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Our Enemies are Not United
The enforcement of draconian COVID-19 lockdowns, vaccine mandates and vaccine passports – together with the resulting economic catastrophe from which we are now reeling – has alerted many people to the likely nefarious agendas of our governing authorities. It has been difficult to conceal the fact that the wholly disproportionate response to what, in effect, was a relatively mild affliction, has served as a mere prelude, or opportunity, to achieve massive societal transformations in an increasingly shorter space of time.
Further, the uniform, lockstep nature in which many of these developments has arisen has suggested the existence of a global conspiracy to purge society of all remaining freedom while locking us in an effective digital prison under the aegis of a single world, governing authority. A prime candidate for the source of this conspiracy has been the World Economic Forum based in Davos, Switzerland, which has never been short of candour in its willingness to co-opt any real or imagined disaster – COVID-19, inflation, “climate change”, energy shortages – as opportunities to progress with their plans for a “Great Reset” and “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
I have explained in a number of longer articles why there is motivation to achieve these kinds of transformation at this particular juncture in history, and, moreover, in the shortest possible time. In a nutshell, the present global, political and economic order is crumbling, and the various beneficiaries of that order are keen to ensure that their power is retained in any transition to a new order. There is, therefore, no reason to deny the existence of these plans, especially not when they are published in plain English on the World Wide Web.
What I do disagree with, however, is any acquiescence to the notion that the enemies of freedom form some kind of global monolith, devoid of any competing interests and priorities amongst themselves. Indeed, in referring to these threats, it is typical to speak of “global elites”, “billionaires”, “the string pullers”, “shadow government”, “deep state” and so on. While these terms are fine as colloquialisms – indeed, I use them myself in the current environment – any careless, clichéd deployment can also lend the impression that we are always referring to one, unitary body; that the members of this body are all in perfect agreement to not only enslave you but also with regards to the precise methods in which you should be enslaved, and to which ends.
The problem with this view is that – unlike the universal benefits that result from the creation of wealth in the free market – power is a zero sum game. The power that one person has is the power that another person does not have. Thus, the logic of the growth of power is that it is eliminative: power will be consolidated in an increasingly dwindling number of individuals. In fact, the ultimate outcome of the continued swelling of power at the expense of individual freedom is the control of the whole world by just one, single person. As such, the more that power grows, the greater the chances of finding oneself not in the coveted category of the rulers, but in the undesirable category of the ruled.
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When it comes to the formulation and execution of actual plots, plans and conspiracies, therefore, it is likely that the enemies of freedom are able to achieve agreement on only a handful of very broad aims. The more detailed any particular plan gets the more it will be subject to competing ideas, philosophies, interests, priorities and other particulars. In fact, such competition may boil down to simple personality clashes, or the possibility that X wants to be the ruler while Y wants to be the ruler also, with neither wanting to be subject to the dictates of the other. World history can be changed by the outcome of such squabbles amongst the powerful.
This truth was realised by Ludwig von Mises nearly a century ago:
In advocating dictatorship such people always advocate the dictatorship of their own clique. In asking for planning, what they have in mind is always their own plan, not that of others. They will never admit that a socialist or communist regime is true and genuine socialism or communism, if it does not assign to themselves the most eminent position and the highest income. For them the essential feature of true and genuine communism is that all affairs are precisely conducted according to their own will, and that all those who disagree are beaten into submission.
It is a fact that the majority of our contemporaries are imbued with socialist and communist ideas. However, this does not mean that they are unanimous in their proposals for socialization of the means of production and public control of production and distribution. On the contrary. Each socialist coterie is fanatically opposed to the plans of all other socialist groups. The various socialist sects fight one another most bitterly.
As a result of this, it is unlikely to be the case that there is only one string puller or one single set of global elites. Rather, it is more probable that there are various groups and factions, all of which are overlapping and agreeing with others on some matters, while disagreeing sharply on others. As such, instead of them all being beholden to one, big, overarching plan for world domination, there are likely to be lots of plans, some big, some small, but each of which is jostling to oust the others in the event of a conflict. Such jostling – often ending with the exchange of live ammunition – will become more intense the more that the “basic”, higher order aims on which there is broad agreement are achieved.
The logic of this truth is revealed by the fact that, after a particular revolution has been successful, the revolutionaries start eliminating each other – a fact that has given rise to the phrase “the revolution eats its children” (although a more accurate formulation might be that “the revolution eats its parents”). Prior to the revolution, the comrades all agree to co-operate in achieving the broad aim of deposing the existing regime. Once that objective has been achieved, however, they then have to turn attention to what the new order will look like, how it will be governed, and – critically – who will be the governor. In that event, disagreements begin to emerge. For instance, following the death of Lenin, Stalin allied with Zinoviev and Kamanev to get rid of his rival Trotsky; with Trotsky gone, he united with Bukharin to get rid of Zinoviev and Kamenev; finally, he got rid of Bukharin. In Nazi Germany, Hitler eliminated Gregor Strasser and Ernst Röhm in the “Night of the Long Knives” little more than a year after the Nazis took power.
