Many Americans, often those associated with extreme right-wing groups and fundamentalist Christian churches, believe that the trend of economic globalization is part of a secret plot by a small group of international bankers and powerful politicians to erode national sovereignty and institute a one-world government (sometimes also called the New World Order).
While there have been attempts by ambitious rulers throughout history to gain worldwide domination—from the ancient empires of Greece and Rome to the imperialistic ambitions of Napoleon and Hitler—the forces of the one-world government are said to use more deceptive means. The theory is that they have amassed power not through the use of military force, but by controlling international financial markets.
Although there are many versions of the theory, all agree that the one-world government operates through powerful international institutions, such as the United Nations (UN), the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Trilateral Commission (TC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the secretive Bilderberger group.
In the 1960s, the one-world government theory was promoted by the ultra-conservative John Birch Society. According to the Birchers, the CFR and the TC were organs of international communism, whose goal was to overturn democracy and replace it with a repressive global socialist regime.
In post–cold war America, many right-wing extremist groups like the modern militias believe the push for one-world government is the work of “international Jews” with origins in secret societies of the eighteenth century, like Adam Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati and the Freemasons.
Proof of the plot is found in Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery written in the early twentieth century and first popularized in the United States by Henry Ford’s “The International Jew,” which appeared in his Dearborn Independent in the 1920s.
The Protocols purport to detail the plans of a super-secret cabal of Communist-Jews to seize world power by manipulating international finance and installing their own government pawns in positions of high political office. Although they were exposed as a forgery in 1920, the Protocols continue to be cited as evidence of a one-world government conspiracy.
Militias and other survivalist groups further claim that foreign troops, under the orders of the UN, are gathering in several locations around the United States, preparing to disarm U.S. citizens and impose martial law. They report sightings of unmarked black helicopters and the creation of concentration camps where resistors will be detained once the siege begins.
In more recent manifestations, the theory is promoted by Christian millennialists, who link the oneworld government theory to biblical prophecies of the Last Days. According to the visions reported in the Book of Daniel and in the Book of Revelation, sometime after the Rapture, when Christ returns to earth to remove the elect to heaven, a beast with ten horns, the Antichrist, will rise from the sea to unite “all kindreds and tongues and nations” and rule over the earth for a period of “forty and two months”.
During this time of widespread peace, in which the Antichrist deceives mankind into worshiping him, everyone will receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead bearing the Antichrist’s name or number, 666.
Those who follow him by accepting this mark will be granted unlimited prosperity, since “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark”. Eventually, Christ will once again return to earth and defeat the Antichrist in the final battle of Armageddon.
Interpreted according to these prophecies, the facts of economic globalization offer proof of this satanic plot, instituted by Jews and foretold in the Bible, to turn people away from Christianity, erode national sovereignty, and institute global governance. Rather than a single individual, the Antichrist is often believed to be a composite, such as the small group of elites who control the UN, the IMF, and other organizations.
These organizations and the opening of worldwide financial markets in treaties like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) offer clear signs of the Antichrist’s attempt to unite all nations into a single federation.
The ten horns of the beast, symbolizing a ten-nation alliance, refer to the European Union or to the members of the UN Security Council, working to establish global tyranny. And the mark of the beast is found in the increasing prevalence of credit cards rather than cash or the push to develop a national identification card.