You probably would like some proof. Here I am telling you that there’s a 239 year old conspiracy of big bankers trying to remake the world into something rather dark and awful.

Yeah. This would probably be a good time for some proof. And frankly, there’s nothing easier than launching into a list of one despicable fact after another. And, I will do that. But, not before I have laid out why all this is happening. If you don’t establish ‘the why’, you will never discern what is a real conspiracy from what is just innocent foolishness. The world is full of cracked pots whispering about monsters that lie in the shadows.

The world doesn’t need more of that kind.

So, let’s talk about why…

There Really is a Good Reason

Why on Earth would a bunch of banks want to get together and form a secret organization?

Think about it for a moment. What was the world like in the 16th and 17th centuries? How about the 1st through 15th?

Not nice. Not nice at all. To quote Thomas Hobbes on living in a ‘state of nature’:

… and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short (from Leviathan, XIII.9.)

During most of human history on the continent of Europe, security was essentially non-existent. What security there was existed in the hands of a bunch of thugs who tried to take everything you had in exchange for something resembling protection. Those who didn’t have some thug protecting them were at the mercy of bandits who ruled the countryside. You can probably guess who was supporting the bandits, so that the average person NEEDED protection.

And yes, it was a very tidy racket.

Now, there are places and moments in time when a thug-in-charge wasn’t able to leach all the wealth from the population. When that happened, pockets of prosperity popped up, and you had a growth in leisure time and wealth. People sat around and thought, drank a bit of coffee and went off and did things. That resulted in technology – as well as art, education, etc. In a word, Renaissance.

It also resulted in better ways of doing things. And, the better you were at ‘doing’, the better you were at accumulating wealth. And, when that wealth got large enough for people to notice, you had to do something with it, or have it taken from you.

Remember those thugs with that lovely security racket? They always want what you have. We call this government.

The fact of the matter is that the world is full of thugs-who-want, so what do you do?

You could create your own thugs, and go into the government business. Lots of people did that. In fact, you pretty much always did that, but not everyone was lucky enough to be able to trade their wealth for power. Most of the time, you spent your life at the mercy of some thug who got into the government business before you did – who then went on to try and take your money. Even worse, that thug might even be a direct competitor with an interest in reducing the competition – i.e., you.

Think the Medicis and the Borgias.

So, what to do?

If the government route was out, you had to find other places of safety, such as a secret society.

Almost any secret society would do, just as long as it had a secure form of communication, iron-clad guarantees, and some way of keeping the ruling thu-, I mean, government from getting all of your money. It’d also be great if such a secret society helped you make even MORE money.

Sometimes that ‘secret society’ was more like a guild, and at one point every occupation had one – sorta like the Medieval version of the union. Carpenters, masons, glass workers, weavers – they all had guilds, if they attained any level of success.

There’s that word again. Success.

Success means money, and when you have money, you either need to do something with it, or put it somewhere until you can figure out what to do with it.

That’s where banks come in. Prosperity and success are the breeding ground for banks. Get enough banks going, and they’re going to want to put a guild together. But, there’s a special problem with a banker’s guild. Every thug in the universe knows that a banker’s guild represents lots of money in one place.

To make things even more complicated, the idea of ‘banks’ really started to take off. As rich people started to realize that banks were a great place to store money, banks started to get bigger. They also started to innovate, doing things like offering bits of paper representing how much gold you had in the bank’s vault. Those bits of paper were easy to carry and eventually became something that you could use to obtain goods and services from other people. You could even borrow these bits of paper, if you didn’t quite have enough gold to do what you wanted.

Today, we call these bits of paper, money.

But, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.

We’re talking about secret societies for bankers. In fact, for a banker, a secret society would have to be so secret that you either couldn’t see it, or it looked like something completely different – such as… oh… a guild of masons.

Also, that secret society would have to have a really good way of making sure that secrets were protected – something really lethal. You’d need to swear to have your tongue cut out with a rusty spoon and drowned at low tide under a full moon if you should ever EVER violate even one ‘sacred rule’ of the organization.

I love some of their ‘oaths’. They’re full of stabbings, drownings, flayings and all sorts of horrible stuff.

The problem is that, no matter how horrible the oath, people have a hard time sticking to them. There’s always someone who thinks that they can violate a rule and get away with it.

So, wouldn’t it be great if they could threaten your eternal soul? Now THAT would get people to stay in line. And frankly, there’s nothing better at sticking things together than religion. If a secret society for bankers didn’t have a religion, they’d probably have to invent one.

Which is what they did.

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