freedom, and the belief that it was the United States duty to spread this freedom around the world, by force if necessary.

Ever since the Second World War, American governments had struggled to contain the spread of Communism, and the wave of Third World revolutions was the dangerous new face in this battle. To try and stop it, during the 60’s and 70’s, American governments adopted a ruthless strategy backing dictators and tyrants around the world who offered to contain these revolutionary forces. They did this, by repressing or killing thousands of their own people. The Main architect of this policy was Henry Kissinger, secretary of State under president Nixon.

He used America’s power to back dictators like general Pinochet in Chile, and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. Kissinger knew that these dictators used torture and mass killing to stay in power, but in his theory, what he called Real Politik, this was the price that had to be paid if Soviet tyranny was to be kept in shack*. But duringthe 70’s, a group of young radicals emerged in Washington, who believed that this was wrong. For America to support torture and killing, was a corruption of its ideals. They became known as the neo-coservatives, and what linked them was the vision of a new moral kind of foreign policy America should actively use its great power to spread democracy in the world.

One of this group was Michael Ledeen, he called himself a democratic revolutionary. We were aiming for expansion of the sound of freedom in the world, and in part that had to do with fighting communism, and in part it had to do with fighting other kinds of tyrannies, but that’s what we were about, it’s what we’re still about. We want, you know, down with tyranny, we want free countries. We think that America is better off if we live in a world primarily populated with free countries and make them don’t have to appeal to their own people for the source of their power, and to ratify their decisions.

And we think that if the whole world were like that, then we would be much more secure. We are democratic revolutionaries, we wanted to spread freedom everywhere we could. And it wasn’t just communist dicatators that we hated, we hated them all. And then, in 1979, the Iranian revolution showed dramatically that America’s policy of backing dictators did not work. The Iranian people rose up and *** the Sha of Iran. The Sha had one of the largest military forces in the world, given to him by the Americans. But it proved helpless in the face of the new Islamist ideology of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Many on the West saw Khomeini as a resurgence of a dark, almost medieval force, but this was wrong. The Iraninan revolution was yet again, driven by western ideas of political freedom. Behind them, laid the ideas of a young Iranian teacher called Ali Shariati. Shariati is an extraordinary historical figure, because he single handedly fused the ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre and Franz Fanon with Shi’a Islam to produce a completely new revolutionary ideology. And this was this ideology that laid behind of Ayatollah Khomeini radical vision of political Islam.

Like so many revolutionaries Shariati had studied in Paris in the early 60’s, and he had become fascinated by Sartre’s ideas of true freedom and Fanon theories on how to use armed struggle to achieve it. Shariati translated both Fanon and Sartre into farsi. What he added to their theories was the idea that Shi’a Islam could be used to give meaning and purpose to armed struggle, and the utopia it would achieve. This was a radically new interpretation. Since the Seventh Century, Shi’a Islam had been an apolitical and passive force, its leaders, the Ayatollahs, told the people they must not involve themselves in political struggle.

They should wait patiently and endure all hardships until the coming of the true Iman. – Death to the Sha’s mercenary army! But Shariati, had turned Shi’a Islam into a revolutionary political force, that yet again, offered to liberate people, and transform them in the here and now. Was these ideas that Ayatollah Khomeini had taken up and used to overwelm America’s allies And in the slogans shouted on the streets in Tehran, what you hear are the Western ideas of positive liberty, and the theories of Franz Fanon. – Armed struggle is the road to freedom!

Mr. Reagan is for freedom. And he is for the people. Ladies and gentleman, the next president of the United States of America: Ronald Reagan! In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran for president. His campaign message was simple: he promised freedom at home and abroad. When he was elected, many of the young neoconservatives joined his administration, and their ideas became central to the new foreign policy. In October 1981, the new Secretary of State Alexander Haig, announced to a startling senate a new moral crusade by America to extend freedom in the world, by force if necessary.

