On the Illuminati

The recent discovery that one of the top fifty search terms to reach this website in the past two weeks is “illuminati spelled backward,” combined with the death earlier this year of Robert Anton Wilson, co-author of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, reminded me today of a strange anecdote in my life.

Several years ago, I posted a message to eDebate, the college debate listserv. My message ran thus:

Could anyone running the Illuminati Kritik please e-mail me cites? I heard this K a few weekends ago, but am having trouble with the implications. Thanks.

Interesting. I used to use “Grey Mouser” as an e-mail handle…. 😎

Sorry. I digress. The things one forgets about themselves.

A kritik is an oddball form of debate argument. Wikipedia explains it here better than I ever could, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. A kritik is a negative argument against the affirmative’s plan of action that challenges the philosophical and mindset underpinnings of the affirmative plan. It says, basically, “The problem isn’t that the plan won’t work, but that in enacting the plan something philosophically or morally wrong and/or offensive becomes further entrenched in society.” Or something like that. πŸ™‚

Coming back from a debate tournament I had a crazy idea. I’d ask for help in something that didn’t even exist and watch as people on the listserv either offered their help, asked for similar information, or even (and this was a long shot) said they’d heard of it, too. Thus the Illuminati Kritik was born.

(Okay, this is shades of something I talked about a few years later. If you know what I’m talking about, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well… it was a lot of fun. I can be a bit of a puckish prankster.)

So I wrote up the message, sent it from a Hotmail account, and waited for the fallout.

Truthfully, there wasn’t much. Just a chorus of, “Yeah, that sounds cool! I want it, too!” My puckish humor went nowhere…

Or so I thought.

I was working with a high school debate team at Mills Godwin High School. They needed some help, and they approached me. I guess they liked the way I thought. The one thing I will say about collegiate debate is this–I didn’t take it seriously. Life, I’ve often said, is too short to not have fun. One time I found a wonderful piece of evidence about how balloons resulted in decreased intelligence in males. I created a whole file of evidence on transhumanism, called it the Borg Counter-Plan, and slapped a picture of Seven of Nine in the silver catsuit on the front. Good times.

I decided I’d put together the Illuminati Kritik for these guys. The argument was pretty simple, I thought. The affirmative plan–this particular year, it had to be something that altered American foreign policy toward Russia–would result in the entrenchment of the Illuminati in positions of power throughout the world, especially Russia because, y’know, Russia is always on the brink of one thing or another. But where to get evidence for this?

Then it occurred to me. And I felt so dirty and so evil.

But this was a joke argument, right? So the legitimacy of the evidence didn’t bother me so much.

I went to the source. I went to The Illuminatus! Trilogy. The third book of the trilogy, Leviathan, ends with like seventy pages of completely legitimate sounding, but completely bullshit, pseudohistorical essays on the Illuminati, George Washington, the cultivation of marijuana, and dozens of other competely off-kilter topics. I would just cite those, pull relevant and useful quotes from the appendices, and give their source as page such-and-such of Leviathan (even though it was, strictly speaking, the single-volume I had because a book entitled Leviathan sounds so much more legit than a book entitled The Illuminatus! Trilogy, but all other publication details were correct in their entirety). Add to that some batshit crazy Trilateral Commission nonsense, and I was good to go. The Illuminati kritik.

The team ran the Illuminati kritik in a round. Our debrief afterward ran as follows:

“We ran ‘Illuminati.'”

“What do you mean, ‘We ran Illuminati’?”

“We ran ‘Illuminati.'”

“Oh, god.”

“We shouldn’t have run ‘Illuminati’?”

“It’s okay. How’d you do?”

“It’s pretty strange. All this stuff about…”

“Did you run with it through rebuttals?”

“We brought it up in the 2NR.”

“As a reason to win?”

“The affirmative plan–to fully fund KEDO–would give the Illuminati more control over Korean energy supplies. And that’s bad because it consolidates power in the hands of a few.”

“Good argument. So did you win?”

“No. The judge said we were crazy. He said there’s no such thing as the Illuminati running the world.”

