I finished G. Edward Griffin’s “The Creature from Jekyll Island” over the weekend, and my head is still spinning a bit. As I’d mentioned earlier, it’s a tough read. In addition to giving the reader a history lesson regarding central banking in the United States, it also gives a short history of fiat money and fractional reserve banking, and paints several scenarios for the future. Griffin’s bias is easy to see throughout the whole text, since he’s up front about his opposition to socialism, collectivism, the new world order, or whatever you wish to call it. If you believe his writing, the whole concept of central banking is a series of long conspiracies by the wealthy to subjugate the masses and control the political destiny of the world by secretly pulling the strings of power.
The whole issue of conspiracy is problematic to those of us in the peak oil crowd. It’s very easy to be painted as a tinfoil-hat wearing nut job, especially since most people refuse to believe anything that smacks of secret societies, deep politics, and the like. It’s something that needs to be addressed head-on, though, since everything we like to talk about seems to tie back to one conspiracy or another. It’s a matter of degrees, if you ask me.
Is there a group of people who hole a vast amount of the world’s wealth? Absolutely. Are they planning a slow takeover of the world through control of the national banks? Possibly. There’s enough evidence out there to show that the heads of these banks communicate regularly, and it’s common knowledge that they meet regularly to help normalize global business and cash flow. Writers like Griffin are willing to take the next step and assert that these people have more or less held the reins of power for the last few centuries, and that they actively set nation against nation for purposes of enriching themselves. It sounds diabolical, perhaps even unthinkable. There’s enough evidence out there, though, to make you wonder about how the world really works, since there’s a large amount of evidence to indicate that it’s not the way the civics books depict.
When you start talking about the new world order and socialist plots to establish a new feudalism through monetary policy and government surveillance, you’re crossing a line from the plausible into the implausible, at least in the minds of many people out there. Many peak oilers trample across this line on a regular basis, and it’s used to attack their credibility on a wide variety of issues. This makes discussion about all sorts of weirdness dangerous.
It’s a given with most people that our government lies to us on a regular basis. We accept that we were misled about WMD’s in Iraq as a casus belli in 2003. We get nothing but happy talk about the economy and don’t bat an eye at government numbers that claim we have low inflation and a strong economy, even though most of us seem to have less and less money left over at the end of the month after we pay for gas, power, food and housing. The government claims no foreknowledge of 9/11 even after the Clarke memo has been in the public domain for years now. Going back in history, it’s becoming a more accepted fact that Franklin Roosevelt got the US into World War II by ignoring forewarning of the Pearl Harbor attack. Winston Churchill, that icon of the 20th century, seems to have pulled all the necessary strings that allowed the Lusitania to be intentionally sunk which dragged the US into World War I, with collusion from people in the US government.
We see all of these issues, realize that we have been lied to on a regular basis, yet we don’t ever do anything about it. It’s said that we get the officials we deserve, and George Bush has been regularly documented as being one of the most ‘uncurious’ elected officials ever. He seems disinterested in anything the conflicts with his worldview. In a simlar vein, Americans these days seem to have little to no interest in understanding how the world works these days. How many people understand the economy, or how gasoline makes it into our gas tanks, or where our food comes from? As long as the shelves at the boxmart are full, most people couldn’t care where the stuff comes from, who made it at dirt-cheap wages, or where we’d find the goods in question if the stores stopped selling them.
This lack of curiosity extends to our media consumption. International news is conveniently fitted into a 3 minute window during the nightly local news, and that’s about all that many people know about the world. It’s the same thing with politics, the economy and pretty much everything else other than sports & entertainment. Knowing that, why would it be hard to believe that there is a class of people in the world that takes advantage of this? Most of the major media is concentrated in the hands of a few large coporations, and the ‘hard news reporting’ they do almost never upsets a major advertiser of theirs.
With that in mind, I return to the idea of conspiracies. You need to believe in them to a certain degree just to follow peak oil. The idea that we’ll soon be reaching the point where we can’t suck oil out of the ground any faster, and that that fact is being ignored by most governments and the media, can be seen as a classic conspiracy all on it’s own. And from there, it’s easy to see others… the question is, how far do you go? What do you believe, and what don’t you believe?
Do you believe that the media controls what we see to shape public opinion?
Do you believe that the war in Iraq is all about oil?
Do you believe that the World Bank is a tool for the the major powers to more or less enslave the third world with their ‘loans?’
Do you believe Oswald acted alone? Or did the Warren Commission lie to us?
Do you believe that there’s something fishy about 9/11? That the government isn’t telling us the whole truth? This is a particularly sticky wicket for us, since many peak oilers are also heavily into the ‘9/11 Truth’ movement. While this whole line of reasoning is hard for me to accept, consider the words of a former assistant secretary of the Treasury from the Reagan years, and a former opinion editor for the Wall Street Journal.
Do you believe that the elite and our government are heavily involved in secret societies, pedophilia/ritual abuse, and/or dealings with space aliens?
Moving from one step to the next requires only a short leap of faith, but by the time you’re done, you’ve traveled quite a way out of the ordinary, and most people will think you’re totally crazy. The issue is that there’s just enough tantalizing facts floating around in the memesphere that it’s hard to totally discount everything based purely on hard evidence.
So, where do you stop? Answering this question is a something very personal, and difficult for all of us to do. If we’re going to be effective advocates for sustainability, you’ve got to figure out where you stand on a wide range of subjects, since the some of the people who’ll be attracted to the issues at hand will have strong, sometimes incoherent theories about all of these things and more.
Griffin’s book made me convinced for a while that there was a massive, sinister movement that’s been running for decades to make us all slaves of the moneyed elite. I’ve backed off that now that I’ve had some time to digest the facts a bit more, but there’s still enough evidence of something going on behind the scenes to make we wonder. To use a cliché, it’s like that scene from the Matrix… do you take the red pill, or the blue one? It’s become obvious to me that the real ways the world works are different from what we’re told on TV. The question that remains before me is in figuring out what is disinformation, and what’s not. The more I think I’ve figured things out, the more I realize that my quest for knowledge has just begun. Negotiating the minefield of secrets, half-truths, crackpot theories and disinformation will just make the journey longer and more difficult, which is probably why most people give up.