Controlling the Uncontrollable

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This Thursday the secret cabal that is supposed to run the world, the Bilderberg Group, meets behind closed doors at a five-star ski resort in Switzerland for four days of discussions about the future of the world they supposedly control.

My first thought is they are not doing a very good job because everything appears to going to hell in a hand basket.  But others would argue that things are just hunky dory for the world’s elite as the rich get richer while the rest of us feel more and more alienated and helpless. 

So who are they and what are they meeting about in secret?  The Bilderbergers first met in 1954 at a Dutch hotel called Bilderberg, apparently to strengthen American and European relations to prevent a third world war coming out of Europe.  Clearly they have succeeded, so what now for the backroom boys led by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Viscount Davignon, a former vice president of the European Union?

According to the co-founder of the group, British Labor politician Denis Healey, there are enormous practical benefits to be had from an informal meeting between the world’s top CEO’s and Prince Charles, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, where confidentiality enables the mighty to mingle and speak honestly without creating headlines.

With about 120 big wigs meeting, (one third politicians from both the left and right, and two thirds from business, labor, education and communication), it might be nothing more than a glorified dinner party.  But there is a stated purpose behind the Western elites meeting informally, and it is to shore-up a consensus around free market Western capitalism and its interests around the globe.

To Americans on the fringes of the left and the right, led by radio conspiracy jock Alex Jones and the followers of Lyndon LaRouche, the Bilderbergers are a sinister cabal run by the European Union that threatens American freedoms.  But in Europe, it is seen in more classically Marxist terms as a Neo-Liberal elite trying to impose their free market agenda of globalism.

Meanwhile as public education in America collapses and faith replaces fact, conspiracy theories are increasingly obstructing a rational view of the world with “birthers”, “truthers” and creationists furthering an anti-science and anti-intellectual trend that is rapidly making ignorance mainstream and acceptable.  This might even culminate in 2012 with a Sarah Palin as the next president of the United States.

Part of the failure is the press, who should have long ago demanded that the names of attendees at the Bilderberg gatherings be released before the meetings.  And while the proceedings are closed to the public and the media, and no press releases are issued, they should have at least done ambush interviews as the high and mighty exit the conference.  If the press can ambush Lindsay Lohan exiting a nightclub, they should have the resources to ask the world’s elite what they have planned for us.

But for the growing number of navel-gazers, many of whom ironically consider themselves activists, these often strong and passionate beliefs have turned political fiction and social fantasy into an almost religious cult.  The notion that the world is controlled by a room full of white men amounts to total political abdication, and can only lead to paralysis and alienation. 

There is also the ugly side of conspiracy that gravitates to the Jews controlling the world and other anti-Semitic calumnies that are held as common fact in the Middle East where the belief persists that the Jews, not al Qaeda were behind the 9/11 attacks, a similar delusion to the “inside job” shared by the “truthers”.      

But like religion, there is a comfort to belief systems, no matter how outlandish, as in the case of the Mormons or the Scientologists, their sacred texts might be.  Conspiracies like the Bilderberg cabal suggest that there are people with God-like power who reign over us helpless beings.  These belief systems act as a crutch, replacing the accurate but uncomfortable realization that there is nothing at work here at all, and nobody in charge of a world that is chaotic and spiraling out of control.  The downside however, to this form of therapy, is the rising know-nothing tide of ignorance in America that has more and more people believing in anti-scientific messages that often victimize and demonize others.

But conspiracies have shaped history and they do exist.  I explored a big one recently with Annie Jacobsen, the author of a new book “Area 51: an uncensored history of America’s top secret military base.”  She uncovered the mother of all conspiracies involving the Roswell crash of an “alien” spacecraft that the government has covered up for decades. 

But both the former scientists and engineers at the secret base, and the Art Bell UFO crowd, who have been enmeshed in these swirling conspiracies for decades, attacked her explanation, which was based on the first-hand account of one of her most reliable sources.  So go figure.