The Federal Reserve, often referred to as “the Fed,” is the central bank of the United States, established in 1913 by the Federal Reserve Act.
While the source of countless outlandish conspiracies, the very existence of it completely goes against the ethos of the American founding fathers. Despite this, the establishments of both the Democratic Party and, of course, the Republican Party absolutely love central banking, although they have their own reasons. Pretty much all libertarians, and many civic-nationalists and antiestablishment liberals, want to see it brought down. John F. Kennedy notably tried to do so in 1963, following in the footsteps of the great American hero Andrew Jackson, but the King of Camelot was shot six months later.
In 2016, the one true successor of Old Hickory and outspoken economic nationalist vowed to follow in their footsteps and finally kill the bank, once and for all. So, basically, because of the Fed, [the mint producing its own currency] is a crime, and people need to share it fairly without taking a piece of the bank’s pie. Money, so they say, to quote the old adadge, is the root of all evil today. But if you ask for a rise, it’s no surprise that they are giving none away. Figures.
From 1836, when the Second Bank of the United States lost its congressional charter, to 1913, when the Federal Reserve Act passed, the US. was without a central bank. 11 Major financial panics (and their accompanying recessions) occurred in 1873, 1884, 1893, 1901, 1903, and the Panic of 1907 led to a demand that Congress take action. The Aldrich Commission was dispatched to make a study, and shortly after its final report was made Congress changed hands from the big government Republicans (those were the days) to the more grassroots oriented and anti-federalist Democrats. Instead of one central bank located in New York as the Commission recommended, twelve regional banks were created throughout the country, with a Board of Governors, which is the bank’s present form.
What does it do?
The Fed essentially controls the amount of cash money in the United States and sets monetary policy. It has 12 branch banks (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco) which loan money to banks within their respective regions. This money is then lent at an interest rate to banks who then lend it to people and businesses. The Fed buys bonds to increase the money supply, lowering interest, and sells bonds to decrease money supply, increasing interest. This is the key part of the open-market operations for the Fed, allowing it to control inflation and growth to a certain extent. Previously the money supply was effectively in the hands of various Wall Street movers and shakers (e.g. JP Morgan).
Oh, the irony! The chairman of the Federal Reserve Board for two decades (1986-2006) was Alan Greenspan, a former disciple of Ayn Rand.
Maiden Lane, AIG, and aid to central banks
During the banking crisis of 2008, the answer to “What does it do?” became “buy loads of toxic assets from failing banks.” The Fed created a number of dummy corporations (sorry, “special purpose vehicles”) called Maiden Lane I, II, and III to buy up crap from Wall Street and government sponsored entities Fannie and Freddie. Some question the legality of the Fed’s actions, however the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 Section 13(3) gives it authority “under unusual and exigent circumstances” to extend credit to individuals, partnerships, and corporations. A subsequent, full audit of the Fed revealed numerous alleged conflicts of interest in the deals.
After drastically increasing the size of its balance sheet, in what became nicknamed the “backdoor bailout,” the Fed was able to provide $3.3 trillion in liquidity and a peak of over $9 trillion in shortterm loans and assistance to Wall Street firms and foreign central banks, over several years. Total commitments were over $29 trillion, an amazing feat considering the GDP of Earth is estimated at $70 trillion.
Common arguments against the Fed
There are many criticisms of the Fed, varying in levels of coherence. Some criticism arises from a conspiratorial worldview that falsely attributes malicious motives to the Fed instead of incompetence or bad luck. The American monetary system is difficult to understand, even for someone in the financial industry and/or someone with an advanced degree. In fact, many principles that people were taught in schools before the 2008 crisis were turned on their head (e.g. big bank debt was risk free). The 2008 crisis and subsequent growing income inequality has furthered a greater distrust of the Federal Reserve.
The Fed has been a frequent subject of conspiracy theories, alleging the Fed deliberately creates inflation, recessions, and even the Great Depression, through manipulation of the money supply.
Father Coughlin, the John Birch Society, Liberty Lobby, Eustace Mullins, Pat Robertson, Alex Jones, Texe Marrs and several others have frequently expressed such conspiracy theories. Many of the popular claims made today are recycled from G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island.
In some (but not all) cases these conspiracy theories have an anti-Semitic component, alleging “Jews” secretly or openly control the Fed. These theories are furthermore sometimes tied in to other conspiracy theories about the Trilateral Commission or the New World Order, or manipulation of the US. economy by the Rockefeller and Rothschild banking families.
It seems like one of America’s nutjob dominionists, ‘True Scholars of the Faith‘ has come up with a new completely insane theory in 2011 about the Federal Reserve, borrowing some points from Lyndon LaRouche.
Apparently the Federal Reserve is now a foreign banking institution controlled by the British, and Britain is now firmly in control of (who else?) the Rothschild family. Through their control of the Federal Reserve, they are making the national debt increase (apparently the Federal Reserve controls fiscal policy) to the point where they can take their former colony back (apparently being indebted means England wins you). Only the Constitution Parteh can save you now!
There is also the misconception that the Fed is independent or private, sometimes called “no more federal than FedEx.” This is not entirely true as it is a quasi-public entity. The Fed, like most central banks in the world, is considered “independent,” which is basically a term of art meaning that its day-to-day operations are not overseen by the federal government; it’s similar to how state broadcasters (say, the BBC) are protected from becoming propaganda outlets. However, its chairman and board of governors are appointed by the president subject to 2/3 Senate approval, with regular 30 day reporting and Congressional oversight,“ and its mission of maintaining price levels and full employment is determined by Congress.
The extent to which banks “control” the Federal Reserve is that they technically “own” it, but not in the way that shareholders own Microsoft. Since the Federal Reserve was created by Congressional charter, they are not organized like a normal corporation. Shareholder banks have no voting power, and all decisions are made by aforementioned government-appointed policy wonks. Shareholder banks elect 6 out of the 9 members of each regional Federal Reserve Bank’s directors, but these regional directors have no power over monetary policy; that power lies solely in the hands of the central Board of Governors.
However, the Board of Governors are appointed by lists which are given to the President by the staffs of banking committees of Congress and private sources. The most powerful of these groups are the financial institutions (which includes prominent members of the Fed itself) and the media corporations over which they have control. Thus, the appointment of these members is highly susceptible to political interests. The President does not select these people from his own personal address book, nor does he ask the public to submit nominations.
