New World Order
|Some dare call it|
|What THEY don't want|
you to know!
“”I mean, George Bush knew what he was saying when he said 'new world order'. You remember those fatal words 'new world order'?
|—Jerry Fletcher (portrayed by Mel Gibson) from Conspiracy Theory|
The New World Order (NWO) is a notoriously vague conspiracy theory which claims that some powerful group is either secretly running the world or on the verge of gaining such control (implying that if and when they do, the end
times is upon us).
The bulk of the evidence provided amounts to some pseudohistorical hodgepodge — typically involving anything from Napoleon and the Rothschilds, to a supposed International Jewish Conspiracy to take over the world, to shady weekend conferences held at Ellis island and the Bilderberg hotel — assembled backwards from the fact that in the recent history of the now living, 9/11 was a thing that happened. Thus, the logic goes that the Georgia Guidestones (CFR × Monsanto) + quotemining H.W. Bush ÷ RFID chipped flu vaccines (≈ book of revelation) = FEMA death camps.
Origin of the phrase
The phrase is often traced back to Virgil, whose fourth eclogue included the phrase "novus ordo seclorum", accurately translated "new order of the ages" but often mistranslated "new world order". Classicists think this relates on one level to the start of the Roman Empire under Augustus and on a more personal level to the birth of Virgil's patron Pollio's son. But alternative interpretations have abounded: in the Middle Ages, Christians decided to interpret that as relating to Jesus bringing a new order, either with his first coming shortly after Virgil's time, or some later event. Whether secular or Christian, a belief that the US would offer a new order to the world was in the minds of the Founding Fathers of the USA who put Virgil's motto on the Great Seal of the US, and hence on currency. The classicist and political theorist Leo Strauss was a big fan of Virgil and also an influence on 20th century conservatism and neoconservative thought, which helped popularise the concept later.
The precise phrase "new world order" seems to go back to the mid-19th century, with the eccentric Victorian religious poet Philip James Bailey writing in 1848 in the 3rd edition of his ever-growing epic Festus: "Ye are all nations, I a single soul. Yet shall this new world order outlast all." However it was also used in a more mundane sense, with the OED noting William Roscoe Thayer's 1892 history of Italy using the phrase to reference Napoleon's rule.
A more prominent early use of the phrase was the title of the 1920 book The New World Order by Frederick C. Hicks, but it is usually misattributed to H.G. Wells' 1940 book of the same name. The phrase had previously been used by Nicholas Murray Butler, in his 1917 book A World in Ferment. The phrase also appeared in a 1940 essay by occultist writer Alice Bailey, in her posthumously published 1957 compilation The Externalisation of the Hierarchy. To Hicks, Wells, and Bailey, the term referred to a benevolent social democracy that would soon emerge, just as the Founding Fathers had thought the birth of the US presaged a new, more enlightened polity (not quite what the Emperor Augustus brought, but the link to Virgil is apparent), while Butler used the term to describe World War I as it was being waged.
Conspiracy theorists, however, believe the term goes back earlier, to Cecil Rhodes and Lionel Curtis, circa 1909. This seems to be largely an invention of Robin Brown's 2015 book The Secret Society: Cecil John Rhodes's Plan for a New World Order. Brown claimed that Rhodes planned to establish a secret homosexual society to rule the world, in conjunction with British general Charles George Gordon, and after Rhodes' death, his executor Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner continued things, leading to appeasement of Hitler and much more. There are several problems with the theory such as a total lack of evidence: Rhodes had mentioned forming a secret society in his youth, as many boys and young men do, but there was no evidence he ever did, and Rhodes doesn't seem to have used the phrase "new world order".
Its popularization among conspiracy theorists can be traced to over forty years ago, when the phrase appeared in the 1972 book None Dare Call It Conspiracy by John Birch Society writer Gary Allen. He claimed it to be the "code word" the International Communist ConspiracyTM would use when they were ready to unveil their secret plans for a socialist world government. This book was widely read in right-wing conspiracy-minded circles during the 1970s, and is probably the source of the hysteria that later erupted over the term.
