Conspiracy

A Short History of the New World Order

The evolution of a phrase

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Amid reports that the alleged LAX gunman Paul Ciancia left a note that included the initials "NWO"—widely believed to be a reference to the New World Order—Lizzie Crocker of The Daily Beast has written a short piece about the history of the phrase. I make a few appearances in her story:

I'm in love with this malicious intent/You've been taken but you don't know it yet
Ministry

It might be easy to mistake the NWO as a concept born out of Tea Party politics, since the movement occasionally throws the term around, especially when talking about the Obama administration. But Jesse Walker, author of The United States of Paranoia, says that the idea has been a constant in modern American political life and its historical roots run deep….

According to Walker, the [debate over the] League of Nations introduced the term to the political and cultural lexicon after the First World War to describe "evolving world institutions." The New World Order was also the titular subject of writer H.G. Wells' 1940 treatise, published one year after the outbreak of World War II, which advocated that nation states band together to prevent future outbreaks of war ("I am not going to write peace propaganda here," Wells wrote.) The idea of a one-world government also appears, in a thinly-veiled form, in Wells' 1933 book The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints For a World Revolution (whose subtitle he later changed to, "What Are We To Do With Our Lives?"), which encouraged a "mental sanitation process" to erase nationalistic ideals from people's consciousness so they can accept their new roles as "world citizen[s]."

From there the article goes on to describe the John Birch Society's discovery of the phrase, as figures such as Nelson Rockfeller and Richard Nixon deployed the term in various contexts in the 1960s. And then we jump to the '90s and President George H.W. Bush, who used the words "new world order" while sketching a vision of the post–Cold War world. Bush's fondness for the phrase helped unleash a new wave of New World Order fears, not just on the populist right but in the counterculture.

One point I stressed in the interview is that it's possible for critics of the New World Order to use the term to describe broad political trends or to use it to describe a conspiracy allegedly driving those trends. It is not an innately conspiracist concept, though it is frequently bound up with conspiracy stories.

If you're interested in reading Wells' book The New World Order, it's online here. The Open Conspiracy is here. And it's been a while since I last did a roundup of United States of Paranoia links, so:

• Arthur Goldwag, who has written a couple of books about conspiracy theories himself, reviews the book on his blog.

• Seth Blake reviews it in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

NEXT: NJ Parents Suing Chris Christie Over Gay Conversion Therapy Ban

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  1. The UN never did sweep through America with black helicopters to occupy us. Shame, it would’ve made the ’90s more interesting.

    1. Dude. Did you see this?

      A southern New Jersey couple has sued Gov. Chris Christie over his signing of a bill banning so-called gay conversion therapy, claiming it violates their constitutional rights.

      What a fucked up place NJ is.

      1. As long as they are not kidnapping people, why shouldn’t they be able to do that?

        Do you ban crap like Crystals or fortune telling?

        1. Yeah, a slippery slope. Though I doubt the efficacy of turning a 15 yo gay kid straight.

          But can you ban the procedure just because it’s ineffective? Why not ban most talk therapy as well, in that case?

          1. The problem is it isn’t just ineffective it is potentially very harmful. Most of the ex-gay therapists believe that homosexuality requires a history of sexual abuse. Convincing a kid he was sexually abused just to grind the axe of your bullshit theory is a terrible thing to do.

            1. Yeah, but some religious parents could teach their kids that they’re going to hell for masturbating. Pretty sure that kind of environment is not good for their self-esteem either.

              I have to err on the side of restraining the state’s ability to interfere with parent-children relationships that don’t involve physical harm to the child.

              1. See my comment below. I’m honestly very conflicted about this issue. How do you feel about the McMartin case where outside “experts” (in this case agents of the government) encouraged kids to believe that they’d been sexually abused?

                I think this is a truly fucked up process, but I think this therapeutic model stands on a razors edge between being bad parenting and being emotionally abusive parenting.

                1. OK, the part where they’re falsely accusing parents of sexual abuse is crossing the line. Absolutely.

                  I’m guessing that the parents protesting the NJ statute aren’t defending their right to be falsely accused.

                  Again, I see no evidence of this kind of “therapy” working. But by that standard, does the govt start banning the various kinds of talk therapy?

                  1. I can even see how convincing a kid he was molested when he wasn’t can be malpractice or even intentional infliction of emotional distress, though they’ll say that this will deter treatment of real victims, etc.