There are things that we Americans must be willing to fight for. You now this Republic was spawned by armed conflict, where the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy today were a consequence of armed conflict, insurrection if you will. There are things worth fighting for. We must understand that, we must structure our policy under that credible and justified premise. President Reagan signed a series of directives that set up what was called „Project Democracy“. It had two parts: One set up a series of organizations, whose job was to openly promote the ideal of democracy abroad.

This set out to promote groups like solidarity in Poland, but it also helped overthrow the dictators who had been America’s allies. The Reagan administration forced both Ferdinand Marcos and general Pinochet to call elections, which led to their downfall. – Revolution in the Philippines as the Americans abandoned Marcos. And now that the White House wants to get rid off the man who for so long has been their allied. And at the same time Americans set up what they called „Schools for democracy“, to train the new politicians in these countries.

But the democracy the Americans wanted to create, was deliberately simplified. One of the ideologists who inspired „Project Democracy“, Samuel Huntingnton, who would later become famous for coining the frase „The clash of civilizations“, made this clear. It was a modest form of democracy, he said, where the people are allowed to vote, but nothing else has changed; the wider ideas of democracy of redistributing land and wealth, and creating equality, must not be tried, because that can only be done through coercion, and following the logic of Isaiah Berlin, that would inevitably lead to tyranny.

And this is exactly what did happen. Democracy came to the Philippines, but real power simply shifted to a new set of elites, and the vast inequalities and the corruption remained unchanged. It was a modest kind of freedom. The other part of Project Democracy was to use military force in secret operations to overthrow foreign regimes that stood in the ay of freedom. The main target was the government of Nicaragua, the Sandinistas. The Sandinistas were marxists revolutionaries, who had seized power in 1979, but since then they held elections and had been democratically elected.

The Reagan administration dismissed these ___ as a sham, and operation was set up to enforce the „right kind of democracy“ by overthrowing the Sandinistas if neccesary. The man in charge was a leading neoconservative, Elliot Abrams. What we seek is democracy in Nicaragua, and a Nicaragua at peace with its inhabitants and whit its neighbors. That might not require a change in the government, what it requires is a change in the policy of that government at very least. – You want them to surrender to the United States definition…? – We want the to stop subverting their neighbors and repressing the people of Nicaragua.

Now, does that require the overthrowing of the government? Well, it doesn’t if they change their behavior, and that’s the question, what do you need to do to get them to change their behavior? The answer is „pressure“. The Americans started funding and training a counterrevolutionary army called the Contras. But there was enormous political opposition in the United States, and to get around it, the leaders of Project Democracy set out to frighten the American public. An agency called the Office of Public Diplomacy was set up that disseminated what was called „white propaganda“.

It produced dossiers and fed stories to journalists that proved Soviet fighter planes had arrived in Nicaragua to attack America. Another story, from „intelligence sources“, that the Soviets had given stock piles of chemical weapons to the Sandinistas. President Reagan appeared with maps to show how quickly such a chemical attack could be launched on America itself, it was only a matter of time. The simple questions are: Will we support freedom in this hemisphere, or not? Will we defend our vital interests in this hemisphere, or not? Will we stop the spread of communism in this hemisphere, or not? Will we act while there is still time?

Reagan also told America that Nicaragua was part of an access of rogue* states, including Iran and North Korea, who together ran a global network of terror. Those around the Office of Public Diplomacy, called this technique „Perception Management“. The thinking was, that if you can control the perceptions of the American people about events, that would help you bring them on board. If they thought something was a huge threat to them, they perceived it that way, then they will react a certain way, they will react in support of a more aggressive policy.

Well, you’re trying to convince American people that these folks are out to get you. we had extreme suggestions that the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, who were a rather pathetic force, having been to Nicaragua and seen them, that they’ll be threatening Texas or they’ll be threatening the Panama Canal. Today, El Salvador and Guatemala, tomorrow, the United States. You could take small threats and make them huge threats. You can make the Sandinistas appear like their going to conquer the United States. What was happening was that the neoconservatives were beginning to believe that their ideal of freedom wasn’t absolute.

