By Michael Barkun
What do unidentified flying object believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have in universal? in keeping with Michael Barkun during this attention-grabbing but traumatic publication, rather a lot. it truly is popular that a few americans are enthusiastic about conspiracies. The Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma urban bombing, and the 2001 terrorist assaults have all generated difficult tales of hidden plots. what's some distance much less identified is the level to which conspiracist worldviews have lately develop into associated in unusual and unpredictable methods with different "fringe" notions reminiscent of a trust in UFOs, Nostradamus, and the Illuminati. Unraveling the extreme genealogies and diversifications of those more and more frequent principles, Barkun exhibits how this net of city legends has unfold between subcultures on the web and during mass media, how a brand new form of conspiracy pondering has lately arisen, and the way this phenomenon pertains to better alterations in American tradition. This e-book, written by means of a number one professional at the topic, is the main entire and authoritative exam of up to date American conspiracism up to now.
Barkun discusses a number of material--involving inner-earth caves, govt black helicopters, alien abductions, mystery New international Order cabals, and masses more--that few notice exists in our tradition. taking a look heavily on the manifestions of those rules in quite a lot of literature and resource fabric from spiritual and political literature, to New Age and alien craft guides, to pop culture phenomena comparable to The X-Files, and to web pages, radio courses, and extra, Barkun reveals that the United States is within the throes of an unequalled interval of millennarian task. His e-book underscores the significance of realizing why this phenomenon is now spreading into extra mainstream segments of yank tradition.
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Extra resources for A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)
G&S Typesetters PDF proof 02-C2713 6/13/03 12:46 PM Page 22 22 M I L L E N N I A L I S M A N D S T I G M AT I Z E D K N O W L E D G E The Sources of Improvisational Millennialism Where does improvisational millennialism come from? The religious and secular forms of millennialism described earlier in this chapter have relatively unproblematic origins, because they rose out of well-defined bodies of religious and political ideas. Even systems of millenarian thought that are clearly heretical or deviant define themselves in opposition to a known orthodoxy.
The reason has little to do with the relative health of religious and secular millennialism. Both have flourished. Although it was once believed that forces for secularization would inevitably marginalize religion, the last three or four decades of the twentieth century demonstrated the vitality of many religious traditions. This is particularly evident in the growth of fundamentalisms—religious movements that seek to restore what believers consider a pristine, uncorrupted tradition. Such movements are characterized by their emphasis on the literal reading of sacred texts and the drive to remold society in conformity with religious norms.
These concepts were, of course, far removed from what President George H. W. Bush had in mind when he popularized the phrase new world order at the time of the Gulf War of 1991. He drew on a quite different tradition, which went back many decades and referred to a new and more stable international system associated with effective mechanisms for collective security. This distinction, however, is not one that New World Order writers have found persuasive. Indeed, considering Bush’s past associations with such organizations as Skull and Bones (a secret society at Yale University), the United Nations, and the CIA, it was easy for conspiracists to view his new world order references as messages to his fellow plotters.
A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society) by Michael Barkun