The Grand Lodge has a problem. No one at the Grand Lodge will say this, at least openly. The problem has to do with our newly obligated brothers, specifically, the ones who come from the Philippines. What a provocative hook, eh?
The problem is not with those brothers exactly. It is because the Grand Lodge, and Masonry in general, has no automatic device that keeps out troublesome elements from our institution. It says it does, but it has the same problem that we see with the Constitution. In the same way that the Constitution has not protected us from the depredations of the government, our protection mechanisms have failed us; they rely upon individuals being willing to make hard and firm decisions. These decisions may raise the specter of prejudice in the minds of some, which most good people recognize and avoid. Sadly, today’s Masons seem incapable of noticing the entrance and rapid increase of troublemakers in their lodges until it is too late. So, like the Constitution, the protection mechanisms are not working as designed or intended.
But back to our new brothers.
Part of our issue stems from that great fiction that nearly all Americans (at least the coolest and most educated) pay lip service to: The Melting Pot. This myth, which was actually brought to us by this lovely fellow, who would, no doubt, be a little too controversial today for polite circles.
But we have a new “innovation,” the Salad Bowl! No longer must our vibrant brothers be relegated to being mixed with the common stock of Ameri-kay; now they can join a great polyglot of strangers, with no common ties, no social fabric. Ah, diversity!
Al Gore was smarter than even he knew when he turned (without a trace of irony) our “E pluribus unum,” on its head when he said, “Out of one, many.”
This myth is responsible for the ideal known as Assimilation. Assimilation is the gradual process by which we bring our grateful and hard-working guests into the fold of mainstream American life, as if by magic.
This works fine when the there is no choice but to assimilate: when no one speaks their mother tongue, no special accommodations are made for their particular traditions, etc. It fails when the proportions of guests are so high as to make assimilation unnecessary. This phenomenon has been well documented by Victor Davis Hanson, who is a far better writer than I.
But if we look closely, we find that, in fact, Assimilation Theory is built upon an unsound foundation. It requires the belief that – as Vox Day so correctly points out – a change in geography will, with enough time, remove the cultural and political orientations, and the void will be filled with an understanding of, and appreciation for, English Common Law, limited government, self-reliance, etc. I believe this premise is unsound, and moreover, that when Assimilation Theory is combined with sheer numbers, there is a multiplier effect that comes into play.
The fact of the matter is that our new brothers don’t play by the same rules we do. They also have no need to assimilate. They will endlessly mouth platitudes about fraternity and brotherly love…until they can take control. