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What is a Cabal?

According to Wikipedia:

Cabal

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A cabal is a number of persons united in some close design, usually to promote their private views and interests in a church, state, or other community by intrigue. Cabals are secret organizations composed of a few designing persons. The term can also be used to refer to the designs of such persons, and also holds a general meaning of intrigue and conspiracy. Its usage carries strong connotations of shadowy corners and insidious influence; a cabal is more evil and selective than, say, a faction, which is simply selfish. Because of this negative connotation, few organizations use the term to refer to themselves or their internal subdivisions. Among the exceptions is Discordianism, in which the term is used to refer to an identifiable group within the Discordian tradition.

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[edit] Origins of the word

The term cabal derives from Kabbalah (a word that has numerous spelling variations), the mystical interpretation of the Hebrew scripture, and originally meant either an occult doctrine or a secret. It was introduced into English in the publication of Cabala a curious medley of letters and papers of the reigns of James and Charles I that appeared in 1654.[1]

[edit] Association with Charles II

The term took on its present meaning from a group of ministers of King Charles II of England (Sir Thomas Clifford, Lord Arlington, the Duke of Buckingham, Lord Ashley, and Lord Lauderdale), whose initial letters coincidentally spelled Cabal, and who were the signers of the public Treaty of Dover that allied England to France in a prospective war against the Dutch. It must be said, however, that the so-called Cabal Ministry can hardly be seen as such — the Scot Lauderdale was not much involved in English governance at all; while the Catholic ministers of the Cabal, Clifford and Arlington, were never much in sympathy with the Protestants, Buckingham and Ashley, nor did Buckingham and Ashley get on very well with each other. Thus, the “Cabal Ministry,” never very unified in its members’ aims and sympathies, fell apart by 1672; Lord Ashley, who became Earl of Shaftesbury, later became one of Charles II’s fiercest opponents. The explanation that the word originated as an acronym from the names of the group of ministers is a folk etymology, although the coincidence was noted at the time. The group, who came to prominence after the fall of Charles’s first prime minister, Lord Clarendon, in 1667, was rather called the Cabal because of its secretiveness and lack of responsibility to the “Country party” then out of power.

[edit] Use in revolutionary America

In 1777 in America a supposed conspiracy, known as the “Conway Cabal,” took place. A series of criticisms of General George Washington‘s leadership abilities as commander-in-chief during the American Revolution has been regarded as a cabal, but little evidence exists for it being an actual conspiracy.

[edit] Use in relation to computers and Usenet

During the rise of Usenet, the term gained great notice as a semi-ironic description of the efforts of people to maintain some order over the chaotic, anarchic Usenet community; see backbone cabal, there is no Cabal. As in this specific case, references to an alleged cabal often fall within the realm of the conspiracy theory.

[edit] Current usage

One recent example of the use of the word Cabal came in an accusation by former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, who claimed that the Bush administration’s foreign policy is run by a “Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal” implying a sinister intent. [1]

Currently on the Comedy Central program The Daily Show, the phrase “a global cabal of Jews” is referenced from time to time, as a spoof on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

The existence or otherwise of cabals has led to the Internet phenomenon originating on Usenet, “TINC” (standing for There Is No Cabal).

[edit] See also

Other negative words that arose from descriptions of religious extremism or religious sects include:

[edit] Note

  1. ^ Cabala, sive Scrinia Sacra. Mysteries of State and Government in Letters of illustrious Persons and great Agents; in the Reigns of Henry the Eighth, Queen Elizabeth, King James and the late King Charls. In two Parts, in which the Secrets of Empire, and Publique manage of Affairs are contained. Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1907–21), vol VII, ch. viii.4 The Compleat Ambassador.

Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabal

 

One Response to “What is a Cabal?”

  1. […] you have read about the cabal somewhere and want to apply for membership, please read the page “What is a Cabal?” and then comment here with the URL and name of your wordpress.com […]


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