Shortly after the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, President George Bush Sr. proclaimed us as on the verge of a New World Order. Bush did not coin the phrase, of course; nor did he introduce it into political discourse. Exactly what is its intended referent? Either of two things, apparently. (1) A would-be global government trumping national governments, meaning the de facto end of national sovereignty; or (2) the efforts some believe are currently underway, operating through the United Nations in particular but through other groups as well (the Council on Foreign Relations is a frequent target) to create such a global order. The agenda itself is sometimes called the New World Order conspiracy.
Does such an agenda really exist, or are statements about conspiracies to create world government nothing more than “right wing” paranoia? To my mind, this question is surprisingly easy to answer, though the best way to approach it has changed in recent years. The results ought to give all believers in freedom and genuine self-determination more than a few sleepless nights. Yes, Virginia, there is a proposed New World Order, whether we call it that or not. Let us consider two separate pieces of evidence that point to this conclusion. The first is contained in the writings of an historian; the second took place right under our noses this past week in New York City. The word conspiracy is, however, a misnomer. Conspiracies, by definition, operate in secret. In that case, efforts to build a New World Order may have begun in secret, but now all the evidence one needs is on the UN's own website.
Washington, D.C., the 1960s: Carroll Quigley and Tragedy and Hope.
Back in the early 1960s, historian Carroll Quigley did extensive research for his encyclopedic Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. Tragedy and Hope recounted, in over 1,300 tightly-written pages of small print, the gradual rise to power of a small cadre of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals. Many were products of wealthy bloodlines. Some were bankers; others began in other industries but got into banking because that was where the real power was. They operated mostly behind the scenes, not as national political elites but as an international elite — or superelite. For them, natural borders and loyalties were increasingly meaningless. Much has been written about the Rothschilds who discovered in the late 1700s that it was possible for bankers to get rich by loaning money to governments, extending the loans encouraging government to become dependent on them, attaching provisions to the extensions calling for specific policies, and then tallying up the interest. Other such bloodlines would soon follow (the Rockefellers and Morgans here in the US).
Shortly before the turn of the last century, Cecil Rhodes, the British diamond tycoon who had operated for years in South Africa, willed a significant portion of his huge fortune to the establishment of a secret society in England. Its purpose was to lay the foundations for world government, under the theory that world government alone could bring about world peace and security for all. The Rhodes Scholarship program at Oxford University was drawn from this fortune as an effort to bring the "best and the brightest" under the influence of a certain body of ideas. Bill Clinton, of course, was a Rhodes Scholar for a while (although he didn't complete the program). Many other influential politicians, journalists, and writers in the English-speaking world have been Rhodes Scholars.
So-called conspiracy theorists have written extensively of organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, founded in 1921, the Trilateral Commission, founded in 1973, and the European Bilderberg Group (which, interestingly, has no home page of its own) as having the same goal: the creation of a world government with themselves at the helm. These groups have been accused of having done everything from financing the rise of both Communism and Nazism to bankrolling both sides in World Wars I and II. Allegations abound that they set about to gain control over both major political parties in the US, the US legal system, the US media (including all major newspapers and television networks as well as the Hollywood entertainment culture), and finally — and especially — so-called public education at all levels from kindergarten to public universities. They would operate by seeing to it that programs and projects that would help advance the agenda of centralization were well funded, while others were left to fend for themselves — not knowing why.
How much truth there is to these allegations is, of course, not easy to determine. It is unlikely that the perpetrators would leave a paper trail that just anyone could follow. On the other hand, the existence of such operatives offers an elegant explanation, satisfying Ockham's Razor in its appeal to simplicity, for why so much of twentieth century history has been a one-way street, with all traffic flowing left. It also answers: Why does the U.S. federal government continue to grow larger and more centralized no matter which major political party controls the White House or Congress? Why do independent political movements (one thinks of the Libertarians and the Reform Party) founder despite having produced some very worthwhile ideas and having gained the support of a segment of the public? Why are efforts to achieve political, economic and educational independence systematically assaulted by pundits, by the media and by well-funded liberal groups as soon as they threaten to become influential in the body politic?
