There’s a silly public access program that’s repeated often late night on cable. The title of the series is The (Not So) Hidden Agenda. I’ve watched snippets of two different episodes, but both the episodes are repeated over and over again, so I assume that this series is mad up entirely of two hour-long episodes. Both episodes are noted for their lack of clarity and confusing visuals. They take stock footage and overlay it with simplistic graphics or filters that turn everything negative or solarise images or whatever. Then there is narration and often a backtrack of heavy metal music. I’m not clear on why the producers of this series decided that heavy metal music was appropriate for the show. I guess to make everything more exciting. At any rate, the two episodes that I have seen both deal with the hidden connections of everything. I have a soft-spot in my logic center for holistic histories, so the episode that deals with the earth-goddess and phallic symbols and triple-headed gods is all fine and good, if too new-agey and trippy. That episode has plenty of conspiracy theories in it and assumes that we all hate the Freemasons, but the other episode I’ve seen is entirely about the Freemasons and their plot to control our lives. It’s very silly. There is a part where they go on about The Simpsons episode with the Stonecutters that is mind-bogglingly puerile, but that’s not important right now. What got me though, and still bothers me, weeks after I’ve seen it, was tortured logic and bad history about the founding of America. Yes, it’s true. America was founded by Freemasons, which is like saying that Corporate America is run by Ivy League graduates. It proves that elites run in small circles, but nothing more. Anyway, the fear-mongering about Masons running the government isn’t the really crazy part. It was this: The show talked about England being run by the Masons in Colonial times. France, however was not. The Masons in France were middle-class, but were not in the nobility, so their machinations were limited by their lack of power. So they set up the French Revolution, which pitted the poor against the rich. See? The Masons, who were in the middle, could just sit back and let the poor do their dirty work. Brilliant! And it worked really well, too. The king was beheaded, and France looked like it was going to fall in control of the Masons. But the Masons miscalculated. The show is not clear on how exactly. It really ignored the Reign of Terror, so it wasn’t that the poor got fed up with the autocratic and capricious rule of their new masters. Instead, the show says that the Masons screwed up by not counting on Napoleon taking over. Napoleon, the show assures us, was not a Mason. Of course not, since England (ruled by Masons, remember) worked so hard to defeat Napoleon. The Masons were determined to not make this same mistake in America. So the middle-class American Masons, who did not have power in Colonial America, overthrew the government, and installed themselves into power, thus preventing a Napoleon-like figure from taking over. The narration strained over this amazing bit of misinformation. The show had spent the last 10 minutes talking about how the Masons controlled England. So it was a teensy-tiny bit illogical to say that the Americans overthrew the English Masons to install American Masons. But, the show stressed, that’s how clever the Masons are. What they were really doing was preventing a Napoleon-type strong-arm from taking the Colonies away from their control. I was floored. Luckily, I was in bed, and my fiancée was asleep next to me. I wanted to yell out, “What the hell?” but instead whispered curses to myself. It’s bad enough that conspiracy theories screw with logic so badly that it can be difficult to cut through all the bullcrap. Most of us end up saying, “Huh, that could be true,” and let it seep into our subconscious, poisoning our reasoning. Once we accept that there are huge structures of control around us that we can’t even see, let alone access, we begin to assume that we are powerless to decide anything. Nothing means anything anymore. And it is a poison. Let’s ignore for a moment the idea that there is a shadow organization that means to enslave us by some crazy-assed means. Let’s ignore the idea that a single group, hellbent on world domination, would pit two nations, that were already under its control, against each other in order to further its agenda. Instead, let’s look at the dates: * The French Revolution: 1789–1799. * Napoleon stages the coup leading to his installation as emperor: 1799 * The American Revolution: 1775–1783 * George Washington, a Freemason, is elected first President of the United States: 1789 So the Masons were so sophisticated that they knew the revolution, which would not occur in France for 6 more years, would end in bad tidings for them, so they labored to get the very unpopular George Washington into office, which would prevent a Napoleon-like leader (Napoleon himself keeping busy, but out of history, for a further 10 years) from taking over America. Brilliant. To be fair, I realize that what the program was actually saying was that the writers and producers don’t know shit about history. I understand that their ignorance is the very thing that feeds their paranoia about Freemasons. It’s really easy to connect the dots when we don’t actually connect them in any particular order. No doubt, when we do, it always comes out shaped like a pentagon or pentagram or crescent moon, or whatever else we feel like being scared about. Freemasons. I snort in their general direction. They couldn’t rule a city block. But so what? The vast majority of Freemasons are just interested in having a beer with some buddies. They’re as powerful as volunteer fire departments and the Elk Lodge. Unless you’re Ed Brown, who convinced me that even idyllic New Hampshire can have it’s share of paranoid, militia-forming nutjobs. I have a huge amount of respect for New Hampshire’s motto, Live Free or Die. (I believe that to my core. In that way, I, too, am a nutjob.) But Ed Brown gives us patriots a bad name. See, he’s convinced that his taxes are going to pay for evil Freemason plots.
Brown, who asserts that the federal government has no jurisdiction in New Hampshire and no authority to charge him under a non-existent law, said the activity surrounding his properties in Plainfield and West Lebanon yesterday was a “Zionist, Illuminati, Free Mason movement.” Or maybe he just wants justification to not pay his taxes. Maybe that’s the real genesis of conspiracy theories. If we don’t like something or the man is keeping us down, why not just say that the Oogey-boogeys are zapping all of us with Depresso-rays (and I’m particularly sensitive to those damned rays). It’s a lot easier than admitting failure. Hell, maybe we could even get a book deal out if it. Or produce a really crappy public access show with a kick-ass metal track. Yeah! That’ll show them Oogey-boogeys.