Oh, look, they made another Dan Brown movie at some point. Angels & Demons deals with the deep dark secret organization, The Illuminati, and their attempts to control the world, which means you're probably going to be hearing a lot about that in the next few months on certain, paranoid websites.
Yes, wide-ranging conspiracy theories aren't limited to pulp novels reenacted by a terrible Tom Hanks haircut. YouTube and Digg comments and countless blogs are full of people ranting about the secret elite who are out to enslave all of us.
They have a lot of reasons for believing the following groups are the guilty parties behind everything wrong with the world, and most of those reasons are very, very retarded.
"We know you are ruthless. We know you are evil. We respect your dark power."
Who Are They?
You'll hear both of these come up during any hour of conspiracy talk radio. These are two separate, private groups of powerful men (some of them probably Jews!) who like to meet and talk about the state of the world, kind of like how guys will gather at the bar and talk about what the Yankees should do with their pitching rotation.
The Trilateral Commission is a club consisting of a few hundred rich guys from around the world, started by David Rockefeller in the early 70s in order to "foster closer relations" between America, Europe and Japan. And to bone hot ladies from distant lands. Probably.
The Bilderberg Conference or "Bilderbergers" are a different group of influential guys from America and Europe who meet once a year in fancy hotels, and they've been doing it since 1954. There are a little more than 100 members and prominent politicians are known to have shown up at their meetings. By the way, they're called "Bilderbergers" because "Bilderberg" was the name of the first hotel where they met. So a small change in plans could have led them to being called the Best Westerners.
Look at these guys, they're awesome. We'd totally let them rule the world.
Who Thinks They Control the World?
Former Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater believed the Trilateral Commission was planning something nefarious, and so does the John Birch Society. There have been books written on the subject, as well as articles in several magazines, including U.S. News and World Report and Penthouse, where paragraph after paragraph on this dark organization rubbed up against some huge, fake titties.
Meanwhile, Daniel Estulin's book on the Bilderberg group is currently number one on Amazon's bestselling conspiracy theory book list.
Why People Believe It:
The Trilateral Commission first appeared on the conspiracy community's radar in 1976, when freshly elected Trilateralist Jimmy Carter filled his cabinet with 26 other members of the organization. Since then, every single administration has had Trilateralists in some of its highest positions.
The Bilderbergers are more secretive about their meetings, so in their case the paranoid are simply filling in the information void. If they won't tell us why they're meeting, they must be orchestrating a worldwide takeover, right?
Why it's Retarded:
The underlying claim behind both is that these groups of wealthy men have been working to create the infamous One-World Government that you'll see pop up in most of these conspiracy theories. They want a totalitarian regime that will enslave all of mankind, all at once.
Of course these guys have had decades to establish their plan, but instead they apparently opted for plan B, One-World Clusterfuck. Europe hates America; the Middle East is more fucked than a German whore on coupon day; all China cares about is exporting delicious lead paint; and North Korea is still run by that crazy fucker with the big granny glasses. It's almost as if the result of their "one-world government" conspiracy looks exactly like the random chaos of geopolitical events we've seen for the last few thousand years.
"We've got them right where we want them."
Don't get us wrong; we suspect both of these groups would like to rule the world (so would we, in fact). But in the grand scheme of political and economic power worldwide, a few hundred important guys basically amount to a fart at a Motorhead concert. It's too much to assume that even within the groups that there is agreement about what the Master Plan should look like, since they're made up of people from different countries, political parties and competing corporations.
But what conspiracy buffs are doing is taking any world event and retroactively declaring it to all be part of the Secret Plan. Economy booming? Of course, that's part of the secret plan to make the corporations control all wealth. Economy collapsing? Of course, that's part of the secret plan to destroy capitalism.
If it rains, it's because the Trilateralists want a flood. If it doesn't, it's because they want drought. And both are held up as proof after the fact, so as far as they're concerned, they've got proof out the ass.
"The antichrist will do these ten things when he comes to power. One, he will bring a one-world government. He's doing that now, at the United Nations."
Who Are They?
The heads of all the major nations of the world gather to write resolutions demanding one thing or other, that are promptly ignored.
Who Thinks They Control the World?
Ah, here's our second reference to a "one-world government."
Welcome to the fucktarded world of Apocalyptic Christianity. There is a whole layer of society that wakes up every morning and thinks, "I bet God's going to end the world today!" Then they read the newspaper and interpret absolutely every headline, from "Earthquake in Iran" to "Hugh Jackman to Host Oscars" as evidence the prophecy is coming true.
The madly successful Left Behind book series depict a post-apocalyptic "end times" world that millions of Americans fully believe is coming within their lifetime and in those books, the Antichrist is, you guessed it, the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Why People Believe It:
Well, if your religion teaches that a one-world government will spell doom for mankind (a subject that the Bible actually mentions not at all) well, hell, here's a place where all of the leaders of the world gather to talk about stuff! That's practically a one-world government right there!
After all, the U.N. stops countries from going to war, sucks up money from powerful nations and controls massive amounts of our precious wealth in the form of the International Monetary Fund!
Why It's Retarded:
Actually, it does none of that.
It tries to, yes, but it fails miserably. The U.N. voted against the war in Iraq, but the U.S. went ahead and did it anyway. The U.N. tried to get countries to interfere in Darfur. They didn't. And with the I.M.F.'s budget cuts, it's not hard to see how it hasn't shattered the hinges off of every vault in Switzerland with all its wealth. Honestly, if an organization couldn't even force the tiny republic of Mauritania to make slavery illegal until 2007, it's not in control of the world.