Trouble with accounting identities
Some monetary conspirators claim that the Fed creates money out of nothing and lends money to the government at interest, thereby stealing “the people’s” money and selling us into debt slavery or some similar nefarious scheme to take over the US government.
The way this works, however, is not quite the same as your regular commercial bank. The interest on debt held by the Fed actually goes to two places: One, the Fed pays itself out of this interest to cover its own operating costs, and two, the rest of the interest is rebated to the Treasury.
Typically, the Congress authorizes the U.S. Treasury to issue debt obligations, usually 90 day T-bills or longer term bonds, to cover its operating deficit. The Federal Reserve then purchases these obligations out of its reserve account with Federal Reserve Notes, aka U.S. currency.
This usually ties into the above point. The basic idea is that the Constitution gives Congress the power to coin money, so the Fed is unconstitutional because it is not the Congress. This is a pseudolegal argument because the Congress may delegate its powers. This is similar to pseudolegal arguments made by gold bugs. It also raises the question that if they were right, then do all 535 members of Congress (or 541, counting the non-voting delegates) have to personally make the coins and bills?
Sometimes a big deal is made of the fact the law bringing the Fed into existence was passed December 23, 1913, implying that most of the Congress was away for Christmas. The reality is quite different -the House passed the law 298-60, with 76 not voting but with 34 announced pairs, while the Senate passed it 43-25, with 27 not voting but with announced pairs.
For those not aware, an announced pair is where a member of the House or Senate who will be absent arranges with another member who will be present and is on the opposite side of the issue to form a “pair” with the absent member, thus allowing the absent member to have recorded how he would have voted had he been present. This means that at best only 42 more House members and 15 more Senate members could have said no to the creation of the Fed.
Although the vote would have passed even had everyone been present, some whale.to denizens claim that legislating on one of the last days of the session circumvented the possibility of challenges and debate. Why Congress would meet on days it thought off limits when the two houses could, each with the consent of the other, choose to adjourn is beyond them.
Austrian school and free banking proponents
Much of the opposition to the Fed in nonconspiratorial circles (though there is some overlap) comes from the Austrian school, who are free banking proponents and generally draw on Ludwig von Mise comments against central banking. Ron Paul is particularly known for his multi-decadal anti-Fed crusade in Congress.
In short, they claim that the Fed creates the business cycle through the expansion of the money supply which leads to “market distortion” and “malinvestment” due to easy money.
Ignoring lessons from the US Free Banking Era (1837 to 1864)
The biggest flaw with the free banking proponents is they either are ignorant or ignore the many problems seen in the Free Banking Era of the US.
The first problem was that during this era banks issued bank notes based on the gold and silver in their vaults, effectively printing money. Since these bank notes could only be redeemed at face value at the bank that issued them the result was the actual value of the note decreasing the further from the bank it got. Then there was the issue if the bank failed these bank notes became worthless. This made any form of long distance commerce difficult, if not impossible.
The second problem was since the laws were set up by the individual states there was no consistency with regard to reserve requirements, interest rates for loans and deposits, capital ratios, or anything else. Worse, enforcement of what laws there were was highly variable within a state. This resulted in some states what was late called “wildcat banking,” where the bank notes were not backed by precious metal at all, but by mortgages or bonds. In other words the exact same problems as are claimed regarding the Fed but with even less oversight.
Ignoring the original Great Depression (1873-79 or 96)
Before the Crash of 1929, the term “Great Depression” referred to the period of 1873-96 which was marked by deflation (largely because the US shifted from a bimetallic standard to a de facto gold standard in 1873) and the rapid industrialization of the country.
The term Gilded Age is also applied to this period and sometimes in a pejorative manner a shiny golden cover hiding a rotting or rotted core.
The deflation that marked this period is why some wanted to return to a bimetallic standard, as hammered home in William Jennings Bryan’s Cross of Gold speech in 1896. Even the shorter range of 1873-79 stated by the NBER is longer than the 1930’s Great Depression by 22 months. This era is now called “the Long Depression”; the lesson it gives us is that switching over from a bimetallic standard to a gold standard (which the Coinage Act of 1873 effectively did) triggers deflation for extended periods of time.
After the establishment of the Fed
The US only saw three major banking crises after the establishment of the Fed (Great Depression, S&L crisis, 2008 financial crisis) and only two since the creation of federal deposit insurance, compared to one about every decade prior to that. The business cycle had also seen shorter and smaller contractions.
Essentially, what this demonstrates is that the minority of libertarian and Austrian schoolers who believe in free banking, like Ron Paul, seem to love the idea of going back to the 19th century and having us all stuff gold bricks under our mattresses every time it looks like there’s going to be a run on the bank.
Louis Thomas McFadden, a former United States Congressman and a former Chairman of the United States Banking and Currency Committee, who believed that Jewish bankers were plotting with others against the United States, testified before Congress in 1934 outlining his criticism of the Fed. He also submitted a petition for articles of impeachment against the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Banking System for numerous criminal acts including conspiracy, fraud, unlawful conversion, and treason. These charges went exactly nowhere.
Ron and Rand Paul have been trying to shove legislation requiring an audit of the Fed and a review of its monetary policy (apparently independence from the political bickering on the Hill is a bad thing after all) through Congress since 2011. Although three versions of this legislation have passed the House, they all failed miserably in the Senate. The 2015 version was a fail, with Bernie Sanders even voting on it.
Fractional Reserve Banking
“As a model of how money is actually created, it is ‘neat, plausible, and wrong. The fallacies in the model were first identified by practical experience, and then empirical research.” Steve Keen
Fractional reserve banking is a relatively simple but wrong way of describing the banking system. As always with bad economics, it is popular partly because older academics have a vested interest in defending the idea, but also because it serves a useful political purpose for plutocrats. Namely, it basically denies that banks control the money supply of the modern economy. This allows the rich to place the onus of controlling the money supply upon governments, specifically by cutting expenditure on the grounds that it creates infiation (it can, but it presently doesn’t).
