I am fortunate to have a wide ranging group of friends with a wide set of interests and surprising talents, and one of the primary attractants for me in other people is intelligence. I am always keen to meet talented people who can teach me new things, and introduce me to new experiences. Of course, it helps too if they share my interests in politics, public policy and world events, and one of my friends recently shared with me his beliefs on the Illuminati.
The Illuminati - for those not familiar with the term - refers to a number of groups, but specifically the Bavarian Illuminati, a secret society formed in Europe in the 18th century. My friend was keen to show me videos purporting to demonstrate how an illuminati-like group of politicians, bankers and other shadowy figures of influence are currently manipulating the world financial markets and world governments to increase their influence over the rest of us.
This is a feasible enough idea, though I am politely sceptical as to why politicians and wealthy businessmen would spend their time trying to expand their already significant powers over wage slaves like myself when they could be doing fun stuff, like having sex with their attractive mistresses on the decks of their luxury yachts moored in places like Barbados and St Tropez. But each to their own. I did notice that a European hedge fund recently purchased 8% of the world's cocoa supply, fuelling newspaper fears of a massive price hike in chocolate just before Christmas. But any excuse to not sit and eat Quality Street may be beneficial to a growing lad like myself anyway.
Then the videos moved onto naked human beings in cages, and I became openly doubtful. Social change takes a while, and until I start seeing these things on the streets of Surrey, I figure I don't have too much to worry about. But like it or not, oligarchs and nagging doubts persist, and I was duly concerned when I saw that Rupert Murdoch, media mogul and all-round suspicious egg, was bidding $7 billion for complete control of BSkyB.
Murdoch is an unpopular figure amongst the scruffier observers of the business world, and with good reason. His ruthless approach engenders all of the worst aspects of capitalism and those who remember headlines like 'It Was The Sun Wot Won It' will only be too aware of Murdoch's ability to influence the typical British tabloid reader. He simply cannot be allowed to expand his media empire without a public debate and a thorough enquiry as to whether it is in the public interest to allow him to do so.
The difficulty is that the current government is a fragile coalition and potentially cannot stand the kind of negative headlines that could result from sustained resistance to Murdoch's plans. For this reason, organisations like the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom are more vital now than they have ever been. I would encourage you to read more about their work, and to join if you care about the freedom of the press.