New World Disorder
One would be hard pressed to have browsed youtube for any period of time without running across the plethora of videos pertaining to the unseen, powerful reach of the so-called “Global Elite” AKA “The Illuminati” conspiracy theory. In fact, these theories have been a pop culture sensation for several generations, and is a favorite of those who have a deep-seeded need to gain an explanation for an authority responsible for their life’s issues; a scapegoat to bare the burden of all their ailments, shortcomings, and missed opportunities in life. Psychologically, it seems to be a way for adults to point the finger at a shadowy group of parents who guide and interfere with major aspects of their lives, and no worldview is immune from this way of thinking. There are lots of symptoms of this shadowy elite, including significant news events like assassinations, mass murders, elections, any scientific advancements, and world banks. It would take a lifetime to debunk them all. Instead I will focus on some of the more extreme ends of the spectrum in an attempt to offer an insight into the type of worldview the conspiracy theorist will hold.
From a Christian conservative viewpoint, the NWO is an attempt to break away from the good ‘ole days when everything was considered simpler, and guided by religious institutions. That old time religion dominates their ideology, and their main fears are biblically based. “Worship is for God, not government,” thus many of their theories have to do with some deep state movement that will supposedly usher in the era of the anti-christ. Their brand of paranoia is largely an innate fear of losing their religious identity to a more global, diverse and materialistic existence that is open to scrutiny, doubt in God, and critique of their traditionally held beliefs. They are often skeptical of any new form of technology, science, and secular movements as a threat to their traditional way of life. Often times they hold bigoted ideas, and will justify xenophobia, racism, a hatred of sexual freedom, and a reluctance of education for their fear of the globalism.
Well, it’s 2017, and I still have yet to receive my microchip, but I am rather enjoying the Obama dictatorship. Oh wait… Nevermind.
On the New Age more liberal end, the NWO tries to obstruct progress, keeping everyone docile, by opposing free-thought. Ironically, this side tends to be more concerned with an appeal to nature; being skeptical of geoengineering, genetically modified foods, and vaccinations to prevent disease. They have the same kind of traditional ideology, but it claims to be less religious, and has a more “natural law” flavor to it. They tend to hold very conflicted ideas regarding tribalism, since their love for a time when folks roamed the planet like animals, foraging for their food, and disregarding modern hygiene conflicts with their wish to evolve as a species as well as their claims to inclusivity of differing cultures. Most have no idea of the hardship this would all impose. They claim society enslaves people through television, chemicals in medicine and in the water, contrails, GMOs, HAARP, and employment. Yes, being able to work for money is considered slavery because it isn’t enjoyable to the woo crowd.
What both these groups have in common is misconception, a longing for a simplicity they can comprehend, and a fantasy of unbridled freedom from a society they feel is an unbearable imposition to them. They’re bored, are suffering because they feel left behind, and seeking some sort of pattern to their disfunction. The internet has provided a breeding ground for the spread of this nonsense, and anyone who is skeptical of their claims is immediately told to, “do the research.” Since science has guided the progression of our social norms in many ways, these folks also tend to be luddites – wary of any sort of technology. What I find hilarious is how the Church will say New Agers are Illuminati, but New Agers consider the Church to be Illuminati, but in reality, the Illuminati is no longer a thing.
The Bavarian Illuminati, founded in 1776 by Adam Weishapt was a movement against prejudice, superstitious beliefs, and government overreach. It challenged the catholic church, as well as its power over the public. As a result, the Bavarian Duke-Elector issued a number of edicts banning secret societies, and arrests ensued. Weishapt was eventually exiled, having been labeled a conspirator with Bavarian’s rival at the time, Austria, as well as a heathen who dared to critique the religious institutions. Of course, while there were documents found by police discussing not only the benefits of atheism, but also suicide and abortion – two very much taboo subjects for the times. The lies constructed to demonize the group were plentiful and ridiculous, but when you sprinkle a little bit of truth in them, lies become somewhat believable to those who want them to be true. Many of the conspiracy theories have survived the lengthy passage of time, including how the group planned to poison its enemies, pull the strings of power in order to gain control over the masses, and destroy the constructs of society in an effort to usher in a new world order. This was a backlash to the enlightenment era of science and philosophy, and was often a means to shut down free-thinkers by conservative religious organizations in the late 1700’s.
But this faction of the enlightened was claimed to have survived in secret, and influenced the French revolution in Augustin Barruel’s “Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism” and John Robison’s “Proofs of a Conspiracy”. Literature made its way to the United States, keeping the ideas of these religious apologists alive. For a lengthy period, it remained on the fringes, and most people would chuckle at their crazy uncle when he would strongly maintain that: “The global elite had their scientists create the AIDS virus to create a public panic to distract us from their plans – IT’S TRUE! Look it up!” But these ideas have wiggled their way to the mainstream, thanks to easier access and the potential to capitalize on credulity. Even the History Channel, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have a plethora of “documentaries” describing secret societies and the “truth” of how they dominate the world. The books by Dan Brown, like “Angels and Demons,” having been a best sellers and adapted into a movies, revived the crackpot theory of a super powerful world dominating Illuminati, that is hellbent on keeping the truth of their power a secret by any shady means possible.
Another aspect of all of this is how the theorists come from entirely different worlds views, yet aspire to be fighting the same people, who they claim are working together. I find this notion highly unlikely, since many folks, even ones on the same side, tend to fight one another, and can’t keep activities secret. There’s no way that opposing forces would be a dominating world power while keeping it under wraps. I think it is more likely that folks are taking their expanding their own ideologies and creating an enemy to reinforce their bias. Remember confirmation bias? The conspiracy theory confirmation is also largely based on symbolism, which could mean anything the believer wishes it to mean. Don’t like a certain pop star? Illuminati. Don’t like the current Prime Minister? Illuminati…. (of course!)
The truth is, human beings are hard wired to seek patterns and intelligence behind circumstances in their personal lives, as well as the entire world. Sometimes we pick up on real patterns, often we get a false positive.
It’s important for us to have these processes, but also to gain an understanding of how they function in order to avoid making cognitive mistakes like conspiracy theories. These types of ideas can be very harmful to relationships, as well as instigate a feeling of paranoia. It’s simply not good for one’s mental health to take up conspiracy theory ways of thinking.