“Banks do not, as too many textbooks still suggest, take deposits of existing money from savers and lend it out to borrowers: they create credit and money ex nihilo extending a loan to the borrower and simultaneously crediting the borrower’s money account ” Lord Adair Turner, formerly the UKs chief financial regulator
When they lend money, banks create money out of nothing. They can do so with no deposits at all, since that money is in electronic form. Obviously, this would be impossible if this was done physically, as in pre-electronic banks. The difference between lending $100,000 and $10,000,000 of physical objects is the difference between handing someone two handfuls (2.4 kilos) of gold and shipping them a truck laden with 240 kilos of it. The difference between lending those sums electronically is a single keystroke. Accidentally creating millions of dollars’ worth of objects is rare. Doing so electronically happens all the time, such as when instead of giving this man the $100,000 overdraft he asked for this bank manager gave him $10,000,000.
Monetarists assume that the Federal Reserve can influence banks’ lending by setting the Fractional Reserve Rate. They assume that this is possible because they assume that banks can’t lend without deposits. Ergo they believe that increasing the amount of each deposit that a bank must ‘keep’ and not lend reduces the amount of lending, that decreasing the Fractional Reserve Limit increases lending, and that using a central bank to directly increase or decrease a bank’s reserves will cause it to increase or decrease the creation of new loans respectively. More broadly this belief sits well with their assumption that banks and lending don’t affect the economy, or that if they do then it is in a way which never changes and can therefore be safely ignored.
This sounds plausible because Neoclassical economists have a holistic ideological vision in which everyone’s economic activities including those of governments and banks are just like those of the individual person or household. It seems like common sense that if you cannot physically lend $50 to your friend who has forgotten their wallet, then banks must not be able to lend money unless they already have some. Likewise, it seems like common sense that governments can’t spend money unless they take the same amount or more in the form of taxes. While some people are aware that it is possible for governments to spend more than they take, Neoclassicists ensure that these people believe that it will create hyperinflation, which is Satan.
At an academic level, the Fractional Reserve theory has only been able to survive through the ongoing process of purging and no-platforming its critics. Even before the concept was created in the 1970s, it was manifestly apparent that the lending did not require deposits. Yet the inconvenient reality was simply assumed away.
If Fractional Reserve Banking really explained how the actual banking sector worked, there would be a credit crunch every few minutes as the banks waited for people to make deposits. Everyone would pay for almost every ordinary expense with cash, and no-one would ever use credit cards unless they were willing to wait minutes, hours, or even days for the payment to go through.
Instead, banks just create the money they need to get by without paying much or any attention to the level which they are nominally supposed to ‘keep’. This is why the top-down Quantitative Easing implemented by Japan for two decades and Bernanke-0bama et al. in the Great Recession did not increase lending to businesses and consumers.
“The quantity of reserve balances itself is not likely to trigger a rapid increase in lending. The narrow, textbook money multiplier does not appear to be a useful means of assessing the implications of monetary policy for future money growth or bank lending. Seth Carpenter, Federal Reserve associate director. Money, reserves, and the transmission of monetary policy: does the Money Multiplier exist?”
Just as they did in Japan, EU-US banks used the vast majority of the QE funds for the productive (for them) purposes of lending the money to each other with above-inflation rates of interest, where it has sat ever since. In both cases they used a little to buy back their own stocks, buy each other’s stocks, buy stocks in other companies, and inflate asset bubbles. Nowhere have they increased lending to businesses or consumers, because the present and predicted future returns on doing so were lower.
Of course, Neoclassicists are divided between saying that neither of these examples count because we didn’t allow them to create enough QE money or that all the things which happened instead of what they predicted must actually be good things because anything which can be done to make money must be good for society, or else it couldn’t be done. Classic!
Austrians hate the Franctional Reserve concept not because they understand that it does not apply in reality, but because they have their own equally nutty model of how things ‘should be done’ instead.
The very thought that a bank may do something other than sit in front of your money and watch it grow mold makes some people foam at the mouth. Many get very quiet if you ask where the interest on their liquid savings accounts would come from then.
The same people often howl that government intervention in the banking system is filthy socialism because it is not their favored economic policy. Safe to say this is often ignoring history, when before there was regulation of fractional reserve banking by the Federal Reserve things were much more exciting for depositors, what with all the constant banking crises and all.
In the USA, UK, Australia and much of the developed world all economic growth requires the exponential increase of private debt. This is the ultimate product of the banking system created by the Neoliberal-Neoclassical revolution, which has allowed debts to compound and wealth extraction from the population to increase.
Banking is one of the three principal sectors which maximise the unearned income of plutocrats by extracting value from the wage earning population, the others being Insurance and Real Estate.
Without a biblical style cancellation or restructuring of debts, this process will continue until de facto plutonomy and debt slavery of virtually the entire world population result.
Fractional Reserve Banking did actually exist in the days when banks kept physical objects such as gold and paper currency which could be withdrawn. In those days it was important for regulators to ensure that banks kept more than the bare minimum of valuable objects to hand, since the banks naturally wanted to keep as little of them in-house as possible in order to maximise their profits yet those could be withdrawn, possibly causing a bank run. While many imposed limits on how much could be withdrawn at once in order to limit the amount that they had to keep on hand, lowering the withdrawal amount in a crisis could actually cause more panic and therefore more to be withdrawn as a larger number of depositors showed up demanding their money back.
Many small banks in the US went bust as a result of depositors losing confidence in them, which is why the Federal Reserve bank was created to establish Fractional Reserve limits and give gold or cash money to insolvent banks in an emergency. It also limited the risk that the depositor’s insurance (FDIC) would kick in every time one too many people came into the bank asking for cash.
While banks can’t literally print their own money in a system with a central bank, they can increase the money supply. In a system of fiat currency, banks’ monetary base (i.e., what is actually in the “vaults”) is made up of money which can be supplied by the central bank in time of need. However, when banks make loans above their reserve (which is pretty much always), it adds to the money supply, specifically what economists call “M2” and “M3” (depending on the type of loan), which are considered less “liquid” than the monetary base. Thus, lending can (but not necessarily will) cause demand-pull inflation.
In the world of electronic banking, banks can now create “money” out of thin air, through creating accounts. When someone spends these accounts, they are transferred to another bank, then this is lent on an interbank market (FED funds, LIBOR), to give reserves to banks who need it.