The notion of a New World Order came into the political mainstream following the end of the Cold War. Conspiracy theorists point to a speech by George H. W. Bush on September 11, 1990 (exactly 11 years before you-know-what) that popularised the term, but this was one of a series of speeches Bush made in 1990 and 1991 setting out what was variously called the New National Security Strategy or Aspen Strategy (after the location of one of his speeches), and Bush had drawn on similar rhetoric by Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s. In a 1991 speech, Bush was explaining that, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and Russia would cooperate rather than compete. All international relations experts agree that at that point, the old order of bipolarity had ended and a new system was coming into place. The exact nature of the new system has been greatly debated over the years.
As outlined below, the meaning for conspiracy theorists went in a different direction.
Meaning for conspiracy theorists
The New World Order conspiracy started as an extension of old John Birch Society conspiracy theories about the role of the United Nations. This theory claimed the UN was merely a tool of the Communists, and that the end goal was the complete subjugation of the United States to the United Nations. This would then set up a world government where all of the freedoms Americans hold dear would be abolished. Usually, top American officials were claimed to be in on the conspiracy.
As is usual with conspiracy theories, there are many contradictory variations on the theory. The most popular variation used to maintain that international bankers (a common code word for the Jews) were pulling the strings of both the US and USSR. Others of a more obvious racist bent flat-out said that Zionists were the ones responsible (like always). As many conspiracy theorists also believe the Jews are responsible for either the banks or Communism (or both), these three strands are often woven together into a completely ridiculous whole.
Supporters of this theory can say to a certain degree who is part of it, but no one can determine who isn't part of the NWO. International organizations such as the World Bank, IMF, European Union, the United Nations, and NATO are often listed as core NWO organizations, and presidents and prime ministers of nations are routinely included in the conspiracy. A slightly different version of the NWO theory goes as far as saying these families and persons are all part of the same bloodline. Most prominent families such as the Rockefellers, Morgans, and Du Ponts, as well as European monarchs, are said to be important members as well. Specifically, the Rothschild family is often accused of being among the masterminds.
Some versions of the theory are just reworkings of the old Illuminati conspiracy theory, where a secret society is said to be working behind the scenes for world domination or some other nefarious purpose. Sometimes, the Illuminati may be explicitly mentioned in these versions of the theory. Other versions will reference more recent groups such as the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group (which, unlike the Illuminati, actually do exist), which are commonly mentioned. Freemasons are also regularly cited as perpetuating a conspiracy for world domination. The Pope, or the Roman Catholic Church in general, are believed by some to be orchestrating the NWO. Still others point to the Church of Scientology as the true culprits. Many other manifestations of the NWO theory characterize it as an international Jewish conspiracy, although many others see conspiracy leadership elsewhere and are not anti-Semitic (explicitly, at least). Famous crank and perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche, for example, saw the British as the leaders of the conspiracy and the Jews merely as pawns of British power.
It is because the NWO has limitless power and is worldwide in reach that it can be alleged to have been behind just about any event anywhere. This makes it less of a conspiracy theory than a framework into which any conspiracy theory can be shoehorned (a "super-conspiracy theory"). This also commonly involves a belief in pseudohistories (usually ripped off from the cranks of yesteryear) in an attempt to explain the origins of the NWO. For example, more modern incarnations of the NWO theory often draw on older Freemason and Illuminati theories and claim that groups like the Bilderbergs grew out of these earlier conspiracies.
The conspiracy theory remained marginal until the 1990s and the growth of the Internet. At that point, theorists started to see Bill Clinton as the biggest pawn of the NWO. The events at both Ruby Ridge and Waco were considered part of the attempt to remove American liberties pursuant to an eventual takeover by either FEMA or the UN. During this era, the theory was most closely connected to certain paleoconservatives, and to the burgeoning militia movement. Pat Robertson gave a boost to belief in the theory with his 1992 book The New World Order. Increasingly preposterous variations on the theory proliferated during the early to mid-1990s, such as allegation that mysterious fleets of black helicopters were being prepared for military occupation of the U.S.
