The Trap

There’s nothing very surprising in Adam Curtis’ The Trap: What happened to our dreams of Freedom? compelling as it is.

The film, which is in three parts (part 1, part 2, part 3), might as well be called A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism. Using his trademark oneiric style, Curtis shows how the spread of ultra-reductive models of human motivation from the Cold War into economics, education and science led to the occlusion of politics. Much of what Curtis describes makes for a bitter comedy indeed.

Ironically however, The Trap performs its own occlusion of the political. There is simply no sense of any kind of alternative vision, nor any pointers to a solution (of any type). Episodes such as the rise of Margaret Thatcher just ‘happen’, with the immense political conflicts of that period relegated to a footnote. Rather than seeing ideas as being consciously promoted by particular social forces and particular interest groups, Curtis paints a world where we all are just sleepwalking into oblivion for quite mysterious and utterly opaque reasons.

What is left out of The Trap is the very nature of the political as such - struggles, contestation, alternatives.

Despite that criticism it is still very much worthy of a viewing.

Posted by Graham Lister on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 07:25 PM in No particular place to go
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Comments:

1

Posted by Suburban_elk on January 07, 2013, 08:38 PM | #

Why is it worthy of reviewing, if it does not include what is relevant?

Using the word, oneiric, may be suggestive, but.

2

Posted by Suburban_elk on January 08, 2013, 09:27 AM | #

My comment previous seems clever or snarky. The question may have been, is Curtis someone from whom something out of the ordinary might have been expected? Otherwise, just another court documentarian.

3

Posted by Leon Haller on January 10, 2013, 05:40 AM | #

Before the following lengthy comment of mine on GW’s observations on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which contains material worth the time of nationalists, gets completely lost, I thought I’d repost it here. Perhaps it will clarify some ongoing debates?

Posted by Leon Haller on January 05, 2013, 07:35 AM | #

If as a movement Occupy retains its radicalism, and is not drawn into the system, and does not decline into a constructive engagement with the Democratic party as the Tea Party movement has through its engagement with the GOP, then there is an historic possibility open to it.  It could, through the agency of its more radical intellectuals, formulate and evangelise a revolutionary alternative to neoliberalism in a post-market age.

This is not impossible or improbable.  All that is required is a little of the financial contagion one hears about to morph into ideological contagion.  An Establishment whose sole purpose is to extract value from ordinary Americans and redirect it to the investor class could find its power to defend itself damaged, even compromised.  It may not take much for the spirit of a recessionary age to turn to one of creative destruction.

If that were to be the case, the Tea Party movement will have been completely sidelined.  Look at the historical irrelevance of its “non-negotiable core beliefs”:

1. Illegal Aliens Are Here Illegally.
2. Pro-Domestic Employment Is Indispensable.
3. Stronger Military Is Essential.
4. Special Interests Eliminated.
5. Gun Ownership Is Sacred.
6. Government Must Be Downsized.
7. National Budget Must Be Balanced.
8. Deficit Spending Will End.
9. Bail-Out And Stimulus Plans Are Illegal.
10. Reduce Personal Income Taxes A Must.
11. Reduce Business Income Taxes Are Mandatory.
12. Political Offices Available To Average Citizens.
13. Intrusive Government Stopped.
14. English As Core Language Is Required.
15. Traditional Family Values Are Encouraged.

You see what I mean. (Guessedworker)

No, I most certainly do NOT see what you mean, not an atom of it.

“Historical irrelevance”? That list is outstanding - and ALWAYS relevant. I may have a few quibbles and additions (most prominently, abolishing legal immigration and the Fed, along with then restoring a 100% gold dollar), and I’m always one for putting more teeth into anodyne phrases like “traditional family values”, but on the whole, the USA or any Anglosaxonist nation should be so lucky as to have that list translated into public policy.

GW, you can produce interesting commentary, with the occasional well-wrought turn phrase, and you are clearly a patriot of England and Europa. I’m sure you’re also a true English gentleman, someone with whom it would be pleasant to converse over tea and biscuits. But you need to be careful about wandering off into (credibility-wrecking) conspiracist nonsense, as well as rather risibly falling for any hucksterism as long as it can be pigeon-holed into broader anti-neoliberalism. I also don’t think you understand US politics or political potentialities very well (in fairness, neither do many here, including many of the Americans).

OWS was not only racially, culturally and, er, hygienically, rancid. It was never in the least bit interested in challenging the really objectionable aspects of neoliberalism - open immigration, and globalization of wage rates. The latter, it must be said, is not objectionable as a “first-order” problem (if [removed] Corp wants to open a factory in Pakistan, why the hell shouldn’t it? it, and workers, shareholders, and consumers, are all made better off), but is so in a secondary sense.