It is always possible to still get a run on the bank if too many people demand money in excess of the reserve. A simple analogy is airline seating. Airlines know a few people will cancel, so they overbook flights by selling more tickets than seats. A run on the bank is like everyone showing up to the flight and no cancellations. (Or the plot of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, when the play they’d oversold shares of unexpectedly became a hit.) Bank runs are prevented in modern banking systems by the creation of a lender of last resort to avoid short-term liquidity shortfalls.
The fractional reserve system itself takes no account of the risks of the loans banks make. If the reserve requirement was set to 100%, interest accumulated in deposits and the generation of loans would be nearly nonexistent. However, no banks would run out of money, as long as they had absolutely no costs. This has traditionally been policy favored mostly by Scrooge McDuck, and Austrians, but has gained currency in certain circles following the 2008 crash, and has been advocated by economists Laurence Kotlikoff, John Kay and John Cochrane as well as the Financial Times’ chief economics commentator Martin Wolf, and Iceland look to be heading towards implementing full reserves.
The Conspiracy Theories
Fractional reserve banking is the subject of numerous conspiracy theories. They usually revolve around or have their roots in anti Semitism in the form of Jewish banker conspiracies like the Rothschild family controlling the world. This usually ties in to conspiracies about the Federal Reserve as well as gold buggery or sound money.
Sometimes the cry of “fractional reserve banking is fraud!” is a cover for some kind of economic woo or scam usually of the “don’t trust banks, put your money in my Ponzi scheme instead” variety.
Sometimes these theories are just the result of people failing to understand abstract concepts.
The multiplier effect, or money multiplier, refers to the effects of a bank lending money over its reserve requirements as explained above. By law, banks are required to keep x% (depending on the locale and type of bank) of the total money they lend out in reserve. The resulting amount of money is 1/x multiplied by an original deposited amount, where x is the required reserve ratio in decimal form.
For example, a bank is required to have a 20% reserve. Alice deposits her $1000 paycheck into the bank. The bank is able to lend out $800 to Bob, who buys a used car from Charlie, who deposits the $800 into another bank. The bank turns around and lends $640 to Denise, and so on down the line until there is $5000 in the system.
While it may seem a bit like smoke and mirrors to someone unfamiliar with economics, imagine instead of cash it was something with ‘obviously’ more use such as tools. We all need tools to work, but the vast majority of time we own the tool we aren’t using it. So we put the tools in a tool bank, so that others can use it while we are not. If we only need the tools for about 20% of the time, the result is that the bank causes there to be effectively 5 times as many tools in the system. That it’s currency instead of tools doesn’t change the effect.
The multiplier effect is generally regarded as a simplification in academic and policy making circles. The Bank of England has stated that “while the money multiplier theory can be a useful way of introducing money and banking in economic textbooks, it is not an accurate description of how money is created in reality”, and the multiplier model “has not featured at all in the recent academic literature”.
Charles Goodhart, the UK’s preeminent monetary economist and former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Comittee has stated that “as long as the Central Bank sets interest rates, as is the generality, the money stock is a dependent, endogenous variable. This is exactly what the heterodox, Post-Keynesians have been correctly claiming for decades, and I have been in their party on this.”
In the Post-Keynesian view, the multiplier is an expost facto accounting identity (or, in other words, a legal fiction). The reason for this is that a bank can make any loan it deems worthy and then borrow money from either the interbank loan market (a market in which banks lend excess reserves to each other) or the Fed discount window to meet reserve requirements.
Bank capitalization, charters, and the Glass-Steagall Act
Banking regulation is much stricter than regulation in other industries and the financial sector. To apply for a bank charter, the owners (usually bank holding companies) of the bank’s capitalization are required to be debt free. Banks are supposed to be unencumbered rock solid investments. Once the charter is granted the bank then can receive deposits, ie, a debt owed to depositors encumbered by the bank’s capitalization. The combined value of the banks capitalization, along with its ability to lend other peoples money (depositors money) equals the bank’s balance sheet.
If a part owner of a bank holding company were to take on private debt, and sold his stake in the bank to satisfy the debt, that could reduce the bank’s capitalization, drive down the value of other shareholders stake, curtail the bank’s ability to lend, and affect the economic growth and activity in the surrounding neighborhood. Thus holders of bank charters are strictly regulated and supposed to be responsible with a proven track record in managing their own financial affairs.
The Glass-Steagall Act strictly regulated bank’s and bank charter owners ability to use bank assets (ie, a bank’s capitalization, depositor’s money, and earnings from its capitalization and depositors money). Under Glass-Steagall banks were limited to collecting interest off of lending depositors money (which a portion was paid back to depositors) or brokering deals, bringing buyer and seller together and making a fee off the transaction without using the bank’s own cash.
Repealing Glass-Steagall opened the door to proprietary trading, removing the heretofore strict requirements of banks to only invest or engage in the most conservative activities, and allowing them to purchase with bank stock and earnings, riskier assets with potentially more lucrative return, such as sub-prime mortgages and insurance companies loaded with potential risk and liabilities.
The Volcker Rule, named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and part of the Dodd-Frank Fin Reg bill aimed at Wall Street reform, is an effort to allow the Federal Reserve stricter oversight of bank holding companies ownership and activities, which is difficult due to confidentiality agreements and privacy rights.
The United States is the only country in the world to have ever imposed the segregation of consumer banking and investment banking which existed under Glass-Steagall.
The New World Order. Conspiracy Theorists, Crackpots and people who need to get a Life
The reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States (1776).
The Latin phrase “novus ordo seclorum”, appearing on the reverse side of the Great Seal since 1782 and on the back of the US. one dollar bill since 1935, translates to “New Order of the Ages” and alludes to the beginning of an era where the United States of America is an independent nationstate; conspiracy theorists claim this is an allusion to the “New World Order”.
The New World Order or NWO is claimed to be an emerging clandestine totalitarian world government by various conspiracy theories.
The common theme in conspiracy theories about a New World Order is that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, which will replace sovereign nation states, and an all-encompassing propaganda whose ideology hails the establishment of the New World Order as the culmination of history’s progress.
Many influential historical and contemporary figures have therefore been purported to be part of a cabal that operates through many front organizations to orchestrate significant political and financial events, ranging from causing systemic crises to pushing through controversial policies, at both national and international levels, as steps in an ongoing plot to achieve world domination.
