We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Is the globe now ready to start thinking seriously about its elite?

I see that my fourth (approximately, I think) cousin John Micklethwait, Editor of the Economist, whom our own Paul Marks disapproves of so severely, is this weekend attending a meeting of the Bilderberg Group.

I learned about this list of potentates thanks to a link to it from Guido Fawkes, and I consider it rather significant that such an august media personage as Guido should be positively drawing our attention to this gathering.

When the internet got seriously into its stride, and particularly blogging, at or around the year 2000, you would have thought that observation and analysis of the global elite would have exploded. After all, detailed analysis of these persons and their thinkings and their doings was the quintessential Story They Don’t Want Us To Know, in other words, a story that was ready-made for the internet.

Yet, actually, very little was said about these persons and their meetings and their secret thinkings aloud, by regular people as opposed to the people who were already fascinated by such things. Oh, I’m sure that the people who had been banging on about the evil Bilderbergers for the previous quarter of a century immediately started publishing vast screeds about these persons on the internet. But, or so it seems to me, very few other people paid such talk very much attention. And so, pretty much, it has continued.

Why? Was it because bloggers who dipped their toes into these hitherto forbidden waters were visited by sinister people in sinister raincoats at sinister times of the night? Did those who mentioned the Bilderberg Group on the internet suffer mysteriously fatal road accidents?

I can’t speak for others, but the thing that kept me away from talking about Bilderberg meetings and similar things was not the fear of Them, but the desire not to be thought completely mad, by people generally. The thing is, if you ranted on about the Bilderberg Group in about 1980 or thenabouts, what you said might just be true. Ish. A bit. But if you said such things at any length you would be kissing any sort of life as a respectable political communicator goodnight, and those were the only political communicating lives then available. If you wrote letters about Bilderbergers to the mainstream media, or to the media as we used to call them, or if you tried to get on the radio to talk about such things, then you really were bonkers. After all, the whole point of the Bilderberg conspiracy was that it was a conspiracy of, among other things, absolute media silence. (And before anyone tries to say anything different, getting libertarianism into newspapers and onto the radio during the 1980s and 1990s was an absolute doddle compared to getting any sort of newspaper space or air time for Bilderberg speculations.)

So it was that, for the half century or so before the internet came amongst us, talking about such things as Bilderberg meetings with anything but brevity and levity meant that you might as well have put a big sign around your neck saying: I AM A MAD LOSER. Sane people didn’t waste their lives trying to spread such ideas, which meant that, actually, sane people didn’t even waste their time thinking about such things. What the hell was the point? If you spent any significant portion of your life even thinking about the Bilderberg Group, then you really were mad.

So then, enter the internet. Chocks away. All restrictions on freedom of expression gone. Say whatever you like. Right? Right indeed, pretty much. But if you were sane, you actually knew very little about the Bilderberg Group, unless you were a participant. If you wrote too effusively and too knowledgeably about Bilderberglery around, say, 2002, people were bound to suspect that this was not the first time you had ever pondered these matters. You would look like: one of those people, one of the paranoid losers who ranted on pointlessly about global conspiracies instead of getting on with life, during all those decades when ranting pointlessly about such things was the only way to talk about them.

If you did later do some Bilderberg blogging, around 2005 say, and even if you yourself were totally sane, you immediately risked the loonies crawling out from their personal loonybins and commenting at tedious, paranoid, screw loose length. Which wasn’t the solution to anything. That was the problem.

This is why I think it is so significant that Guido (who is the total opposite of such loony tunes communicational incompetence) now regularly alludes to the activities of these globally elite people. (This is not the first time he has done this, and I bet that isn’t either.) Guido may be a bit of a chancer, a bit of a tilter at windmills, a man who risks and therefore is, but he is absolutely not mad. He is a fully functioning member of society. He is not, in a word, a loser. In fact, I would say, he has been one of the winners of the last decade of British life. And where he has for some years now been pointing, others may eventually follow.

Especially when you consider what a mess these would-be global guardians are now making of the world.

Another star of the new media, James Delingpole, also deserves more than a passing mention in this regard, although a passing mention is all he will get here. He, like Guido, has been willing to mention the Bilderberg Group by name, in connection with the right royal mess that the global elite are making of the whole climate change thing. Unless of course you think it was all a deliberate fraud from the start, as I am at present inclined not to. To all the other fully paid up, fully functioning human beings who definitely think about lots of other things as well, but who have started to feel their way into such Bilderbergish thinking and who have ventured forth with such thoughts onto the internet, but whom I have not mentioned here, and in many cases do not even know about: my apologies! As our own Paul Marks would say.