Many persons, especially neoliberals defending economic globalization from nationalists, conveniently forget that the greatest economist of all time, Ludwig von Mises, pointed out in his magnum opus, Human Action, that the free market always tends towards the equalization of wage rates for the same tasks across national boundaries, or for however great the extension of the market.

Over time, eg, steelmakers in Pennsylvania will see their wages reduced to the condition of steelmakers in Brazil (or China). Free traders will argue that, in macro terms, this is a good thing, as the same product is being produced for lower costs, thus freeing up net capital to be employed elsewhere (in micro terms, the PA steelmakers are either going to find their wages lowered, or their jobs eliminated - but if governments prevented all specific harms resulting from the “creative destruction” of capitalism, they would literally eliminate any possibility of economic progress). This argument is economically irrefutable. Free trade increases the overall economic output for all economies which engage in it. Free trade between nations is analytically no different from free trade between cities or even individuals within nations.

The problems with free trade policies are real, but non-economic. They are political and national (the latter implicating both ethnocultural and military security issues). We don’t want to allow free trade in missile technology between US defense contractors and, say, al-Qaeda. Japan may be unwilling to practice free trade with foreign rice growers because it perceives a national, cultural and military value in maintaining a domestic rice industry, even if it is economically wasteful (the outrage of a California rice crop, OTOH, is a function solely of the kind of politically-created economic inefficiencies - in this case, taxpayer-subsidized water for farmers - that persons like you and Dr. Lister would like to see maximized under your (perhaps in fairness rather hazy and ill-conceptualized) version of a nationalist political economy, in which the emphasis would surely be on “political” more than “economy”).

Economically proletarianizing the white middle and working classes risks racially, culturally and morally proletarianizing them as well, which then can lead them to find nation-killing socialism more appealing than defense of property, and/or encourage them to form allegiances rooted in class-based as opposed to race-based resentments - which wouldn’t do at all (for the race itself, as well as for the cause of good government). The notion that a broad middle class is a force for proper order and social and economic stability goes at least as far back as Aristotle. Disrupting and diluting that class for the sake of short term profit maximization may well constitute long term folly even for the maximizers themselves. It is perfectly proper, then, for true conservatives to cast a jaundiced eye over the more utopian ejaculations of economic globalists, and certainly Free Trade should be considered the least important aspect of the Freedom Agenda, let alone any broader agenda of the Right.

OWS never developed any patriotic counter-neoliberal critique along the lines I’ve sketched above. Frankly, the ones I saw, in person one time, on tv or internet the other times, would not have been intellectually capable of producing much of anything. They were a paradigmatic left-wing rabble, a gathering of all the usual nutcases and America-hating malcontents (along with sizable contingents of bums and street criminals - quite unlike the stolid, bourgeois Tea Partiers, amongst whom I am proud to number myself, at least spiritually), spewing radical invective at will, and doing so completely indiscriminately, as though there were no difference between a businessman made wealthy by producing goods for sale in the open market, and some parasite receiving a coercive taxpayer bailout.

Indeed, that OWS was, in fact, a wholly manufactured movement of the Far Left of the Democratic Party, as against a spontaneous outpouring of inchoate anger from the allegedly underprivileged, is evident by its deafening silence on not only the direct link between the Fed and Big Finance (something Ron Paul discussed at length in his campaign), but on the matter of public union costs and practices (a huge factor in America’s stagnant economy), and even just union ‘pension-spiking’ (google this outrage, and learn about the real evil of the supporters of Big Government in the USA).

The TP was and is the real vehicle for national patriotic progress in America. The TP was not pro-Wall Street or Big Finance in the least. The TP is the only mass-movement which has criticized the Fed and central banking and the leveraged economy at all. Your dismissal of the TP is bizarre if not unconscionable.

Finally, WNs at this late date really need to learn something. There are very few pro-white leftists in the US. I have never met a single one in person, and I have been to many anti-immigration and WN-oriented meetings and conferences. Not every WP is as hardline and comprehensively rightist as I am, to be sure. But if you look at white survivalism, the gun culture, the Minutemen and other opponents of immigration, etc, you will not find more than the occasional oddwad who would say he basically agrees with Obama and the Left except for their views on race and immigration. Yes, there are undoubtedly still some racists in the unions, esp the dwindling private sector ones in the building trades, men who don’t like blacks but also want Big Government (or at least their union oligopolies maintained). I did once come to know slightly a house painter who was part of a work crew I employed, and who was both racist and quite anti-capitalist. But he was an Irish immigrant (possibly illegal, for all I knew; the firm was licensed and bonded).