World Domination 😂
Before the early 1990s, New World Order conspiracism was limited to two American countercultures, primarily the militantly antigovernment right and secondarily that part of fundamentalist Christianity concerned with the end-time emergence of the Antichrist.
Skeptics such as Michael Barkun and Chip Berlet observed that right-wing populist conspiracy theories about a New World Order had not only been embraced by many seekers of stigmatized knowledge but had seeped into popular culture, thereby inaugurating a period during the late 20th and early 21 st centuries in the United States where people are actively preparing for apocalyptic millenarian scenarios.
Those political scientists are concerned that mass hysteria over New World Order conspiracy theories could eventually have devastating effects on American political life, ranging from escalating lone-wolf terrorism to the rise to power of authoritarian ultranationalist demagogues. Think Trump.
There are numerous systemic conspiracy theories through which the concept of a New World Order is viewed. The following is a list of the major ones in roughly chronological order:
Since the 19th century, many apocalyptic millennial Christian eschatologists, starting with John Nelson Darby, have predicted a globalist conspiracy to impose a tyrannical New World Order governing structure as the fulfillment of prophecies about the “end time” in the Bible, specifically in the Book of Ezekiel, the Book of Daniel, the Olivet discourse found in the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of Revelation.
They claim that people who have made a deal with the Devil to gain wealth and power have become pawns in a supernatural chess game to move humanity into accepting a utopian world government that rests on the spiritual foundations of a syncretic-messianic world religion, which will later reveal itself to be a dystopian world empire that imposes the imperial cult of an “Unholy Trinity” of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
In many contemporary Christian conspiracy theories, the False Prophet will be either the last pope of the Catholic Church (groomed and installed by an Alta Vendita or Jesuit conspiracy), a guru from the New Age movement, or even the leader of an elite fundamentalist Christian organization like the Fellowship, while the Antichrist will be either the President of the European Union, the Secretary General of the United Nations, or even the Caliph of a pan-Islamic state.
Some of the most vocal critics of end-time conspiracy theories come from within Christianity. In 1993, historian Bruce Barron wrote a stern rebuke of apocalyptic Christian conspiracism in the Christian Research Journal, when reviewing Robertson’s 1991 book The New World Order.
Another critique can be found in historian Gregory S. Camp’s 1997 book Selling Fear: Conspiracy Theories and End-Times Paranoia.
Religious studies scholar Richard T. Hughes argues that “New World Order” rhetoric libels the Christian faith, since the “New World Order” as defined by Christian conspiracy theorists has no basis in the Bible whatsoever. Furthermore, he argues that not only is this idea unbiblical, it is positively anti-biblical and fundamentally anti-Christian, because by misinterpreting key passages in the Book of Revelation, it turns a comforting message about the coming kingdom of God into one of fear, panic and despair in the face of an allegedly approaching one-world government.
Progressive Christians, such as preacher-theologian Peter J. Gomes, caution Christian fundamentalists that a “spirit of fear” can distort scripture and history through dangerously combining biblical literalism, apocalyptic timetables, demonization and oppressive prejudices, while Camp warns of the “very real danger that Christians could pick up some extra spiritual baggage” by credulously embracing conspiracy theories.
They therefore call on Christians who indulge in conspiracism to repent.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal organizations and arose during late 16th, early 17th century Britain. Over the years a number of allegations and conspiracy theories have been directed towards Freemasonry, including the allegation that Freemasons have a hidden political agenda and are conspiring to bring about a New World Order, a world government organized according to Masonic principles and/or governed only by Freemasons.
The esoteric nature of Masonic symbolism and rites led to Freemasons first being accused of secretly practising Satanism in the late 18th century.
The original allegation of a conspiracy within Freemasonry to subvert religions and governments in order to take over the world traces back to Scottish author John Robison, whose reactionary conspiracy theories crossed the Atlantic and influenced outbreaks of Protestant anti-Masonry in the United States during the 19th century.
In the 1890s, French writer Léo Taxil wrote a series of pamphlets and books denouncing Freemasonry and charging their lodges with worshiping Lucifer as the Supreme Being and Great Architect of the Universe. Despite the fact that Taxil admitted that his claims were all a hoax, they were and still are believed and repeated by numerous conspiracy theorists and had a huge influence on subsequent anti-Masonic claims about Freemasonry.
Some conspiracy theorists eventually speculated that some Founding Fathers of the United States, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, were having Masonic sacred geometric designs interwoven into American society, particularly in the Great Seal of the United States, the United States one-dollar bill, the architecture of National Mall landmarks and the streets and highways of Washington, DC, as part of a master plan to create the first “Masonic government” as a model for the coming New World Order.
Freemasons rebut these claims of a Masonic conspiracy:
Freemasons rebut these claims of a Masonic conspiracy. Freemasonry, which promotes rationalism, places no power in occult symbols themselves, and it is not a part of its principles to view the drawing of symbols, no matter how large, as an act of consolidating or controlling power. Furthermore, there is no published information establishing the Masonic membership of the men responsible for the design of the Great Seal.
While conspiracy theorists assert that there are elements of Masonic influence on the Great Seal of the United States, and that these elements were intentionally or unintentionally used because the creators were familiar with the symbols, in fact, the all-seeing Eye of Providence and the unfinished pyramid were symbols used as much outside Masonic lodges as within them in the late 18th century, therefore the designers were drawing from common esoteric symbols. The Latin phrase “novus ordo seclorum”, appearing on the reverse side of the Great Seal since 1782 and on the back of the one-dollar bill since 1935, translates to “New Order of the Ages”, and alludes to the beginning of an era where the United States of America is an independent nation-state; it is often translated by conspiracy theorists as New World Order”.
Although the European continental branch of Freemasonry has organizations that allow political discussion within their Masonic Lodges, Masonic researcher Trevor W. McKeown argues that the accusations ignore several facts. Firstly, the many Grand Lodges are independent and sovereign, meaning they act on their own and do not have a common agenda. The points of belief of the various lodges often differ. Secondly, famous individual Freemasons have always held views that span the political spectrum and show no particular pattern or preference. As such, the term ”Masonic government” is erroneous; there is no consensus among Freemasons about what an ideal government would look like.