Carroll Quigley wrote, in Tragedy and Hope: "There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act…. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies … but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known."
Who was Quigley? Not a “right winger” in the John Birch Society but a highly respected senior-level professor of political history at the Foreign Service School at Georgetown University. He specialized in macrohistory, or the study of large-scale, global developments and trends. In this one passage, he not only puts his finger on both conceptions of the New World Order as presented above, he positions himself as one of the insiders. While one may, if one is so inclined, discount the writers of self-published tracts with PO Box addresses in small towns hardly anyone has heard of before, Carroll Quigley is impossible to dismiss. He was, after all, one of Bill Clinton's chief mentors, personal heroes, and the one person Clinton thanked by name in his first inaugural address. Quigley had had Clinton as an undergraduate years before at Georgetown. As a youth Clinton already had his eyes set on the Presidency. Seeing that even as a teenager, Clinton was one of those people who was fascinated by power and would compromise any principle to obtain it, Quigley saw him as having the “right stuff.” It was Quigley's powerful connections that obtained for Clinton the Rhodes Scholarship.
The publishing history of Tragedy and Hope is worth considering, in light of what we have seen so far. There is circumstantial evidence that efforts were made to suppress the book. When it appeared, published by Macmillan, it became the academic equivalent of a bestseller. And then, mysteriously, available copies suddenly disappeared. It became almost unobtainable. Inquirers were told that the book had gone out of print, which was very unusual since there were thousands of backorders. (First editions are now collector's items fetching hundreds of dollars.) Representatives of Macmillan seemed afraid to talk about the book. Quigley himself struggled to get Macmillan to issue a second edition, as pirated copies were beginning to circulate. It received a legitimate reprint, of course, but by a far smaller publisher with far less prestige, and the book was very hard to find for years (today, with the advent of online companies such as Amazon.com, the book is easier to obtain). Near the end of his life, a despondent Quigley observed that Tragedy and Hope "has brought me many headaches as it apparently says something that powerful people don't want known."
New York City, 2000: The United Nations Millennium Summit, Sept 6-9.
It has remained easy, despite Quigley's impressive credentials, to dismiss the thought of a relative handful of behind-the-scenes operatives controlling the direction of history as the product of kooks. Journalists and pundits routinely and contemptuously dismiss "conspiracy theories" almost by reflex. However, some of the major players in the "conspiracy" do little to hide their aims. Maurice Strong, co-chairman of a United Nations affiliated organization called the UN Commission on Global Governance, said, "It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful." Shridath Ramphal, another co-chairman of the same organization, added, "The bedrock of every country's international relations must be the mission of using the United Nations system as the machinery for working and acting together." Strobe Talbott, US Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Regime, was considerably more blunt: "Nationhood as we know it will be obsolete, all states will recognize a single, global authority… National sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all." None of these people want to end the nation-state in favor of freely acting and trading individuals; individualism is an anathema to this mindset. They are talking openly of global government, doing everything except calling it that.
So as already noted, we no longer need to approach the topic in conspiratorial terms. The evidence is available on the World Wide Web where anyone with a computer and a modem can read it. The United Nations website currently contains a gold mine of information about the push for global government. To be sure, none of the writers call it that; the closest they come is global governance, which its defenders claim is not the same thing. Moreover, what is presented is presented in language that is very attractive by today's standards. It makes full use of all the politically correct buzzwords about democracy, sustainability, inclusion and diversity. This website makes liberal use of the We The Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration and Agenda for Action which was adopted last May. This past week, the Millennium Summit convened in New York City and has been called the largest assemblage of heads of state under one roof in all of human history.
What is this Summit all about? Where does the New World Order vision stand today? From above document and others on the website we can glean that the following are on the agenda:
- A global "peacekeeping force," publicly endorsed Wednesday by Bill Clinton. He told the gathered dignitaries that the UN needs "a rapid deployment force of well-trained and well-equipped solders capable of projecting u2018credible force' into trouble spots." Along these lines, a Republican, Constance Morella (R-MD), has introduced a bill calling for a United Nations Rapid Deployment Force, which would turn 6,000 American soldiers over to the UN, which would mean that Americans would be taking orders from non-Americans. Seven other countries have already signed aboard with similar pledges. The UN is ready to create its own "standing army" of the sort the U.S. Constitution forbids.