I have been making this point for at least 4-5 years at MR. The base of any pro-white movement in the US is Middle America, or it is nothing (as the late Sam Francis and still living Pat Buchanan have both understood). Middle Americans are white, and mostly conservative; that is, they are moderately pro-white, more often Christian than secular, and supporters of private property and the market economy. While few are enemies of the market, they do resent Big Money using its advantages to consolidate its superiority (as was the case with TARP - a huge bailout of Wall Street - as well as the whole Fed QE charade). Any WP movement which disrespects Christianity, either by directly insulting it (in the manner of DanielS, uh, Dr. Lister, Alex Linder, or the weirdly oversensitive faggots at Counter-Currents), or even merely failing to address its moral concerns about race-hate as against racial honesty and race-preservation, automatically renders itself marginalized-to-useless to the task of mass-movement building (there is a reason I am studying Theology and Catholic moral philosophy).

Moreover, Middle Americans are the backbone of our market economy, and overwhelmingly labor in the private sector (with the exception of the large numbers in the military and law enforcement). They want capitalist growth, because they benefit from it, and indeed, need it, so as to be able to provide the lifestyles they want, while providing for the inevitable shocks and problems associated with our ever-more socialist government. Middle class MAs are vociferously antitax not because most will be affected by Obama’s recent tax hikes on people making over $400k annually, but because we understand that rising government spending does not redound to us, but rather, makes our own private sector lives and livelihoods that much less certain. We need and want a growing economy, and thanks to the efforts of free market advocates, neoliberal and libertarian as well as conservative, over the past couple of generations, there is now much more widespread economic literacy, at least in the most general sense (ie, Big Govt = crappy economy). Any WP movement that thinks it can somehow ‘coattail’ on an OWS-type platform is too foolish to be engaged with.

The central task of American WPs is to disseminate racial truth as widely among ordinary whites as possible. The way to accomplish this - the way to get an audience for our ‘risky’ and ‘extreme’ views - is to be as majoritarian, that is, as fucking normal, as possible - within the bounds of what constitutes normality for your target audience.

White race treason and PC more generally are not normal for our people. Most whites I’ve known (though not all, and the brainwashing is spreading and deepening the longer the invasion continues; I am continually surprised at the lack of racial reaction from whites to their ongoing dispossession ... it is possible that we have missed our ‘golden opportunity’ to end the invasion, which would have been either in the early 80s, with the minor but real “Conservative Ascendancy”, or immediately following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and that it is now too late even to save a multiracialized America in which whites can nevertheless be at home and prosper; thus the only option for normal, non-PC whites to be able to live, not white, but merely civilized at all, especially in the future, will be secession) never wanted mass immigration, and many strongly opposed it. Everybody hated affirmative action. Yet, people just duck their heads and move on, in part because they think being pro-white is equivalent to being racist (which they assume means being hateful, which to them is wrong). Just subverting that equation is hard enough, and certainly has not been accomplished (and as miscegenation skyrockets and immigration proceeds apace, the time to do so with meaningful effect is running out).

The best way to advance white EGI in the US is to focus on awakening conservatives to how their values and preferred policies are being subverted by increasing ‘diversity’. Frankly, only more or less modal conservatives (like me) can accomplish this.

Or does GW think that the many youngish whites in OWS (Obama supporters to a pierced and tattooed woman, I guarantee you!) were somehow ripe for racial realism and WN activism? Grow up, people.

4

Posted by Leon Haller on January 10, 2013, 05:42 AM | #

When I can grab a few hours free, I’m going to watch these links to The Trap. Is The Century of the Self also posted for free online (I don’t currently have a tv where I am, so I’m not going to pay to watch it on my smallish computer screen)?

5

Posted by Bill on January 10, 2013, 07:42 AM | #

Curtis paints a world where we all are just sleepwalking into oblivion for quite mysterious and utterly opaque reasons.

Here’s a piece by Brendan O’Neill at Spiked.  Perhaps he had Curtiss in mind when he penned this.

The cult of welfarism has become suffocating

The article concludes.

We don’t have an ideological war over the welfare state - but we need one. We need a new and serious debate about the cult of welfarism, about the fact that everyone agrees welfarism is the only solution to the problems facing society and facing the poor, and about the detrimental impact such non-stop state oversight of poor and working-class communities is having on social solidarity, community bonds and individual initiative. Of course, every civilised society should have a system of social insurance to assist the down-at-heel and also the disabled and elderly. But every civilised society ought also to encourage people to take responsibility for their lives and their communities and to demand and strive for the best existence possible. Ours, currently, has none of that.