The point is, time. A decade has now passed during which it has not been an early indicator of insanity to have given at least some thought to the global elite and their habits and meetings and watering holes and blunders and subterfuges and dilemmas. New methods of communication are often spoken of as having their impact just the once and straight away, but it’s almost always more complicated than that. Often, their impact takes years, sometimes even decades or even centuries, to materialise. Now that several years have already passed with something very like total freedom of expression about anything, it has become slowly but surely more possible for you (a) to write and publish some quite well thought through opinions about Bilderbergers and their ilk, while (b) not being regarded by everyone who reads these thoughts as an obsessive freak loser who needs to get out more, so that you can be killed by a passing delivery van.

By the way, my attitude towards gatherings like the one referred to at the beginning of this posting is by no means one of total hostility. My objection to these people is not so much that they exist, as that they are doing what they are doing so damned incompetently. Unless that is, their objective was always private plunder for themselves and nothing else, in which case they’re doing a very capable (albeit morally repugnant) job. My libertarianism doesn’t mean abolishing such meetings, still less massacring all those who participate in them, even if some analysis of their financial arrangements and of how these arrangements relate to their Big Decisions (in the manner of this classic piece of Guidology) would absolutely not come amiss. It means getting libertarians and libertarianism (approximately speaking) well and truly in among them, and totally changing what gets said and what gets decided at these global gatherings. And I actually think there is a far better chance of accomplishing that than in trying to spread libertarianism only through local political methods, like doing libertarian party politics, or trying to foist libertarianism on existing political parties. (Don’t let me stop you if you are attempting these things. But good luck. You’ll need it.)

A few years back, I recall suggesting to Guido that when he had got bored with tormenting our merely local rulers, he might like to take a crack at the global elite. Alas, it appeared that he had other plans. I wonder if he might now be changing his mind.

That may just be wishful thinking on my part, but whatever Guido himself does next, the time might now be just about right for someone like Guido, if not the man himself, to have a serious, world changing go at these people.

41 comments to Is the globe now ready to start thinking seriously about its elite?

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Brian,

    Absolutely spot on.

    I first heard about the Bilderberger Group about ten years ago and just filed it under Nutters and Conspiracy Theorists. I was absolutely amazed to learn, just a couple of years ago, that it actually existed. As a result I’m now a bit less sceptical about those who do talk about a New World Order.

    As for the internet, and new technology in general, most people wildly overestimate and then wildly underestimate its potential for change. In the initial euphoria about anything new, people will predict that it will totally revolutionise the world by two weeks on Tuesday. When it doesn’t, they dismiss it as overblown hype, usually because they are thinking linearlly, rather than exponentially.

    When the internet first appeared, circa 1995, a lot of people made predictions about how it would change everything. Mainly they predicted we would soon be buying everything online, rather than at the local store. Initially they proved to be very wide of the mark: local stores did not go out of business, while a lot of people lost a lot of money investing in the first online retailers. Ultimately though, they were right; it’s just online commerce took longer to get going than its cheerleaders had predicted.

    So it is more generally. The internet has only been around about fifteen years. Quite possibly, its effect on politics and society generally thus far has been minimal. But over the longer term it could change both more than anyone can imagine.

  • laidback

    It means getting libertarians and libertarianism (approximately speaking) well and truly in among them, and totally changing what gets said and what gets decided at these global gatherings. And I actually think there is a far better chance of accomplishing that than in trying to spread libertarianism only through local political methods, like doing libertarian party politics, or trying to foist libertarianism on existing political parties.

    I have to ask: what possible allure could the ideas contained in libertarianism hold for the Bilderbergers and the people like them (i.e. those who believe the world ought to be run by a sort of global “Brain Trust”)?

    My undertanding of libertarianism might be completely off the mark, but what I think I understand about it is this: libertarians are rarely, if ever, elected to office because libertarianism is all about pulling the plug on the whole sick and sordid mess. Under libertarianism, everyone has to start paying their own bills, fighting their own wars, (or, at least, paying someone to fight them out of their own pocket) and, most importantly, paying for their own mistakes, as opposed to the current system of cost-shifting and having other folks pay for them.

    Bastiat said, “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” Let’s face it: living at the expense of others is what groups like the Bilderbergers are, fundamentally, all about. The only real problem for them, ever, is how to go about it.

    To be clear: I’m not saying that I don’t support or necessarily disagree what you’re saying, only that I’m unable to see what the Key Selling Point would be in terms of the people (in this case, the elites) to whom you are trying to peddle libertarianism. What is in it for them, exactly?

  • John B


    I can’t speak for others, but the thing that kept me away from talking about Bilderberg meetings and similar things was not the fear of Them, but the desire not to be thought completely mad, by people generally.

    Um, well, yes.
    If you want to conceal something that a lot of people actually know a bit about, I guess one way is to establish a consensus of thought that it is looney tunes country.
    Set up some narratives that are quite close but actually point in the wrong direction and are perhaps faintly ridiculous.
    Get the archbishop and the prime minister to have a spat when actually they are from the same place.
    If you are a bank set up a government that pretends to regulate you and squeal every so often.
    Same people, different hats.