- An International Criminal Court ostensibly to hold national governments accountable for human rights abuses; an international treaty "would provide for compulsory referral of unresolved disputes to [an] International Court of Justice." U.S. citizens could, in principle, be tried before tribunals of non-Americans.
- A global system of taxation: [the Forum urges the United Nations] "to introduce binding codes of conduct for transnational companies, and effective tax regulation on the international financial markets, investing this money in programmes for poverty eradication."
- Global coerced redistribution of wealth and income, combined with global affirmative action: [Governments should] "focus their efforts and policies on addressing the root causes of poverty and providing for the basic needs of all, giving special priority to the needs and rights of disadvantaged and underrepresented."
- A global approach to AIDS, already the most politicized disease in human history: [Governments should] "address the incidence, impact and continuing human costs of HIV/AIDS. To increase spending for health research and to ensure that the fruits of this research reach the people."
- The international equivalent of the Americans With Disabilities Act: [Governments should] "recognize the special potential of people with disabilities and ensure their full participation and equal role in political, economic, social and cultural fields. To further recognize and meet their special needs, introduce inclusive policies and programmes for their empowerment, and ensure that they take a leading role in poverty eradication."
- International radical-feminization: the UN is called upon "to ensure that gender mainstreaming effectively brings women into leadership positions throughout the system and a gender perspective into all its programmes and policies; to provide gender training; … [governments are called upon] "to allocate more recourses and create an enabling environment for implementation of their commitments to women's and girl's human rights, including promotion of women into decision-making positions… " This is one of many such remarks, calling for the "gender perspective" invented by the radical feminists of American colleges and universities.
- International public education: "provide universal access to u2018education for all,' prioritizing free basic education and skills training…. We call on governments…to reduce the technology gap, and to restructure educational policy to ensure that all children (girls and boys) receive moral, spiritual, peace and human rights education…. Special attention must be paid to the girl child…."
- International equivalents of affirmative action and minimum wage laws: [Governments should] "move toward economic reforms aimed at equity: in particular, to construct macro economic policies that combine growth with the goal of human development and social justice; to prevent the impoverishment of groups that emerged from poverty but are still vulnerable to social risks and exclusion; to improve legislation on labor standards including the provision of a minimum legal wage…."
- Complete absolution of past debts: [Governments should] "cancel the debts of developing countries, including odious debts, the repayment of which diverts funds from basic needs…."
- Universal gun registration: the UN should "expand the UN Arms register in order to show production and sale of small arms and light weapons. It should include specific names of their producers and traders." Of course, those implementing this call for arms registration could define "small arms and light weapons" in any way they saw fit.
- Strengthening UN power generally: "A major task of the world community in the twenty-first century will be to strengthen and greatly enhance the role of the United Nations in the global context. Governments must recommit themselves to the realization of the goals and mandates of the United Nations Charter. A challenging task is to firmly protect the integrity of the United Naitons, counter the erosion of its role and to further strengthen and augment international institutions capable of implementing and enforcing international standards, norms, and law, leading toward the formation of a new political and economic order. [Emphasis mine.]
- Elimination of veto power: [the Forum urges the UN] "to limit and move toward eliminating the use of the veto. The UN must move towards veto restriction. First could be an enlargement of the area of "procedural votes" for which the Charter excludes the veto…. Complete veto abolition should be sought as a step towards the elimination of permanency." In others words, a major internal check on the power of the superelite is to be eliminated, by incremental steps.
