Monday, December 08, 2008

Ode to Joy

This essay on Beethoven and the Illuminati is not nearly as entertaining as it ought to be. Having grown up in the era of Paranoid Style, I was always as fascinated as the next X-Files buff in conspiracies and secret societies, until I realized that almost all of them were the fever dreams of right-wing nut jobs:
As for the Illuminati, call them one more example of the Enlightenment's excesses of hope for human perfectibility. Since Beethoven's day, the secrecy and world-ordering agenda of the Illuminati have made them a natural magnet for conspiracy freaks. The Illuminati actually existed only some nine years, but there are still lots of folks, including many on the American religious right and the John Birch Society, who believe the Illuminati are the mother of all conspiracies, a Jewish-dominated international cabal that has more or less run the world since they incited the French Revolution.
The Illuminati weren't bad guys, just overly optimistic progressive secularists. Don't call it a conspiracy, call it the audacity of hope.