And that this then justified lying and exaggerating in order to enforce that vision, that the end justified the means. Although they portrayed the Contras as freedom fighters, it was well known that they used murder, assassination and torture, and also were allegedly using CIA supply planes to smuggle cocaine back into the United States. And to finance the Contras, the neoconservatives were even prepared to deal with America’s enemy the leaders of the Iranian revolution. In 1985, those running the Nicaragua operation, held a series of secret meetings with Iranian leaders in Europe.

They arranged to sell the Iranians American weapons, in return, the Iranians would release the American hostages held in Lebanon. Then the money from these sells would be used by those running Project Democracy to fund the Contras. The only problem, was that this was completely illegal, and the president knew it. – We are negotiating, is that right? – We are going to ___ we can discuss. – Did the vice president objected this plan in Iran Mr. President? – Oh… … – You said those words in Weinberger didn’t, did the vice president? – No.

What was beginning to emerge was the problem of spreading the ideal of freedom around the world. To do it, those leading Project Democracy had turned not just to manipulation and violence, but were beginning to undermine the ideals of democracy in America, the very thing, they were trying to create abroad. It was the corruption of freedom that Isaiah Berlin had warned of. But all these problems were about put aside because the West ideal of freedom was about to triumph in the Cold War. – Czech TV has just announced that the communist government has resigned.

In 1989, across Eastern Europe, the people rose up to overthrow their communist leaders. It was a remarkable series of revolutions all driven by the desire for freedom and the ending tyranny. The momentum of these revolutions was unstoppable until in december 1991, the Soviet Union was finally dissolved, and Boris Yeltsin became president of Russia. For many in the West, above all America, this was the triumph of liberal democracy and its ideas. This belief was summed up in the epic argument put forward by the political philosopher Francis Fukuyama, that „the world had arrived at the end of history“.

All competing ideologies, he said, were now dead, and liberal democracy would spread unchallenged around the world. What you’ve seen happening in this century, when we begun at, there were many competitors to liberal democracy, you know, left over hereditary monarchies, fascist dictatorships, communist totalitarianism, and virtually all of these major competitors had now disappeared by the end of the 20th Century. So that in a way, indicates that liberal democracy is now spreading in place of these. Liberal democracy, in the end, is the best arrangement of politics by which people can be recognized on a kind of universal and rational basis.

Out of this, was going to come an epic revolutionary attempt to reconstruct the world. The aim would be to create a utopia, based on the idea of negative liberty. It would be a world in which all individuals would be free to do what they wanted, without coercion by elites or tyrants any longer. It would be the triumph of Isaiah Berlin’s idea of freedom, and it would begin in Russia. In 1992, the American government had passed the Freedom Support Act, its aim was to help Russia reconstruct itself. Along with millions of dollars of aid, came a group of young American advisers, economists and political theorists, that had a radical vision of what was necessary.

They called it „Shock therapy“. The aim was to remove all State control over the Russian economy as a stroke, all price subsidies will be removed, and all State industries privatized overnight. Their leader was a Harvard economist called Jeffrey Sachs. We have the best opportunities right now, the best reformers, the most western looking leaders in this country. But there are people around that want to close up, that are the xenophobes, that are the extreme nationalists, that believe that the West has stabbed this country in the back.

There are real possibilities of political disaster looking here. It’s not a matter of days, but it is a matter of weeks and months, and the people must have hope. The Americans allied themselves with a group of young radical free marketeers around Yeltsin, and together they drew up a plan. Underlying it there was a theory of how to transform society by creating new human beings. As last weeks program showed it was the same theory that laid behind the rise of what was called market democracy in Britain and America in the 1980s.

The theory said that if one destroyed all the elite institutions that in the past had told people what to do, and instead allowed individuals to become independent in the market place, then they would become new kinds of rational beings, choosing what they wanted. Out of this, would come a new form of order, and a new kind of democracy, in which the market, not politics, gave people what they wanted. But things didn’t work out as the theory predicted. On the first day of the plan, all price controls in Russia were removed, and the cost of all goods soared.