Well, of course. Because that’s what they want you to think… πŸ˜‰

I never let them run with the Illuminati kritik after that. Borg-transhumanism, that I was okay with. But Illuminati was total bullshit through and through. Of course, that’s probably why they felt so good about having run it in a round–they didn’t know it was bullshit. It had evidence, after all, which meant it couldn’t be completely wrong. But as the second Doctor said in “The Wheel in Space”: “Logic merely enables one to be wrong with authority.” He was right about that, the Doctor.

It’s funny. I put that time as a high school debate coach on the resume, though the hours were long and the pay laughable. It never gets asked about in interviews. It was fun, though. I sometimes wonder what happened to the kids. I think they learned a lot.

They certainly learned something about the Illuminati. πŸ™‚

8 thoughts on “On the Illuminati

  1. Andrew, you would have liked my judging philosophy.

    “I judge rounds on the Civilization II paradigm.” That’s how it started.

    I can’t remember how the rest of it went. Something about “you are building me a world” and “reaching Alpha Centauri in the second rebuttal is a voting issue.”

    The one time the judging philosophy actually came into play…

    The negative team ran a nuclear war disad. To which the affirmative’s response was to argue that nuclear war was survivable and they read an evidence card from Prima’s Civ2 strategy guide on the point.

    I was impressed that a team had a piece of evidence for me despite the chances of them ever using it were extremely thin. I was liked on the high school circuit. πŸ™‚

  2. If I wanted to put together the Illumanti K and run it as a legit arg, where should I love for evidence?

  3. *sigh* I try and spring a comment from Spam Karma and delete it instead… :/ Fortunately, putting it back into the database wasn’t too difficult.

    Claire, if you wanted to put together the Illuminati K I’d probably start with various and sundry conspiracy lit sources. I’d also back it up with stats on the percentage of Americans who believe in the black choppers, etc., and maybe even throw in something about militias in the western states, survivalists, etc. Establish that there are batshit crazy people out there, establish the existence of secretive global multinational organizations like the Trilateral Commission and some of the things George Bush the Elder is involved with (the Carlyle Group? I’m blanking on names right here). I think you’d be looking for something that sounds legit, even if it’s from a questionable source. I would avoid the Freemasons and Knights Templar. Use Rosicrucianism instead. Answer your evidentiary challenges (because you will get them) by arguing that the evidence for the Illuminati controlling things has always been supressed by those in power. (Like the notice on the Illuminati article at Wikipedia: “This page may meet Wikipedia’s criteria for speedy deletion. The given reason is: no point of having a article.” Yep, it’s the Illuminati covering their tracks on Wikipedia. :lol:)

    And if I were the one putting the brief together, I would absolutely throw in something from The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Maybe just a one-line card. But something. And cite it as coming from whichever of the original books it comes from, not as coming from the one volume edition. πŸ™‚

    If you put it together, Claire, have fun with it. Obviously, it’ll do you no good this year, but maybe next year’s topic will be conducive to running the Illuminati. (I see you’re at Penn State. I have good memories of the Penn State teams back when Pat Gerkhe was their coach. A really good guy, Pat. Given his fondness for kritiks, he’d probably bust a gut laughing at the Illuminati K.) Good luck! πŸ˜‰

    Bobby, it’s exactly what I said above. The Civilization II paradigm. Based on the computer game, Sid Meier’s Civilization II. It’s a world-builder game. Start out at the dawn of time, research technologies, and rule the world either through economic or military means. I’ve spent way too much time playing the Civ games. Try this, FreeCiv. But don’t blame me for the addiction you’ll develop to “just one more turn.” πŸ‘Ώ

  4. I’ve been playing Civilization IV. In the game you can adopt many forms of government, including Fascism. According to the game, Fascism “enables the Police State civic and construction of the Mount Rushmore wonder. It also allows permanent alliances.” Can anyone read the message here?

    Mount Rushmore = Fascism. Think of the implications of associating those four men with fascism. Sends chills up my spine.

    Fascism = permanent alliances = UN, CFR, NWO!

    We are being told the truth everywhere.

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