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The ARC: New Vision, or WEF 2.0?
Online theories vs. in person experience
I attended the inaugural Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) conference in London last week as a member of The Aussie Wire’s media team. Positioned as an ‘anti-WEF’ think-tank, the ARC is founded by psychologist Jordan Peterson, think-tanker Baroness Philippa Stroud, and former Australian Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson.
According to the founders, the ARC is intended as a counter to the likes of the WEF, but in the wake of the pandemic period, some people are understandably skeptical of the motives behind the ARC.
I’ll be sharing observations and highlights from my experience of the conference over the coming days, but the most pressing question peppering my social media feeds is simply,
Is the ARC just WEF 2.0?
I think that’s unlikely. The only real similarity I see with the WEF is in the event structure: a pre-determined message was delivered by hand-picked speakers to an audience of 1,500 selected influencers and policy makers from around the world, with the express purpose of creating change. There were no debates, no plebs, and while speakers were diverse in most respects, they were not diverse in thought. All of this fits fairly neatly with what we know of the WEF model.
But the content of the message and the formula for change was ideologically the opposite of the WEF. For starters, one of the ARC’s core principles is that policies must be voluntarily entered into. No mandates, no force.
Another anti-WEF theme at the ARC was that power should be decentralised and distributed at the most local level possible (subsidiarity). ARC speakers characterised the West’s preoccupation with Net Zero and ‘renewables at all costs’ as technocratic and anti-human, calling instead for a rational, pro-human approach to climate and energy policy. They were similarly critical of centralised monetary policy, with calls for an end to ‘crony capitalism’ and ‘theft by inflation in order to finance wars you would never agree to if the government sent you the bill.’
The ARC speakers were pro-traditional values, pro-family autonomy (i.e.: government policies and funding streams should support families choosing what’s best for them) and pro-faith, or spirituality, as a means of moral orientation. Also, no one suggested eating bugs.
You really couldn’t be less WEF in terms of the actual content.
But isn’t the ARC funded by George Soros, and therefore WEF in sheep’s clothing?
Not as far as I can tell. This rumour seems to stem from the fact that one of the ARC’s advisory board members, hedge fund boss Sir Paul Marshall, received seed funding from Soros about 25 years ago. An anonymous X (Twitter) follower tells me that his fund received the same around 25 years ago, and that Soros was pretty much seeding any hedge fund going at that time. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think it’s beside the point. Sir Paul may well be ‘controlled opposition’ so by all means, keep an eye on him. But his track record, particularly in backing GB News and Unherd to diversify the UK’s media is consistent with someone who could be described as conservative, pro-freedom (of speech, markets, religion), and anti-WEF.
Pending good evidence of George Soros funding ARC to mount a controlled opposition psy-op, I’m putting the social media hysteria about this down to Soros Derangement Syndrome, which I conceptualise as a sort of mash up of 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon x Trump Derangement Syndrome.
But isn’t everyone on the advisory board elite and/or rich?
Yes. To people with this gripe I would simply ask - what is the metric for passing your purity test? Must one be poor, with no influence? I’m all for healthy skepticism, but at some point, those who want to resist the WEF status quo will require funding, organising and strong leadership.
If you don’t like the ARC model, that’s fine, but compared to what? What better model do you propose, and with whose involvement? Comments are open but please think this out and be specific, as I would prefer to see solutions, not just potshots, in the comments.
I could be wrong. Maybe the ARC is an elaborate ‘controlled opposition’ conspiracy to suck the energy out of any meaningful resistance. This is a tactic not uncommonly employed in politics ahead of elections, so it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. But so far, I’m not seeing it.
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