There is, of course, more much, much more. This is just a sampling; it is impossible, in an article of this length, to do more than scratch the surface. However, what is here should suffice as evidence that we are looking at a potential power grab of unprecedented proportions. There are, we should note, a few table scraps tossed toward such notions as national sovereignty and self-determination. At one point the call is made for the UN "to respect national sovereignty and the prohibition of the use of force, which are fundamental in the UN Charter." But in the next breath, it is made clear that the use of force is not ruled out. And "The UN General Assembly should set up a broad commission to analyze standards for forceful action in cases where crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide are committed." As in Kosovo, where allegations of such crimes were absurdly exaggerated, international "peacekeeping" troops moved in, and the result was the decimation and dislocation of entire populations which continues to this day?
Clearly, whether we label the kind of system proposed by the Millennium Forum the New World Order or not, we are seeing here the recipe for social engineering on a global scale. And just as in individual nations, it could not be implemented without thought control on an equally massive scale which would explain the preoccupation with education permeating all the web pages; see (7) above again. Or, as one Charles Mercieca, PhD, writes, representing the International Association of Educators for World Peace, "We may begin to realize the great challenge our schools face in trying to create a new generation that will be influenced merely by high moral standards based on the universal welfare of all people without exception. We need to create a generation which acts on principles of high moral order, a new generation which views money and wealth as occupying the bottom of all major world priorities, a new generation which views happiness, serenity and peace as spiritual elements which are the key to true and genuine success in life." Perhaps Dr. Mercieca can tell us how this "true and genuine success in life" can be had without free producers whose preoccupations are likely to be "money and wealth" and whose actions alone can create jobs and advance the quality of economic life worldwide.
The socialist overtones of the entire Millennium Forum and its attending documents are unmistakable. The much-touted UN Charter for Global Democracy is in fact a call for global socialism. This holds true whether the speakers talk about Third World poverty and the need to redistribute wealth without any attention to the means by which wealth is produced, or whether they appeal to “sustainability” and proceed to the need for political and bureaucratic controls on business in the name of radical environmentalism. In the final analysis, the Forum vision would concentrate the capacity to use force in a network of highly centralized global-governmental organizations. It should be clear that “national sovereignty” and the “self-determination” rights of indigenous peoples and societies would be respected if they conformed to the internationalist vision, and receive short shrift if they did not. The calls for “a sustainable environment” which permeate the various documents on the UN website would in fact strangle the very independent economic developments which alone could lift peoples out of poverty, given sufficient time and effort.
Finally, there is the question of who would foot the bill for all these ventures, e.g., free education for all, universal health care, etc. That should be clear. It would be U.S. taxpayers, through the new system of global taxation. Protest, and the International Criminal Court will come after you. I suspect that this outfit, if it was actually put in place, would make the IRS look like choirboys by comparison.
Opposing the New World Order.
Can an agenda this vast, backed up by the quantity of resources available to the superelite, be effectively countered? It would not be surprising if some simply despaired of putting a stop to the process of centralization of power in the hands of these very few.
The beginnings of an answer may be found in the writings of the eighteenth century Scottish philosopher David Hume, if we are willing and able to take them to heart. Hume observed that in the final analysis, political authorities derive their legitimacy from those they have authority over: no group of tyrants, no matter how great their resources, can maintain themselves in power by sheer political might indefinitely. We, the people (not the "peoples"), after all, vastly, vastly outnumber the superelite who as the New York City summit has proven can fit into a large auditorium. Those in power remain in power by maintaining credibility, and also by keeping everyone else as ignorant as possible about what they are up to. Once they lose both, their fall is assured.
One of the chief reasons the Soviet Empire collapsed was that its leaders lost credibility in the face of the obvious fact that, given the opportunity, peoples would undertake a mass exodus out from under Communist domination. This had happened in Eastern Europe, culminating in the dramatic fall of the Berlin Wall in late 1989. It could very well happen in the United States, as evidenced by the steadily awakening interest in the idea of secession and the appearance of secession movements all over the country, including in state legislatures. These are animated by the idea that the Washington government has gotten too big, too expensive, too unresponsive, and suffering from collective amnesia regarding its founding principles.
Given the failures of the Washington empire, motivated by welfare-state ideology, why would anyone regard as credible any effort to expand this ideology to create a global empire? It is clear that the UN superelite is trying.