    I don’t think they are making a mess of their agenda. It just is not your’s. Or mine.
    Again, I think Garratt’s exploration of the situation(Link) in the US back in the 1930s indicates a profound continuity of events.
    It is all there, staring one in the face.

  • guy herbert

    Brian,

    Careful. Having had six years as a nutter-magnet at NO2ID I have several rules of thumb that allow me to file-under-nutter immediately and minimise wasted time. One of those is linking to infowars, prisonplanet, indymedia and the like as if they were reliable sources.

  • Guy Herbert

    I take your point. I would never have linked to that Bilderberg list if Guido hadn’t done that too.

    Is it wrong that there is a Bilderberg gathering this weekend? Am I wrong about John Micklethwait being at this event? Is Guido wrong that Osborne and Mandelson are also going? Seriously, I would like to know.

    Is Guido a nutter? No. Is he a nutter magnet? Yes. You only have to look at his comments, which I stopped looking at years ago.

    As for the comments at Infowars …!!!

    As for what, more exactly, this nuttiness consists of, I would say that it typically means assuming that everything done by the global elite is free from the influence of randomness, unintended consequences, and the general tendency of things to be cocked up rather than to turn out exactly as planned.

    Conspiracies are a fact. But those who conspire seldom agree about everything or have identical interests or agendas. And their conspiracies often contend with one another. Often the conspiracies succeed, but often, they fail. Nuttiness, or so it seems to me, means assuming, let us say, a greater degree of harmony at such gatherings, a more complete meeting of minds, than is really very plausible.

  • laidback

    If you want to conceal something that a lot of people actually know a bit about, I guess one way is to establish a consensus of thought that it is looney tunes country. Set up some narratives that are quite close but actually point in the wrong direction and are perhaps faintly ridiculous.

    I’m sure my saying this is going to place me squarely amongst the tinfoil hat brigade, but: I have to wonder if concealment and/or misdirection are actually necessary with anything that is big and far-reaching enough.

    I mean, regardless of what you or I might think the Bilderbergers are or aren’t up to, it has to be admitted that the purported guest list (and supposedly those are only the known guests, with others eschewing any kind of publicity) is pretty damn impressive. If nothing else, it raises the question: how often do you get a group of people that powerful (and with such a disparity of interests) gathered together in one spot? The whole thing seems incredible…….and exactly the sort of thing that Alex Jones, et al., spend all their time chasing.

    With their reputations preceding them, (I’m trying to be polite here) why bother to hide it?

    “It’s only the little secrets that need protecting, the big secrets are protected by incredulity.”

    Indeed.

    (Thank you for the Garet Garrett link, btw.)

  • Mr Ecks

    There is a global elite.

    They do have plans.

    They are not all members of one secret organisation. They are more like fellow travellers in the same direction on the road to evil. They mostly nod and smile to each other. Sometimes a few may join forces on a temporary or permanent basis. They know roughly where they want to get to and that makes all of them more dangerous than a monolithic group trying to carry out a secret plan. Such a group would quickly be riven with hatred and ego battles. Good people do that all the time in organisations never mind trying to build a group out of the world’s evil, egotistical, sociopathic scum.

    That they lack central planning makes them more dangerous not less.

    They are being noticed more because they are meddling more openly with peoples lives. Our plastic-faced scumbag of a PM and his vile green stealth taxes for example.

    All taxes impoverish but these have been introduced with no other aim than that the next generation will have less than this one and the following generation less still and so on down to a kind of techno-peasantry, if we are stupid enough to do nothing. (Counter-action is beginning but we need a No2Artificial Darkness/Poverty organisation(which would first of all need a better name) to help the fight).

    The Tranzi organisations–UN,EU, ad nauseum etc are trying to push their agendas (economic issues/gun control/banning of vitamins etc,etc) more and more and that has lead bloggers to take more notice of the threats to freedom from said Tranzis.

  • John B

    If one is fairly consistent and honest with oneself I don’t think it is too difficult to discern the truth from the false.

    It takes a certain amount of courage and a refusal to give in to one’s own preferred strain of reality-evasion.

    We are all latent elitists!

    Looking at sites mentioned very briefly.
    Infowars looks like it might have some good data but, yes, it looks like it is done from a somewhat unrealistic world view. (That the “elites” think wars can be a way to solve overpopulation is silly. Wars are for selling armaments, perhaps. Okay.)
    I see Prison planet is the same guy – Alex Jones.
    Indymedia seems to basically accept the MSM narrative, and takes it from there.

    The best thing is not to take what people say is happening as a guide, but rather look at historical facts, where possible.

    A simple question: Why was gold nationalised in the US?

