I. Capitalizing on Conspiracy
America's Unknown Enemy: Beyond Conspiracy
Editorial Staff of the
American Institute for Economic Research
CONSPIRACY theory asserts that a secret cabal of international
entities -- principally bankers, multinational corporations,
educators, the media, and members of certain secret societies and
membership organizations -- is directing world events toward a single
objective: global domination by the conspirators. In one form or
another, conspiracy theory has been around for many decades. During
recent years, however, interest in it has risen dramatically, as
government power and world problems -- especially monetary problems --
have grown alarmingly.
Conspiracy theory apparently has enjoyed a revival as a result of
another recent phenomenon: the publication of financial newsletters
that explicitly link knowledge of this conspiracy to "incredible
profit opportunities." By implication, the writers are "in
the know" about the conspirators' moves and thereby can help the
individual investor to protect or add to his wealth from this
There is abundant evidence that powerful bankers and other special
interests at times have used the political process to manipulate
government economic decisions for their own narrow interest. And these
actions -- by extending the encroachment of government into more and
more areas - constitute a threat to both the financial independence
and individual liberty of all U.S. citizens. Although we sometimes
have reached conclusions regarding the state of world financial
developments similar to those of the conspiracy theorists, our
conclusions do not rely on notions of conspiracy. Observable actions
and events are involved. One need not make giant speculative leaps
about moves nor be "in the know" to some secret to recognize
the danger posed by various unsound policies and practices. And this
applies to the development and formulation of prudent policies and
practices for personal finances as well as national interests.
What use the notion of an international economic conspiracy per
se can be to the development of a prudent investment program is
not clear. It may be that information will seem more valuable to
potential buyers if it is made to seem inaccessible or "secret."
In any event, readers would be well-advised to remain alert as to
exactly what advantage "knowing about" any alleged
conspiracy is purported to offer individual investors.
As regards the genuinely threatening practices and policies
themselves, attributing them to "unbelievable" assertions of
a conspiracy may well detract from warranted positions about the
actual dangers they pose. As we describe below, many plausible
nonconspiratorial scenarios can be hypothesized that would account for
the connections that conspiracy theorists offer as proof of their
notions. The relatively easy debunking of the conspiracy theory raises
the possibility that the genuine dangers also will be rejected as
being the unfounded fears of crackpots.
Foolish Attacks But Not False Issues
For example, some years ago in the wake of media attention given to
reports that he was the mastermind of an international conspiracy
aimed at world domination (alleged to have gained influence in both
the Carter Administration and the Reagan campaign), David Rockefeller
uncharacteristically issued a public rebuttal. Such allegations, he
responded, were the paranoid fantasies of far right and far left "extremists."
According to Rockefeller, rightwingers deluded themselves into
thinking that he led "a nefarious plot by an Eastern
Establishment of businessmen in the service of multinational
corporations, who will do almost anything including going into cahoots
with the Kremlin for the sake of financial gain." At the same
time, he said, leftists imagined that he directed "a scheme to
subject the working people of the world to the machinations of
rapacious capitalism." By implication, the very contradiction of
these notions discredited them both.
Rockefeller cited the diversity of membership in the alleged
conspiracy, which included not only "businessmen" (he never
referred specifically to international bankers) but also labor union
leaders, university professors and research institute directors,
Congressmen and Senators, and media representatives, as impressive
circumstantial evidence there was no cabal. Presumably, persons so
different from one another as "the Chairman of the Republican
National Committee, the President of the AFL-CIO, the Chief Editor of
Chicago Sun Times and others ... would have difficulty
hatching the same plot."*
Rockefeller protested that misguided assaults on some nonexistent "coterie
of international conspirators" must not be permitted to impugn
the integrity of those "concerned citizens interested in
fostering greater understanding and cooperation among international
allies." The "absurdities of the extremists," he
averred, must not be allowed to interfere with the urgent task of
meeting the challenges of a changing world. "In such an uncertain
and turbulent world climate," he concluded, Americans could not
afford to be sidetracked by "foolish attacks on false issues."
Almost surely, criticism and derision invited by the methods and
preoccupations of conspiracy advocates have diverted needed attention
from the warranted evidence that has been gathered and from which
useful conclusions and reasonable implications regarding the
distribution and exercise of power (economic and otherwise) might be
drawn. Conspiracy theorists have not been dealing with false issues,
even though they easily can be faulted for foolish attacks.
The greatest protection to financial security for all Americans will
not be secured by trying to "beat the game" of the "money
manipulators," as one financial service had advised. Rather, it
will be best served by restoring sanity to financial policy, by
devoting greater effort to preserving and expanding American rights
and freedoms, and by eliminating the special privileges that enable
some citizens legally to rob others.
The possibility that the power to formulate and conduct American
domestic and foreign policy has become dangerously concentrated in the
hands of an elite group (as distinct from a "conspiratorial"
group) contains grave implications. The extent to which Americans
allow (because of ignorance or indifference) U.S. policy to be
controlled by an apolitical coterie bent on personal gain, or by a
power elite in pursuit of some hidden agenda, or by "globalists"
prepared to sacrifice national interests for some nebulously conceived
"new world order," will largely determine whether Americans
will advance in freedom or retrogress in slavery.
The Wall Street Journal, April
30, 1980. Articles relating to the "conspiracy" in question
had appeared not only in conservative publications such as American
Opinion, but also in the news weeklies Time and Newsweek,
in Esquire Magazine, in the sexploitation magazines Oui
and Penthouse, and in the liberal The Atlantic.