                  2. I’m guessing that the parents protesting the NJ statute aren’t defending their right to be falsely accused.

                    I never said it had to be parents. Uncles, childhood playmates, preschool teachers, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you were molested and have a mis-directed sexuality because of it. Because it’s important that we satiate a 1950s understanding of homosexuality to justify this kind of conversion therapy.

                    You’re being obstinate in pursuing the equivalence between general talk therapy (some of which is bad, some is ineffective) and reparative therapy (which is based on crazy and outdated models of human behavior)

                    1. So I suppose you missed my remark:

                      “I can even see how convincing a kid he was molested when he wasn’t can be malpractice or even intentional infliction of emotional distress, though they’ll say that this will deter treatment of real victims, etc.”

                      And for the parents, uncle, neighbor, etc. there could well be a defamation action.

                    2. So I suppose you missed my remark

                      I did. I was responding to the comment directly above it.

                      I’ll be interested to see how this plays out over the next several years, especially as the larger and more mainstream groups fold citing lack of efficacy and doing more harm than good.

              2. So no scars or burns and it’s ok? Psychological abuse is real, and the effects last a lifetime.

                I’m skeptical of state intervention, too.

                Surely there are other options.

                1. Still there’s a pretty murky line to be drawn between simply teaching your children b.s. that you believe to be true and inflicting psychological abuse. It’s difficult to put the drawing of that line in the hands of the state, since we all know the direction that line tends to get pushed. Something like this will be used to justify broad government overreach over the parent-child relationship.

        2. To me, its more like trying to put a baby on a vegan diet, honestly. It is abusive to my way of thinking, whether the parents agree or not.

          1. ^This. It’s abuse.

            But many people here are uncomfortable with upholding children’s rights against parents (with one notable exception, depending on your POV).

            And I’ll be the first to admit this (upholding children’s rights) is a hugely complicated issue.

        3. it prevents them from seeking treatment for their 15-year-old son.

          I really don’t know a best practices for this. My experience with one of the most “legitimate” practitioners of ex-gay therapy was being told over and over again that I must’ve been molested or I wouldn’t be mis-identifying as gay. I’m stubborn and have a solid sense of myself and told the guy to go pound sand, but he kept circling around to it.

          On a personal level I don’t mind this kid being protected from this kind of charlatan, and a lot of these practitioners are even crazier (gets weird about 25 seconds in) than my doctor was. At the same time, I am uncomfortable with the state intruding this way.

          1. And your experience meets the definition of brainwashing, although without the cult aspects, torture, deprivation and other trappings we normally associate with that.

          2. Hey, Lou Reed got shock treatments for homosexual ideations (according to him) as a teen and look how he turned out.

            I fully understand that these parents love their children and believe that their childrens’ homosexual (behaviors?, ideations?, expressions?) to be something both bad for the child and able to be changed. But there has to come a place where it crosses the line to abuse.

            Unless our standard is to be purely of a physical nature. And I think there is probably a philosophical argument for that, but it makes me uncomfortable to merely say that physical health is all a parent has duty to ward until a child’s adulthood.

            1. I don’t buy the “he turned out ok” defense. It ignores the whole question of rights. It’s highly subjective. It presumes that the you have a (metaphorical) crystal ball and are able to say that the person would not have turned out any better had the negative intervention not occured.

              1. See below. There is some subjectivity built into the system. And probably rightly.

          3. So do kids indeed have any rights which can be upheld against their parents? Which ones? How are those rights protected.

            And I agree with another poster (forget who, sorry dude) who opined a while back that the whole children’s rights thing was something which libertarianism had not addressed. It’s messy and divisive at a minimum.

            1. The classic solution is that persons who are currently incapable of exercising their rights and the corresponding duties rationally are to be made wards of some entity who does have the facility to do so. Children, retarded persons, persons who are temporarily or permanently mentally incapacitated, and so forth are to be placed under the guardianship of an entity who will act on behalf of the ward to conserve and improve the ward’s situation should they ever become a full citizen at a later period.

              In some cases this is easy, conserving their life, for example. Conserving their health, though, is obviously messy. Vaccination, homosexual “cures”, vegan diets, which of these are acceptable ways of conserving, protecting, and enhancing the ward? And then, how is the State to enforce this without being arbitrary and invasive?

              I think this is an on-the-edge one, but I’m for “wait until the kid is 18, then let them get ‘cured’ if they don’t want to be gay.”

              1. Ex-gay organizations are adamant that the older the kid the less likely to successfully indoctrinate cure them. IIRC, exposure to liberalism in college was the main culprit.

