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It contains the fairly standard unified conspiracy theory stuff, put together in an ultimately disjointed way and set to music composed by the director. The movie is to some extent based on the crankery of Jordan Maxwell.
Zeitgeist combines some discussion of Jesus mythicism (the position that Jesus was a myth forged from the ideas of previous religions and gods like Isis, Osiris etc.) with a double-barreled shotgun blast of crazy: income tax denial, the Federal Reserve being an elaborate plot by the international bankers to take over the world, 9/11 being a conspiracy, and we are all going to have barcodes tattooed onto us and get chipped with RFID tags.
Income tax denial
- The Sixteenth Amendment (ratified 1913) expressly states, "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Clarifications of just what is and is not taxable is available through 26 U.S.C. Sections 1, 61, 63, 6012(a), 6072, and 6151, among others, for anyone interested.
Federal Reserve Scam
The movie claim that the Federal Reserve creates money out of nothing and lends it to banks at interest, thereby stealing "the people's" money and selling us into debt slavery. The way this works, however, is not quite the same as your regular commercial bank. The interest on debt held by the Fed actually goes to two places: One, the Fed pays itself out of this interest to cover its own operating costs, and two, the rest of the interest is rebated to the Treasury.
Typically, the Congress authorizes the U.S. Treasury to issue debt obligations, usually 90 day T-bills or longer term bonds, to cover its operating deficit. The Federal Reserve then purchases these obligations out of its reserve account with Federal Reserve Notes, aka U.S. currency.
- Zeitgeist: Addendum (the sequel)
- Zeitgeist Movement (the fans of the sequel)
- Loose Change, another notable Truther movie
- Jay Kinney review on BoingBoing
- Zeitgeist: The Greatest Lie Ever Told (internet archive)
- The Greatest Story Ever Garbled, eSkeptic's debunking of the segments on Jesus mythicism
- Zeitgeist Part III, Webskeptic's debunking of the segments on the Federal Reserve
- Edward L Winston from skepticproject.com debunks the Zeitgeist movies.
- Zeitgeist: The Movie (2007) Movie Script
- The name comes from a German expression that literally means "time-spirit" or "spirit of [the] time[s]" - the cultural, ethical and social ethos of an era. It would also be a pretty good name for a superhero -- particularly one who is a time-travelling ghost.