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The Real Matrix

By Steven Yates


The Real Matrix is a must-read article containing seven parts, written by Dr. Steven Yates. . Dr. Yates will also be the opening speaker at the 6th Annual Freedom 21 Conference in Reno, NV, July 14 - 16, 2005.


Part 1

The Matrix, easily the most thought-provoking film in a generation, tells the story of a computer hacker going by the alias Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) who discovers that the world he has taken for granted his entire life, is an illusion. The "Matrix" is a virtual-reality simulation created by a powerful artificial intelligence.

Since birth, Neo has been wired directly into an immense computer system that can project a panorama of sensory information directly into his brain and central nervous system. This creates the illusion of his living in a world where, by day, he is Thomas A. Anderson, a programmer for a software giant. One of the working premises of the film is that the majority of human beings are born, live out their lives, and die inhabiting cocoon-like structures, plugged into this system, never suspecting the truth. Their life-experiences are fabricated, while their life-energies sustain the ruling entity.

The "real matrix," is then, a world most of middle America takes for granted—a world where "they hate us because we are free," and where the public schools educate. A world where we can trust the federal government, and believe Dan Rather. A world where the former obeys its founding document, the U.S. Constitution.

In other words, a fantasy world.

Neo has long suspected that something is amiss, without being able to put his finger on it. It was this something that drew him into hacking, and into the world of computers generally. His presence became known to Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), leader of a band of rebels fighting to free the human race from bondage to the artificial intelligence. Of course, Neo's nocturnal computer explorations have also become known to the "agents," living programs who service the artificial intelligence. The first half-hour or so of the film is a race to see which side can get to him first.

One of the rebels, Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), hacks into his computer, and lures him to a Gothic nightclub. There she confronts him with his unease:

"I know why you're here, Neo. I know what you've been doing. I know why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why, night after night, you sit at your computer. You're looking for him. I know, because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn't really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It's the question that drives us, Neo. It's the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did."

Neo: "What is the Matrix?"

Trinity: "The answer is out there, Neo. It's looking for you. And it will find you, if you want it to."

The pivotal scene occurs when she introduces Neo to Morpheus. With a thunderstorm in the background, some gripping dialogue ensues:

Morpheus: "I imagine that right now you're feeling a little like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit-hole… I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees, because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth… Let me tell you why you are here. You're here because you know something. What you know, you can't explain. But, you feel it. You've felt it your entire life. That there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?"

Neo: "The Matrix?"

Morpheus: "Do you want to know what it is?"

Neo: (nods)

Morpheus: "The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, or when you go to church, or when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes, to blind you from the truth."

Neo: "What truth?"

Morpheus: "That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. (Produces a box containing two colored pills, one blue and one red). This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you awake in your bed, and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. (Pause. Neo reaches for the red pill). Remember: all I'm offering is the truth, nothing more. (Neo swallows the red pill with a glass of water)."

After that, things happen pretty quickly. Neo is jerked free of the artificial intelligence and finds himself in the "desert of the real," with Morpheus, Trinity, and the others on board the Nebuchadnezzar, who are struggling to free the human race from control by the artificial intelligence, while simultaneously battling superhuman "agents," and monstrous mechanical "sentinels" sent to destroy them.

Science fiction, right?

Unquestionably, many viewers watched The Matrix, convinced that all they were seeing was a science fiction action film—entertainment, without further significance.

I believe it's more. The Matrix—which has begun to generate a secondary literature in academic disciplines like philosophy and cultural studies—may be seen as an allegory for our present situation after the past hundred-plus years. The allegory is about power and concealment.

The "real matrix," is then, a world most of middle America takes for granted—a world where "they hate us because we are free," and where the public schools educate. A world where we can trust the federal government, and believe Dan Rather. A world where the former obeys its founding document, the U.S. Constitution. In other words, a fantasy world.