Incidentally, one interesting source of disagreement is that revolution on the one hand, and rule on the other, are not the same thing, with each requiring a different set of attitudes and approaches. Revolution requires disorder and discontent in order to weaken support for the ruling elite; the maintenance of rule, on the other hand, requires order and stability. By virtue of the fact that, if successful, they will have to make this transition, we can see that “the revolutionaries of today are the conservatives of tomorrow.” Those revolutionaries who fail to realise this – perhaps by continuing on a path of revolutionary chaos – become, in effect, counter-revolutionaries who must be eliminated. A notable example is Robespierre, whose reign of terror became too arbitrary for the other members of the France’s provisional, post-Revolutionary government. Röhm’s threat to Hitler was also manifest partly in the former’s continuing revolutionary rhetoric, with the thuggish SA/”Brownshirts” (of which Röhm was head) impeding Hitler’s efforts to consolidate support from the more conservative military.
Today, we can see easily that plans by one set of elites are likely to meet with resistance from other sets. The kind of worldwide global hegemony sought by the World Economic Forum, for instance, posits an end to the global dominance of the United States. Those who favour the latter are unlikely to go along with this. In turn, the dominance of the United States and its allies is unwanted by China, Russia and much of the global South – one of the reasons for the current war in Ukraine. The introduction of “Central Bank Digital Currencies” would effectively eliminate the need for commercial banks; are the wealthy directors who have profited handsomely from these banks likely to just roll over and accept this? In the United States, those whom we bracket together as “the left” is scarcely a united bunch, consisting, roughly, of establishment leftists (Biden, Obama, Clinton), economic leftists (Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Warren) and militant/cultural leftists (BLM, Antifa, etc.). All of these different factions can display agreement on some matters at certain times, while disagreeing on others at other times. This can be either out of principle or to gain a tactical advantage. In fact, with regards to the latter, it is even possible for one group to feign adherence to the principles promulgated by another group if they think it will help their own, real agenda. It is unlikely, for instance, that establishment leftists really care about ecology and the state of the planet; but it is useful for them to co-operate with environmentalists in order to increase their power through promulgating the “climate change” narrative. Since 2016, the American left’s mutual hatred of Donald Trump has tended to conceal these kinds of subtle detail.
Throughout history, threats to freedom have come from many different thinkers, in different countries, and have carried many different party banners. To look at the political parties in the UK alone, we have, in addition to the two main parties, the Liberal Democrats, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Green Party, People Before Profit, the Communist Party of Great Britain, two parties each claiming to be the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), Left Unity, Socialist Party of Great Britain, Socialist Workers Party, the Workers Party of Great Britain, etc. etc. All of these stand on their own, independent manifestos, with very different ideas as to how they want to rule your lives. Indeed, in principle, it is possible for there to be seven billion of these parties across the world – one for every individual who makes his own, unique plan to rule everyone else.
It’s true, of course, that those committed to liberty form their own divisions and sects, largely because of a) doctrinal differences concerning what is required for liberty to be fulfilled, and b) strategic differences on how best to achieve it. Liberty itself, however, can mean only one thing: freedom of the individual to make his own plans.
If an individual promulgates the notion that the threat we face comes in the form of one, uniform, global plan, then he is unlikely to exceed the position in which he can be dismissed as a mere “conspiracy theorist”. As I have argued previously, conspiracy theorists are right to assert that official narratives are always likely to be false. However, particularly once you move beyond the examination of isolated events (such as the Kennedy assassination), they often lack the analytical tools to turn this observation into a successful quest for accurate explanations. As such, while attempts to write them off as superficial are certainly disingenuous, they are not necessarily lacking a kernel of truth. An infographic produced by the European Commission lists six such common things conspiracy theories have in common:
A ‘secret’ plot;
A group of conspirators;
They suggest nothing happens by accident;
The assume the world is good or bad;
‘Someone’ is to blame!
We all know from experience that obtaining widespread agreement on even the smallest of matters in the closest of settings – our workplaces, amongst our friends and in our families – is fraught with difficulty. We know that accidents can and do happen day in, day out. We know that someone isn’t always to blame and that, sometimes, we just have to shrug our shoulders and get on with it. If this is true of our everyday lives, then it must be true in spades when it comes to plotting to take over the world. Thus, if the narratives of “conspiracy theorists” never advance beyond the characteristics listed in the illustrated poster, then it is easy to see why they will be dismissed by the general public.
To some extent, this rivalry between the enemies of freedom is a great boon to liberty. The more time they spend attacking each other the less time they can spend plundering us. Unfortunately, the battles between themselves – often funded with our own tax money – can be enormously destructive in their own right, and we are liable to get caught in the crossfire. In the words of libertarian geopolitical analyst Tom Luongo:
Maybe, just maybe, the giants are fighting and we ants have a hard time distinguishing between not only who’s winning but whose footsteps we should avoid.
It also means, however, that we cannot become fixated on defeating only a single vision; we cannot acquiesce, for instance, to the notion that getting rid of the WEF will automatically lead to a paradise of freedom and prosperity. Even when that specific plan will fail – and, being a mere guise of socialism, it will fail in the long run – there will still be plenty of bad ideas out there ready to take their place. In steering people away from these bad ideas we must be active in directing them towards the good one: individual liberty.
Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, Yale University Press (1962) 566. He reiterates the same point in Idem, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War, Liberty Fund/Ludwig von Mises Institute (2010), 242-3.