We recently unveiled our secret society t-shirts! In the process, we realized that the history of secret societies and the interconnections between groups is actually pretty confusing. So we decided to break it down for you…
The Knights Templar
One of the first historically significant secret societies was the Knights Templar, a Western Christian military order who amassed an enormous fortune and used it to wield political influence in Europe in the later Middle Ages. Around 1307 King Philip IV of France, who owed the Templars money, declared the group enemies of the state and eventually burned them at the stake.
Conspiracists claim this wasn’t the end. Some believe the Templars, or what remained of them, absconded to England and created the first Grand Masonic Lodge, the new home to what would become one of history’s most notorious secret societies, the Freemasons.
The Freemasons prided themselves on embodying the ideals of the Enlightenment, claiming to be benevolent do-gooders. Yet history has found them hated and feared time and time again. Autocratic kings and fascist regimes alike condemn their secrecy and subversive ways; Britons gripe about the corrupt political and judicial influence the group has wielded in collusion with the Royal family; religious groups, especially Catholics and evangelical Christians, routinely indict the Masons as being part of a Satanic conspiracy; secular conspiracists say the Freemasons seek to bring about the New World Order.
They’re even accused of orchestrating the French Revolution. Of course, the latter claim is made by catty Frenchmen who still feel awkward about having decapitated whole families in broad daylight.
The Freemasons are often linked together with the Templars, the Jews, and the Illuminati in a worldwide conspiracy. The secret society of the Illuminated Ones was founded by a mercurial Bavarian named Adam Weishaupt in 1776, an otherwise uneventful year. They sought to abolish the Christian church and overthrow all European monarchies. Unfortunately, in 1784 a butt-hurt King Karl Theodor of Bavaria excommunicated both the Freemasons and the Illuminati, cracking down on all secret societies.
In addition to charges of Satanism and promulgation of the New World Order, the Freemasons have also been accused of practicing the occult, or black magic. Many believe they still operate behind the scenes of today’s society, controlling geopolitical affairs.
World Bank, IMF, United Nations
Many proponents of the Illuminati/shadow government theory believe there was really no other purpose to World War II except to enrich the banking cartels, who hedged their bets by funding both sides of the conflict. In fact, this theory would require you to throw out everything you know about the dangers of nationalism and ideological extremism: the wars of human history were waged merely to benefit bankers.
Scene: World War II reconstruction—whiny, war-torn countries coalesce into a beleaguered League of Nations, which, in 1945, forms the United Nations. Together with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, international regulatory bodies become the backbone of a new generation of conspiracy theories—the consolidation of financial institutions into a one-world government. The cherry on top is the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913.
Bilderberg and the New World Order
The Mother Superior of secret societies is the Bilderberg Group. This clandestine cabal of royal leaders, political power brokers, industrial titans, and media magnates meets every four years to calibrate the world itinerary—conspiring to orchestrate everything from the war on Iraq to hikes on oil prices to the Trans Texas Corridor.
The basic plot behind the New World Order is that a group of elite masterminds is slowly but irrevocably centralizing power by carving the regions of the world into unions: the European Union, another post-WW2 League of Nations creation; the North American Union, consisting of the US, Canada, and Mexico, which is noodling ever closer to finalization; and eventually the Asian and African Unions. The purpose behind these mergers is to break down national borders and make the world’s populations subject to international law. The masterminds behind it all—the Bilderbergs, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Rockefellars and Rothchilds, the CEO’s of Taco Bell and Subway—ultimately seek to reduce the Earth’s population to somewhere around 500 million. This will allow them to more effectively control the infrastructure of the planet.
In the meantime, they must keep the masses preoccupied, ignorant and innocuous. So they brainwash and poison us into subservience by spraying our skies with chemtrails, fluoridizing our water and toothpaste, and wilting our minds with pills and advertising. Supposedly. All of this is still hotly contested, of course.
Now, let’s face it, mind control on the scale of six billion is hard work, so to let off steam once a year the elite masterminds convene at the Bohemian Grove to get drunk, worship Satan, and pee on redwoods.
Conspiracists who champion secret society theories in their many permutations range from liberal movements like Zeitgeist and Thrive to right wing conservative televangelists and libertarians, such as Pat Robertson and Alex Jones. Even futurist Ray Kurzweil buys into the idea of a one-world government, albeit in the form of an advanced technocracy.
So there you have it! Secret societies…signup sheets are being handed out by the refreshment committee.