Editor’s note: The following Sept. 13, 2022, kath.net interview by Lothar C. Rilinger, translated for CWR by Frank Nitsche-Robinson, is reprinted here by kind permission of kath.net and Mr. Rilinger.
Vatican (kath.net) The term “New World Order” is interpreted as a metaphor for a conspiracy theory. But it only describes a concept of society, which – like any other – has to face the intellectual discourse. The fall of communism in 1989/90 marked the end of an historical process which the American sociologist Francis Fukuyama has called the end of history. In his view, communism as the antithesis of democracy had become obsolete, so that a new social foundation needed to be conceived. Thus a new contest had begun: the one about the future of social development beyond Marxism. The class struggle of the Marxist type was supposed to have had its day – which, however, the Marxists are not prepared to accept – but in the struggle for supremacy in the discourse on society and the state, the democratic model was also no longer seen as an ideal. The principle of one man, one vote is associated with the Enlightenment period. Therefore, it is to be transcended so as to be able to attach the attribute of “progress” to social development. This is based on a principle according to which man – detached from God, who is no longer presumed to exist – may do everything he can. Self-limitation stands in the way of progress.
Since God as the final authority of human action is rejected in the belief in progress, in the New World Order a society is to be constructed which knows no limits and in which everything that people are capable of developing and thinking is to be permitted; nothing is to stand in the way of progress or hinder it in its development. Metaphysics is considered pre-modern and banished from social discourse and with it also the belief in redemption of man in eternity. Only that which can be falsified or verified is to be valid, so that man’s redemption is to take place on earth, in earthly life. What Karl Marx called paradise on earth is to be achieved in a different way through the progress that is shaped by the New World Order. Since this world order negates recourse to God and, like Feuerbach, declares Him non-existent, it is not surprising that the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, feels called upon and condemns the New World Order. We spoke with him about this.
Rilinger: For some decades now, the demand that the existing world order be replaced by one that no longer knows recourse to God, but only to unconditional progress, has again been haunting political discourse. The demand for this world order, which is called the “New World Order,” is being raised almost alongside the political, public discourse. What must we understand by the “New World Order”?
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller: According to both the Jewish and Christian creeds, it is God Himself who, in His sovereign goodness, created the world out of nothing and ordered it in His eternal Word (logos, reason) and Spirit (power, wisdom). Human reason is finite and in principle – due to original sin – susceptible to disturbance by egoistic impulses, such as the disordered desire for power, money, self-indulgence / pleasure. Man is thus intellectually and morally fallible.
Only if we allow ourselves to be addressed by God’s Word and to be enlightened, guided and strengthened by His Holy Spirit, can we recognize the truth and freely-willingly choose the good as the goal of our actions. Historical experience teaches us that every attempt to give order to the world through human understanding and human power has invariably ended in catastrophe. We need not reach back far to see this. The colonialism and imperialism of the 19th century, the totalitarian ruling systems of National Socialism, Japanese super power ideology and Leninist-Stalinist communism, as well as all dictatorships of smaller states in South America, Asia and Africa prove that the grasp for world power, i.e. the establishment of a New World Order has sprung from a diabolic-destructive and not a theo-logical way of thinking.
The program of a New World Order under the condition of a total economization of man, in which self-appointed financial and political elites remain as the thinking and controlling subject, comes at the price of the depersonalization of the masses. The human being is merely the biological raw product, which is upgraded to a computer in a total network of information. There will no longer be any person then, no immortality of the soul, no living being with heart and mind, spirit and free will. What remains is a construct without home and hope.
This involves the reduction of 99 percent of the world’s population to a chipped biomass, to human material or a consumer group, to bots. Human beings have only as much “value” (“value” here is meant economically, not morally) as they contribute to the maintenance of this system of domination and exploitation and function within it. Totalitarian domination is realized in an absolute bureaucracy when man is abolished as man. “Action would prove to be superfluous in the coexistence of human beings when all human beings have become one, all individuals have become specimens of the species, all action has become terms of acceleration in the lawful apparatus of movement of history or nature, and all actions have become executions of the death sentences which history and nature have imposed anyway,” Hannah Arendt wrote in 1951 (Hannah Arendt, Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft, München 2021, 959; ibid. Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York, 1973), while the founder and operator of the Davos World Economic Forum recently signaled his transhumanist utopias to the world in these words: “Today’s external devices […] will almost certainly be implantable in our bodies and brains. […] These technologies can invade the hitherto private realm of our minds, reading our thoughts and influencing our behavior.” (Klaus Schwab/Nicholas Davis, Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, New York 2018, 39; 28).
