Film Review- The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear
By: Daniel Bloomberg
The Power of Nightmares is a 2004 documentary detailing the rise of the politics of fear. It traces this rise by tracing the development of two groups from the 1970’s-1990’s in different regions of the world, following different ideologies, and following different paths, that each came to use the same tactic, fear as a means to bring about political goals: The United States Neoconservative movement, and the extreme Islamist movement of the Middle East.
This documentary excellently depicts the evolution of the ideologies of these groups as they deliberately create a mythology of Good vs. Evil in order to unite their constituencies in what they considered to be a more moral society seeking to drive the evil from the world. This evolution occurs as in certain instances such as during the Cold War these groups begin to fall victim to the myth that they themselves created and in others including during the Clinton administration, where they simply didn’t care. This was a radical change from politicians of previous periods who had offered visions of change for a better future. It concludes with a unique presentation of Al Qaeda, and the larger war on terror as a distorted projection of this myth.