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.