A very serious flaw in human nature, as it currently exists, is the strong desire to latch on to an idea or message that seems to justify one’s already deeply held convictions, attitudes and values inculcated from birth.
It takes tremendous discipline, or just an incredible lack of thought, to not begin to question at some point the basis of society’s rules, expectations and organization.
In the U.S. at least, the ideological posture of the general population seems to tack decidedly to the right. You have a terribly miseducated, brainwashed mass of people raised on the mythology of founding fathers, angels and demons, superheroes and American exceptionalism. This incessant propaganda is encountered at school, in church, at the cinema and on TV through various forms of fictional and supposedly factional news programs and infotainment-style documentaries. The American people are reared to be “believers,” not thinkers.
Therefore, having been primed to be reactionary (including so-called liberals or progressives), Americans who do begin to question the status quo go searching online for answers; they can’t be bothered with books. They are looking for a quick and seemingly plausible answer to why things are so messed up. They want to know why their job got shipped off to China; why there are brown people with more money than them; why abortion has not been outlawed yet; why Congress never seems to get anything done; why there are more and more openly gay people on television, etc., etc.
At this point, after browsing around online for ten minutes or so, some piece of far right new world order (NWO) propaganda is encountered that seems to explain things based on the mysterious and supernatural framework to which they are drawn to due to their upbringing. The basic framework of the story is always the same. There is a shadowy, diabolical group working behind the scenes to conquer the world. Although some or all of the individuals involved in the conspiracy may be citizens of the nation, they are actually part of an insidious “Other” – an outside, foreign group (literally or figuratively). They may be Illuminati, aliens (UFO’s), the United Nations, Bilderbergers, or the ever-popular Jewish cabal. No matter the name of the group or what it may claim is its purpose, what they really represent and what they are trying to achieve is a twisted right-wing horror-fantasy conception of what was called during the Cold War, the “international communist conspiracy.”
As Adolf Hitler lamented most notably, this shadowy group employs a two-pronged strategy in its designs for a global takeover; namely, attacks from within and without a nation. For example, international finance (read: Jews) orchestrate an attack on the financial system while simultaneously stirring up racial, ethnic or class unrest within a nation with the aid of Marxist “traitors” from within. White supremacy and ultra-nationalism are also key elements of the NWO story.
The origins of this right-wing conspiracy go back to the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century. This was a pivotal event that shook the foundations of the European ruling class aristocracy to its core. The overthrowing of the French monarchy was a terrible shock to the nobility throughout Europe and they were thrown into a panic. Hysterical and wild with primal fear, they began looking for answers to explain how this could have happened. Unable to think outside of their own selfish interests and narrow worldview, they had to find a scapegoat. The nobility believed their own bullshit and most genuinely thought that their station and their privileges were God-given. How could their loyal subjects take it into their heads to dare oppose them and attempt to usurp their power? To many of us today, the answer is quite obvious and simple – eventually oppression will always breed resistance. However, the nobility, in their hubris, were incapable of coming to this realization; to them, there could be only one answer – the Devil.
Shadowy groups were imagined, working secretly to overthrow the Christian kings of Europe; for to seek to overthrow God’s divine order automatically put secular, democratic and freethinking organizations under suspicion. The Illuminati, for instance, probably the most popular villain in the NWO narrative, were a real secret society established in the late 18th century in Bavaria to teach and advocate what were, for the time, fairly progressive ideals; for this crime the group was infiltrated and disbanded by the ruler of Bavaria to stave off opposition to the monarchy and the state religion of Roman Catholicism. 1
One hundred years later, what will eventually become known as the NWO conspiracy theory gets renewed and strengthened with the publication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It was first published in Russia in 1903 and it appeared to be the minutes of a secret meeting of Jews, who having co-opted the Freemasons, were plotting to take over the world. In reality, this document was actually created by the Czar’s secret police. It was quickly proven to be a hoax; although, even if the document were real, I wouldn’t be too concerned about any group of conspirators stupid enough to take down minutes at such a high-level, secret meeting. Such a bumbling gaggle as this would have absolutely no chance of success in their plot for world domination. 1
I have my own theory regarding these conspiracy theories, and it is that the conspiracy theories themselves are a conspiracy. Decades before Edward Snowden, there were CIA whistleblowers such as Philip Agee, John Stockton and Victor Marchetti who testified about the CIA’s many dirty tricks including “black propaganda,” or putting out false stories about the communist enemy. One such technique is called “flipping the script.” This is essentially nothing more than accusing the enemy of doing what you yourself are doing; for example: “There is an international communist conspiracy to take over the world!” The reality is, of course, that there is an American capitalist conspiracy to take over the world.
Also, when presidents and other high U.S. officials simply drop the phrase, “new world order,” in their speeches and other formal statements I think it’s safe to say that this is done intentionally to get people riled up. George H. W. Bush and Henry Kissinger (both heavily involved in intelligence) have used the term. We know that political officials choose their words very carefully and these individuals knew full well the impact those three words would have on the most credulous and reactionary of American citizens.
When the truth is so very obvious, the ruling class and its agents must work overtime to muddle and confuse, and misdirect the attention of the population with false narratives such as the NWO story. The best propaganda usually contains a grain of truth and so intelligence operators can lend some credence to the tale by selectively leaking classified information on its own nefarious covert operations, while simultaneously creating or encouraging, funding and disseminating a narrative that presents these facts out of context and turns reality on its head.
One of the most egregious examples of conspiracy manufacturing and propagation through leaks of classified information is contained in the documentary film, Mirage Men. Deliberately leaking selected bits of classified information, or in CIA jargon, “limited hangouts,” about top secret test flights of military aircraft have been provided to groups of UFO enthusiasts and investigators in order to misdirect those most curious about these “strange phenomena” and to camouflage (hide in plain sight) these top secret research and development projects while also spreading fear, confusion and paranoia – helpful tactics in the divide and rule playbook.
Realizing that expanding the reach of the NWO delusion could only help their cause, establishment activists commissioned the production of The X-Files TV series. This show served to help popularize and bring to the mainstream what had previously been right-wing fringe ideas about a global conspiracy. A major television production is not a grassroots phenomenon to be sure. For those who will protest that TV shows and films are produced simply to make money I would reply – why not kill two birds with one stone? Why not make profits in the short-term and ensure those profits in the long-term by including propaganda messages that will make it so that the population does not directly challenge the status quo – the capitalist system itself. If you think I am engaging in spreading my own conspiracy theories, then research Operation Mockingbird. Of course, I am speculating about The X-Files, but the show certainly does play on the NWO conspiracy theory and there is a clear precedent for this type of thing with the aforementioned covert operation.
Over the years, innate right-wing paranoia and ignorance among both certain sections of the elites and their most loyal, reactionary supporters has, as indicated earlier, almost certainly given rise to many of these conspiracy theories spontaneously, but I think it is also safe to say that, given the usefulness of the impact of these theories to the ruling class, they have surely done much to encourage the spread of these mistaken ideas. I surmise, by the way, that the further you go up the power hierarchy, those elites toward the very top, the power elite, do not at all believe these theories, unlike their predecessors, the 18th and 19th century aristocracy.
While it is undoubtedly true that, given the example of the current Donald Trump phenomenon, much of the establishment fears the potentially destabilizing influence of the growth of right-wing populism, but as long as the proles are chasing shadows and demons they are not chasing after the one thing that could lead to their liberation – Soviet-style socialism.
- Wikipedia entry on “New World Order (conspiracy theory)”