Bilderberg Fringe Festival 2013 special report

Alex Jones at the Bilderberg Fringe Festival

This year, for the first time, the secretive Bilderberg meeting was accompanied by an unofficial Bilderberg Fringe Festival. This consisted of three days of presentations on the alleged evils of Bilderberg, as well as general festivities, all in a field just half a mile or so from the location of the meeting itself, The Grove hotel in Watford, England. As many as 2,000 people filled the site to capacity – many more had to be turned away by event security due to overcrowding. In attendance to give talks were some of the biggest names in conspiracy, including Luke Rudkowski, David Icke and Alex Jones.

Mike Wood and I went along on a Saturday afternoon to meet some of the attendees and find out how they came to believe the Bilderbergers are up to no good. I was struck by the variety of paths that had led people towards conspiracist suspicions, the diverse (and occasionally conflicting) allegations levied at the Bilderbergers, and the various specific crusades people were on – all brought together by shared distrust of the Bilderberg meeting and calls for transparency. I produced a 20-minute audio report of our conversations, which you can listen to below [or download: right-click, save-as].

I want to thank everyone Mike and I spoke to for giving up their time and sharing their stories with us. A lot of psychological research focuses on broad trends and quantitative data, rather than individual experiences. This is a necessity – quantitative data is the only way to answer many of the questions we are interested in. But there is value in the individual-focused approach as well. Of course, the interviews Mike and I conducted do not constitute scientific research in any sense; however, I did find them personally illuminating.

Setting aside the issue of whether or not the Bilderbergers really are behind a tyrannical conspiracy, I think it is understandable how intelligent and inquiring people, like those we spoke to, can come to believe that to be the case. We live in a complicated world, and often we don’t have all the facts or information we would like to. This is especially true when it comes to global politics, and when we feel lives and liberty might be on the line. In circumstances like these, it can be tempting to see things in terms of good versus evil – us versus them. I give the final word of the report to a born-again Christian I spoke to about his journey towards religion and conspiracism. The insight he offers applies to everyone, not just the people Mike and I met on the fringes of Bilderberg: we’re all looking for answers.

To read a more detailed account of our trip, and to listen to the full, unedited interviews we recorded, see this post by Mike.

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About Rob Brotherton

Rob is a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, and assistant editor of The Skeptic [www.skeptic.org.uk]. Follow Rob on Twitter: @rob_brotherton
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3 Responses to Bilderberg Fringe Festival 2013 special report

  1. G says:

    Excellent job, the way you handled that, and the blog entries as well. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the audio (and it might not play on my computer do to security settings). But from what you wrote, you spoke with these folks in a reasonable manner, as if asking someone why they left one church and joined another.

    With Bilderburg we see something interesting: that a reasonable suspicion can get amplified into a full-blown CT, and then via crank magnetism, attract a wide range of other CT to it as well. It’s not unreasonable for someone to believe that a secret social gathering by extremely powerful people is an opportunity for them to make agreements that are detrimental to the general public. And it’s not unreasonable to demand greater transparency and accountability. But to get from that to reptilians and what-all-else, or from there to promoting violence, is a leap in kind as well as degree. What I think would be really interesting is to examine the border area between “reasonable” beliefs and CT, to try to ascertain the point where a person is likely to tip from one to the other.

    I’m inclined to believe that what occurs is a gradual accretion of new “facts” and suspicions, until the brain’s pattern-sense goes *click!* and all of it snaps into place with a great big “Aha!”, in much the same way as occurs with conventional scientists working on conventional science problems. The process of “collect facts, test ideas, then have the Aha! moment,” would seem to be something that the brain is already hardwired for, but the “content” of that process can vary from one person to the next, depending on their emotional traits. For someone who is predominantly curious, the process could run on science or engineering (I’m an eng and I just wrapped up a night of design work). For someone who is given to creative inspiration, it could run on writing songs or novels etc. For someone who is given to paranoia and ideas of reference, it could run on CT or persecution delusions.

    If you ever get to the USA, you should attend a) any Tea Party gatherings you can find (right-wing populists), b) the Rainbow Gathering (hippies, they still exist), and c) Burning Man (libertarian counterculture), and see how the mix of CT at each of them compares to the others, and also the relative mix of CT to non-CT thinking in each subculture. I wouldn’t be surprised to find considerable overlaps despite the differences in politics, but the ways they came to their ideas would differ.

  2. G says:

    Oh b—– hell, another typo that makes me look like an idiot who can’t spell (as if it’s not bad enough that I’m using USA English, which I really should stop doing around here;-). That was “due,” not “do.” Grrr.

  3. hybridrogue1 says:

    This is all very interesting, the human element and what they are all about. As a philosopher I am curious to these things myself. Some fascinating and diverse views will be expressed in any crowd gathered for just about any occasion.

    However, before one begins to ‘psychoanalyze’ the people involved in a certain issue, I should think that one should have a firm grasp of that issue. The history of the Bilderberg meetings are well known, the founders of the assemblies are well known, the agenda is just a matter of some simple deductive reasoning based on actual data.

    So the question for the hosts of this blog is: How much do you actually know about this history?
    It is complex as it has been in existence for for half a century. Just a short review of this history isn’t sufficient.

    Are either of the authors of this page willing to address the practical issues at hand here?

    Willy Whitten – \\][// – stampfever11@gmail.com

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