The latter realization has motivated Ron Paul (R-TX), one of the few freedom-believing Congressmen, to introduce, or reintroduce, the (HR 1146). This Act, in its second incarnation (the first was in 1997), after languishing in committee, has garnered attention this past week for obvious reasons. It has become the basis for over 300,000 signed petitions collected by the American Policy Center, whose president, Tom DeWeese, organized the effort. These petitions call for the U.S. to pull out of the UN. Paul's bill would give a pullout the sanction of law by repealing the United Nations Participation Act of 1945; moreover, by also repealing the United Nations Headquarters Agreement Act, it effectively orders the UN off American soil. Moreover, it disallows the appropriation of funds collected in the US for any UN purposes, and repeals Acts instituting U.S. involvement in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and US participation in the United Nations Environmental Program. Meanwhile, there were protesters in New York City this past week. Americans may not be satisfied with the Washington government, but they would be even more horrified if they woke up one day and found themselves ruled by an international body, even more remote from their interests and concerns.
For all the actual diversity that exists on planet Earth, peoples seem to have one thing in common: they resent intrusions into their way of life at the hands of outsiders. Most peoples will countenance at least being ruled by their own, even if the rule is less than perfect. I predict that the particular vision of a New World Order animating the Millennium Forum will not to pass without the very bloodshed the 150-plus dignitaries say they want to avoid. After all, around the world the leading tendency is toward decentralization and secession (Tibet from China, Chechnya from Russia, Azerbaijan from Armenia, the Kurds from Iraq, Quebec from Canada: the list goes on and on). It goes without saying that there are people right here on U.S. soil who are ready to take up arms to protect their natural right to live as they see fit if they are not coercing anyone else, and to protect their regional identities and values from the hypothetical multiculturalist empire being advocated by the very powerful. (Come to think of it, small wonder that the elites and superelites all favor "gun control"!)
It is worth realizing that there are unlikely to be any sudden, earthshaking moves made to dissolve what little is left of individual freedom in the U.S., subjecting us all at once to a global tax, an international standing army, international courts, etc. The means by which America's masses have been stripped of their freedoms to date have all been very gradual, often by stealth; there is enough in the above-cited documents to indicate that this will not change. Why should it? To date it has been an effective methodology of increasing control. It has already led to a level of state power over individuals that would have horrified the Framers. All we are likely to see is continued encroachments of a new layer of controls, a new bevy of bureaucrats to satisfy, new limitations on what we are able to do (and say) legally, and an increasingly UN-friendly educational system. Already, one can attend school board meetings or faculty meetings on the campuses of technical colleges and hear appeals that we should all be educating the young to become "global citizens."
However, are we up to the task? We live in a unique period in history, because of the ready availability of information on the World Wide Web and over the Internet. Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope can be ordered online. The literature of liberty is readily available through a multitude of forums ranging from the Ludwig von Mises Institute to Laissez-Faire Books. Bona fide censorship today is very, very difficult. Moreover, it makes little sense to speak of “conspiracies” when what is being done, is being done right out in the open where everyone can see it. One is tempted again and again of the arrogance of power. The real question, then, is: do we have the will to make use of our own resources?
Whether we are up to avoiding further centralization here in the US is still open to debate. The effects of decades of "public education" have taken their toll: Americans, by and large, are far more fascinated with Survivor, World Championship Wrestling and the fall football season than they are the affairs of state that determine the long-term destinies of nations. Our educational system now stresses vocational training, not the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, even at so-called liberal arts colleges. Consequently, though the UN Summit has been given at least some publicity by major media and on the World Wide Web, most people have no idea what it is all about or, in many cases, that the event is even happening.
So for us this question is still up for grabs: New World Order, United Nations Millennium Summit style, or freedom? If we do not educate ourselves about the superelite is up to or if we continue to dismiss whistleblowers as kooky "conspiracy theorists" we will deserve the consequences.
September 9, 2000
Steven Yates has a PhD in philosophy and is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1994). A frequent contributor to LewRockwell.com and The Edgefield Journal, he lives and freelance writes in Columbia, South Carolina. He is at work on a new book entitled The Paradox of Liberty.