You know the story: the globalists want your guns. They want your democracy. They’re hovering just beyond the horizon in those black helicopters. They control the media and Wall Street. They’ve burrowed into a deep state that stretches like a vast tectonic plate beneath America’s fragile government institutions. They want to replace the United States with the United Nations, erase national borders, and create one huge, malevolent international order.
The only thing that stands in their way is — take your pick — the Second Amendment, Twitter, or Donald Trump.
Conspiracy theorists have, in fact, been warning about just such a New World Order for decades, going all the way back to the isolationist critics of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and to fears about the United Nations in the post-World War II moment. During the Cold War, the John Birch Society and fringe elements of the Republican Party nurtured just such anti-globalist sentiments, but they never made much headway in the mainstream world. As the Cold War ended, however, the anti-globalist virus began to spread again, this time more rapidly, and it’s threatening to become a pandemic.
The Agenda 21 Dystopia
On September 11, 1990, just after Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait and just before the reunification of Germany, George H.W. Bush spoke of a “new world order” that would unite all countries in defense of the rule of law and thwart the Iraqi autocrat’s regional ambitions. The phrase was meant as a rallying cry, not an actual plan, but that didn’t stop the president’s America First critics from reading all manner of mayhem into his speech.
The elder Bush, who had long toiled in the shadow of Ronald Reagan, was in some ways a curious target for those who feared the end of U.S. sovereignty. As recent posthumous assessments revealed, he was an early champion of states’ rights (against civil rights), supported prayer in school and the NRA, made a U-turn as a presidential candidate to oppose abortion, launched wars in Panama and the Persian Gulf, and presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union. Anti-globalists, however, focused on a different part of Bush’s résumé: he’d gone to Yale, later belonged to a wealthy elite of Texas oil barons, served as ambassador to the United Nations, and was a card-carrying member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and that most elite of global agenda-setting outfits, the Trilateral Commission.
Such characteristics made him particularly vulnerable to attacks from the far right. Preacher Pat Robertson, for instance, disliked Bush’s staid Episcopalianism and resented losing to the future president in the 1988 Republican primaries. In his 1991 bestseller, The New World Order, Robertson refocused all his ire on the president’s presumed global ambitions. “Is George Bush merely an idealist or are there now plans underway to merge the interests of the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the United Nations?” he asked rhetorically and then, of course, provided the answer:
“A single thread runs from the White House to the State Department to the Council on Foreign Relations to the Trilateral Commission to secret societies to extreme New Agers. There must be a new world order… There must be world government, a world police force, world courts, world banking and currency, and a world elite in charge of it all.”
Though that 1991 book is largely forgotten, the televangelist’s attacks on Bush’s “globalism” resurfaced again and again in different forms. Beginning in 1994, for instance, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind series spun Robertson’s dire predictions of a one-world government into 16 novels and several dreadful movies. Just to ensure that readers wouldn’t miss their point, they even installed the anti-Christ as the head of the United Nations. More recently, Donald Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton’s elitism echoed some of the very themes Robertson had sounded almost three decades earlier.
Oddly, though, Bush and Robertson agreed on one thing, on which they even found common ground with former Vice President Al Gore: the importance of addressing climate change.
As president, Bush pushed a number of environmental initiatives related to air quality, ozone depletion, and climate change more generally. In 1992, his administration even endorsed a tepid “action plan,” Agenda 21, that came out of that year’s global environmental meeting in Rio de Janeiro. In reality, it was just another of an endless stream of documents produced by such environmental conferences. For some Americans, however, those two words came to evoke the most terrifying aspect of the Bush era, proof positive that he was covertly constructing the very New World Order that he had invoked.
Perhaps the leading proponent of Agenda 21 conspiracy theories has been TV and radio personality Glenn Beck. In 2012, he even published a dystopian novel called (you won’t be surprised to learn) Agenda 21. In it, he and co-author Harriet Parke fingered environmentalists as the true agents of the coming apocalypse and issued dire warnings about climate change becoming the lever a future global authority would use to eradicate national sovereignty and enslave Americans to a collective vision. “Just a generation ago, this place was called America,” Beck and Parke wrote. “Now, after the worldwide implementation of a UN-led program called Agenda 21, it’s simply known as ‘the Republic.’ There is no president. No Congress. No Supreme Court. No freedom.”
Once you start looking for Agenda 21, it pops up in all sorts of strange places. Newt Gingrich ran for president in 2012 with a pledge to rescind the “plan.” Ted Cruz linked it to — you guessed it — George Soros and warned that its implementation would deprive Americans of their right to play golf (no joke). Most recently, YouTube and Twitter have lit up with contrived reports that Agenda 21, not climate change, was somehow responsible for the latest California wildfires.
And here’s the truly bizarre part: while Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, and the rest of them were nattering on about an obscure, non-binding U.N. document, they were missing the real story. A nightmarish New World Order was indeed being constructed around them. It’s global, malevolent, aimed at destroying ever more American lives, and — according to a recent Trump administration report — getting worse by the minute.