Out of one, many
As is typical of many conspiracy theories, there is not one theory, but several contradictory ones.
Because of this, we strongly recommend to get a NWO conspiracy theorist to explicitly state which particular "theory" they are backing, should you meet one. There are two reasons for this:
- Conspiracy theorists frequently don't know much about their own theory, and consequently can't give a direct answer — only that there must be a conspiracy.
- In the event that the person does have a clear idea, you obviously must know which one they support so as not to waste your time talking about another one.
Relation to Explanations of Actual, Real Power Structures
In reality, there are power differences. There are forms of power, especially by Western governments and businesses in the form of: international organization bias, military interventions, economic exploitation, and dominant cultural exportation (Yeah Barbie!™). For more credible (but not universally agreed upon) theories or arguments of world power structures, see Wikipedia on "Core-Periphery Theory," "Criticism of United Nations," "Economic Exploitation," and "Cultural Imperialism."
The most striking difference between reality and the Conspiracy Theory is the CT's idea that everyone with power is in strict collaboration. In actuality, there is much competition, backstabbing, and differing goals between Presidents, military leaders, business managers, and others in power. It is plausible (and often shown true) that world leaders are not always innocent or transparent and that leaders have more control than many people might prefer, as evidenced in news leaks and controversies around the world.
NWO theories today
It is hard to imagine any US president giving up American sovereignty to any organization, particularly the UN. However, some especially paranoid conservatives and libertarians believed that once the Democrats came into power in 2008, it was only a matter of time until a socialist one-world government was instated and American sovereignty given up. Dissenters would naturally have to be controlled or eliminated somehow. The loss of Democratic Congressional power in the 2014 mid-term elections discredited that idea, and the paranoid conservatives were somewhat silenced.
It is believed that there are to be numerous internment camps located within the United States and that these internment camps will start being seen as signs before any action is taken. These camps are to be used to store any Americans who protest or give any sort of fight against the Secret Service Guard that is to be used to control the population and new laws.
The version found on the religious right mixes the conservative tropes with biblical end times prophecies. The general theme is that the anti-christ will come to Earth as the head of the UN and use it to implement a world government and one world religion, which will either be theistic Satanism, atheism, or a New Age belief, depending on which conspiracy theorist you listen to. The prophecies of revelations are of immense relevance here. Anyone who rejects the Mark of the Beast will be sent to die in FEMA camps. Texe Marrs, Mark Dice, and Alex Jones are the main proponents of this theory today, though this isn't counting the many vocal supporters with a high number of followers on YouTube. They generally consider the more high-profile supporters who stay off their rabbit hole to be huge shills for the NWO.[note 1]
In the most recent, more liberal version, instead of the UN taking sovereignty away from the US, the US (through the UN) plans to conquer the entire world. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are thus believed to be the first stages in that plan. In this version, it is the neocons who are the masters behind the NWO. An adherent to this theory is Latin-American rapper Immortal Technique.
Another version of this from the left stems from the anti-globalization movement, in which transnational corporations will implement global corporate governance. This form of the conspiracy is where left and right often bleed together, as right-wing populist and producerist views oppose globalization as well. This can be seen in third positionism and the political campaigns of Lyndon LaRouche.
There are real power structures, non-transparency, etc. Many of these fringe interpretations of world affairs overlap with more accepted theories/models. See above "Relation to Actual, Real World Power Structures."
UFOs and the NWO
The New World Order conspiracy has gained currency within the UFO sub-culture as well. In this form of the conspiracy, the aliens are actually in control of the secret cabal running the NWO or are shapeshifters taking the form of world leaders. This also usually involves theorized cover-ups of Area 51, Roswell, and the forged "Majestic 12" documents as part of the NWO conspiracy.
