It seems a lot of people are obsessed by the ‘Illuminati’ nowadays. No one seems to be able to give a reasonable definition of what or who the illuminati are, but we seem to hear an awful lot about them.
I have nothing against conspiracy theories – some of them can be fun and rather amusing; the trouble with the whole illuminati thing is that it tends to obstruct any real debate. The minute the illuminati are mentioned the tendency is for any discussion to veer off into the territory of David Icke’s space-cadet ramblings about nine-foot baby-eating lizards and secret handshakes – none of this is conducive to clear-headed thought.
I’m not denying that secret societies exist – of course they do. In fact, my Grand-dad was in the Freemasons (as was his father, etc), but I rather get the impression that it was simply a social-group – and let’s be honest, when a load of blokes gather together it’s rather inevitable that they will start to make up some rules, secret pass-words and so on, kind of like little kids building a den in the park. No doubt George W. Bush’s Skull & Crossbones group is rather more sinister (it has a scary name for a start – again, like something little boys would make up), but then he is a war-criminal and so forth, so you would expect that.
The irony is that the fever surrounding the Illuminati is in danger of becoming a religion since it does has the hallmarks of one; belief in the absence of irrefutable fact. And like a religion it has become an industry. The aforementioned David Icke has built an entire career out of writing about the Illuminati; easy to do if you don’t have to provide substantial proof for your claims (it’s a bit like L.Ron Hubbard did with Scientology). The well is pretty deep and I strongly expect Icke’s religion will soon be exempt from taxes in the US. He’s not the only one mining the interest in the Illuminati – what about Dan Brown? He’s another one, and his books sell even more than Icke’s!