The French Revolution had a profound role in the development of conspiracism. By demonstrating the power of ideas and the potential for radical change, it ushered in a new era of human history. By winning avid supporters throughout Europe, some of them prepared to engage in clandestine activities against their own rulers, it transformed political life. From the viewpoint of conspiracism, it turned the eighteenth century’s theories of intellectual and spiritual plots into the paranoic political vision of the 19th century (Pipes, 1997 p. 67).
Certainly, it is readily accepted that the French Revolution, more than any previous historical event, legitimized conspiracy theories for both the elite political community and the general population. Moreover, this legitimization made the plan-centered conspiracy the principal conspiratorial style in Europe for the remainder of the nineteenth century. Paradoxically, conspiracism acquired force just as it became less plausible. Prior to the French Revolution, when small numbers of individuals dominated society, ploys were not difficult to execute.
However, ideology and mass participation made them far less likely, and the onset of market forces further reduced their potential. In this way, the French revolution had the curious effect of undermining the suppositions behind conspiracism, even as it turned conspiracism into a political force. Three familiar secret society culprits, each allegedly working to undermine the public order, emerged as the main suspects behind these terrible events: the Bavarian Illuminati, Freemasonry, Skull and Bones, and the Bilderberg (Pipes, 1997 p. 68).
Scope and Limitations The course of discussion shall tackle the vast conspiracy that occurred between the groups or secret societies of Illuminati, Skull and Bones, Freemasons and Bilderberg. Considering the conspiracy theories provided by these groups with aims to alter the societal standards of their time, the research should aim primarily to the conceptual discussions and the theoretical propositions by various historical researches. By providing cultural and social stands, the study shall discuss the conspiracies instituted by the said groups.
The following are the objectives imposed into the study in order to serve as the guidelines for conducting the research. a. To be able to provide justifications that shall negate the implementation of such actions and impose the overall validation of conspiracism theories based on historical events b. To be able to identify, discuss, analyze and evaluate the issues concerning the subject of conspiracism involving the positive affirmative and rebuttal points of the subject Purpose of the Research
The study exemplifies the events that provided the theoretical statements of conspiracies that occurred between the groups of Skull and Bones, Freemasons and Bilderberg, which changed the societal stands during their time. The significance of the study is to provide awareness expansion by discussing the points relevant to the why, when, and who of the conspiracies issued by the said groups; hence, giving the idea of framework for the institution of such conspiracies. Discussion Secret Societies: Conspiracies Involved
Conspiracy theories always flourished when people feel excluded from the political process. The worldwide growth of big government, the rise of a political class, and the widening gap between elites and electorates all work to stimulate conspiracy beliefs (Clarke, 2002 p. 289). Conspiracism has flourished episodically throughout U. S history, and the results can be devastating. There have been crusades against sin; waves of government repression justified by claims of subversive conspiracies; and campaigns to purge alien ideas and persons from shores.
Conspiracism undermines democratic processes in the United States, especially when mass movements blend conspiracism with demonization and scapegoating of opponents. Sometimes conspiracists use a type of antielite populist rhetoric that frequently devolves into xenophobia or nativism. When conspiracism becomes a mass phenomenon, persons seeking to protect the nations from the alleged conspiracy of subversives gnawing away at the entrails of the society for counter-movements (DeHoyos and Morris, 2004 p. 73).
If there is a group of suspects that should not be forgotten when writing on conspiracy theories, it is Illuminati. Illuminati have been deemed to be a historical myth that developed out of Adam Wishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati. This secret society was formerly founded as the Statutes of the Perfectibilists, the 1st of May in 1766 during the date of Declaration of Independence (Schlegel, 2007 p. 14).
The idea of a widespread Freemason conspiracy involving the group called the Illuminati was spread by books published in the late 1790s (DeHoyos and Morris, 2004 p. 273-274). Wieshaupt, a member of the freemasons, criticized their lack of effectiveness and therefore founded his own order. The idea was to gather victorious and influential men in a secret order, who would support each other in their careers and social standing, and use that influence as a group for moral sublimation of their coevals and society in general (Schlegel, 2007 p. 14).
British author John Robinson wrote the 1798 book Proof of a Conspiracy Against All the Religious and Governments of Europe, Carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies, collected from good authorities. Robinson influenced a competing French author, ex-Jesuit Abbe Augustin de Barruel, whose first two volumes of his eventual four-volume study, Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, beat Robinson’s book to the printer. The main summery of the books they created can be summarized in this various points (DeHoyos and Morris, 2004 p. 73-274):
• The Enlightenment themes of equality and liberty undermine respect for private property and the natural social hierarchy • There is a secret conspiracy to destroy Christianity • People who encourage free thinking and international cooperation are disloyal cosmopolitans and subversive traitors who are out to destroy national sovereignty, promote moral anarchy, and establish political tyranny. During the anti-illuminati movement, the order was suspected of initializing the French Revolution, though it had been forbidden some years before.