Millions of people found themselves unable to afford even the most basic of goods, and with no one to help them. The only solution for millions of Russians, was to come out on to the streets and sell their belongings for anything they could get. – If we don’t sell our things, we don’t eat. – Are those stockings? – Yes. The chaos began to spread, as the currency no longer had any value. Factories began to pay their workers in the products they made, which the people then had to sell wherever they could in order to live.

Then, the privatization plan kicked in. Every Russian was given vouchers to buy shares in the privatized companies, but desperate for cash, they simply sold their vouchers to ruthless businessmen for a fraction of their worth. And a new elite began to emerge who snapped off vast sections of Russian industry. They became known as the „Oligarchs“. Faced with this, the deputies in the Russian Parliament, began to protest against what they called „economic genocide“, would led to chaos and violence inside Parliament.

And in the face of this the group of reformers around Yeltsin persuaded him he had to suspend Parliament. As of today, I am suspending the legislative, administrative and controlling functions of the Parliament of the Russian Federation. In protest, the deputies occupied Parliament. Yeltsin’s response was brutal. He ordered the army to attack, the deputies were arrested, and Yeltsin announced that he would now rule by decree. Shock therapy continued, but in the future, people were going to be made free, through force and dictatorship.

But what actually happened was that Yeltsin became the creature of those with the real power in the new Russia, the oligarchs. In return for loans, Yeltsin gave oligarchs like Boris Berejovsky, the rest of Russian industry. Sometimes at less than 2% of its real value. And then, in 1998, the experiment came dramatically to an end. Russia’s economy is out of control tonight and it’s causing an international financial crisis. Huge cues in Moscow, there’s a run on the banks, the ruble’s lost nearly half its value, and prices are soaring.

I found them frightened, baffled, and angry. My money, she says, they won’t give me my own money. What should I do? I called Smelenzky, the head of the bank, but they said he wasn’t in. It’s horrible. The days of economic reforms seem to be well and truly over here. Out of this economic catastrophe, a new order emerged, but it wasn’t a spontaneous order dreamt of by the free market utopians. It was the very opposite, a harsh, tough nationalism, imposed by the new president Vladimir Putin. Putin arrested or exiled the major oligarchs, and set about dismantling many of the democratic freedoms in the new Russia.

But this was welcomed by the majority of Russians, who now wanted order, not freedom. The people are interested in getting their wages paid in time. They want electricity back into their homes. Many of them are disillusioned in democratic values. Don’t care about freedom of speech, freedom of press, many other freedoms. The ideal of negative freedom, that the market utopians had tried to create in Russia, was based on a scientific idea of human beings, as rational, calculating individuals, who sought only their own desires in advantage.

When Isaiah Berlin had defined that model, back in the days of the Cold War, it had had a meaning an purpose as a safe alternative to threat of communist tyranny. But now, in this new world, the grand jour* that Berlin had given it, fell away. And negative freedom was being revealed as the limited idea it really is. What president Putin could offer Russians were other things, security, dignity, and above all a meaning that went beyond their own individual lives. We defended our great Soviet motherland and kept our independence.

We are used to winning. It is in our blood. It is not just the way to win wars. In peacetime it will also help us. But at the start of the 21st Century, there was going to be one more heroic attempt to spread the idea of negative liberty around the world. And one of the central figure in this utopian mission, was going to be the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Right. Good morning everyone. Now in a moment, Michael’s gonna talk to you about… When New Labour came to power, they had tried to apply the simplified economic model of human beings to all areas of society.

And the prime minister press conferences became an endless procession of graphs ant tables, proving that the government was meeting its performance targets. This was the politics of negative liberty, trying to get people simply what they wanted. But Blair believed that politics could be more than this. He had read Isaiah Berlin’s lecture on the two concepts of liberty. Now ___* he came to power in 1997, he wrote a letter to Berlin. In the letter, Blair asks Berlin wether it is possible to go beyond the narrowness of negative liberty.