Brendan O’Neill

Our civilisation is crumbling - can’t you hear it?  It’s signifier is what you can see going on around you.  This civilisation of ours has hit the buffers, it’s all been tried before, we’re reduced now to just being kept alive, yet nobody can come up with an idea as for why?  For what purpose?

And that’s what we’re all discussing here at MR.

 

6

Posted by Bill on January 10, 2013, 09:41 AM | #

@ 5

http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13243/

7

Posted by Bill on January 10, 2013, 11:52 AM | #

Austerity is focussing on the welfare state.

Who killed the British welfare state?   Ed West. Telegraph.

The welfare state has destroyed social cohesion says the pundits.

Mass immigration has killed the welfare state, it is no longer sustainable and is under government attack, is the conclusion drawn.  Hey, who’da thunk it?

Once again I’m at odds with the comments.  Reality tells me the principle aim (by means of divide and conquer) was indeed intended to disrupt social cohesion but not for the reason stated by Ed West’s article in today’s Telegraph.

There’s a myriad of reasons for mass immigration we’ve all heard over the years, but this latest is a new one on me.  Destroy social cohesion in preparation for the state’s killing of the welfare state.

There has been a drip-drip campaign in the MSM for sometime now vilifying the ‘don’t have to get out of bed welfare scrounger’ subliminally targeting whites only, (no inference of others.)

I’ve been slow to catch on this latest insidious divide and conquer always works without fail scam.

The MSM must have decided to give the Poles (EU migrants) a break from being the whipping boy of why everything is going wrong.

Divide and conquer is as old as man himself and always gets results, the commenter’s have yet to catch on to this evil trick. 

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100197520/who-killed-the-british-welfare-state/

Can you reconcile these two statements?

Is it any wonder that, faced with the break-up of universal welfare, social solidarity has not held firm? That the me generation has spawned the meh generation

The Tories didn’t kill the welfare state – it died by a thousand cuts, from academics, journalists and politicians who undermined social solidarity by their disdain for national identity.

8

Posted by Bill on January 12, 2013, 07:15 AM | #

In today’s Telegraph.

Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard says he would celebrate ‘handball’ goal like Luis Suarez

The wages of relativism in British sport is loadsa money.

When I werra lad a batsman would walk if an umpire called it wrong on a loud appeal. a footballer would have ‘fessed’ up to the referee to his ‘accidental’ hand-ball.

Remember McEnroe?  Now a venerated BBC grandee commentator at Wimbledon.  You cannot be serious…..

No so today in uber liberal Britain where anything is what you think it is.  They just mirror the corruption they see at the highest level of society.

Yet, thinking about it, when in a world where everyone cheats, it is a sort of market equality.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/liverpool/9796871/Liverpools-Steven-Gerrard-says-he-would-celebrate-handball-goal-like-Luis-Suarez.html

9

Posted by Bill on January 18, 2013, 10:49 AM | #

See @ 8

This is the same theme as @ 8.  Where have all our standards gone?

Lance Armstrong confesses.

Ed West of the Telegraph has joined the fray.

Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey is doing the rounds and the liberal chattering classes are mauling (mulling) it over.  To what are the liberal chatterari attributing Armstrong’s reasoning?

ED West says

It’s hard to pinpoint what caused this cultural shift. Among the reasons must be the general move in favour of rehabilitation over punishment which began around the 1960s; the increased fear of lawsuits (the number of lawyers per head of the US population doubled between 1965 and 1995); the managerial revolution and its culture of “cover your ass” and rewarding failure, as witnessed during the banking collapse; and perhaps the cult of celebrity, whereby celebs (armed with PR machines) are subjected to lighter punishments than mere civilians.

This quote from Ed West’s musings I rank equally as bad as cheating (that’s if one thinks cheating & lying is bad.)

The new religion that is post- modern liberalism has kicked Christianity out of our daily lives and imposed itself across the globe, where it sits comfortably alongside the nation state.

Christianities‘s ten commandments are out, post-modern relativism is in.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.  (Who can argue against that?)

Back to Ed West.  Ed West knows perfectly well what is going on in to today’s world, jeez, he even earns his living writing about it in a top-line newspaper, to suggest otherwise is sheer folly.
Does Ed West think he is cheating by not disclosing what he really knows, or is he just covering his ass? (as he puts it.)

In world where everyone is a cheat there can be no such thing as truth.  Do they really believe this stuff?  How can such a society function intelligently?

How many of the masses out there no about this stuff, not many I’ll wager.

Before embarking on my quest I couldn’t figure why there was such widespread corruption taking place.

No wonder they think the world is going mad
.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100198746/lance-armstrongs-doping-confession-why-does-no-one-say-sorry-properly-any-more/

 

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