Do secret societies that wish to bring about a new world order still exist? Who are they, what evidence points to their existence today, and what are their overall goals? Also, who are the foremost experts on secret societies?

This question originates from a reporter seeking to find experts to appear on a popular, syndicated morning radio program at 6:00 am (Central) on Thursday, May 5. If we cannot recommend an expert from the Stack Exchange community, the next best thing would be to point him to our collective knowledge and research.

FYI - The program is called The Mancow Muller Radio Show, the No. 4 radio program in the country, with an average of 11 million-12 million listeners daily. The show can be heard in 200-plus markets, and segments are often replayed on FOX News.

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    They are so secret that there is no evidence pointing to their existence. And do not forget, they rule and censor the internet, therefore even if there would be an evidence, you could not see it here.
    – Suma
    Apr 26 '11 at 14:54
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    yeah me and buddy have a secret society and we want to rule the world, there ya go, QED Apr 26 '11 at 18:43
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    How much change is necessary to qualify as a new world order? There are lots of committees who clearly want to change things at least a little -- they usually go by names like "committee to elect XXX as YYY". For that matter, I have the "committee to make Jerry Coffin rich." That hasn't been terribly successful yet, but would be a pretty serious change! :-)
    – user2046
    Apr 27 '11 at 4:58
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    p.s. what to consider an "expert" on secret societies? It'd have to be either a conspiracy theorist who claims to have "uncovered conspiracies", which no doubt would go down well with a radio show as it's juicy but wouldn't I think be what we wanted to portray ourselves as, or someone whose claim to fame is that he's levelheaded enough to realise that a secret society is secret only as long as only its members know about it and thus can't tell anything, making for a very short interview.
    – jwenting
    Apr 27 '11 at 10:55
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    @ ErikTheBassist: unless you and your buddy is listed in some sort of scientific peer-reviewed catalog of secret societies, it doesn't count. This is skeptics site, unsourced anecdotal evidence is not welcome! ;)
    – user288
    Apr 27 '11 at 14:27

We know that such societies exist because many have become exposed.

For historical examples, consider the Freemasons, Illuminati or the Ku Klux Klan. All were, at some point, influential (more or less) secret societies consisting of people with common aims and traditions. The Wikipedia articles on these are actually very well sourced and provide a good summary.

It is well documented that some of these structures have survived until today, and even remain influential, such as the infamous P2 (Propaganda Due) Lodge (source: David Yallop, In God’s Name). The existence of P2 has also been documented in press (where it was referred to as “a state within a state”).

The exposure of P2 in 1981 revealed the membership of many influential politicians – among them Silvio Berlusconi1) – and unearthed plans “for a consolidation of the media, suppression of trade unions, and the rewriting of the Italian Constitution.” (Wikipedia; Tobias Jones, The Dark Heart of Italy).

More recently, the Christian terrorist group Hutaree was exposed in the USA, along with their aim to stage a small-scale coup d'état (source: BBC).

There is also the fear that the deregulation of the mass media market has led to a de facto control of the public opinion by very few people (who would constitute a not-so-secret society). A rigorous examination of the situation in the USA is undertaken in the film Orwell Rolls in His Grave (online video, Wikipedia article).

… so yes, secret societies “that wish to bring about a new world order” did exist, some until very recently, and there is no reason to suspect that they suddenly ceased to exist.

There are of course numerous allegations and conspiracy theories about secret societies that aren’t corroborated by facts. Being conspiracy theories, there isn’t much chance of disproving them conclusively, and nary a chance (other than by sheer coincidence) of them being true.

1) Berlusconi’s membership receipt:

It is also worth noting that in many countries the political elite is a very tightly knit group of people. For instance, in France many of the top politicians went to the same University – Sciences Po – and knew each other even before that, sometimes through family ties. In Germany, most conservative politicians belong to tightly knit fraternities (“Studentenverbindung”). This of course means that without the right connections it is hard to gain footing in politics.

But none of this is secret, let alone constituting secret societies. It is also, as far as I know, entirely uncontroversial. For that reason I can’t be bothered to research references. The remark serves more as an “FYI”.

