In both the antiwar movement and the 9/11 Truth movement here in New York City, I’ve often run into people talking about “the Illuminati.” In the antiwar movement, I haven’t yet run into this in any official statements by any leaders or groups, but I’ve run into it a lot in informal conversation at anti-war rallies and at informal gatherings in restaurants after meetings. In the 9/11 Truth movement, on the other hand, a few of the major leaders and groups officially promulgate an ideology which has no official name, but which I will refer to as anti-Illuminism.
Anti-Illuminism is sometimes referred to, by its opponents, as “Illuminati conspiracy theory,” a term I don’t like because of the frequent propagandistic use of the term “conspiracy theory” to lump together truly wacky conspiratorial claims, such as Henry Ford’s The International Jew and David Icke’s claims about the Queen of England being an alien lizard, together with more reasonable theories about possible government wrongdoing, thereby discrediting the more realistic theories.
So, I’ve chosen instead to resurrect the late-1700′s word “anti-Illuminism.” (For some history of that word, see the Amazon customer review of The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing Extremism in America, 1790 1977 by Seymour Martin Lipset; Conspiracy Nation‘s review of Architects of Fear by eorge Johnson, reviewed by Brian Francis Redman; this page of Constructing Postmodernism by Brian McHale; and The Anti-democratic Movement by Paul de Armond.)
Based on what I’ve looked at so far, I’ve not yet found any good evidence that the Illuminati still exist, let alone that they secretly control the world. Most of the “evidence” I’ve seen so far has revolved mainly around various organizations’ use of particular symbols, as if the different groups couldn’t just be stealing ideas from each other, or perhaps using the same symbols to mean different things.
I also have big problems with many of the political beliefs and aims that typically accompany – and follow naturally from – belief in “the Illuminati.”