Jason Bermas' "Invisible Empire" obfuscates rather than clarifies term, "New World Order"
In recent years, the term ‘new world order’ has become a pseudonym for conspiracy in mainstream parlance, alluding to an elite class of powerful individuals who supposedly pull the strings of Western governments from behind the scenes. Using propaganda as their main tool, this group is thought to actively pursue the erosion of national borders while methodically dismantling Western economies in an attempt to bring about a world government to subjugate the peoples of the world. Surprisingly, despite its conspiratorial connotations, the term ‘new world order’ is still used by Western politicians and the mainstream media, although, in a seemingly different context, describing the restructuring of geopolitical power and economic trade in the post-communist era following the fall of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall. Although the two definitions share similarities, the difference between the two general usages of the term are quite stark; nevertheless, they are often used interchangeably as if their meanings were one and the same, and, for better or for worse, the term is almost universally understood by the general public according to its conspiratorial definition. As a result, I was more than a little intrigued by the title of Jason Bermas’ recent documentary, “Invisible Empire: A New World Order Defined”, as the subtitle seemed to directly address this inherent ambiguity, of which the clarification could only benefit what has become a troubling and powerful meme in the mass psyche.
The documentary begins with a wide array of obscure video clips showing politicians and policy makers discussing the 'new world order' in various public forums, which, to Bermas’ credit, is probably the most comprehensive compilation of the phrase's usage on video. The overview effectively demonstrates that the term has, in fact, been the subject of much discussion among top policy makers since George H. Bush’s heavy promotion of a ‘new world order’ near the end of his term in office, which is particularly evident in rare footage of a commencement address he gave at Maxwell Air Force Base where it figures as one of the main themes. Despite this groundbreaking research, the interpretation of the material disappoints, as it seems as though Bermas is using the footage as evidence for the existence of a conspiracy, rather than making a genuine attempt to understand how the term is being used in its various contexts. For example, at times the term is used literally as a compound common noun without capitals, describing a world in which there will be a realignment of power e.g., "A new world order is taking shape", while at other times it is used as a proper noun with capitals, as if it was a formalized group of people that represented a specific ideology e.g., "The New World Order is taking over". For Bermas, there are no shades of grey; the use of the term 'new world order' is evidence in itself for the existence of a conspiracy, regardless of its context. This is tantamount to confusing a small ‘r’ republican with a big ‘R’ Republican, which, though loosely related, mean completely different things. Ironically, by blending all the different usages of the term 'new world order' into one narrow conspiratorial definiton, Bermas manages to further obfuscate the already ambiguous term, rather than clarifying it.
Another example of loose analysis is the often misinterpreted TIME “Person of the Year” designation, a title assigned to the world’s most influential individual in a given year, regardless of moral considerations of whether their influence was considered good or evil. Nevertheless, the conspiracy crowd often misinterprets the title as a "Best Person in the World" award, which supports the narrative in which they've been intellectually invested, pointing to the apotheosizing of Hitler and Bernanke as evidence of TIME's involvement in the global conspiracy. And for all I know, TIME is in on a global conspiracy, as William Burroughs believed, and perhaps they are even trying to use the "Person of the Year" award in a subliminal manner; but the apparent ignorance of the nature of the title unnecessarily discredits the conspiratorial viewpoint. If this conspiracy is as serious as the conspiratorialists are leading us on to believe, it's time to get a little more scrupulous about the accuracy of what is being discussed.
Midway through the documentary, the narrative begins to lose its focus, straying into themes such as global warming and overpopulation, branding all public figures with any concern for either issues as evil in intent. Never do the conspiratorialists address the problem of whether there actually are too many people to sustain the current levels of resource use on the planet. Nobody wants a china-like one child system, and most of us want a world with as much freedom as possible, but rational individuals should be allowed to ask these kinds of questions without being branded eugenicists, elitists, or even sexual deviants as is inferred in this film. What if there are too many people to sustain and feed on this planet? Are we supposed to ignore this question? The very mention of the issue is enough to be branded, tarred and feathered with the conspiracy crowd. This gross oversimplification and dogmatic approach to serious concerns, again, unnecessarily discredits many of the legitimate questions -- such as the role of the Federal Reserve and government overreach -- that the movement has. Unfortunately, there seems to be a widespread near-religious submissiom to dogma in the movement, which, frankly, seems all too similar to the strong adherence to Christian dogma to which many conspiracy theorists ascribe. It's no accident that both conspiracy theory and Christian fundamentalism share a strong susceptibility to apocalyptic fantasies of the coming end of the world in one's own lifetime.
Upon review, most fair minded people would admit that there is, in fact, a 'new world order' crowd, which is, in large part, comprised of member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and even the Bilderberg group. The question remains, however, as to how unified their agenda is, as well as the nature of their intentions. Are they diabolical perverts maniacally driven to dominate and enslave the world, as Bermas suggests, or are they simply a group of forward looking internationalists, attempting to usher the world into a more enlightened era, free from war, by means of world government. The truth, I suspect, is somewhere in-between. Reality is much more complex than the black and white world of the conspiratorialists; on the other hand, the intentions of politicians and those that fund them are not as benevolent as the mainstream media would have us believe. As is often the case, the reality is mixed. Thomas Jefferson, one of the great leaders of liberty and freedom on this planet, also had slaves. Painting world government and all the competing interests of the global elite with one broad brush will lead to over-simplified answers and inadequate analysis. If the current globalist agenda presents a threat to our individual freedom, as I suspect it does, it's time we adopted a more rigorous interpretative approach, one which admits it doesn't have all the answers, which is more skeptical of its own assumptions, and which is open to -- and even encourages -- self-critique.