Freemasonry is old. Really old. The Grand Lodge of England was not created until 1717, and other lodges created it. In that sense, it seems in someways like a throwback, an anachronism from a simpler time. Masonry has, in some ways, escaped the the forces of modernization, but it has not escaped entirely unscathed. This is particularly true with regard to the Progressive Era. Further, I think this is a feature, not a bug. This has lead me to a painful conclusion.
Masonry is a left-wing organization.
Before we fly off the rails, let’s look a bit deeper. I say left-wing in the same sense that the American Revolution (and most other revolutions since) was left-wing. The history of the previous few centuries makes much more sense when looked at as a continuous, leftward march to the present day. Freemasonry, with its teachings of the equality of man, acceptance of all religions, and the universal brotherhood of man, was somewhat antagonistic to the ancien regime. The seeds of early left-wing thought are noticeable, if only we would look. Masons were supporters of public education and Abolition. “Well fine,” you say, “those are good things to support.” Indeed they are. But what if the leftward drift of our institution did not stop there, but continued – or rather continues – to this day?
The schools are actually a perfect example, particularly given the long running, unconditional support of Masons. Public schools in California have become money pits, that we as citizens are obliged to fund irrespective of performance. Masonry is strictly non-political; indeed, it is inappropriate to discuss politics in the lodge. Yet here is a glaring exception to this rule. I asked a brother once why this is so, and he said that in the past, public education was not considered “political.” I took this to mean that, since a “free,” public education was long considered a “right,” that there was no taint of politics associated with our schools. If only it were so! Unfortunately, this is no longer the case, particularly when the private sector must give more and more to maintain a bloated, ineffective bureaucracy. Reality is at odds with the Grand Lodge’s position. Our chosen beneficiary is a government agency. And a powerful one at that. At a time when various interest groups continually lobby for more and more handouts from the treasury, the only answer is to refuse any and all support to public education. It must be treated as any other branch of government. Masons, if we are to maintain our integrity, must sever our tie to public education. It is time to turn our support to private and homeschool groups.
Why does it matter?
Well, first, there is reality vs. fiction. Government is government. Period. We are supposed to stay out of governmental affairs, but it’s okay because children. Nothing to see here. Secondly, there is a belief, held by many, that our current society (by which I mean both civil and civic life) is the apex of human achievement, or that it is as close as we can get. Representative democracy, universal suffrage, free movement of people, equality of all (beyond equal protection of the law), and now transgender bathrooms. Ah progress! This is problematic, because it creates institutional inertia, by which I mean an unwillingness to innovate or even to revoke certain “innovations” that have not panned out so well.
But this goes deeper than just education. This gets into worldview, how someone sees and interprets things around them. Certainly, my voice is the minority, but I see not the apex of human achievement (and its attendant institutional inertia), but rather a desire to make everyone the same, a great leveling of all people. This might be okay if the tendency was to level up, but in too many cases, we will content ourselves to bring great men down to the lowest common denominator. This might seem rather esoteric to the reader who has not delved much into the subject of equality, or leveling. Are there other examples of “leveling down” that we can look to for comparison?
We also see this phenomenon when we look at the subject of free trade. Free trade is popular with everyone. Except unions, and they don’t really grasp the finer details. If they did, they would be forced to admit that unions are all about protecting artificially high wage jobs from market competition. But I digress.
We are told about the wonders of free trade raising the standard of living for all. This is certainly true when we limit our field of vision to those nations which are the beneficiaries of free trade. You know the ones; we used to call them third world countries. Now we call them “developing.” In any case, they tend to be poor, corrupt and recently “liberated” from colonial rule. The real issue with free trade is that its implications are never spelled out for the citizens of first world nations. Real wages, if you did not know, have been stagnant since the 1970s. Remember that economics class you had to take in high school? The part about supply and demand. What do you suppose happens when the supply of labor rises, but demand stays the same? The price falls. What do you suppose happens when high-priced American manufacturers compete with low-priced foreign manufacturers? They outsource, and/or wages must not rise. Now what, do you suppose, will the leveling of living standards look like thanks to free trade? The poorest nations will see the largest gains, and the richest ones will be leveled down. It’s kind of like how you don’t want to buy the most expensive home in the neighborhood, since its value will drop faster than a small house if the market tanks.
So what does all this mean?
Had I been alive in the 18th century, I would most certainly have been a radical. Masonry too was radical at that time – a perfect fit. However, the radicalism of the 18th century continued well into the 19th, 20th and, now, 21st centuries. And my beloved Freemasonry has been swept along with it. Most Worshipful Charles Adams is particularly to blame (he will require his own post). I think “Dad” Land is equally deserving of our scorn – more on them both at another time.
All this is to say that when Masons were first radical, it was appropriate. Today their radicalism – which (regrettably) is better classified as “mainstream,” results in a deplorable promotion of the status quo. A status quo that goes along with every predation of productive citizens by the government. A status quo that holds that every person, educated Westerner or uneducated half-wit from a free trade country is deserving the largesse of this nation. A status quo that keeps Masons’ hands bound when their lodges are hostilely and systematically taken over by foreigners who do not play by the same rules. This must be what democracy looks like.
This is what democracy looks like indeed. Institutional inertia tends to render us passive when confronted with ideas that our grandfathers would have laughed at. Conventional history – Whig History – tends to render silent great minds from our past, when those thinkers were not sufficiently “enlightened.”