The Order of the Illuminati was an Enlightenment age secret society founded by university professor Adam Weishaupt on 1 May 1776, in Upper Bavaria, Germany. The movement consisted of advocates of free thought, secularism, liberalism, republicanism, and gender equality, recruited from the German Masonic Lodges, who sought to teach rationalism through mystery schools.
In 1785, the order was infiltrated, broken up and suppressed by the government agents of Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, in his preemptive campaign to neutralize the threat of secret societies ever becoming hotbeds of conspiracies to overthrow the Bavarian monarchy and its state religion, Roman Catholicism.“ There is no evidence that the Bavarian Illuminati survived its suppression in 1785.
In the late 18th century, reactionary conspiracy theorists, such as Scottish physicist John Robison and French Jesuit priest Augustin Barruel, began speculating that the Illuminati had survived their suppression and become the masterminds behind the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. The Illuminati were accused of being subversives who were attempting to secretly orchestrate a revolutionary wave in Europe and the rest of the world in order to spread the most radical ideas and movements of the Enlightenment anti-clericalism, antimonarchism, and anti-patriarchalism, and to create a world noocracy and cult of reason.
During the 19th century, fear of an Illuminati conspiracy was a real concern of the European ruling classes, and their oppressive reactions to this unfounded fear provoked in 1848 the very revolutions they sought to prevent.
During the interwar period of the 20th century, fascist propagandists, such as British revisionist historian Nesta Helen Webster and American socialite Edith Starr Miller, not only popularized the myth of an Illuminati conspiracy but claimed that it was a subversive secret society which served the Jewish elites that supposedly propped up both finance capitalism and Soviet communism in order to divide and rule the world.
American evangelist Gerald Burton Winrod and other conspiracy theorists within the fundamentalist Christian movement in the United States, which emerged in the 1910s as a backlash against the principles of Enlightenment, secular humanism, modernism, and liberalism, became the main channel of dissemination of Illuminati conspiracy theories in the US. Rightwing populists, such as members of the John Birch Society, subsequently began speculating that some collegiate fraternities (Skull and Bones), gentlemen’s clubs (Bohemian Club), and think tanks (Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission) of the American upper class are front organizations of the Illuminati, which they accuse of plotting to create a New World Order through a one-world government.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is an antisemitic canard, originally published in Russian in 1903, alleging a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy to achieve world domination. The text purports to be the minutes of the secret meetings of a cabal of Jewish masterminds, which has co-opted Freemasonry and is plotting to rule the world on behalf of all Jews because they believe themselves to be the chosen people of God.
The Protocols incorporate many of the core conspiracist themes outlined in the Robison and Barruel attacks on the Freemasons, and overlay them with antisemitic allegations about anti-Tsarist movements in Russia.
The Protocols reflect themes similar to more general critiques of Enlightenment liberalism by conservative aristocrats who support monarchies and state religions. The interpretation intended by the publication of The Protocols is that if one peels away the layers of the Masonic conspiracy, past the Illuminati, one finds the rotten Jewish core.
Numerous polemicists, such as Irish journalist Philip Graves in a 1921 article in The Times, and British academic Norman Cohn in his 1967 book Warrant for Genocide, have proven The Protocols to be both a hoax and a clear case of plagiarism. There is general agreement that Russian-French writer and political activist Matvei Golovinski fabricated the text for Okhrana, the secret police of the Russian Empire, as a work of counter revolutionary propaganda prior to the 1905 Russian Revolution, by plagiarizing, almost word for word in some passages, from The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a 19th-century satire against Napoleon III of France written by French political satirist and Legitimist militant Maurice Joly.
Responsible for feeding many antisemitic and anti-Masonic mass hysterias of the 20th century, The Protocols has been influential in the development of some conspiracy theories. including some New World Order theories, and appears repeatedly in certain contemporary conspiracy literature.
For example, the authors of the 1982 controversial book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail concluded that The Protocols was the most persuasive piece of evidence for the existence and activities of the Priory of Sion. They speculated that this secret society was working behind the scenes to establish a theocratic “United States of Europe”. Politically and religiously unified through the imperial cult of a Merovingian Great Monarch, supposedly descended from a Jesus bloodline, who occupies both the throne of Europe and the Holy See, this “Holy European Empire” would become the hyperpower of the 21 st century.
Although the Priory of Sion itself has been exhaustively debunked by journalists and scholars as a hoax, some apocalyptic millenarian Christian eschatologists who believe The Protocols is authentic became convinced that the Priory of Sion was a fulfillment of prophecies found in the Book of Revelation and further proof of an anti Christian conspiracy of epic proportions signaling the imminence of a New World Order.
Skeptics argue that the current gambit of contemporary conspiracy theorists who use The Protocols is to claim that they “really” come from some group other than the Jews, such as fallen angels or alien invaders. Although it is hard to determine whether the conspiracy-minded actually believe this or are simply trying to sanitize a discredited text, skeptics argue that it does not make much difference, since they leave the actual, antisemitic text unchanged. The result is to give The Protocols credibility and circulation.
During the second half of Britain’s “imperial century” between 1815 and 1914, English born South African businessman, mining magnate and politician Cecil Rhodes advocated the British Empire reannexing the United States of America and reforming itself into an “Imperial Federation” to bring about a hyperpower and lasting world peace. In his first will, written in 1877 at the age of 23, he expressed his wish to fund a secret society (known as the Society of the Elect) that would advance this goal:
To and for the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world, the perfecting of a system of emigration from the United Kingdom, and of colonisation by British subjects of all lands where the means of livelihood are attainable by energy, labour and enterprise, and especially the occupation by British settlers of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America, as an integral part of the British Empire, the inauguration of a system of Colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament, which may tend to weld together the disjointed members of the Empire and, finally, the foundation of so great a Power as to render wars impossible, and promote the best interests of humanity.
In 1890, thirteen years after “his now famous will,” Rhodes elaborated on the same idea: establishment of “England everywhere,” which would “ultimately lead to the cessation of all wars, and one language throughout the world.” “The only thing feasible to carry out this idea is a secret society gradually absorbing the wealth of the world [“and human minds of the higher order”] to be devoted to such an object.”
Rhodes also concentrated on the Rhodes Scholarship, which had British statesman Alfred Milner as one of its trustees. Established in 1902, the original goal of the trust fund was to foster peace among the great powers by creating a sense of fraternity and a shared world view among future British, American, and German leaders by having enabled them to study for free at the University of Oxford.
