What We Can Learn From Ross Ashcroft’s ‘The Four Horsemen’ [Opinion]

'The Four Horsemen' lays bare the faults of society in a way that has never been done before, and it is crucial that we learn from it.

'The Four Horsemen' lays bare the faults of society in a way that has never been done before, and it is crucial that we learn from it.

In 2012, British filmmaker Ross Ashcroft produced a documentary film that would change the way we view contemporary society. The Four Horsemen has forever altered the majority’s perception of the world, but sadly there are those who have not taken its core principles to heart.

In order to fully understand the premise and purpose of The Four Horsemen, it would be wise to shed some light on that which it does and that which it does not do. What the documentary does indeed do is to firstly shed light on the current global issues we face. Secondly, it explains why these problems exist. Thirdly, The Four Horsemen serves up an anti-climax, as it explains that the problem isn’t capitalism but the twisted version of it which is applied today. What the documentary does not do is a) sugar coat the inherent flaws of capitalism, b) favor more government intrusion into society, and c) promote socialism or communism.

The makers of The Four Horsemen identify the following as the traditional horsemen: war, conquest, famine, and death. In the modern context, the four horsemen are a ruthless financial industry, violence, poverty, and the exhaustion of natural resources. The film goes to great lengths to aid the viewer in comprehending the gravity of these threats, as well as what caused them.

To start off, the life cycle of an empire must be elaborated on. All empires start off with a group of pioneers. These pioneers lead conquests in order to attain territory. Settlements are established and commerce follows. Affluence becomes the normative order. Intellect follows closely behind. The last stage in the cycle is that of decadence. It is in this stage that an empire is characterized by an overextended military, the flaunting of exuberant wealth, massive economic inequality, a bloated central government, sex, and last but not least, the debasement of currency. The Western empire is no exception to this cycle. We are at the last stage; the cusp of change. What we do now will determine the fate of our offspring.

The central idea in The Four Horsemen is that a benevolent “friendship” between politicians and corporations are busy pushing the world over the edge. This is accomplished through four mediums: banking, terrorism, resources, and progress.


If banks run out of other people’s money, they can bargain on government bailouts. Real money is no more thanks to the use of FIAT currencies. This does not affect the rich bankers and the politicians they buy through lobbying, however. When the new wealth is pumped into the system, it takes a while for prices to be affected. The money thus still has relatively the same purchasing power when the elite get to use it. This money then starts to trickle down to people in the lower economic classes. The problem, however, is that when the money reaches these people, prices have already started to compensate for the rise in the money supply. The money has thus lost its purchasing power while trickling down. Trickle-down economics is actually a sound concept, except if you give powerful people the means to create “money” out of nothing and then flood the system with it.


Terrorism is largely the product of the military-industrial complex. Innocent people are deprived of basic liberties by armed forces in the name of so-called democracy. It is natural that the deprived seek refuge and then find it in the delusional sphere of crazy fundamentalists. These fundamentalists present themselves as freedom fighters, but a freedom fighter in the eyes of one person is a terrorist in the eyes of another. It is a never-ending cycle of hate with momentum maintained by bought politicians who dance like puppets to the strings of plutocrats. Needless to say, the bought politicians and plutocrats benefit from the war machine.


Economics comes down to one crucial thing: natural resources. The problem in our contemporary society is currencies which are central to an economy are debased. This is what is causing people’s purchasing power to decrease and the elite to get richer and richer because of an unsustainable asset bubble. The free market is essentially not free anymore. There is no place for an intrusive state and debased currencies in a truly free market. This is all done in the name of faux government unity with the people. People are promised higher material living standards in exchange for letting go of just a little bit more of the little power that they have left. All in the name of apparent progress.

Environmentalists protest Donald Trump in Tel Aviv, Israel.


Progress in the modern sense of the word is mainly visualized in material terms. We are told we need better technology and better products and services. Which is true. We do in fact need those things. However, people have become so focused on their strive for material progress that our cognitive maps have been wired to breed large-scale apathy for the fact that our basic liberties are being tarnished. Our education system indoctrinates young minds that a big and intrusive government is needed in order to implement bound-to-fail economic policies. Make no mistake. Public education is the best method of controlling people.

So what solution is proposed in the film? In short, a classically liberal government with a minimally regulated free market.

It is critical to note that this proposed model of society entails minimal use of government force. A voluntary society cannot be built on the foundation of forced coercion.

It is clear that the proposed solution is not a mere shallow rearrangement of the status quo. The status quo is that of a big government that is in cahoots with the elite. Rather, it is a total upheaval of the way we approach social governance. We are bred to think that we need an authoritarian state. This causes us to never learn the fundamental value of real freedom. In order to see the prison we are locked in, we need to understand it. Only through understanding something can you liberate yourself from it.

What society needs is not the abolition of capitalism and the free market. Rather, it is the abolition of the current form thereof. What we need is free trade. What we need is less government. What we need is voluntary cooperation. What we need is a collectivist mindset in a society that promotes and respects individual liberty.