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A Culture of ConspiracyApocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America$
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Michael Barkun

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238053

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238053.001.0001

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New World Order Conspiracies I

New World Order Conspiracies I

The New World Order and the Illuminati

(p.39) Chapter 3 New World Order Conspiracies I
A Culture of Conspiracy

Michael Barkun

University of California Press

Despite the unprecedented millenarian pluralism in contemporary America, the varieties—religious, secular, and improvisational—have been integrated by the wide acceptance of a unifying conspiracy theory commonly denoted by the phrase New World Order. This chapter examines its disparate origins, for it appears to have developed separately out of religious and secular ideas that subsequently converged. New World Order theories claim that both past and present events must be understood as the outcome of efforts by an immensely powerful but secret group to seize control of the world. The idea of the New World Order as a sinister development draws on two distinct streams of ideas that evolved separately but eventually converged: millenarian Christianity and political pseudoscholarship. Its speculations about the end-times led to scenarios in which a diabolical figure—the Antichrist—would fasten its grip upon the world.

Keywords:   New World Order, secular ideas, millenarian Christianity, Antichrist, millenarian pluralism, political pseudoscholarship

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