As a conspiracy theory, the term New World Order or NWO refers to the emergence of a totalitarian world government.
The common theme in conspiracy theories about a New World Order is that a secretive power elite with aglobalist 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. Significant occurrences inpolitics and finance are speculated to be orchestrated by an unduly influential cabal that operates through many front organizations. Numerous historical and current events are seen as steps in an ongoing plot to achieve world domination through secret political gatherings and decision-making processes.
Before the early 1990s, New World Order conspiracism was limited to two American countercultures, primarily the militantly anti-government right, and secondarily that part of fundamentalist Christianityconcerned with the end-time emergence of the Antichrist. Skeptics such as Michael Barkun and Chip Berletobserved 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 21st centuries in the United States where people were actively preparing for apocalyptic millenarian scenarios. Those political scientists were concerned that mass hysteria could have what they judged to be devastating effects on American political life, ranging from widespread political alienation to escalating lone-wolf terrorism.
History of the term
During the 20th century, many statesmen, such as Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill, used the term "new world order" to refer to a new period of history characterised by a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power after World War I and World War II. They all saw the period as an opportunity to implement idealistic proposals for global governance in the sense of new collective efforts to address worldwide problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nation-states to solve, while always respecting the right of nations to self-determination. These proposals led to the creation of international organizations, such as the United Nations and NATO, and international regimes, such as the Bretton Woods system and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which were calculated both to maintain a balance of power in favor of the United States and to regularize cooperation between nations, in order to achieve a peaceful phase of capitalism. These creations in particular and liberal internationalism in general, however, were regularly criticized and opposed by American ultraconservativebusiness nationalists from the 1930s on.
Progressives welcomed these new international organizations and regimes in the aftermath of the two World Wars, but argued that they suffered from a democratic deficit and were therefore inadequate not only to prevent another global war but to foster global justice. The United Nations was designed in 1945 by U.S. bankers and State Department planners, and was always intended to remain a free association of sovereign nation-states, not a transition to democratic world government. Thus, activists around the globe formed a world federalist movement, hoping in vain to create a "real" new world order.
British writer and futurist H. G. Wells went further than progressives in the 1940s, by appropriating and redefining the term "new world order" as a synonym for the establishment of a technocratic world state and planned economy. Despite the popularity of his ideas in some state socialistcircles, Wells failed to exert a deeper and more lasting influence because he was unable to concentrate his energies on a direct appeal to theintelligentsias who would ultimately have to coordinate a Wellsian new world order.
During the Red Scare of 1947–1957, agitators of the American secular and Christian right, influenced by the work of Canadian conspiracy theoristWilliam Guy Carr, increasingly embraced and spread unfounded fears of Freemasons, Illuminati and Jews being the driving force behind an "international communist conspiracy". The threat of "Godless communism", in the form of a state atheistic and bureaucratic collectivist world government, demonized as the "Red Menace", therefore became the main focus of apocalyptic millenarian conspiracism. The Red Scare came to shape one of the core ideas of the political right in the United States, which is that liberals and progressives, with their welfare-state policies and international cooperation programs such as foreign aid, supposedly contribute to a gradual process of collectivism that will inevitably lead to nations being replaced with a communist one-world government.
Right-wing populist advocacy groups with a producerist world-view, such as the John Birch Society, disseminated a multitude of conspiracy theories in the 1960s claiming that the governments of both the United States and the Soviet Union were controlled by a cabal of corporate internationalists, greedy bankers and corrupt politicians who were intent on using the United Nations as the vehicle to create a "One World Government". This right-wing anti-globalist conspiracism fuelled the Bircher campaign for U.S. withdrawal from the U.N. American writer Mary M. Davison, in her 1966 booklet The Profound Revolution, traced the alleged New World Order conspiracy to the creation of the U.S. Federal Reserve System in 1913 by international bankers, who she claimed later formed the Council on Foreign Relations in 1921 as a shadow government. At the time the booklet was published, "international bankers" would have been interpreted by many readers as a reference to a postulated "international Jewish banking conspiracy" masterminded by the Rothschilds.
Claiming that the term "New World Order" is used by a secretive elite dedicated to the destruction of all national sovereignties, American writerGary Allen—in his books None Dare Call It Conspiracy (1971), Rockefeller: Campaigning for the New World Order (1974), and Say "No!" to the New World Order (1987)—articulated the anti-globalist theme of much current right-wing populist conspiracism in the U.S. Thus, after the fall of communism in the early 1990s, the main demonized scapegoat of the American far right shifted seamlessly from crypto-communists, who plotted on behalf of the Red Menace, to globalists, who plot on behalf of the New World Order. The relatively painless nature of the shift was due to growing right-wing populist opposition to corporate internationalism, but also in part to the basic underlying apocalyptic millenarian paradigm, which fed the Cold War and the witch-hunts of the McCarthy period.
speech, Toward a New World Order, delivered on September 11,
1990 during a joint session of the U.S. Congress,
H. W. Bush described his objectives for post-Cold War
global governance in cooperation with post-Soviet
states. He stated:
The New York Times observed that progressives were denouncing this new world order as a rationalization of American imperial ambitions in theMiddle East, while conservatives rejected any new security arrangements altogether and fulminated about any possibility of a U.N. revival.However, Chip Berlet, an American investigative reporter, specializing in the study of right-wing movements in the US, writes:
American televangelist Pat Robertson, with his 1991 best-selling book The New World Order, became the most prominent Christian popularizer of conspiracy theories about recent American history. He describes a scenario where Wall Street, the Federal Reserve System, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission control the flow of events from behind the scenes, nudging people constantly and covertly in the direction of world government for the Antichrist.
