For liberals in the West, events like Brexit, the war in Syria and the rise of Donald Trump have raised disturbing questions about the lack of global stability. These turbulent events also contribute to a feeling that the systems that are in place, which are intended to bring about progress and prosperity, are now failing.
But, to British journalist and filmmaker Adam Curtis, these events are not surprising. Rather, he says, they are the result of decades of the West's reliance on experts, politicians and economists who paint a simplistic view of the world instead of trying to understand complex and difficult questions.
Curtis unpacks this idea in the provocative documentary, "HyperNormalisation," released just a few weeks before the 2016 election.
"What I'm trying to do is say, 'no, look, we live in a completely dynamic, chaotic and unpredictable world,'" Curtis told The Takeaway's John Hockenberry. "I want to try to make sense of it, rather than just mouthing cliches. And that's what I tried to set out to do.”
Curtis criticizes not just politicians and economists, but even artists and satirists like Jon Stewart, who mock Trump supporters and laugh at their perceived ignorance. This strategy, Curtis says, only further isolates those Americans and furthers the divide between the two groups. In order to truly bring about change, liberals must come up with an alternative view of the future that they can offer to Trump supporters.
"You don't say they're ignorant," Curtis says. "You say, 'look this is a world that we could create together that actually is better than what Donald Trump wants.' You don't laugh at them. You actually appeal to them. That's really radical politics."