The fear of people that this secret power society would act out of secrecy and take influence even on the American nation was exploited politically (Schlegel, 2007 p. 14). Barruel argued that the French revolution had been planned and initiated by three separate groups: the Masons, who conspired against French Catholicism and Bourbons; and anarchists, who conspired against all Christendom, all kings, and all royalist governments. Conspiracy theories about Freemasons first emerged with attacks on Catholics in the 1800s.
The mixture of conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, the freemasons, and the Jews did not become significant in the United States until the early 1900s when a hoax document, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, was circulated claiming that behind the Freemasons was a carbal of Jews (DeHoyos and Morris, 2004 p. 273-274). Counterrevolutionaries and other supporters of the old order, within France and outside it, tried to account for the astonishing fall of a divinely sanctioned system to unruly mobs, even as they sought to exonerate themselves.
Clearly, they could not turn to religious explanations, for how could God have caused anticlerical upheaval (Pipes, 1997 p. 67). The revolution’s enemies had great difficulty grasping what had happened in France, much less knowing how to fight it. The events after 1789, simply put, defied traditional classifications because it constituted the largest event of history. Many interpreters explained the causes and the course of the revolution, a process still underway two centuries later (Pipes, 1997 p. 68).
Freemasons modeled themselves by their father society, the Knight Templar. While deeply religious, they were some of the most prominent members of society at the time. The Freemasons always sided with what was to be winning side, some of the examples being the Thirty Years War and the English Civil War (Greco 2005 p. 59). According to Baruel, the true masters of all the freemasons and Jacobins, the genuine, albeit elusive, leaders of the revolution, and the heart of the entire conspiracy were the Illuminati.
On the other hand, Freemasons were already suspected to conspiring with the Devil as exposed by Robinson in his works. Over time, the confluence of conspiracist ideas led to the construction of a metanarrative, which claimed that individual Masons influenced by the Order of the Illuminati were in league with the Devil – a claim that quickly became entwined with allegations that Jews were behind the plot. These claims of conspiracy made their way to the United States in the 1880s, generating Protestant suspicion about Freemasons and Catholics (Patridge, 2004 p. 73). The first Freemason in America came in 1607 as part of the Jamestown settlement.
From this point, Freemasons came over secretly with every new group of colonists coming to America. The first official and first known Freemason was John Skene, who settled in New Jersey in 1682 and started recruiting and building the Freemason presence in America. The Freemason movement in the colonies spread rapidly and in short time, most of the political governors were made Freemasons or had come to America already members of the Freemasons.
Almost everyone who was in a position of power was a freemason including influential and known community leaders, such as Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington (Greco 2005 p. 59). Another secret society that has been rumored to formulate conspiracy is the Skull and Bones that was co-founded by President William Taft, the son of Alphonso Taft, in 1833 at Yale University. The Skull and Bones boys founded the Council on Foreign Relations, with the aids of Cecil Rhodes’ Round Table. The society basically funded the Bolshevik revolution.
Yale denies that Skull and Bones is a chapter of a German secret society, but evidence emerged when the temple was raided in 1876 – a card was found that clearly originated from the German Chapter. In conspiracy theory circle, Skull and Bones infected the United States in 1833 when General William Russell brought it back with him from study in Germany (Bracken 2002 p. 189). Two of the most popular individuals in our time are members of the said organization, John Kerry and George W. Bush. Rumors about Skull and Bones depict that they are responsible for the continuation of Illuminati’s goals of rule and American dominion (Clarke, 2002 p. 89; Bracken 2002 p. 189).
Last among the secret societies, being thoroughly integrated into the British state’s foreign policy apparatus, key members of the Blair government have form part in the Bilderberg group (Kick 2001 p. 97). The prestigious Bilderberg Group under the chairmanship of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, which has been convening discreet international conferences for policymakers and industrialists from America and Europe since 1954, is another object of deep suspicion (Clarke, 2002 p. 285).
Running now for over 40 years, Bilderberg is one of the several annual meetings at which the European and American political and economic elites explore the issues, which affect them and try to arrive at something like a consensus. Since the meetings are held in private and the major media had complied with the group’s request that they not be reported, Bilderberg has acquired an aura of mystery and conspiracy – especially on the American right, where it is suspected of being the decision-making center of the so-called New World Order (Kick 2001 p. 7).
Conclusion The conspiracy involving the fours mentioned groups have continued from the past up to the present; however, due to the vast and influential powers of these groups, the chances of over-rule remain vague. As for the conspiracies claimed, even with presence of evidence, the battle of accusations yet to be considered by current powers.