Totalitarianism is always hatred of life, preferring the mechanically reducible to the living and sacred. The control group decides who may live or must die. In the war of aggression against Ukraine, Putin lets his troops bring along mobile crematoria so as not to endanger his power domestically by the images of returning coffins.
Biden announces mobile abortion buses in the U.S., including incineration of the children’s cadavers, to undermine the Supreme Court ruling. At issue is the demonstration of morally disenfranchised power and the right to kill children until shortly before birth. This is all the worse for the witness of God’s natural and revealed truth because both Putin and Biden claim to be Christians. But before the judgment of God, “evildoers will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (cf. 1 Cor. 6:10).
In Russia, anyone who calls the brutal invasion of Ukraine war instead of “special military operation” is punished. In the West, anyone who calls infanticide in the womb murder or demonstrates against it in front of the killing clinics is hauled before the courts. In China, organ trafficking is carried out with cruel disregard for the self-determination of those from whom organs are stolen. Taking advantage of the plight of women in poor countries, “Western” agencies in rich countries are conducting the dirty business of surrogacy. These are not nightmares that dissolve upon awakening in reality, but reality that has become a nightmare.
Rilinger: The banishment of God from the life of the citizens of the state is an Enlightenment demand that found its highest expression in the nihilism that Nietzsche never tired of preaching. Has history shown that a state or a society without God can succeed?
Card. Müller: No less a figure than the eminent philosopher and highly alert analyst of modern totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, summed up the “nihilistic credo of the 19th century” with Dostoevsky’s saying: “Everything is permitted,” namely when man does not believe in God as his Creator and his Judge. (Hannah Arendt, What Does Personal Responsibility Mean in a Dictatorship?, Munich 2020, 43; lecture first given in 1964/65). It is true that since the early Enlightenment philosopher Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) there have been more than just a few attempts to develop atheistic or evolutionary-materialistic ethics with the aim of detaching individual and social ethics from their transcendental basis. But these boldly propagated initiatives had to fail necessarily because there is morality only if a person has to answer personally, not before the conditional world, but before the Unconditional.
The unconditionally valid good or the evil to be avoided cannot itself be only a part of this world or a function in it.
Only the personal relation of a person’s ego with his divine judge, whom he addresses as “Thou” (Abba, Our Father) and Who meets him face to face, makes it possible that morality is not a relation to objective values, but a personal relation with the author and epitome of the true and the good.
As Christians, we also acknowledge that the demands of the moral imperative did not first become known to us in the revealed Decalogue. For God has already inscribed them in the mind and heart of every human being. As a result, also the “pagan”, i.e. man before the salvation-historical encounter with God, grasps in his conscience the unconditional validity of the commandments as divine law: You shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not worship the creature instead of the Creator. (cf. Rom. 2:14-24).
Rilinger: If, in the New World Order, power is derived from the economy and the world is conceived as a single market, the question arises as to how power – as Romano Guardini demanded – is tamed. Can the global power that results from the wealth be restrained and, if this should be possible, by whom?
Card. Müller: Power and wealth are interdependent. But it depends on the people whether they tame the power over the forces of nature, the chaos of impulses and interests, and whether they put the goods rightfully acquired through work, diligence and intelligence into the service of the general public. Jesus pointed out the temptations of potentates to abuse their power over people, and the difficulties for the rich to enter the kingdom of God when they let their hearts cling to wealth and close their eyes to the poor.
Globalism results from the possibilities of modern communications, means of transportation that shrink distances, technology that makes possible an immense increase in the production of consumer goods and thus an increase in the standard of living for billions of people. But at all times, the concentration of political power, finance and the means of communication in the minds and hands of a few – whether as a party, a financial group or a media mogul – has been a calamity for the rest of humanity. Global centers of power and finance that pose as world governments also globalize their dark sides. They function only dialectically with their antithesis. The super-men need their sub-men, the superrich their dependent clientele, which is alimented by them on a low level. The absolute rulers need their willing subjects and they fear free and self-confident citizens like the devil fears holy water. Peter and the Pope as his successor at all times remind the high council of absolute earthly power: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29).
The secularized and officially anti-Christian “West” allows for Christianity as a civil religion at best. However, celebrities who have decidedly renounced the Church are happy to use a church of art-historical value as the backdrop for their wedding, even though they do not wish to understand marriage as a divine institution and as a promise of His grace.
In China, the atheist state party persecutes Christians and uses their gatherings as an opportunity for indoctrination against faith in Christ, the true Savior of the world. Who would still rely on diplomatic tricks and political compromises with the devil, the “ruler of this world” (Jn 12:31; 2 Cor 4:4), to get something good out of it for Christianity?
