Illuminati (Order of Perfectibilists)
originally called the Order
of Perfectibilists, is the secret society
to which everyone refers when talking conspiracy theory, a shadowy
group of powerful individuals purportedly pulling strings behind the
scenes, influencing world events, controlling governments and dedicated
to the establishment of a New World Order.
was founded in 1776 Bavaria
(coincidentally the same year as the American Declaration of
Independence) by Adam
The Order had
branches in a number of European countries with a membership that
included intellectuals, enlightened politicians, European
nobility, Freemasons and
former Freemasons (Weishaupt himself joined the Freemasons in
and their ideas
concerning humanism and a single world government were to prove too
radical for the established European governments and religions of the
time and in 1784/85 they and the Freemasons were banned in Bavaria by
Charles Theodore (German: Karl Theodor) Duke and Prince-Elector.
this act may have officially
put an end to the Society, it may equally
well have driven them underground and in the eyes of their detractors
that is exactly what happened. Claims that they have been involved in
wars and revolutions for over two hundred years are widespread: they
have been blamed for both the French and Russian revolutions and
implicated rightly or wrongly in breakdowns of authority everywhere.
If the Illuminati have had
their share of critics they also have had those that view them in a
kinder light. Thomas Jefferson claimed that they represented the best
in humanity, intellectually and morally and that they had been forced
to act in secrecy due to what he called "the tyranny of a despot" (Karl
Theodor) "and priests" (the Roman Catholic Church).
the original Bavarian Illuminati, its heirs or like minded
organizations (still) active, influencing today's modern world, its
peoples and their governments?
Wilson, British Prime Minister in the 1960s and 70s appears to have thought so.
His nemesis were a small number of European bankers and financiers:
obscure figures of immense power operating behind the scenes, secretly
making decisions and pulling strings, an evolving Europe a marionette
that danced to their tune. Wilson called these modern Illuminati the
“Gnomes of Zurich.”  His vow to resist them proved to be of little consequence, however, and a few decades later the fate of contemporary Europe seemed sealed, the
demise of individual nation states and national identities a foregone
conclusion, the European Union a reality.
It appears, though, that these so called modern
(today including elites and special interests from financial centers such as London, New
York, Shanghai and Dubai) may have bitten off more than they can chew:
with Europe descending into chaos and efforts at globalization
elsewhere facing increased resistance. (In America an embattled
working class angered
by a process which appears [to them] to be unfavorable, even ruinous, and finding
government seemingly unable or unwilling
to help, has [metaphorically speaking] put a number of noses out of joint by giving the proverbial applecart a swift kick.) 
with that it's obvious a new game
is in play, the new approach, both foreign and domestic, sometimes raucous, sometimes pragmatic
and businesslike. The message very
Reagan/Thatcherish "peace through strength" and "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat." 
this plays out remains to be seen. Stay tuned.
The press quickly made
the phrase their own, with the Wall Street Journal mentioning the Zurich gnomes alongside the
Establishment, the military-industrial complex
and the Illuminati, as the people that allegedly ran the world.
 It has been suggested that the All-Seeing Eye as shown on both the American
dollar bill and the Great Seal of the United States with the
surrounding words Annuit Coeptis "Providence favors our undertakings"
and Novus Ordo Seclorum " (A) New Order of the Ages" points to
a once favorable—though no longer—relationship with the Order.
 In view of recent events
(the exit [Brexit] of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the
election of Donald Trump in the United States, Italy's massive no vote in its referendum and the rise of right-wing populism in western democracies everywhere)
a case can be made that the Illuminati's interaction/grip on world
events is faltering, their superstate/no borders agenda slipping away.
Masonic use of the Eye (the movie National Treasure notwithstanding) dates to
fourteen years after the creation of the Great Seal. Typically it has a semi-circular glory under the eye (not an unfinished
pyramid), and sometimes the eye is enclosed by a triangle.
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