The limitations of negative liberty, Blair wrote, are what have motivated generations of people to work for positive liberty, despite what happened in the Soviet Union. Surely, he asks Berlin, just because Socialism has collapsed, it doesn’t mean that the left *** effort confidence to fight against authority, intolerance and hierarchy, and build a more equal society. Isaiah Berlin was on his death bed, and never repplied. But what Blair was asking him, was wether it was somehow possible to combine the two ideas of freedom, and this is what Blair was going to try and do, not at home, but abroad, it began in Kosovo.

In 1998, Blair helped persuade the Americans to join a NATO bombing campaign on Serbia. The aim was to force president Milosevic to stop the ethnic cleansing by Serbian troops. For president Clinton, it was a short term humanitarian mission, but Blair saw something far deeper. It was the beginning of a new universal principle that should be applied across the world. In the modern interconected global society, Blair believed that the West now had a duty to intervene in countries where individuals were threatened by tyranny, and bring liberty to the people.

He outlined this dramatic new vision at a speech in Chicago in 1999. This is, I believe, a just war. Acts of genocide can never be a purely internal matter. If we can establish and spread the values of liberty, the rule of law, human rights and an open society, then that is in our national interest too. The spread of our values makes us, indeed, safer. Does anyone believe that Serbia or Iraq would be nations that originate conflict if they were democracies? But it was the events of September the eleventh, that would transform Blair’s principle into a revolutionary attempt to remake the world, and bring freedom to millions of people.

The kaleidoscope has been shaken, the pieces are in flux, soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us reorder this world around us. I believe that this is a fight for freedom, from the deserts of Northern Africa, to the slums of Gaza, to the mountain regions of Afghanistan, they too are our cause. At the same time, the September 11th attacks, had brought many of the democratic revolutionaries from the 1980’s back to influence in Washington. They and Blair, now came together to try on spread democracy to the Middle East.

And just as in the 80’s, the same techniques of exaggeration and fear, were employed to persuade the american people to back this. And Tony Blair found himself facing the same problem. Although he appealed to the British people to trust him in this radical vision, he now governed a society that distrusted politicians. As this series had shown, the simplified model of economic democracy, was based on the theory that everyone, including politicians, were only driven by self interest. And that idea, had by now, spread to the culture.

Faced with this distrust, Blair employed what many saw as exaggeration and distortion. Perhaps he believed it was the only way to achieve his moral vision. The end justified the meanings. That we will get on the people of Iraq, yes, there’s no question that they’re going to give us Saddam Hussein, and they will welcome as liberator the United States when we come and do that. In April 2003, American and coalition forces ousted Saddam Hussein. And set out to create a new, free society in Iraq, and to do so, they were going to use the very same technique they had used in Russia: Shock therapy. – USA, freedom, USA. – Thank you. – Good.

The head of the provisional authority, Paul Bremer arrived in Iraq by a plan drawn up by a radical group of economists, that was even more extreme and more utopian than had been tried in Russia. The people were to be liberated from all forms of State control, and Bremer immediately set about sacking all members of the Baas party who would run Iraqi society. It was a dramatic revolutionary move. Overnight the Americans destroyed the civic structure of Iraqi society. But instead of trying to create new institutions, Bremer’s plan then set out to engineer the perfect market economy, which the Americans believed would then automatically create a new democracy.

All industries and public services were to be privatized immediately. The country would then be thrown open to international corporations, who in return for investment, could take a hundred percent of their profits out of the country, untaxed. Only one of Saddam Hussein’s laws remained,: the one that restricted trade unions. Out of this was supposed to come spontaneous order. What resulted was chaos. – Push – Do you want these in your fucking hands? – Then get the fuck out. – Go back, go. – There’s a definite disconnect between what needs to happen and what is actually happening.

We need to get this people food, water housing and a government fast. Here, on the lowest level of military hierarchy, I don’t see it happening, I see nothing of this happening. And I’m sure that plans are being made, papers drafted, what not? But this people don’t see that, I don’t see it, and that’s what makes them angry, and that’s what makes them want to attack us. – What are you trying to do? – Trying to change this people’s way of… I don’t know. What also resulted, was corruption, on a huge scale. More than 350 billion dollars has been sent to Iraq for reconstruction.