Milner and British official Lionel George Curtis were the architects of the Round Table movement, a network of organizations promoting closer union between Britain and its selfgoverning colonies. To this end, Curtis founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs in June 1919 and, with his 1938 book The Commonwealth of God, began advocating for the creation of an imperial federation that eventually reannexes the US, which would be presented to Protestant churches as being the work of the Christian God to elicit their support. The Commonwealth of Nations was created in 1949 but it would only be a free association of independent states rather than the powerful imperial federation imagined by Rhodes, Milner and Curtis.
The Council on Foreign Relations began in 1917 with a group of New York academics who were asked by President Woodrow Wilson to offer options for the foreign policy of the United States in the interwar period. Originally envisioned as a group of American and British scholars and diplomats, some of whom belonging to the Round Table movement, it was a subsequent group of 108 New York financiers, manufacturers and international lawyers organized in June 1918 by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and US. secretary of state Elihu Root, that became the Council on Foreign Relations on 29 July 1921.
The first of the council’s projects was a quarterly journal launched in September 1922, called Foreign Affairs. The Trilateral Commission was founded in July 1973, at the initiative of American banker David Rockefeller, who was chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations at that time. It is a private organization established to foster closer cooperation among the United States, Europe and Japan. The Trilateral Commission is widely seen as a counterpart to the Council on Foreign Relations.
In the 1960s, right-wing populist individuals and groups with a paleoconservative worldview, such as members of the John Birch Society, were the first to combine and spread a business nationalist critique of corporate internationalists networked through think tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations with a grand conspiracy theory casting them as front organizations for the Round Table of the “Anglo American Establishment”, which are financed by an “international banking cabal” that has supposedly been plotting from the late 19th century on to impose an oligarchic new world order through a global financial system. Antiglobalist conspiracy theorists therefore fear that international bankers are planning to eventually subvert the independence of the U.S. by subordinating national sovereignty to a strengthened Bank for International Settlements.
The research findings of historian Carroll Quigley, author of the 1966 book Tragedy and Hope, are taken by both conspiracy theorists of the American Old Right (W. Cleon Skousen) and New Left (Carl Oglesby) to substantiate this view, even though Quigley argued that the Establishment is not involved in a plot to implement a one-world government but rather British and American benevolent imperialism driven by the mutual interests of economic elites in the United Kingdom and the United States. Quigley also argued that, although the Round Table still exists today, its position in influencing the policies of world leaders has been much reduced from its heyday during World War 1 and slowly waned after the end of World War II and the Suez Crisis. Today the Round Table is largely a ginger group, designed to consider and gradually influence the policies of the Commonwealth of Nations, but faces strong opposition.
Furthermore, in American society after 1965, the problem, according to Quigley, was that no elite was in charge and acting responsibly.
Larry McDonald, the second president of the John Birch Society and a conservative Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives who represented the 7th congressional district of Georgia, wrote a foreword for Allen’s 1976 book The Rockefeller File, wherein he claimed that the Rockefellers and their allies were driven by a desire to create a one-world government that combined ”supercapitalism” with communism and would be fully under their control. He saw a conspiracy plot that was “international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent.”
In his 2002 autobiography Memoirs, David Rockefeller wrote:
For more than a century ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure-one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of stand guilty, and I am proud of it.
Barkun argues that this statement is partly facetious (the claim of “conspiracy” and “treason”) and partly serious, the desire to encourage trilateral cooperation among the US, Europe, and Japan, for example, an ideal that used to be a hallmark of the internationalist wing of the Republican Party (known as “Rockefeller Republicans” in honor of Nelson Rockefeller) when there was an internationalist wing. The statement, however, is taken at face value and widely cited by conspiracy theorists as proof that the Council on Foreign Relations uses its role as the brain trust of American presidents, senators and representatives to manipulate them into supporting a New World Order in the form of a one-world government.
In a 13 November 2007 interview with Canadian journalist Benjamin Fulford, Rockefeller countered that he felt no need for a world government and wished for the governments of the world to work together and collaborate. He also stated that it seemed neither likely nor desirable to have only one elected government rule the whole world. He criticized accusations of him being “ruler of the world” as nonsensical.
Some American social critics, such as Laurence H. Shoup, argue that the Council on Foreign Relations is an “imperial brain trust” which has, for decades, played a central behind-the-scenes role in shaping US. foreign policy choices for the post-World War II international order and the Cold War by determining what options show up on the agenda and what options do not even make it to the table; others, such as G. William Domhoff, argue that it is in fact a mere policy discussion forum which provides the business input to US. foreign policy planning.
Domhoff argues that “it has nearly 3,000 members, far too many for secret plans to be kept within the group. All the council does is sponsor discussion groups, debates and speakers. As far as being secretive, it issues annual reports and allows access to its historical archives.”
However, all these critics agree that “historical studies of the CFR show that it has a very different role in the overall power structure than what is claimed by conspiracy theorists.”
The Open Conspiracy
In his 1928 book The Open Conspiracy British writer and futurist H. G. Wells promoted cosmopolitanism and offered blueprints for a world revolution and world brain to establish a technocratic world state and planned economy. Wells warned however, in his 1940 book The New World Order that:
When the struggle seems to be drifting definitely towards a world social democracy, there may still be very great delays and disappointments before it becomes an efficient and beneficent world system. Countless people will hate the new world order, be rendered unhappy by the frustration of their passions and ambitions through its advent and will die protesting against it. When we attempt to evaluate its promise, we have to bear in mind the distress of a generation or so of malcontents, many of them quite gallant and graceful looking people.
Wells’s books were influential in giving a second meaning to the term “new world order”, which would only be used by state socialist supporters and anti-communist opponents for generations to come. However, despite the popularity and notoriety of his ideas, Wells failed to exert a deeper and more lasting influence because he was unable to concentrate his energies on a direct appeal to intelligentsias who would, ultimately, have to coordinate the Wellsian new world order.
British neo-Theosophical occultist Alice Bailey, one of the founders of the so-called New Age movement, prophesied in 1940 the eventual victory of the Allies of World War II over the Axis powers (which occurred in 1945) and the establishment by the Allies of a political and religious New World Order.
