The powers that be
|We control what|
you think with
|Said and done|
|Jargon, buzzwords, slogans|
"The powers that be" as a phrase originated in William Tyndale's 1526 translation of the Bible, where it characterises (Romans 13:1-2) the secular authorities (i.e., at that time, the monarchs and the aristocracy):
|—Romans 13:1-2, Tyndale's Bible|
(Romans 13 does not appear to discuss (for example) the case of defections to North Korea to serve alternative "hyer powers". Or "hyer powers" that are grossly unfit to hold power, for that matter.)
The editors of the King James Version adopted the phrase, but modern translations prefer a less archaic wording: it's "the authorities that exist have been established by God" in the NIV.
Modern English vernacular language uses the phrase "the powers that be" with the same meaning ("the government"), usually in a satirical way. In the jargon of conspiracy theorists, though, it is used as a placeholder name for whatever sinister forces CTs imagine to be actually ruling the world. (Partially because they can't reach an agreement whether it's ruled by the Freemasons, the Illuminati, or the
Jews reptilian aliens.) The phrase is usually abbreviated to TPTB, and it's often used by the rank-and-file inhabitants of forums like Above Top Secret and Godlike Productions.
- In the cultural sphere, compare the alleged role of the Evil Liberal Science Conspiracy.
- Gary Martin. "The powers that be - meaning and origin".
- A simple thread title search for "TPTB" at Godlike Productions unveils a lot of hilarity.
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