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    @jwenting About the secrecy of KKK and Freemasons: hence my qualification “more or less secret”. But these societies were secret initially and/or at intervals throughout the period of their existence (e.g. P2). Furthermore, they called themselves secret societies. About the politicians: I imagine it’s the same pretty much everywhere. I can only speak confidently for France and Germany since I’ve had a political education in those two systems. Apr 27 '11 at 10:55
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    A friend of mine who is a freemason says that at this point the are "an organization with secrets" but he makes no secret of his membership.
    – Zachary K
    Apr 27 '11 at 12:53
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    "Christian terrorist group Hutaree"???? We are talking about 9 guys (if I recall, some/most of them related to each other) who were preparing to fight Apocalypse. Short of BBC's institutional left-wing need to hate on the Christians, what exactly was the idea behing that bullet point?
    – user5341
    Apr 27 '11 at 16:11
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    Also, from reading about it, "Orwell Rolls in His Grave" is anything but "a rigorous examination of the situation in the USA" - it's a hard left wing fantasy that somehow all of mass media (90% of whom are registered Democrats and give donations to Democrats and openly support Democratic causes) is somehow a right-wing conspiracy. The fact that Bernie Sanders is associated with this may be a minor tipoff.
    – user5341
    Apr 27 '11 at 16:18
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    @DVK There are two things here. First, you are apparently terrible at reading between the lines, sorry. Secondly, your criticism of my chosing Hutaree is actually somewhat apt. I was hard-pressed to find a contemporary example of a military group. Hutaree differs from Islamist groups by their aim to actually overthrow the local government. This is what qualifies them as a secret society for the goal of this discussion. Islamist terrorists merely want to cause terror in the US, they don’t want to take over government. But in other countries such as Pakistan the situation is very different. Apr 28 '11 at 12:13

What's the meaning of the phrase "New world order"? The first world war was eve of the historical period of the long 19th century. A lot of people thought that it was a bad idea that the European nation states were constantly waging war against each other.

Woodrow Wilson called for a "New world order". He called for the foundation of a league of nations in which different nation should come together to be more peaceful. The cosmopolitan idea. Nation states were supposed to become less powerful.

Even before the Second World War people like Gustav Stresemann wanted to have more European integration. At the time there was a strong nationalist sentiment and European integration didn't happen.

The Second World War happened. Some people said: "Enough, we have to stop those nation states from waging war against each other". They had a problem. The French were pretty nationalistic and weren't fond of the idea of being governed by a parliament that had some German parliamentarians. There was no way you could convince the French public to accept something like the current European parliament.

It was better to go one step at a time. The French prime minister and foreign minister Schuman proposed in 1950 the European Coal and Steel Community.

A lot of people who were in favor of cosmopolitan ideas like European integration and transnational partnership started 1954 to meet in Bilderberg. The Bilderberg group started yearly meetings that are always held at different locations. Most people who are members of the group are pretty cosmopolitan and think that European integration was a great idea.

A lot of them subscribe to the principles that are currently know as Washington consensus. If you are a hardcore nationalist than you might want to label those ideas as New World Order.

  • A group with a Wikipedia page is hardly secret though :-) Is there anything else you wanted to add here? It's being flagged as not an answer...
    – Sklivvz
    Dec 27 '12 at 0:26
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    @Sklivvz : (1) I think it's valuable to have an answer that explains the notion of "New World Order". The other answer doesn't address the term at all. (2) Any powerful group for which citable evidence exists has a Wikipedia page. (3) I could add something about the Bohemian Grove.
    – Christian
    Dec 27 '12 at 16:27
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    @Sklivvz if it's a page they administer themselves, and with verifiably correct information... If I were a secret society, I'd create websites, brochures, conspiracy theories, all with false imagery of what I really am, in order to put off "the masses" as to what's really going on, the sillier and more ridiculous the better. That way, if real information leaked, nobody'd believe it...
    – jwenting
    Dec 10 '13 at 6:26

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