Consider the Italian or Sicilian mafia, for a moment..
We know they attained a fair bit of success and power, in the past.. we know they’ve been involved in some of the largest scale crime(s), across the past century or so. They eventually cultivated relationships with police and FBI, politicians, even media, in some cases managing to almost completely hide their tracks.
Now push this idea of their success to the absolute extreme.
Pretend they’d been so successful, that they attained control over the very printing of our money, much like the federal reserve for example – pretend they had fellow Sicilians in nearly every noteworthy nation, managing the largest banks. Imagine they’d become so successful that they began to largely control the information flow, and begin to cultivate and present a picture as if their host nations were free and fair and transparent democracies, in which the organic will of the people still elected their leaders.. all the while, in reality, they were using their hard won organs of influence and control to all but guarantee election outcomes – perhaps even stoking scandals and engaging in character assassination when someone outside this tribe or circle begins to make serious inroads.
Picture such incredible success that all of the most powerful political families began to marry their children into this Sicilian mafia.. imagine *every single recent President of the most powerful nation in the world* doing just this – causing this exceptional subset to grow more powerful with every succession generation, by co-opting those willing to sell themselves for personal advancement. Imagine these same politicians eventually putting Sicily, in many ways, above their own nation – passing laws preventing their own people from criticizing Sicily or its people, sending them billions of dollars and the most powerful military technology in the world, even engaging in wars to help secure their safety and prosperity, and/or expand their borders.
This dominance might even creep into the religious sphere.. these Sicilian families could slowly but surely begin to rewrite history, to place themselves at the epicenter, in those ways that most boost their reputation.. to embrace any label or badge or mask that might best serve their aims and keep them safe from any reaction or pushback. If successful, they might win over a subset of people on the deepest levels – who saw it as their very spiritual and moral *duty* to strengthen and empower these people.. a naive subset who might then act as an army of devoted servants, who believed they were serving God as they did so.
I suspect that if the Sicilian mafia attained this level of power and dominance, a strange thing might happen, as result – they’d start to become LESS visible to the average man on the street, not more so. They’d exercise such immense power and influence over the ongoing conversation, such domination of the bottlenecks of the flow of information, that they’d be able to create a storyline or narrative that not only proactively hid their degree of power, but perhaps even painted themselves as victims – spurring kind hearted people everywhere to feel the constant desire to help them, psychologically conditioned on the deepest levels to defend and protect them – even to send them money out of their own pocket, despite these hypothetical Sicilians being the wealthiest group in the world by a large margin. Even if these mafia families were kicked out of countless nations in the past, I suspect that so powerful would be their dominance over the public mind and public consciousness that they’d manage to bury these stories – or so distort and mischaracterize them that the public might become convinced that every last one of these expulsions was the fault of the citizens themselves, and not the corrupt or criminal or parasitic machinations of these mafiaso.
I have a feeling that, while we’re good at recognizing low-level and mid-level crimes and criminality, there exists a unique type of criminality that is so large scale, so all-encompassing and broad level, that it flies under the radar – one might even say ‘above’ the radar, because it would even serve to redefine and reorient this radar. Peoples that were the product of high-trust nations and cultures would be like sheep among wolves, and might gradually come to be utterly dominated (and subsequently reprogrammed) before a critical mass began to even understand what was occurring.
Anyhow.. it’s an interesting thought experiment.