    Another: Why is the US not allowed to be energy self-sufficient even when it has the capability?

    Yes you will attract some pretty way out concepts and ideas born from unrealistic thinking.
    Theories spun out of some facts but which are not consistent with reality when opened up.
    But that’s all you have to do with nutty theories – open them up and expose the inconsistencies.
    Untruth, when exposed to reality, evaporates (and don’t the liars hate that!)

  • From Wikipedia:

    In 2001, Denis Healey, a Bilderberg group founder and, for 30 years, a steering committee member, said:

    To say we were striving for a one-world government is exaggerated, but not wholly unfair. Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing and killing people and rendering millions homeless. So we felt that a single community throughout the world would be a good thing.

  • laidback

    That quote from Mr. Healey made me smile. : )

    (That is, my reaction was prompted by Mr. Healey and what he had to say for himself, not directed at you for posting it; I just wanted to make that clear.)

    Those of us in Bilderberg felt we couldn’t go on forever fighting one another for nothing

    Fascinating. Rich people fight wars for nothing? Really? When was this?

    and killing people and rendering millions homeless.

    Right. So the Bilderbergers are getting together to:

    1) Save lives

    and

    2) Prevent/solve the problem of homelessness

    I’m sure this isn’t going to reflect favorably upon me at all, but, somehow, I’m reminded of the scene in Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part I where he is playing Louis XVI.

    After telling us “I don’t care for the peasants?! They are my people, I am their sovereign: I love them,” King Louis then shouts, “Pull!” and we see a peasant launched into the air like a clay pigeon, with the king blasting merrily away.

    So while I’m not necessarily convinced that the Bilderbergers are getting together to perpetrate evil, (rather, they are getting together for the far more mundane purpose of promoting their business interests) I hope no one seriously believes Mr. Healey’s rap about how they are getting together in order to come up with ways to save lives and/or prevent homelessness.

    That is not how rich people work and that statement was Strictly for the Birds.

  • Schrodinger’s pooch,

    The Internet has actually been around for fifteen to twenty years, depending on your definition, longer than you seem to think. Your view of its growth is an example of the exponential vs linearity view you criticize. In fact, the growth if the Internet is itself an example of its transformative nature.

    At the beginning of 1994 no one outside academia/IT/military had heard of it, by the end of 1995 everyone had heard of it, but no one knew what it was. That sudden explosion, after decades of incubation, is what the net is still delivering as more and more is becoming widely known.

    I first heard of Bilderberg about twenty years ago, and no information was ever available, but now watch. Thanks to the net, given another five to ten years Bilderberg meetings will become as secret and exclusive as Davos, as the media elbow their way in.

  • Laidback: glad to have been of service.

    Not to disagree with the spirit of your comment, but I am bothered by the fact that you use the expression ‘rich people’ to describe the participants in that “club”, or whatever it is. It’s not their being rich per se that earned them a seat in the meetings, it’s their being powerful. The two attributes do overlap quite often, but not always, and they are certainly not the same thing.

  • Thanks to the net, given another five to ten years Bilderberg meetings will become as secret and exclusive as Davos, as the media elbow their way in.

    Cats, I’d just qualify that as ‘reporting media’, since media as part of the elite establishment have long been part of it.

  • RAB

    Good piece Brian.

    I heard of the Bilderberg Group and other secretive organisations like the Trilateral Commission back in the late 70’s, and the very fact that they exist and are so secretive… well you don’t have to be a Conspiracy freak to be deeply worried about what they’re up to do you?

    I don’t see them as cat stroking Bond villains in some secret bunker in the Alps though, beavering away night and day at some devious and dastardly master plan. Because if they do have a plan, it’s going horribly wrong isn’t it?

    The thing for us Libertarians is how can we counter these people? The world’s Elite is growing fast, and they have very little connect with the rest of us ordinary folk. They genuinely believe that they know what is best for the rest of us.

    Leftists have been colonising and collectivising our Education systems and Media since before WW2, their control is very near total now.

    Taken along with so called Charitable Foundations like the ones Bill Gates and George Soros have founded, which fund left of centre ideas policies and solutions, and creepy little organisations like Common Purpose, who are infiltrating public and Corporate bodies at all levels, well we Libertarians have a monumental task on our hands trying to counter this groupthink don’t we?

  • Richard Thomas

    RAB, is it going wrong? Whilst I’m cautious about assuming things are zero sum games, it’s often the case that someone gets rich off of the impoverishment of others. One only has to look at how Soros made billions off of the collapse of the pound for example. I’m sure several someones were making money when the market was bubbling and were miles away when it tanked.

  • “…talking about such things as Bilderberg meetings with anything but brevity and levity meant that you might as well have put a big sign around your neck saying: I AM A MAD LOSER. Sane people didn’t waste their lives trying to spread such ideas…”

    Brian… have you ever talked to anyone about political ideas outside of libertarian / conservative circles in the last decade?