Observers note that the galvanizing of right-wing populist conspiracy theorists such as Linda Thompson, Mark Koernke and Robert K. Spear into militancy led to the rise of the militia movement, which spread its anti-government ideology through speeches at rallies and meetings, books and videotapes sold at gun shows, shortwave and satellite radio, fax networks and computer bulletin boards. However, it is overnight AM radio shows and viral propaganda on the Internet that have most effectively contributed to their extremist political ideas about the New World Order finding their way into the previously apolitical literature of numerous Kennedy assassinologists, ufologists, lost land theorists and, most recently,occultists. From the mid–1990s on, the worldwide appeal of those subcultures transmitted New World Order conspiracism like a "mind virus" to a large new audience of seekers of stigmatized knowledge.
Hollywood conspiracy-thriller television shows and films also played a role in introducing a vast popular audience to various fringe theories related to New World Order conspiracism—black helicopter, FEMA "concentration camps", etc.—which for decades were previously confined to radical right-wing subcultures. The 1993–2002 television series The X-Files, the 1997 film Conspiracy Theory and the 1998 film The X-Files: Fight the Future are often cited as notable examples.
Following the start of the 21st century, and specifically during the late-2000s financial crisis, many politicians and pundits, such as Gordon Brown and Henry Kissinger, used the term "new world order" in their advocacy for a comprehensive reform of the global financial systemand their calls for a "New Bretton Woods" that takes into account emerging markets such as China and India. These declarations had the unintended consequence of providing fresh fodder for New World Order conspiracism, which culminated in talk show host Sean Hannity stating on his Fox News Channel program Hannity that the "conspiracy theorists were right". Fox News in general, and its opinion show Glenn Beck in particular, has been repeatedly criticized by progressive media watchdog groups, for not only mainstreaming the New World Order conspiracy theories of the radical right, but possibly agitating its lone wolves into action.
In 2009, American film directors Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel released New World Order, a critically acclaimed documentary film which explores the world of conspiracy theorists, such as American radio host Alex Jones, who are committed to exposing and vigorously opposing what they perceive to be an emerging New World Order. The growing dissemination and popularity of conspiracy theories has also created an alliance between right-wing populist agitators, such as Alex Jones, and hip hop music's left-wing populist rappers, such as KRS-One, Professor Griff ofPublic Enemy and Immortal Technique, thus illustrating how anti-elitist conspiracism can create unlikely political allies in efforts to oppose the political system.
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 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 autopian world government that rests on the spiritual foundations of a syncretic-messianic world religion, which will later reveal itself to be adystopian 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 orJesuit 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 hiddenpolitical 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. 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 of the Founding Fathers of the United States, such as George Washington andBenjamin 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, D.C., as part of a master plan to create the first "Masonic government" as an example for the coming New World Order.
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 eye-symbol was used as much outside Masonic lodges as within them in the late eighteenth century, therefore the designers were drawing from common quasi-spiritual symbols.
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. 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 mistranslated by conspiracy theorists as "New World Order".
Although the European continental branch of Freemasonry has organizations that allow political discussion within their Masonic Lodges and a few operate as active political lobbies for secularist causes, as exemplified by the Grand Orient of France, Masonic researcher Trevor W. McKeown argues:
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.
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, anti-monarchism, 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 U.S. Right-wing 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.
There is no evidence that the Bavarian Illuminati survived its suppression in 1785.
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-optedFreemasonry 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 ofThe 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 academicNorman 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 Golovinskifabricated the text for Okhrana, the secret police of the Russian Empire, as a work of counter-revolutionarypropaganda prior to the 1905 Russian Revolution, by plagiarizing, almost word for word in some passages, fromThe Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a 19th-century satire against Napoleon III of Francewritten 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 hyperpowerof the 21st century. Although the Priory of Sion itself has been exhaustively debunked by journalists and scholars as a hoax, someapocalyptic 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:
In 1902, "The New York Times noted that following his 1877 will, Rhodes in 1890 put forth the same ideas, and set forth the goal that his secret society should work towards "gradually absorbing the wealth of the world".
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 self-governing 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 U.S., 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 U.S. 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, Europeand 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 producerist worldview, such as members of the John Birch Society, were the first to combine and spread an ultraconservative 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-AmericanEstablishment", 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. Anti-globalist 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.[unreliable source?]
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 (Cleon Skousen) and New Left (Carl Oglesby) to substantiate this view, even though he 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 I 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 theCommonwealth 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 2nd 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 stated:
In his 2002 autobiography Memoirs, Rockefeller wrote:
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 U.S., Europe, and Japan, for example—an ideal that used to be a hallmark of the internationalist wing of theRepublican 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:
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 U.S. 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; while others, such as G. William Domhoff, argue that it is in fact a mere policy discussion forum, which provides the business input to U.S. foreign policy planning.The latter argue 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; and 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 council 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:
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 synarchistbecause 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 theChristian 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 movementthat is not fundamentalist Christian. By their lights, anything that is not Christian is by definition actively and willfully anti-Christian.
Paradoxically, since the 2000s (decade), New World Order conspiracism is increasingly being embraced and propagandized by New Ageoccultists, 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 Argüelles, 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 Peruvianshamanism.
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. However, some conspiracy theorists use the research findings of American journalistEdwin Black, author of the 2009 book Nazi Nexus, to claim that some American corporations and philanthropic foundations—whose complicity was pivotal to the Third Reich's war effort, Nazi eugenics and the Holocaust—are now conspiring to build a Fourth 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 safe 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 of the 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 U.S. They cite the influence of ex-Nazi scientists brought in under Operation Paperclip to help advance aerospace manufacturing in the U.S. 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 formally 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 thatpolitical 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.