The essential difference is that Christ laid down his life so that we might live, while the rulers of this world consume the lives of their subjects so that they might live a few moments longer and more luxuriantly, and then ultimately end up in the hell they have prepared for others on earth, “where their worm (of conscience) does not die and the fire (of unkindled love) is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48) With this metaphor, Jesus Christ is telling us that conscience gnaws like a worm in these persons. The warmongers in Ukraine, at whose hands tens of thousands of people die, have no conscience, but this will not help them as an excuse before the judgment of God.
Rilinger: Auguste Comte relied on progress without God. Thereby he declared the last instance, before which humans must answer, as obsolete. Is there consequently a possibility that the boundary established by God, but abolished by man, can be replaced by a boundary devised by man?
Card. Müller: Where could this boundary be? If in a ship the boundary between the interior and the seawater that washes around the hull is abolished through the perforation of the ship’s side, even the best captain and the fully attuned crew can no longer save the ship from sinking and themselves from perishing. All the hopes for a happy humanity through political and technical revolutions have not been fulfilled. The utopians are like Sisyphus, the tragic symbolic figure who always fails just before the success of self-redemption. The dreams of the brave new world are as unsuccessful as the bald man who wants to pull himself out of the swamp by his lost hair instead of grasping the outstretched hand of his savior.
Rilinger: Is the New World Order based on market power democratically legitimized?
Card. Müller: The problem is that the super-billionaires, through their “charitable” foundations and their influence in the international organizations, make the national governments, which – at least in one third of the states – are democratically elected, dependent on them. They are received like great statesmen or celebrities and VIP’s and flattered by local rulers in the vain hope of getting some of their glitz and glamour. An economically successful entrepreneur, even if he has become rich quite legally and morally unobjectionably, is far from being a philosopher, let alone the Messiah. So what! Plato’s philosopher kings, too, were not the saviors of the world. Only the Son of God, who assumed our humanity, could change the world for the good once and for all, because He conquered sin, death and the devil and brought us the knowledge and salvation of God. But everyone, if they have been successful in their profession and business, can contribute to a relative improvement in our worldly existence.
We Christians have a responsibility to contribute to the building of a humane world with our expertise and experience in the various branches of the craft and culture-creating trades, without, of course, acting out or allowing ourselves to be celebrated as its saviors and redeemers.
We must hold on to the notion that in a democracy every adult citizen has a voice with which he freely elects the delegates and the rulers. Free voting is something quite different from polling moods that change daily. The former comes from the citizen’s responsibility for the common good, whereas the mood only reflects a momentary feeling.
Rilinger: For some years now, there has been growing suspicion that not only scientific freedom of discourse, but freedom of speech as a whole, is being curtailed by the immediate accusation of promoting a conspiracy theory if one argues beyond the mainstream. Can it be accepted that freedom of speech is curtailed in such a way?
Card. Müller: Stalin and Hitler continually feared conspiracies, whether out of calculation in order to intimidate and eliminate the opposition, or out of their paranoia, which was the breeding ground of their tyranny. The Jesuits in the 18th century at the Bourbon courts, the Vatican in the 19th century in the liberal-anticlerical circles, and the Jews in the 20th century – according to the forged “Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion” – were all considered carriers of a world conspiracy. The Church and the capitalists, too, were considered the enemies of progress towards the workers’ paradise, who could only be stopped by the communist world revolution. In my youth, people spoke of conspiracy theories in the case of eccentric contemporaries who saw UFO’s everywhere or concocted unverifiable world explanations from contemporary events.
Today the word “conspiracy theorist” is an ideological fighting term of mentally challenged anti-fascists, who lead their “fight against the right” with Nazi methods, i.e. intimidate media, threaten with violence, for example against the judges of the Supreme Court who denied the human right to abortion, or against a lecturer at Humboldt University – once the epitome of the German scientific standard – who wanted to explain the biologically evidenced fact of the bisexuality of human nature, without which there would not be any individual human beings, not even those who rabble against it.
Rilinger: Criticizing the New World Order is sweepingly labeled a conspiracy in order to nip discussion in the bud. Can you explain the reasons for this ban on discussion?
Card. Müller: The ideologist knows only the friend who submits to him with hurrah like a cretin, or the enemy whom it is necessary to destroy – preferably physically, if the system permits it, or somewhat more mannerly by social death like shitstorm, public ostracism, dismissal or by obliteration in a spiral of silence.
When a person, who is persecuted physically and by psycho-terrorist means, in his distress takes his own life, his tormentors still see themselves perversely justified in eliminating pests, as was precisely the jargon in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Godlessness and misanthropy go hand in hand.
Rilinger: Another form of a ban on discussion is the statement that one’s own opinion is considered to have no alternative. Isn’t the determination of the lack of alternatives the demand that one’s own opinion has to be considered absolute?
