"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
Some people see the New World Order lurking behind every corner, a cabal of people just waiting to impose a one-world government the moment opportunity knocks. Those people recently got a boost from Christopher Monckton, a one-time advisor to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who’s turned himself into one of the most prominent of global warming skeptics.
“At [the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in] Copenhagen, this December, weeks away, a treaty will be signed. Your president will sign it … I read that treaty. And what it says is this, that a world government is going to be created,” Monckton said at a recent event sponsored by the Minnesota Free Market Institute.
“The word ‘government’ actually appears as the first of three purposes of the new entity …. How many of you think that the word ‘election’ or ‘democracy’ or ‘vote’ or ‘ballot’ occurs anywhere in the 200 pages of that treaty? Quite right, it doesn’t appear once. So, at last, the communists who piled out of the Berlin Wall and into the environmental movement, who took over Greenpeace so that my friends who funded it left within a year, because [the communists] captured it — now the apotheosis is at hand. They are about to impose a communist world government on the world. You have a president who has very strong sympathies with that point of view. He’s going to sign it. He’ll sign anything.”
Monckton’s words have rocketed around the fringe: WorldNetDaily reported on them, as did conspiracist radio talker Alex Jones’ Prison Planet Web site. At a similarly extreme site, Canada Free Press, one writer used Monckton’s warning as evidence for an article titled “Without a shot being fired, a dictator has taken over the United States.” And, of course, Birther lawyer Orly Taitz heard about it and put up a post on her blog asking for help getting in touch with Monckton.
If that were the full list of people who’d fallen for Monckton’s line, it might not be worth much mention. But it’s not. Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, who’s also a Fox News contributor, had a post on Monckton’s remarks. On Twitter, Saul Anuzis, who chaired the Michigan Republican Party until just recently and was an unsuccessful candidate to head the Republican National Committee, linked to a report on what Monckton said. The report to which Anuzis linked was published by a Web site advertising one video about FEMA internment camps and another about how one of the Rothschilds picked President Obama as part of a plot “to murder America.”
Problem is, Monckton’s reading of the proposed framework for negotiation — hardly a completed treaty — was woefully inaccurate. And that’s a nice way of putting it. The document clearly does nothing whatsoever to promote any sort of world government, and indeed, it refers to the efforts of national governments repeatedly.
Here’s the sole evidence in the framework for Monckton’s claim:
The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the Convention will be based on three basic pillars: government; facilitative mechanism; and financial mechanism, and the basic organization of which will include the following:
(a) The government will be ruled by the COP with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies. The current Convention secretariat will operate as such, as appropriate.
(The COP to which that language refers is the Conference of the Parties, which the official U.N. Web site explains as, “the ‘supreme body’ of the Convention, that is, its highest decision-making authority. It is an association of all the countries that are Parties to the Convention … [and] is responsible for keeping international efforts to address climate change on track.”)
Unfortunately for Monckton and those who’ve fallen for what he said without doing some rudimentary checking of the document’s language, there’s more than one meaning of the word “government.” There’s the conventional definition, the one he used, and then there’s this one, which is very clearly the one intended in this case: ”direction; control; management; rule: the government of one’s conduct.”
Update: As if on cue, Glenn Beck picked up on Monckton’s comments, and interviewed him for his radio show Monday. Beck also told Monckton, “what I’d like to do is I’d like to, I’d like to spend an hour with you, quite honestly, Lord Monckton, and have you on the TV show and maybe bring in ambassador John Bolton about this as well.”
Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.More Alex Koppelman.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)