She saw a federal world government as the culmination of Wells’ Open Conspiracy but favorably argued that it would be synarchist because it was guided by the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, intent on preparing humanity for the mystical second coming of Christ, and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
According to Bailey, a group of ascended masters called the Great White Brotherhood works on the “inner planes” to oversee the transition to the New World Order but, for now, the members of this Spiritual Hierarchy are only known to a few occult scientists, with whom they communicate telepathically, but as the need for their personal involvement in the plan increases, there will be an “Externalization of the Hierarchy” and everyone will know of their presence on Earth.
Bailey’s writings, along with American writer Marilyn Ferguson’s 1980 book The Aquarian Conspiracy, contributed to conspiracy theorists of the Christian right viewing the New Age movement as the “false religion” that would supersede Christianity in a New World Order.
Skeptics argue that the term “New Age movement” is a misnomer, generally used by conspiracy theorists as a catch-all rubric for any new religious movement that is not fundamentalist Christian. By this logic, anything that is not Christian is by definition actively and willfully antichrist Ian.
Paradoxically, since the first decade of the 21st century, New World Order conspiracism is increasingly being embraced and propagandized by New Age occultists, who are people bored by rationalism and drawn to stigmatized knowledge, such as alternative medicine, astrology, quantum mysticism, spiritualism, and theosophy.
Thus, New Age conspiracy theorists, such as the makers of documentary films like Esoteric Agenda, claim that globalists who plot on behalf of the New World Order are simply misusing occultism for Machiavellian ends, such as adopting 21 December 2012 as the exact date for the establishment of the New World Order for the purpose of taking advantage of the growing 2012 phenomenon, which has its origins in the fringe Mayanist theories of New Age writers José Argiielles, Terence McKenna, and Daniel Pinchbeck.
Skeptics argue that the connection of conspiracy theorists and occultists follows from their common fallacious premises. First, any widely accepted belief must necessarily be false. Second, stigmatized knowledge-what the Establishment spurns-must be true. The result is a large, self-referential network in which, for example, some UFO religionists promote anti Jewish phobias while some antisemites practice Peruvian shamanism.
Conspiracy theorists often use the term “Fourth Reich” simply as a pejorative synonym for the “New World Order” to imply that its state ideology and government will be similar to Germany’s Third Reich.
Conspiracy theorists, such as American writer Jim Marrs, claim that some ex-Nazis, who survived the fall of the Greater German Reich, along with sympathizers in the United States and elsewhere, given haven by organizations like ODESSA and Die Spinne, have been working behind the scenes since the end of World War II to enact at least some principles of Nazism (e.g., militarism, imperialism, widespread spying on citizens, corporatism, the use of propaganda to manufacture a national consensus) into culture, government, and business worldwide, but primarily in the US.
They cite the influence of ex Nazi scientists brought in under Operation Paperclip to help advance aerospace a manufacturing in the US. with technological principles from Nazi UFOs, and the acquisition and creation of conglomerates by ex Nazis and their sympathizers after the war, in both Europe and the U.S.
This neo-Nazi conspiracy is said to be animated by an “Iron Dream” in which the American Empire, having thwarted the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy and overthrown its Zionist Occupation Government, gradually establishes a Fourth Reich formerly known as the “Western Imperium”, a pan-Aryan world empire modeled after Adolf Hitler’s New Order, which reverses the “decline of the West” and ushers a golden age of white supremacy.
Skeptics argue that conspiracy theorists grossly overestimate the influence of ex-Nazis and neo-Nazis on American society, and point out that political repression at home and imperialism abroad have a long history in the United States that predates the 20th century. Some political scientists, such as Sheldon Wolin, have expressed concern that the twin forces of democratic deficit and superpower status have paved the way in the U.S. for the emergence of an inverted totalitarianism which contradicts many principles of Nazism.
Since the late 1970s, extraterrestrials from other habitable planets or parallel dimensions (such as “Greys”) and intraterrestrials from Hollow Earth (such as “Reptilians”) have been included in the New World Order conspiracy, in more or less dominant roles, as in the theories put forward by American writers Stan Deyo and Milton William Cooper, and British writer David Ickenham.
The common theme in these conspiracy theories is that aliens have been among us for decades, centuries or millennia, but a government cover-up enforced by “Men in Black” has shielded the public from knowledge of a secret alien invasion. Motivated by speciesism and imperialism, these aliens have been and are secretly manipulating developments and changes in human society in order to more efficiently control and exploit human beings.
In some theories, alien infiltrators have shapeshifted into human form and move freely throughout human society, even to the point of taking control of command positions in governmental, corporate, and religious institutions, and are now in the final stages of their plan to take over the world.
A mythical covert government agency of the United States code-named Majestic 12 is often imagined being the shadow government which collaborates with the alien occupation and permits alien abductions, in exchange for assistance in the development and testing of military “flying saucers” at Area 51, in order for United States armed forces to achieve full-spectrum dominance.
Skeptics, who adhere to the psychosocial hypothesis for unidentified flying objects, argue that the convergence of New World Order conspiracy theory and UFO conspiracy theory is a product of not only the era’s widespread mistrust of governments and the popularity of the extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFOs but of the far right and ufologists actually joining forces. Barkun notes that the only positive side to this development is that, if conspirators plotting to rule the world are believed to be aliens, traditional human scapegoats (Freemasons, Illuminati, Jews, etc.) are downgraded or exonerated.
Brave New World
Antiscience and neo-Luddite conspiracy theorists emphasize technology forecasting in their New World Order conspiracy theories. They speculate that the global power elite are reactionary modernists pursuing a transhumanist agenda to develop and use human enhancement technologies in order to become a “posthuman ruling caste”, while change accelerates toward a technological singularity, a theorized future point of discontinuity when events will accelerate at such a pace that normal unenhanced humans will be unable to predict or even understand the rapid changes occurring in the world around them.
Conspiracy theorists fear the outcome will either be the emergence of a Brave New World-like dystopia, a “Brave New World Order”, or the extinction of the human species.
Democratic transhumanists, such as American sociologist James Hughes, counter that many influential members of the United States Establishment are bioconservatives strongly opposed to human enhancement, as demonstrated by President Bush’s Council on Bioethics’s proposed international treaty prohibiting human cloning and germline engineering. Furthermore, he argues that conspiracy theorists underestimate how fringe the transhumanist movement really is.