Audits completed so far show that over 10% of the money has disappeared or been ___ off by American corporations in corrupt overpricing. Then the Americans announced, that a new Iraqi constitution would be written by a governing council whose members would not be elected, but would be chosen by the Americans themselves. Premier* senior figure in the Shi’a community Ayatollah al-Sistani, then issued* a series of fatwas that stated that this was not real democracy. Sistani quoted the principles behind the French revolution, the idea of a social contract, between the people and their rulers.

What the Americans are imposing, he said, is a limited narrow form of democracy that ignores this basic principle. He called on his followers to protest, and he warned that unless the Americans allowed real democracy, the very opposite would rise up to fill its place: an antidemocratic Islamism.

– We want to express about our opinion. It’s the democracy in pretend* ___.

– It never had democracy before, this man says, though we deserved. But Sistani was ignored, and the insurgency began. Led by many of the men the Americans had sacked.

What was happening in Iraq, was the strange logic of the attempt to impose the idea of negative liberty by revolutionary means. Just as in Russia, this narrow conception of freedom, was unable to deal with the complexities of a society composed not just of individuals, but of powerful groups driven by conflicting ideas of Nationalism and Islamism. And in the face of that failure, the Americans began to turn to violence and torture to try and enforce their kind of freedom. And at the same time, the islamists, turned to killing and assasination in order to enforce their revolutionary vision of an islamist state. And the revolutionary attempt to create negative liberty abroad, was also transforming freedoms in Britain itself.

– Your ___ democratically elected government continues to perpetrate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support makes you directly responsible…

In july of 2005, Islamist terrorist who clammed to be responding to Britain’s policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, bombed London. Blair’s response was to push forward dramatic changes to the law. He saw it as an opportunity to reinforce in a much wider ways the specific ideas of negative liberty.

Blair believed that the criminal justice system protected the accused at the expense of the innocent law abiding* individual, and that should be changed. The fundamental dilemma is this: How do we reconcile liberty with security in this new world? When a crime goes unpunished, that is a breach of the victims liberty and human rights. When we can’t deport foreign nationals, even when inciting violence, this country is at risk. Let liberty at last stand up for the law abiding* citizen in this country. What Blair was proposing was that from antisocial behavior through true terrorism, individuals could be detained or punished on far less evidence than before, or even on the suspicion that they might commit a crime in the future.

There has been enormous opposition to this from legal profession. They argue that it opens the way to the arbitrary use of power by governments. Politicians can now decide who is a normal law abiding* citizen, and who is the individual whose ideas might lead to dangerous crimes in the future, and should be locked up with little or no evidence. Yet again, negative liberty has transformed itself into what Berlin had warned against. It’s become a version of its opposite, positive liberty. Our political leaders have the power to decide what is the right kind of free individual, and to punish those who do not conform to that ideal.

But there is one thing that makes our freedom today different from positive liberty. Positive liberty is driven by a vision that freedom is „for“ something, the freedom to do or to become something new, out of which a better world would come. Negative liberty has no such vision, it isn’t for anything. At its heart it has no purpose other than to keep us free from unnecessary constraint or harm. Al emplear la fuerza para crear un mundo basado en la libertad negativa, the democratic revolutionaries had actually lead millions of people abroad into a world without purpose or meaning.

This ideal of freedom, is still portrayed by many politicians and influential commentators, as a universal absolute. They assume it is only a matter of time before it spreads throughout the world. But this may not be true.

As this series has shown the idea of freedom that we live with today, is a narrow and limiting one, that was born out at a specific and dangerous time, the Cold War. It may have had meaning and purpose then, as an alternative to communist tyranny, but now it’s become a dangerous trap. Our government relies on a simplistic economic model of human beings, that allows inequality to grow, and offers nothing positive in the face of the reactionary forces they have helped to awake throughout around the world. If we ever want to escape from this limited world view, we will have to rediscover the progressive positive ideas of freedom, and realize that Isaiah Berlin was wrong: not all attempts to change the world for the better, lead to tyranny.