Card. Müller: In finite things there are always several aspects and perspectives to be considered. Only the distinction between true and false and between good and evil is without alternative, because it arises from the evidence of its principles. Certainly, there are also truths without alternatives in practical things, such as that a house collapses if it does not stand on a firm foundation. But these are general physical, mathematical or philosophical basic principles. Even in a sandy area you can build a house, so long as you are able to build a good foundation otherwise. The opinion that one could not build cities in the sand of the March was thus by no means without alternative. Therefore, one must not use this kind of vocabulary to suppress legitimate discussion and controversy and conveniently spare oneself the better arguments.
Rilinger: Is the philosophical/political discourse about the New World Order a necessary discourse to show where the unrestrained economic power of some individuals can lead societies and states?
Card. Müller: The morally unrestrained rule of ideologists, politicians and economists over the people in the one world must necessarily lead to lack of freedom, oppression and extermination of disagreeable opponents or people useless for the system.
The culture of death blows over the whole world with the ideological delusion of the right to abortion, the right to self-mutilation (in the irreversible sex change), euthanasia, the alleged mercy death for those who are too tired to live, incurably ill and allegedly senselessly vegetating seniors, killing whom is supposed to be an act of compassion.
Rilinger: The Christian momentum is to be increasingly banished from political discourse. Doesn’t this also destroy the foundation on which the Western world is built?
Card. Müller: Without Christianity – with its root in the history of God’s revelation in Israel, in which the best heritage of Greek and Roman culture is also integrated, in connection with the heritage of the whole of humanity – Europe and America would only be empty territories, where markets alone rule and which are inhabited by nameless inhabitants, who are granted the form of existence of a robot.
Rilinger: You have stated in the discourse that very rich people like Bill Gates or the investor George Soros want to enforce the New World Order. What do these two men in particular intend and what means do they have to enforce their ideas?
Card. Müller: According to their own statements, these two stand for the New World Order, which they want to establish in their image and likeness. No one other than God can judge their personal motives. But their program and actions are accessible to everyone, so that we can judge them according to their positive or negative effects. The intellectual content of their contributions is, measured against the intellectual and cultural history of mankind, rather modest and is easily matched by any normal student in the first few semesters – in whatever subject.
In response to my critical remark, some strong-voiced and weak-minded spokesmen in Germany have emboldened themselves to find anti-Semitic patterns in the relativization of Mr. Soros’ remarks, just because he was born a Jew. Looking at the anti-Christian biased political and racist “anti-Semitism” of the 19th and 20th century, as represented by Heinrich Treitschke, Bernhard Förster, the husband of Nietzsche’s sister, Richard Wagner, Houston Chamberlain, Alfred Rosenberg and Adolf Hitler, as a Christian one can only say that Jesus was also born a Jew, in whom we Christians, from whatever nation, in living and dying, place all our hope. In Germany, the spiritual landscape is not only ideologically contaminated, but it also groans under the spiritual and moral incompetence of its loudest totalitarian screamers.
Rilinger: Is the construct of the New World Order set as absolute and sacrosanct, so that any criticism is forbidden?
Card. Müller: It is an undeniable sign of totalitarian rule when criticism is criminalized. It can hardly be worked out better than Hannah Arendt did in 1951 in regards to the Third Reich and comparably to Stalinism, as she described it in her book Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft, (Munich 2021; The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York, 1973).
Rilinger: Even if a new world order is to be created without God – Francis Fukuyama in his book “The Great Disruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order” pointed out that a religious renewal will take place. However, not because the individuals are convinced of the truth of revelation, but because in the face of the lack of communality and the dissolution of social ties in the secular world they “feel a need for ancestral rituals and cultural traditions.” Can you share this view on the return of religion and imagine a further and stronger recourse to Christianity?
Card. Müller: Religion does not return like one natural phenomenon that draws another after it. Religion, as the spiritual-moral disposition and attitude to trace the entirety of the world back to the higher power of the divine, and to feel a reverence before the sanctity of life, is not detachable from human nature. Supernatural faith, poured into us by the Holy Spirit, which enables us to fully assent to God in His Word to us with mind and will, is something different. In the parable of the unjust judge who deprives a poor widow of her right, Jesus tells his disciples: “Will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk 18:6ff).
The decline of the Church in Germany and in Europe is not caused by secularization, the Church struggle of the totalitarian regimes and the Kulturkampf from Bismarck to the Giordano Bruno Society, but by the lack of faith, the weakness of hope and the coldness of love of the baptized and confirmed Catholics, who rather let themselves be beguiled by the siren sounds of the world than listen to the voice of their Good Shepherd and follow Him.
Rilinger: Eminence, thank you very much.
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