Let us conduct a thought experiment. Let us remove the obviously evil artificial intelligence and its minions—"agents" and "sentinels"—and substitute a power system controlled by a few hundred extremely wealthy and well-placed individuals—a super-elite, I will call it. I use this term to distinguish it from visible, national elites.

This super-elite operates at an international level, outside all national loyalties. Its only loyalties are to money and power. It exercises control by controlling, not just much of the Western world's finances, but much of the information released to the public. It controls the mainstream mass media (television networks and newspapers, mostly owned by six or so megaconglomerates), and most education through top-down policies permeating the prevailing form of education in this land: government ("public") schools.

So-called higher education is part of this system. The super-elite bent academic disciplines, such as history and psychology in the direction it wanted them to go, by generously supplying foundation and grant money to compliant graduate students, who then become compliant professors and administrators. Through the endowment system it gained control over Ivy League universities. The latter, via their enormous prestige and control of flagship organizations within academic disciplines (such as the American Historical Association, or the American Psychological Association), set the course for those disciplines that others can be expected to follow automatically.

Members of the super-elite that controls this power system were never elected to anything, but elected officials in national elites answer to them. Those without the tacit approval of the super-elite have no chance of coming within a thousand miles of the Oval Office.

The masses of people, meanwhile, will have been "educated" to adjust to society, which in this context, means following the crowd and automatically withholding support from anyone who "can't get elected."

Combine these two, and you have a reason why no Libertarian Party or Constitution Party candidate has a chance of becoming President of the United States, or even reaching high office at the state level, as long as this power system remains in place.

The media elites continue to promote a system which plays Democrats against Republicans, although both parties are controlled at the top. There exists, in other words, a strict gatekeeping system. Only those with certain values and attributes, and a certain mindset, need apply.

Let's now go beyond the thought-experiment stage. Does this super-elite really exist, or is this just more armchair "conspiracy theory?" It is not a theory. It is now quite well documented. The information is available to anyone willing to seek it out. To paraphrase what Trinity told Neo in their initial conversation, the answers are out there, and will find you, if you want them to. Or, you can find them, if you go looking.

Part 2

Like most of academia's tenured class, Professor Carroll Quigley of the School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown University, dumped on "conservatives." In the Cold War environment of the mid-1960s, it was kosher to ridicule the McCarthyite idea that a legion of communists had infiltrated our government—and represented a dangerous leftist conspiracy, run out of Moscow.

Quigley, after all, knew the truth. The real agenda was not run out of Moscow, but from banking empires long established in New York City, London, and elsewhere. These empires had actually bankrolled communism. They had maneuvered nations into wars by secretly financing both sides, and then setting them against one another. Quigley's 1,300-plus page tome, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, mocks the conspiracy theory of the anticommunists as a "myth," but then suddenly, offers one of the most extraordinary revelations ever penned by someone of Quigley's stature:

"This myth, like all fables, does, in fact, have a modicum of truth.

There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the radical Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so.

I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years, and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it, or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it, and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies… but in general, my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known." (p. 950, emphasis mine)

Professor Quigley was openly telling us of a hidden power system—a super-elite—operating behind the scenes. He identified it as the "Round Table Groups." These controllers "wish to remain unknown" as they work out their plans for the world. What are their plans for the world? Quigley elaborated:

"[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands, able to dominate the political system of each country, and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion, by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements, arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences.

The apex of the system was the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks, which were themselves, private corporations. The growth of financial capitalism made possible a centralization of world economic control, and use of this power for the direct benefit of financiers, and the indirect injury of all other economic groups." (p. 324)

In other words, the super-elite wanted both wealth and power, and this meant placing the rest of us at a systemic disadvantage in our own pursuits. Later, Quigley outlined the truth about the two-party system in America:

"The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national, and international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea, acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers.

Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election, without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy… [E]ither party in office becomes, in time, corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of those things, but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies." (pp. 1247-48)

Quigley identified shadowy organizations, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, based in New York, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, based in London, as front organizations for the Round Table Groups he mentioned—sometimes specific individuals such as J.P. Morgan, the banking titan.

