The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes. -Disraeli.
_Secret Societies and Subversive Movements_ by the British patriot Nesta H. Webster is a fascinating account of the various secret and subversive movements which have plotted against both throne and altar from the most ancient times to the modern day. The book relies on Webster's previous research regarding the French revolution and the "World revolution" as well as various documents by individuals such as the Abbe Barruel and Professor Robison outlining the growth and development of secret societies. The book is cleanly divided into two halves, the first focusing on the past and the second focusing on the present day (the book was written in 1924 following the horrors of the First World War). Webster's book makes for fascinating reading, explaining fully the rise of secret societies and subversive movements from their most ancient origins in various mystery cults until her time.
The first section of this book focuses upon what Webster regards as "the past". The book begins by noting the role of the ancient secret tradition in various mystery cults which existed in ancient times. The book focuses particularly on the Jewish cabala (which Webster argues has been distorted by the Talmud, the Sephir Yetzirah, the Zohar, and other ancient texts). Webster quotes from individuals such as Eliphas Levi and Gougenot de Mousseaux regarding the role of this ancient system. Webster then turns her attention to the coming of the redeemer, foreshadowed perhaps in the ancient world traditions, though brought to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Webster notes the various modern day distortions which have been claimed about Jesus including those which argue for a "Christian" socialism and those which claim that Jesus was influenced by the Essenes. Webster thoroughly refutes both of these claims by reference to Holy Scripture. Webster also shows how Christianity became distorted by both the Gnostics and the Manicheans as well as other heretics after Christ's death and resurrection. Following this discussion, Webster turns her attention to the revolt against Islam. Here she notes particularly disturbing instances within Islam of various subversive movements which advocated outright materialism and atheism. She shows how these movements claimed to be part of the Islamic tradition; however, upon reaching the higher grades the initiate was informed that he had been duped by religion which was regarded to be a sham. Webster also notes such notorious Islamic societies as the Assassins, who played an important role in the ancient and medieval world. Webster next turns her attention to the Templars, noting the blasphemies of which they have been accused as well as their relationship with various Islamic societies. Webster claims that the beliefs of the Templars bear a striking similarity to those of the false Cabala; in particular, she notes the various distortions of Christianity present in both the Talmud and the lies about Christ present in the Toledot Yeshu. Webster next turns her attention to occultism, noting the presence of Satanism and Rosicrucianism, particularly as these relate to freemasonry. Webster also shows how freemasonry has actively conspired against throne and altar, particularly Continental masonry (though she denies the influence of malevolent elements to such a great extent within Anglo-American masonry). Webster also explains the rise of the Grand Lodge within masonry as well as German templarism and French illuminism. The influence of Swedenborgianism as well as the influence of various mysterious recurring individuals such as the Comte de Saint-Germain keep recurring within the masonic literature. Webster also shows the rise of the Jewish cabalists distinguishing between the false cabala (of the Talmud and the Toledot Yeshu) and the true cabala which may have been a precursor of Christianity (in particular the Trinity). She also shows how Jewish beliefs in a coming Messiah play an important role in their tradition. Webster also examines the role of the Bavarian Illuminati, a secret society started by Adam Weishaupt, a professor of canon law, in Ingolstadt, Bavaria and modeled after the Jesuit order in many respects. The Bavarian Illuminati actively plotted against the monarchy, and they became adherents to a rationalist/materialist philosophy upon reaching the higher grades. Another important figure in the society of the Illuminati was that of Baron von Knigge, referred to as "Philo" by his Illuminati compatriots. Webster suggests that the roots of the Illuminati philosophy are to be found in the Jewish cabala, along with the tight linkage between cabalists and various other freemasonic groups. Webster also notes how Jesuitism and British masonry may provide suitable sources for reaction against subversive elements.
Webster next turns her attention to the modern day. Here, she explains the role of freemasonry in bringing about revolution. In particular, Webster shows the errors of socialism, a system which claims to be for the working class but which in fact operates against the interests of workers. Indeed, socialism may be a viable alternative for the finance capitalist. Webster links several groups which may play a role in the coming revolution. These include pan-Germanism, Illuminism, Bolshevism, International Finance, British Socialism, and the Jewish peril. The real initiates may be members of any of these various groups. Webster also shows the subversive elements within such movements as those surrounding Aleister Crowley and the Theosophical Society. Finally, Webster traces the role of the Jewish cabala through the many secret societies up until the modern day.
This book provides an excellent historical perspective on the inner workings of various secret societies and subversive movements which operate behind the scenes seeking to obtain power over the lives of billions.