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I’m sympathetic to the protest movements and to challenging power in society, but youre not going to do it through self-organizing networks where you all sit around and there are no leaders and there is no guiding vision except self-organization. It’s a retreat, and in many respects it’s a cowardly retreat on the part of the left from confronting the fact that power is getting more and more concentrated in our society, but they don’t have an alternative, and they retreat like bureacrats, like librarians into process…processes of organization, without actually inspiring me with vision of another way of organizing the world.
—Adam Curtis, interview in Little Atoms
Simply give them what they want. Freedom isn’t for anything in particular, only an assurance of non-interference with any individual’s needs or wants. Start with market democracy. Destroy the elite institutions that instruct individuals on what to do and how to behave. Allow individuals to determine their own needs and wants. And the market will rise up to satisfy their needs. This would fulfill Isaiah Berlin’s notion of negative liberty and his concern that freedom for something, some ideal, to make the world a better place, would lead to tyranny.
It’s the subject of the The Trap, three part series by British documentary film-maker and antagonist, Adam Curtis. Parts one through three are linked below.
Part One – F**k You Buddy, (11 March 2007)
Part Two – Lonely Robot, (18 March 2007)
Are the markets a means of consent? –Thomas Frank
Part Three – We Will Force You to Be Free (25 March 2007)
The third film in the series provides an astonishing analysis and indictment of Paul Bremmer’s transitional government program in Iraq. Remove the government apparatus. Immediately privatize all state assets. Encourage reconstruction through the efforts of multinational corporations with the promise of tax-free profits. Unfortunately, rather than coalesce into a shining economic and political success, Iraq erupted with violence and burned its immediate economic prospects as a result of Bremmer’s policies.