Claims Of Evidence
Much of the imagined evidence for the theory rests on the symbolism found on various items, such as the Great Seal of the United States and other items on the US one dollar bill, and their supposed connections with ancient symbols of evil or the Masons. The phrase "novus ordo seclorum," which appears on the Great Seal and one dollar bill, is often mistranslated as "new world order" or "new secular order" in order to boost this theory, but the actual translation is "new order of the ages." Company logos have been associated with the NWO for something as little as a triangle, eye, or compass.
Much is often made of the recurrence of 13, which is connected to the ancient witches' covens or the Masons. Other examples include strange murals in the Denver International Airport, Masonic signs on buildings (particularly in Washington DC) and pentagrams worked into city plans.
This, of course, neglects the importance of the 13 Colonies to the founders of the United States. On the other hand, this could be subject to still more paranoia. The question of why an organisation bent on ruling the world without anybody knowing would then proceed to plaster its logo over everything is generally ignored.
The lack of concrete evidence of plotting or of actions taken by the NWO is usually ascribed to the skill of the plotters in covering up such activities.
Most of the evidence provided is frivolous, or simply batshit insane. For example, in a (since deleted) video "exposing" the ancient cult of Saturn (which is somehow linked to the NWO, who are apparently "Satan worshippers" or something, because the word Saturn kinda sounds like Satan according to David Icke), the first thing shown is a children's game with cubes worshipping a rainbow cube, which supposedly resembles the "Black Cube of Saturn" (referring to the center of Saturn's hexagon, which according to wingnuts is a Satanic shrine). The rainbow cube, while giving the speech, is standing on three children's blocks with the letters "NWO".
Taking commonplace shapes like cubes and pyramids and linking them to pretty much everything that's ever existed is apparently de rigueur for conspiracies these days.
The idea that the US, as well as a lot of other countries and supranational organizations, which are notoriously bad at keeping secrets,[note 2] would be able to hide a conspiracy of this magnitude sounds like a joke at best. Furthermore, the phrase itself was popularised by a publicly televised speech made in front of a joint session of Congress by the POTUS; so much for a secret conspiracy, or for not trusting what politicians say. When one further considers the current antipathy felt between some of the leaders of the UN and the US and you have a theory that really is laughable. The US and UN cannot even agree on any of the basic accords that come before the UN, with the US often either trying to push activities that the rest of the UN blocks or else vetoing activities that the rest of the UN believes in.[note 3]
In order to explain the above, believers claim that the US deliberately humiliated itself by releasing its own secrets in an effort to give the impression that it can't keep them — and this is a cover for the real secrets which it can keep. A similar argument is made about the antipathy felt between the leaders of the UN and the US.
Yes, they seriously claim that all evidence to the contrary is disinformation. This means that the theory is impossible to falsify.
Other caveats are that:
- Even if the NWO was established and everyone was under the same flag/religion/whatever, it remains to be seen how long it would last before breaking apart due to massive civil unrest (a single country is one thing; an entire planet is something else entirely), and/or internal dissensions, for whatever reasons, between its rulers — unless of course they used magical mind control devices able to affect everyone on Earth, including perhaps themselves.[note 4]
- Some versions of the conspiracy say the global government will establish what is basically a neo-liberal regime. So far so good... until someone sees these versions are often proposed by libertarians. So what's the point?
... But then again, that's what they want you to think, isn't it?
New World Order Bible Prophecy
When you look into NWO conspiracy theories, most, if not all, have Bible-Thumping in them. This comes from a page in the Book of Revelation, stating a New World Order will occur for seven years, and then Jesus returns and defeats the Antichrist, and then we all live happily ever after (except for a brief list of people). So let's say the NWO theory IS right, and it happens. Would it obviously prove the Bible? No. That would be an example of Affirming the consequent. Yes, the Bible states there will be a NWO, but just because one happens does not mean the entire Bible automatically is true. In whole, this is the argument presented by conspiratards:
- If the Bible is true, then There will be a New World Order.
- There will be a New World Order.
- Therefore the Bible is true.
This type of argument can be shown as fallacious as using a similar argument:
- If it is sunny today, I'll get a haircut.
- I'm going to get a haircut.
- Therefore, because I'll get a haircut, it is sunny today.
The same applies for the Qur'an thumpers.
