- The plot of Assassin’s Creed is the perfect metaphor for today
- The battle between Assassins and Templars is being fought over money
- Which side are you on? Time to choose!
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is the best video game that I’ve ever played. It’s a tall tale about pirates, assassins and… Templars? I never fully understood the plot, to be honest. Perhaps because I never played any of the extraordinary number of other games in the Assassin’s Creed chronology, which spans thousands of years of human history.
But, while pining for a long-lost PlayStation console, I decided to look up what my favourite game had really been all about. What was the bizarre backstory that I’d only partially understood at the time?
In a summary video on YouTube, I discovered, to my surprise, the perfect narrative for today’s politics, economy and financial markets. It was a real lightbulb moment.
The underlying story of the Assassin’s Creed series explains everything. It’s as if the whole thing might be real. And, right now, the same plot is being fought out right on our TV screens, newspaper front pages and podcasts.
Let me show you how…
The plot of the Assassin’s Creed series is a never-ending battle between two hidden groups in our societies. On the one hand, we have what are known in most of the games as the Templars. They favour imposing order on humanity for its own good. At least, that’s their ideology, which they don’t always live up to.
But, as the Templars see the world, humans need rules and government to avoid dangerous chaos. And so, the downsides of imposing such control are just regrettable means that are justified by the ends. Corruption, tyranny, wayward ideology and overzealous despots are the price that we pay for stability and having any civilisation at all.
Fighting against this worldview, we have the Assassins. They favour individual freedom, choice and liberty. They believe that we do not need someone to control us and look over us in order to prosper. The inherent flaws of authority are not worth putting up with. The chaos that often results from a lack of control is the better trade-off, even if it is imperfect too.
The Templars spend their time conspiring to control the world, bringing order, propping up governments and establishing authority where there isn’t any. Some seem to be well-meaning, but most use the ideology to conveniently put themselves into power and then abuse that power.
The Assassins spend their time… well, I’m sure you can guess.
As a variety of protagonists, you play the Assassin’s Creed games in a truly bizarre way. Some sort of modern-day DNA-related technology has established a way for the descendants of famous people to relive their ancestors’ lives in a simulation.
The challenge is that it must be re-enacted more or less accurately in order to sustain the simulation, retain the link to history and discover its many secrets. Deviate from what actually happened and you lose the link to history. Game over.
The Templars and the Assassins, living in the modern age and still fighting it out, are constantly searching for an advantage over each other by re-enacting history in this way. Running the simulations exposes where secret artefacts are hidden and how to use them, for example.
Thus, players swap and change between simulations of their ancestors’ timelines and their own modern ones, unravelling mysteries and recreating famous historical moments. You even get to meet all sorts of historical figures.
It all makes for excellent gameplay – history, stealth, cunning, swashbuckling adventures and all sorts. But what if the context of all this is the right way to look at the real world? It’s just about control and freedom, not left wing and right wing, competing interest groups, oppression, or any other way of looking at the world.
Consider the debate about whether we should have central banks manipulate interest rates. Nobody even questions that. But it’s a debate over whether markets need order imposed on them or whether they do better by being left to their own devices. As in the plot of Assassin’s Creed, the central banks’ power often leads to corruption and abuse of that power, as we saw in insider trading scandals over the past few years.
The tale of communism versus capitalism versus fascism is much the same. If you’ve ever found it difficult to distinguish between communism and fascism in practice, try looking at them through the lens of Assassin’s Creed instead.
Capitalism favours chaos, while the other two are about imposing order. It doesn’t matter which order or for what purpose. Looking at the world through the lens of Assassin’s Creed and the confusion over left- and right-wing ideologies today suddenly makes sense.
Should we have energy price caps, climate change policies, smoking bans or any other measure? It’s a debate between whether humans need to be controlled and compelled or whether they can do better without imposing rules.
Where most people see politics as a debate between those who want to impose a certain set of rules versus those who want to impose a different set of rules, or those motivated by one cause versus another, we should see it as a question of how much control governments want to bring to bear on your everyday actions. Do they want to coerce you or just persuade you to act?
I have never seen this debate reach the crucial distinction that we face today. Presidential contender Donald Trump recently made a campaign promise to side with the Assassins on what might be the most important topic of debate.
You see, what kept the Templars at bay far better than any Assassin over the years is the inherent flaws in authoritarianism. It doesn’t function very well.
People are just too hard to control. No form of prohibition works – it just drives markets underground.
But today, society is at a crossroads. Over the past few centuries, we have gone from having monetary systems that governments had no control over to being on the cusp of a monetary system that gives governments absolute and complete control over your lives. I’m talking about central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
CBDCs can be used to give governments complete information about your day-to-day lives. They can then be used to control your transactions. This would create a situation where, for the first time ever, governments are actually capable of exerting the control that they always hoped to.
Trump promised to oppose CBDCs. I suspect that merely delays the issue.
But the Assassins are fighting back, in time-honoured style. They’ve launched the obvious antidote – complete chaos. It’s an alternative currency system that governments do not control and that allows anyone to have their own money. My dad recently launched the Hubble Crypto, for example…
This system has brought money back into the hands of anyone and everyone, counteracting the ability of CBDCs to impose their influence. People now have a choice.
The question now is: which side are you on? Because, in the future, governments will make their moves on the currency system you use today, and you could be forced to make a choice.
Until next time,
Editor, Fortune & Freedom