Conspiracy theories abound in America. Though the mainstream media pays little or no attention to these theories, or to the figures who personally promote them, the theories are there and the people who promote them are armed and very aggressive. Most of these theorists proclaim to be Christians, a claim that is dubious in almost every serious sense of the name Christian. These same theories even exist in Great Britain and Canada according to the documentary film, New World Order.
According to these alarmists the Holocaust never happened, or at least it is vastly over-rated by serious historians. 9/11 was “an inside job” staged by a powerful group of global leaders who want to take America over and control the people. And the Twin Towers were brought down by explosives placed there by conspirators, not by the planes that were flown into the buildings by the terrorists. (I wondered how they explain the attack on the Pentagon? The film offered one street encounter where an answer was given that was so silly as to prove in itself how ridiculous this conspiracy business really is.) According to these conspiracy advocates your civil liberties and mine are going to be taken over by a cabal of leaders who want to throw out the U. S. Constitution. On and on it goes. The major force behind all these theories is something called the Bilderberg Group, a gathering of a little over 100 people who secretly run the world. Bilderberg, and the better known Tri-Lateral Commission, is made up of elites who are working to establish a "new world order." The great Satan for the conspiracy theorists is “the new world order” and those who promote it. It is somewhat ironic, I suppose, that I watched this 85-minute film the evening the House passed the new Health Care bill. I admit I am not a fan of this bill but I chose to ignore all the talkers over the weekend because the only thing I cared about was the news itself, not the opinions. To be truthful I think we have no idea what this bill will actually mean for most Americans until we see how it really works (changes will inevitably be made here and there). This is one of the reasons I am cautious and concerned at one and the same time. I am taking a “wait and see” attitude that seems to make me totally out-of-step with the majority of people on both sides of this debate. I am skeptical about the promises made for this bill, especially about paying for it since it appears that it will take us from 20% of our GDP going into the national treasury to 25% over the next few years. But I refuse to become cynical and I am surely not looking for a conspiracy theory to explain what is going at this point in our history.
The documentary New World Order is must viewing for serious Christians precisely because it offers an inside look at the people who dedicate their lives to spreading the word about conspiracy, much of it as I said in the name of religion and Christ.
Directors Luke Meyer and Andrew Neel focus primarily on Alex Jones. I only knew Jones from afar until this film. He is a documentary filmmaker and talk-radio host with a loud voice and a “fire and brimstone” style. He rants and rails and organizes to beat the band. His language is coarse, profane and he regularly takes God’s name in vain, as any thoughtful Christian will readily notice. I would like to ask conservative pastors, if they met this man, one simple question: “If this man applied for membership in your church what would you do?” Decide for yourself—watch the film.
Alex Jones is an intriguing person. I would love to see a group of counselors discuss his personality but leaving that aside he is sincere, dedicated, sometime funny and always intense, to varying degrees. His bullhorn is his favorite instrument, along with his radio broadcasts and films, which include Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement and Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove. His goal seems to be focused on revealing the secrets of the annual Bilderberg meeting, where world leaders meet in secret to talk about who knows what. Jones would lead you to believe he knows what is going on but there is no real evidence that he does. He has a lot of theories but few facts. This is the problem with conspiracy theories it seems to me. Once you accept the presupposition that there is a massive, global conspiracy then you follow the dots and preach the message. What I find particularly offensive about these “preachers” of fear and hate is the way they seek to link their actions to Jesus Christ. Again, this film will show any serious Christian how totally ridiculous this claim is in the end. Just listen to the words spoken by Jones and his followers. Jesus said, “By their fruit you shall know them.” The fruit of these preachers is fear and hate. They live for this stuff and they are driven by it night and day. One young man, who is prominent in his following of Alex Jones, talks about his quest and says it is not spiritual at all. He is profoundly right even if he doesn’t realize why. I actually felt deep sadness for these young men who were trapped by this hatred. By the way, almost all the people involved in this business are angry white men. The only exception seems to be the wives of a few older men who appear as support for their husbands.
The film takes you to the mountains of Idaho where a number of these folks live with their weapons and computers. Their whole existence is about the cause. Many have live simple, humble lives with little or nothing at all because of their cause. The whole scene is rather strange but it will help you understand Ruby Ridge and Randy Weaver, as well as Waco and the fiasco that took place there. (By the way, I think in the case of both Waco and Ruby Ridge the federal agents acted with undue and unnecessary force!)
The New World Order mostly follows Alex Jones. He is the star attraction of the whole movement. But his fellow conspiracy promoters are an important part of this story since a teacher is generally known by his disciples. One reviewer said, “[The film] delivers a fascinating look at true believers who are desperate to expose the supposed sins of politicians and business chieftains. Without delving deeply into the conspiracy theories themselves, the movie introduces the real people whose lives are in some instances consumed by these exotic ideas.” Alex Jones promotes what he calls Infowars. This new film is not an Infowar but an amazing portrayal of some strange and, I believe, dangerous individuals who spend their entire life establishing alternative communities in the mountains or filming DVDs to hand out by the hundreds at the World Trade Center site, especially on the annual 9/11 celebrations in New York City. In one scene Alex Jones provokes the police enough to get himself arrested, which seems to be the whole point that he wanted to make. These folks really do seem intent on making news but not always on getting exposed to critical analysis. There are scenes here of them showing up at various public events with their bullhorns and cameras so they can shout down public figures and record what happens. They have opposed presidents and public officials on numerous occasions. It should be noted, for the sake of this review, that in most instances these conspiracy theorists were also huge supporters of the former presidential candidate Ron Paul. (His campaign material shows up a lot in the film, especially in the form of the shirts that various people are wearing who are promoting the conspiracy theories.)
I believe Meyer and Neel have given us a very well done documentary. Documentaries are almost always statements about the beliefs of those who make them so I realize this has to be the case with New World Order. But Meyer and Neel truly allow Alex Jones and his people to speak for themselves. There is no commentary on Jones and his followers to be heard. I grant that the producers chose the film footage they wanted to show us but the story is pretty much there to be seen and interpreted by anyone who will watch it with an open mind. It does make for a fascinating look into the black hole of a small segment of America where people live for opposing the forces that they think are destroying our nation. But make no mistake about this, the world they live in is joyless, fearful and frenetic. The peace of Christ has nothing to do with the religion of these folks. It is thus a faith that has absolutely nothing to do with the good news of Jesus Christ. The real shame is that some rigidly conservative Christians are easily taken in by the kind of rhetoric employed by these guys. In the end, this is what the film clearly reveals. The facts these extremists use to make any case for their views are slim, but the rhetoric is intense and, at times, even powerful in a few instances.
Now that the Democrats have passed health care I would think that we will only hear more of this kind of rhetoric. I expect, sadly, that more Christians will be taken in by it as well. There are real moral issues to debate within this culture and Christians should not shy away from earnest appeals for what is just, good and right. But remember, the right way to advance a moral point of view is in a morally honest way that does not employ the weapons of the flesh as St. Paul calls them. These angry white males are the masters of the weapons of the flesh, namely attacking “flesh and blood” (i.e. people and leaders). They do not deal with real ideas in reasonable and morally God-honoring ways.
I recommend this film highly. As a Christian writer and leader I will never be quite the same for seeing it. My eyes were opened to dangers that threaten all of us. These dangers are not simply on the extreme left, as we saw in Oklahoma City. And they are not only found on the fanatical Muslim extremist side. We must understand that our way of life is threatened by religious zealots of all sorts, including some who threaten it while quoting the Bible and singing the songs of the faith along the way.