David Icke doesn't fall for this argument, which makes most conspiracy theorists hate him. Take a guess on how they react.
In May 2019, an FBI memo from the Phoenix Field Office designated several political conspiracy theories (QAnon, Pizzagate, HAARP, New World Order, Sandy Hook massacre) as domestic threats with the potential to incite violence. As evidence, the FBI cited arrests for criminal activities associated with the conspiracy theories.
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Mark Dice
- End times
- Federal Reserve
- David Icke
- Illuminati, who they are often confused with
- Infowars and Alex Jones, for all the latest news about NWO implementation
- Jesus Is Savior (please don't access the website jesus-is-savior.com if you're not into severe self-harm)
- List of conspiracy theories
- Moral panic
- Fun:New World Order drinking game
- North American Union
- One world government
- One world religion
- Luke Rudkowski
- Smoloko News (a so called news website that thinks Jews are behind everything and anything including NWO)
- Targeted Individuals, i.e. those that the NWO keeps harassing out of pure malice
- Useless eaters, who the NWO will eventually get rid of
Want to read this in another language?
- Infowars, a conspiracy theorist website about the New World Order.
- Newworldorderwar, Wingnut ravings about the "New World Order Agenda".
- The Brotherhood and the Manipulation of Society, a fairly typical variation of the theory, with some spiritual woo thrown in too.
- "Conjuring order: The new world order and conspiracy theories of globalization" by Alisdair Spark. (Found in The age of anxiety: conspiracy theory and the human sciences, ed. Jane Parish)
- Patriot Paranoia: A Look at the Top Ten Conspiracy Theories, Southern Poverty Law Center
- Rage Grows in America: Anti-Government Conspiracy Theories, Anti-Defamation League report, Nov. 2009
- Christians & Conspiracy Theories: A Call to Repentance (theological debunking of the Christian brand of the theories)
- Death to the New World Order, BBC
- Interview with Michal Barkun
- NWO Report, Drudge-Style Digital Curation Site About The New World Order.
- The Beaver Militia
- Yahoo Answers - Yes, Virginia there is a New World Order
- Uncyclopedia's parody of the New World Order.
- Though Mark Dice being accused of this is understandable. He is on YouTube, and looks sane in comparison to these whackjobs. At least in his version, not everyone is in on it!
- Examples of the US's inability to keep secrets include Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, the Downing Street memo, the black ops sites of the CIA, and the involvement by the CIA in the overthrow of several regimes, and the NSA spying program. Other examples everywhere include leakages of trade treaties as TPP or TTIP, negotiated in almost entire secrecy, or countless espionage scandals.
- For examples of this, see the US efforts to stop the violence in Darfur or engage in sanctions against Iran, or conversely, the US's resistance to a climate change treaty or to criticism of Israel.
- Seriously, attempts to unite ethnic groups that despise each other within one mega-nation have often ended in disaster (see the Balkans for a particularly infamous example). How uniting the entire world as a single nation would be more successful while racism and bigotry still exists is a mystery.
- Novus Ordo Seclorum, Harpers, September 2007
- Festus XXXIX, Philip James Bailey, reproduced on Best-Poems.net
- "new world order, n.". OED Online. March 2021. Oxford University Press. https://www-oed-com.nls.idm.oclc.org/view/Entry/245805 (accessed March 16, 2021).
- See the Wikipedia article on The Secret Society.
- Rhodes: closet gay man who hatched a secret society to promote empire?, The Conversation, Jan 29, 2016
- How Bush's 'New World Order' became Trump's 'No World Order', Foreign Policy in Focus, September 11, 2017
- Clip of "New World Order" speech.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo46oeQN3HUNuked by YT
- FBI document warns conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat by Jana Winter (August 1, 2019) Yahoo News.
- (U//LES) Anti-Government, Identity Based, and Fringe Political Conspiracy Theories Very Likely Motivate Some Domestic Extremists to Commit Crminal, Sometimes Violent Activity (30 May 2019) FBI Phoenix Field Office via Scribd.