  • mike

    Yes, but what is your point? That quote is me describing things before the last decade (during which time my answer to your question is still yes, by the way), and before the internet hit the fan. My whole point is that now, i.e. during the last decade, things have changed. So, despite what you seem to be suggesting about what I was saying, we actually seem to agree.

  • nemesis

    Zerohedge have some background and the guest list. One of the comments mention about the high representation of tech/internet companies.
    Future internet regulation anyone?
    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/full-list-2011-bilderberg-conference-attendees

  • laidback

    Not to disagree with the spirit of your comment, but I am bothered by the fact that you use the expression ‘rich people’ to describe the participants in that “club”, or whatever it is. It’s not their being rich per se that earned them a seat in the meetings, it’s their being powerful. The two attributes do overlap quite often, but not always, and they are certainly not the same thing.

    Good point. Just as you say, wealth and power are frequently synonymous. However, there are certainly people and groups who don’t have a lot of money, but who would certainly be considered opinion leaders, and therefore worth inviting to such a gathering. I’m sure there’s room for the heads of, say, powerful nonprofits and NGO’s in the Bilderbergers so long as they agree to “get with the program,” so to speak, and using the phrase “rich people” excludes those kinds of entities.

    On the whole, I tried to refer to the people in question as “Bilderbergers,” but I see the phrase “rich people” did sneak in there a couple of times. [blushes] Perhaps the phrase “powerful and influential people” covers the bases better? :)

    What I was trying to get at there is that Mr. Healey’s assertion that the Bilderbergers go through all that trouble in order to consider the interests of non-Bilberbergers is, well, silly. The powerful and influential are like any other group of people in that consideration of their own needs and interests comes first. If there’s anything left over (or the interests of Bilderbergers and non-Bilderbergers happen to overlap by some happy coincidence) then and only then can you and I expect to benefit.

    I hope that sentiment came through even if I stumbled in the phrasing of it. :)

  • My point was that, even now with the internet, your description is a pretty fair summary of how a lot of “respectable” people outside of conservative and libertarian circles will view you (and probably the rest of us).

    They’ll take one look at your blog and conclude you to be some daft old codger toddling about London photoing health and safety signs, random bridges, aerials and other things between watching the cricket and ranting on about bringing down the government.

    I think you exaggerate the degree to which such perceptions may have changed.

  • Roue le Jour

    John B,

    Why was gold nationalised in the US?

    The dollar was tied to gold. The US government could not issue more dollars without obtaining more gold.

    Why is the US not allowed to be energy self-sufficient even when it has the capability?

    The US is self sufficient. Thanks to the petrodollar system, Saudi oil effectively is US oil.

    RAB,

    Because if they do have a plan, it’s going horribly wrong isn’t it?

    My view exactly. After they’ve reduced the world to rubble, what do they do then, return to lizard planet and start the invasion? These guys have children and grandchildren. Is this really what they want for them?

  • “The dollar was tied to gold. The US government could not issue more dollars without obtaining more gold.”

    Roue, this is a bit of an off-topic question (apologies), but I’m taking my leave from that quote of you:

    Has anybody been looking at Bitcoin? Can anybody dismiss it as a fraud yet? I’m looking at it and I can’t; it’s an interesting new attempt at a virtual currency.

  • John B

    Roue, well that is sort of part of it. But is an inversion of reality. They did not need to obtain more gold to print dollars. They could and can print as many of those as they could get away with.

    They confiscated the gold at $35 an ounce in order to force the people to use those dollars.
    Gold was shortly thereafter revalued at over $60, and the rest is history.

    It is about forcing people to use a medium of exchange that can be devalued at will. (Inflation is not goods becoming worth more, it is about money becoming worth less.)

    It is the stripping of the wealth out of the hands of the people.

    If that oil in Saudi is actually US oil then why are the Saudi people and others in that region becoming ever richer because of it and the ordinary people of the West, including America (excluding the elite) becoming ever poorer?
    The cost of energy is bankrupting the ordinary people of the West.

    The only people who benefit are the elites.

  • f0ul

    Saudi oil is US oil because the US allows the adjustment of the amount of oil the Saudi’s produce which keeps the Dollar stable- and any county that decides to start selling oil in Euros gets invaded! ;)

    As far as the New World Order groups – does it matter if people know they exist? You can’t change the agenda fro the outside – and if there was any chance you could change the agenda from the inside, you wouldn’t get invited in! ;)

    The point is that democracy, and the free market are just ideological ideas which can work – but are not used in practice because the winners would not be the people who are currently in power. If you were in charge of the rules, would you change them if there was a slight chance you could lose what you have?
    That is why corporatism in business and politics is the name of the game.
    The only way this can be changed is if there was a very big war, involving someone who wasn’t a part of the group – but there isn’t! The Chinese are as much a part of the group even if they don’t turn up very often – their economy is linked to the dollar – so they have no interest in rocking the boat yet. Maybe in a 20 years or so when they have bought Africa and most of Asia and suddenly unlink from the Dollar …?