                I kind of wish I’d kept a copy of Dr. Nicolosi’s case study book because at base it was “everything shitty in your life is because of your misidentification with homosexuality: the abuse, the drugs, the bad decisions, if you come out of that things will be peachy.”

            2. Heinlein had a good idea about letting children emancipate themselves from their parents. However, he was sketchy on the details of how that would work.

              He mentioned free children’s homes but not whether those were state run or private.

            3. I like the idea of children gradually gaining rights as they gain the faculties needed to exercise those rights in a way not detrimental to themselves. And in such a scenario, I’d say that by the time a kid is old enough to think he might be gay, he has the faculties to be able to refuse the conversion therapy.
              This still leaves things very complicated, but makes more sense than your parents can control you completely until you are 18 and then not at all.

              1. I like the idea of children gradually gaining rights as they gain the faculties needed to exercise those rights in a way not detrimental to themselves.

                In fairness, many parents do pretty much that.

                1. Sure, of course. I’d say that’s part of good parenting. But if it were a legal concept, it could justify a law preventing parents from forcing their kids to go to conversion therapy.

              2. “This still leaves things very complicated, but makes more sense than your parents can control you completely until you are 18 and then not at all.”

                I agree completely with this. I think it can be argued that the parents have a moral responsibility to provide for their children due to the fact that it was their action that placed the child in a vulnerable state, but once the child has the capacity to make rational choices and provide for himself, he has his own autonomy. I realize this is still not very explicit.

                It should be noted that in this particular example, this also means that the child has the right to accept undergoing the therapy, in which case no action should be taken against the parents.

  2. Probably best Ministry album ever!

    1. I prefer The Land of Rape and Honey.

    2. I prefer The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste.

      1. “Get up! Get on your feet!”

      2. That’s my favorite Ministry album title. But I prefer to listen to Psalm 69. I think my favorite Ministry thing is the extended version of Jesus Built My Hotrod with all the samples from Wise Blood.

        1. I agree about Jesus Built My Hotrod. Got the extended version on a single. Kick ass!

  3. You know who else talked about a New Word Order?

    1. I vaguely remember a WWF now WWE team/group/plot

    2. Pat Robertson?

      1. Well played.

    3. George HW Bush?

  4. I’m guessing the shooter used the conspiracy version of the phrase.

    Not that Wells’ use of the phrase wasn’t sinister on that part of that com-symp.

  5. One point I stressed in the interview is that it’s possible for critics of the New World Order to use the term to describe broad political trends or to use it to describe a conspiracy allegedly driving those trends. It is not an innately conspiracist concept, though it is frequently bound up with conspiracy stories.

    This is true, and the main political trend you are referring to is the trend of globalism. Libertarians rarely address the ideology of globalism, probably because they can’t quite decide how they feel about it. On the one hand, America is made into a non-White nation, something libertarians ardently support. On the other hand, globalists typically support mass government interventionism in anything but immigration policy, just look at the EU. Another reason they rarely address it is because the opposition to it shows that nationalistic sentiments are still common in the general population, something they pretend doesn’t exist.

    1. America is made into a non-White nation, something libertarians ardently support.

      Not so fast there. Libertarians as a whole have no objection to shifting racial demographics. But we’re not quota-queens. There’s a difference between supporting something and being neutral on something.

      1. Don’t engage American. He’ll be banned again in short order.

        1. Thanks, Sug. I didn’t realize it was him. My detectors are a bit off today.

          1. He slipped past me on another thread, but putting the two comments together made it obvious.

            He’ll whine about censorship and echo chambers next.

          2. “non-White nation” could only be American.

    2. GTFO, racist.

  6. Are you sure it wasn’t NWA?

    1. Non-White America?

  7. I dont think George Sanford is going to like that at all man.

    http://www.PrivacyRoad.tk

  8. Bitcoins, Birchers, Battlestar Gallactica.

  9. Paranoid anti-government gun nut freaks out.

    Happens every day.

  10. The New World Order was great when it was just Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. After that, though, it got to be too big.

  11. And then we jump to the ’90s and President George H.W. Bush, who used the words “new world order” while sketching a vision of the post?Cold War world.

    I’ve seen the conspiracy sort say that That Proves The NWO Conspiracy Is Real – because Bush said those words.

    That sane people realize he was talking about the post-Soviet realignment, well, that’s irrelevant, because Bush Said The Magic Words.

    Any time something boils down to Magic Words (see NWO conspirazoids on left or right, see “Sovereign Citizens” and their ideas about Admiralty Courts and ALL CAPS NAMES), you know the issue is Crazy.

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