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The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (TV Mini-Series 2004– ) Poster

Quotes

Michael Lind: For the neo-conservatives, religion is an instrument of promoting morality. Religion becomes what Plato called a "noble lie". It is a myth which is told to the majority of the society by the philosophical elite in order to ensure social order.

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George W. Bush: I just don't think it's the role of the United States to walk into a country and say, "We do it this way, so should you".

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[first lines]

Narrator: In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this, but their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed and today people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life, but now they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us: from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism, a powerful and sinister network with sleeper cells in countries across the world, a threat that needs to be fought by a War on Terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It's a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services and the international media. This is a series of films about how and why that fantasy was created, and who it benefits. At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neo-conservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world, and both had a very similar explanation of what caused that failure. These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together, they created today's nightmare vision of a secret organized evil that threatens the world, a fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.

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Narrator: Was Whitewater true?

David Brock: No! I mean, there was no criminal wrongdoing in Whitewater. Absolutely not. It was a land deal that the Clintons lost money on. It was a complete inversion of what happened.

Narrator: Was Vince Foster killed?

David Brock: No. He killed himself.

Narrator: Did the Clintons smuggle drugs?

David Brock: Absolutely not.

Narrator: Did those promoting these stories know that this was not true, that none of these stories were true?

David Brock: They did not care.

Narrator: Why not?

David Brock: Because they were having a devastating effect. So why stop? It was terrorism. Political terrorism.

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Narrator: Even bin Laden's displays of strength for the Western media were faked. The fighters in this video had been hired for the day and told to bring their own weapons. For beyond his own small group, bin Laden had no formal organization - until the Americans invented one for him.

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[last lines]

Narrator: But the fear will not last, and just as the dreams that politicians once promised turned out to be illusions, so, too, will the nightmares; and then our politicians will have to face the fact that they have no visions, either good or bad, to offer us any longer.

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