    Tin foil mode or just flavoured cynicism?
    ;)

  • Laidback: just to be clear, it’s not that I was suspecting you of hatred of the rich or anything like that, it’s just that I like to make a point of preventing any confusion in anyone “uninitiated” who may be reading.

    Re what term to use to describe people who may have the questionable honor of being invited to the “club”, I think ‘elite’ (or ‘elites’) fits them best.

  • laidback

    Laidback: just to be clear, it’s not that I was suspecting you of hatred of the rich or anything like that, it’s just that I like to make a point of preventing any confusion in anyone “uninitiated” who may be reading.

    Right, and just to set the record straight for anyone who might be reading this: I do not begrudge the wealthy their wealth. Frequently, (though not always) that wealth was created due to their offering a product or service that other people liked well enough to hand over their own money to obtain on a purely voluntary basis. That’s always something to be lauded.

    What’s less laudable is the tendency of powerful and influential people to engage in collusion. That is, setting the rules or creating conditions that others are forced to play by, but to which they themselves are not subject.

    I don’t see that tendency as being “evil,” so much as a manifestation of the human trait of “following the path of least resistance.” If you set up a system of any kind, people will start trying to game it in no time flat. The Bilderbergers are merely taking that principle to its logical extreme.

    Re what term to use to describe people who may have the questionable honor of being invited to the “club”, I think ‘elite’ (or ‘elites’) fits them best.

    I agree: an “elite” is probably the best way to describe a Bilderberger in good standing.

    I must admit, though, that the way you phrased that last sentence prompts me to wonder if there is, somewhere, a list of people who were invited to become a member of the elite, but who respectfully (or perhaps not so respectfully) declined. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’d be terribly interested in learning about anyone who received an invitation from this group and then had the nerve to tell them to naff off. :)

  • Laidback, the way I see it, in this world there is no way one can even survive, let alone get rich, without getting on with the system. So once we’re talking anything above mere subsistence, it becomes only a matter of extent of cooperation. That said, I do see red lines that in theory should be drawn at actively supporting and encouraging the system, but it can be very hard to tell exactly where to draw them in practice. For example, I think one can roughly be put at lobbying for regulation, pork etc. But then I can imagine (and it could well be just my imagination) a situation where, for example, a business has to out-lobby its competitors just in order to survive.

    Regarding your last point: no, you are not the only one – I had similar thoughts, and would like to think that at least one such person could be found anywhere, at any time. I would certainly go to great lengths to shake his hand. But then I can’t help but think of another kind, on the existence of which I am much more positive, and I’ll explain by an example: when I looked at the list of attendants in that Wikipedia article, I saw that it was categorized by industry/sector, and I went to look at the ‘media‘ category – there I found no other than Conrad Black – who, as it happens, is now a member of a very different kind of club.. OTOH, William F. Buckley is also on that list, but he only attended once, FWIW.

  • I saw the smitebot coming, but there was no other choice – someone, please?

  • Paul Marks

    The central trick of this group is a simple, but effective, one.

    “Would you like to come and listen to really important people – and to talk with them on equal terms?”

    What politicians (or businessman or…..) could possibly not be tempted by that?

    And all you have to agree to is to keep the contents of the discussion private “so we can all talk freely”.

    Sounds like a very small (and acceptable) request.

    But once someone has agreed to that……..

    A world govenment (in fact if not in name) ruled by experts.

    One does not need to go to the Bilderberg group to encounter that desire – after all the Star Trek franchise (and so much else) is based on the desire for it.

    Tolerate, peaceful, progressive…..

    Just go along with the best educated and most successful people.

    And so as a person is successful (founder of Facebook or whatever) they will be invited along.

    Of course (as a business person) one might not know all that much about political philosophy – but what is being said seems to fit in with what one half remembers from school and undergraduate days (and it does fit in – perfectly) and these people seem so wise and well intentioned…..

    So one is soon led to help (in what ways one can).

    And if the help has to be a bit “behind the curtain” well one has started on that road already – as soon as one agreed to go to a private meeting .

  • Laird

    “Would you like to come and listen to really important people – and to talk with them on equal terms?”

    What politicians (or businessman or…..) could possibly not be tempted by that?

    Hell, I’d go (not that I’m ever going to be invited). If for no other reason than to see how they think. It would be a fascinating experience.

  • I can assure you Laird that you’d need a very long shower afterwards.

  • laidback

    And all you have to agree to is to keep the contents of the discussion private “so we can all talk freely.”

