Oh, you hear a lot of people today casually referring to bankers as evil, but when it comes to true, chill-your-bones, block-out-the-light-of-the-sun, watch-out-they-might-steal-Christmas level sinisterness, today’s lot are rank amateurs.
I was delighted to come across this quote by Nathan Mayer Rothschild, founder of the British branch of the illustrious banking family in the 18th and 19th century, in this week’s Sunday Times.
I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England. The man who controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.
No-one puts things quite like that any more, do they? Disappointingly, none of the portraits of Nathan Rothschild I can find depict him with a moustache, which can only leave one to wonder what on earth he twiddled whilst making this villainous statement, but he certainly looks like a man capable of resonating maniacal laughter.
There are those on the internet who seek to connect the Rothschilds with all sorts of conspiracy theories, most dramatically the one which paints them as key members of the Illuminati, controlling governments around the world for centuries – even puppeteering Governor Schwarzenegger (as proved by his visit to Waddesdon Manor, the family’s wonderful Chateau in the heart of Oxfordshire, where several items of furniture owned by Marie Antoinette – as well as an unsurprisingly well-stocked wine cellar and knockout National Trust gift shop – now reside). You’ll often find this quote from Nathan Rothschild used in support of this argument. But doesn’t it sort of defeat the point of constructing a vast, shadowy, unstoppable secret organisation to try to take over the world if, like Nathan, you come straight out and say that’s what you’re doing? Surely, if those were the intentions of his family, the quote would read more along the lines of “I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England. The man who controls Britain’s money supply controls Britain’s orphanages, lost puppy homes and sweet shops, and I control the British money supply”.
The article goes on to note that Rothschild funded the battle of Waterloo and arranged the loan to compensate slave owners, allowing abolition to proceed as a practical reality. These payments were larger, as a proportion of government spending, than the UK goverment’s recent bailout of banks. So, perhaps Nathan Rothschild wasn’t all that evil after all. Perhaps he and his family are content to simply enjoy their wine, their giraffes, and their hefty discount at the National Trust shop. But I for one would like to see more of today’s bankers adopting Rothschild’s approach to PR, affecting the air of an evil genius, who most probably has several different but equally spectacular plans to steal the Crown Jewels brewing concurrently at any given moment.