He claimed to have studied the super-elite's secret records for twenty years, and to identify with its goals and most of its policies. His only major disagreement was with its desire to "remain unknown." This disagreement got Tragedy and Hope into trouble. Its publisher, Macmillan, allowed the book to disappear, despite thousands of back orders. Inquirers were told it had gone out of print. In addition to the disappearance of nearly every copy, the original plates were destroyed, making new printings impossible, given the technology of the time. There can be no doubt of an attempt to suppress the book.

Quigley lost control of his own work, as pirated editions began to appear. He wrote, near the end of his life, that the book "has brought me many headaches as it apparently says something that powerful people don't want known." A smaller companion volume, The Anglo-American Establishment, failed to find a publisher during his lifetime.

Quigley's account of these organizations and their development, both in Tragedy and Hope and in The Anglo-American Establishment is authoritative and definitive. Under no circumstances can we dismiss Quigley as a "conspiracy nut." Quigley was established, with a solid reputation as a macrohistorian: a historian specializing in the larger, long-term tendencies governing the rise and development of entire civilizations.

Earlier, he had written an important and very well-received work of macrohistory, The Evolution of Civilizations. Carroll Quigley would not have deliberately sabotaged an ideal career, one with enormous perks, privileges, and access to the centers of influence. There can be no reasonable doubt that he knew what he was talking about.

Quigley became mentor to one William Jefferson Clinton, and helped Clinton get the Rhodes Scholarship that sent him to Oxford. (We will say more about Cecil Rhodes and Rhodes Scholarships below). Quigley was the one person Clinton would thank by name, after assuming the presidency in 1993. That was the year our nation took a quantum leap towards globalism: beginning with so-called "free trade" agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and the President's Council on Sustainable Development, put in place in response to a United Nations "soft law" document called Agenda 21.

What results from taking Quigley seriously is a quite different picture of American and Western political history, from what we get from history and political science textbooks—and of the political process from what we get from the mainstream media.

It suggests that the conventional picture, in which the history of the past hundred years is just a series of unfortunate accidents and blunders, is a masquerade—and partly the result of the hijacking of academic disciplines such as history. We come to realize that most Americans are indeed plugged into a "matrix"—created not by a malevolent sci-fi machine, of course, but by controls over their education, and the information that reaches them.

They are "plugged in" as children, attending first public schools, and then colleges and universities. They "learn" to trust government information, the academic-bureaucratic complex, and the mainstream news media. This creates the "real matrix." A few, like Neo in The Matrix, may suspect that something is wrong. But, fear of being branded paranoid usually ensures their silence. If they write down their suspicions and publish them, they are ignored. There is, after all, enormous loyalty to the fabricated world.

Those "plugged in" have their own gatekeeping systems. Certain ideas—e.g., those having to do with "conspiracy theories"—are automatically screened out. The super-elite, then, need not work so hard, or even remain entirely secret. If the schools do their job right, its members need not micromanage every institution to make sure everyone follows the rules. The power system runs on a kind of autopilot.

Steven Yates is an independent scholar who earned his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1987. He is the author of "Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action" (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1994), "Worldviews: Christian Theism versus Modern Materialism" (Columbia, SC: Worldviews Project, due out in early 2005); and a co-author of "The Free Person and the Free Market" (Lanham, Md.: Lexington Books, 2002).

He is also an adjunct scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He has also worked as a clerk in a state agency, written obituaries for the local newspaper, earned a public health degree from the University of South Carolina (1999), done a stint as the writer, editor, and consultant for the South Carolina Cancer Research Network writing the organization's "Cancer Research Needs Report" (2004), and worked as a customer service representative doing computer technical support.

He has other projects underway, including a science fiction novel. Most recently, he joined the Stratia Corporation as a consultant, and formed the Worldviews Project, to further public discussion of the issues between the Christian worldview, and that of modern materialism. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

















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