    You’ve touched on something about the whole BG affair that doesn’t quite make sense (at least, not to me). Or perhaps I’m just overthinking this particular aspect of it.

    One of the central tenets behind all the secrecy/closed doors seems to be: We don’t want any “reporting media*” running around here because remarks made at the meeting could be reported out of context and members shouldn’t have to worry about anything they say because we want them to be able to speak freely.

    All well and good, but….isn’t keeping the media at “arms length” the way they do rather awkward, if not self-defeating?

    What I mean is: for a group of supposedly clever people, why do they not simply buy off the media rather than put so much time and effort into keeping them away? It seems to me that most (if not all) reporters can be bought off with an expensive “goodies bag” (i.e. a really expensive gift or set of gifts that they can convince themselves is/are not a bribe because, well, “everyone got one”) and/or a bit of buttocks-kissing.

    Somehow, I keep thinking of the White House press corps, made up of Seasoned Veterans who are supposed to ask the Really Tough Questions, but rarely (if ever) actually do simply because they’re so high on being that close to power that they want the buzz to last for as long as possible.

    John Pilger-types (i.e. journalists who simply aren’t for sale at any price) seem to be so few and far between in the 21st Century that they’re scarely worth fretting over. Are there still real reporters out there who will eat the slap-up dinner their host has provided, and graciously accept the goody bag, yet still retain enough integrity to turn right around and give a negative report on what’s happening around them? Maybe there are and I’m just not familiar with them.

    There’s that old saying about “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” that the BG seems to be ignoring at its peril. Or perhaps keeping the media at arm’s length really is the best policy; I don’t know.

    To me, however, it seems like a lot of effort is expended by the BG in trying to avoid/stonewall the media when assimilating them would be a much more effective strategy to allow members to speak their minds freely without having to worry about seeing it splashed all over the front page (assuming that’s what all the hand-wringing by the BG over the media is really about.)

    Seriously, invite the reporting media in, tell them how well they’re looking, and……they’ll be eating out of the BG’s collective hand in no time.

    *Yes, I’m aware that some members of the media establishment have been invited to the BG. However, they seem to have been relatively few in number.

  • John B

    Its probably safe to assume that those who have extreme power and extreme wealth, and who can also be understood to be rather bright (in order to have attained them) have the intelligence to keep the agendas that need to be concealed, concealed.
    And the ability to keep those that cannot be hidden, re-interpreted or swathed in jargon and obfuscation so as to be unrecognisable.

    Keeping reporting media at arms length is normal practice for conferences.
    Probably the most significant info that could be gained would be names and faces.

  • laidback

    Its probably safe to assume that those who have extreme power and extreme wealth, and who can also be understood to be rather bright (in order to have attained them) have the intelligence to keep the agendas that need to be concealed, concealed.
    And the ability to keep those that cannot be hidden, re-interpreted or swathed in jargon and obfuscation so as to be unrecognisable.

    Agreed: they are an extraordinary group with a great deal of power, influence, and wealth.

    Keeping reporting media at arms length is normal practice for conferences.

    I guess this is where I derive my disappointment from.

    If the BG is a conference of extraordinarily people, I would, somehow, expect them to deal with the press in an extraordinary way. I’m sure that keeping the reporting media at arm’s length is an effective way of dealing with them, it’s just that, somehow, I expected a lot more from a group of such “clever” people, that’s all.

    If the BG continues to follow their current policy, it’s only going to serve to pique their interest of others in what it is they are doing. Assimilating people into what they’re doing, on the other hand might require more initial effort on the part of the BG, but the long-term advantage is that it helps serve to lower the level of interest you hold for others.

    Anyway, I’m probably overthinking this horribly so don’t mind me. :)

  • Paul Marks

    John B. asked two specific questions.

    “Why was gold nationalized in the United States”

    And

    “Why is the United States not energy independent when it has the capacity to be” (he could have added “and it would be CHEAPER for the United States to be energy independent” a rather important consideration).

    The first question.

    Because F.D.R. wanted to issue lots of new money (or rather have the Federal Reserve do it) without admitting he was “going off the gold standard” (I hate the term gold STANDARD, either the gold is the money or it is not, but I will not rant on about that just now).

    Richard Nixon is often attacked for “taking America off the gold standard” (in 1971), but (in reality) the United States had been off the gold “standard” since 1933 (although it did not have a totally fiat currency – there were still mostly SILVER coins being minted, for everyday use – not for collectors, till the early 1960s). F.D.R. maintained the illusion of a gold standard by saying.

    “There are 35 Dollars to an ounce of gold”, in a rational universe that would either mean a “Dollar” was a bit of gold weighing one 35th of an ounce, or that the government had a pile of gold (perhaps in “Fort Knox” or perhaps in the vaults of the Federal Reserve in New York) to “back” the paper Dollars.

