Sherman Alexie hit the nail on the head when he wrote Thomas Builds the Fire’s line his 1998 movie Smoke Signals, “You know the only thing more pathetic than Indians on T.V.?Indians watching Indians on T.V.!” What’s equally troubling is that many conspiracy theorists in Germany are blindly parroting the works of US and British conspiracists who have never seen any on the Illuminati documents. The problem with that is that German speaking “truth seekers” have no excuse.
Numerous original documents were published by the Bavarian government in the 1780s with the sole purpose of discrediting them. Barruel, Morse, and Robison mined them extensively to spread the Illuminati hysteria in France, Great Britain, and the United States. Knigge and Weishaupt affirmed these documents were edited and arranged in such a manner to cast the Order of the Illuminati in the worst possible light, and Thomas Jefferson dismissed Barruel as a “Bedlamite,” while George Washington refused to allow himself to become entangled in the discussion. In short, not only have these documents been available to the public since the 1780s, they have also been widely discussed.
While the state of scholarship on the Illuminati is only in its beginning stages among English speaking academics, a considerable body of knowledge has been accumulated by German scholars. In fact, Reinhard Markner has posted a bibliography of German Illuminati research on his blog, and he continues to expand it as more research is published. However, German conspiracists repeat the slogans of their US-based schoolmasters without questioning anything.
It is extremely convenient, after all, to simply type “Illuminaten” into the Youtube search bar and watch a ten-minute slide show telling you that any logo containing an eye is actually a secret message from a sinister Nazi-Communist cabal whose goal it is to murder 95% of humanity so that the extra-dimensional space reptiles can go home, and never mind that even sensationalized, but mostly good-faith research, such as Jan Peter and Thomas Teubner’s Die Illuminaten: Auf der Suche nach der Weltherrschaft (The Illuminati: Seraching for World Domination, 2008) state that Hitler, a conspiracy theorist himself, was deathly afraid of the Illuminati and sought to stamp them out. It is much more laborious to actually sit down and read a book; too much work to read Engel, Troßbach, and Stramberg.
The truth really is out there. It’s just not as sexy as the myth.