    Of course it meant neither of these things – all it meant was that Roosevelt has said some words.

    So how was the illusion maintained?

    By forbidding the private ownership of gold and voiding private gold clause contracts. Britain maintained no illusion of being on the “gold standard” after 1931, but Roosevelt did (after 1933) hence the need for all the tyrannical measures. And they were tyrannical – a person could be sent to prison (for years) for owning gold (bar a wedding ring or other such).

    A better question would be “how did he get away with it?”

    He used a First World War piece of legislation (“anti hoading”) as an excuse – but really he maintained the position that the sky would fall (the Republic would collapse) if either the government openly “went off the gold standard” or actually maintained it.

    And Five our of Four Supreme Court Justices went along with this (1935) – thus showing they took their oath to the Constitution as seriously (or rather as lightly) as he did.

    And the people?

    The people reelected him in 1936 – by a margin of 60% to 40%.

    Sadly (to be blunt) it takes more than a “corrupt elite” to destroy a Constitutional order.

    It takes a corrupt, or weak, or ignorant people also.

    Take the modern example of the “Ryan Plan” – in reality this is about making modest (far too modest) changes to the Medicare that people who are PRESENTLY UNDER 55 will get.

    Yet the people of New York 26 believed that the “Ryan Plan” meant denying all Medicare to older people – indeed throwing old ladies off cliffs (the leftist campaign adds showed someone made up to look like Ryan throwing an old lady, in a wheelchair, off a cliff).

    Now one can complain about the “lies of the evil elite” as much as one wishes to. But is there not something else here?

    How long would it have taken to check the basic facts of the Ryan Plan – yes I know “Google is biased”, but one can still actually go straight to the Ryan Plan (even using Google) and it is not written in Ancient Greek.

    I will be blunt – the voters of the New York Congressional District do not get a pass by talk of the “lies of the evil elite”, the voters were ignorant scum (just as they were in 1936), and there is no way round this truth.

    “ignorant” is obivious, but also “scum” because it would have taken them a couple of minutes to correct their ignorance – but they voted without bothering to do so. Nodding at the evening news (ABC, CBS and NBC) was as far as their idea of civic duty went.

  • Paul Marks

    The other specific question from John B. was (I am going to put it in my own words) why does the United States rely on expensive overseas sources of energy when it would be cheaper (and more secure) to rely on domestic sources?

    Two reasons.

    Since the 1960s the United States has been hit by insane regualtions – mostly motivated by the environmental lobby, but not all from them.

    For example, the principle of “price control” is from the Progressive era (the early 1900s) and that hit towns and cities accross the nation (undermining local sources of power – and making people rely on sources that, in the end, were more expensive).

    In natural gas the building of new interstate pipelines for natural gas was actually banned in the 1930s – having more pipelines would mean “competition” you see and competition was evil (the Toy Town Fascists in Washington D.C. knew this – because their university education told them so).

    Indeed after 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that anyone who even sold gas to an interstate pipeline of natural gas was under Federal regulation – i.e. “price controls” had gone national.

    One can tell similar stories for other sources of energy – but, I repeat, it was the 1960s when things went totally nuts.

    Is there a wicked plot?

    Most likely not (at least till recently) – more likely the American Republic has turned into the Byzantine Empire, endless demented rules and agencies, slowing eating the body politic away (a bit like the E.U. – indeed the E.U. seems to have based a lot of its policies on modern American onces, for example “anti trust” – i.e. the same people who say that competition, when it actually exists, is evil and must be stopped, ALSO say that competition is sacred and where it does not exist, it must be created artifically).

    However……

    Under the present Obama Administration things may actually be moving to deliberate intent.

    But it would take a long argument to prove my “paranoid” view of recent events.

  • manuel II paleologos

    Surely the real reason that the Bilderbergers aren’t bigger news is that they’re just not very interesting?

    It sounds like Davos without the skiing.

  • Manuel has a point.

  • laidback

    Surely the real reason that the Bilderbergers aren’t bigger news is that they’re just not very interesting?

    Applying Occam’s razor to the problem, the whole “fiendish cabal” thing could simply be a cover so that male impotence treatments can be administered to the elite with the least amount of potential embarassment. ::sniff::

  • Paul Marks

    I should have pointed out that good things can also happen.

    For example, natural gas was (in great measure) DEregulated.

    That is why some people (such as a certain Texas billionarie) go on about it so much.

    Not because it is the best energy source (it is not – not for most things), but it is the only one they can actually get their hand on (to use round the country – in the least unfree way) right now.

    Which, for them, makes it the best DE FACTO source of energy.

    Deregulate other domestic sources of energy and the situation changes.

    And the (partial – but real) deregulation of natural gas shows that (evil elite plots or not) deregulation is POSSIBLE.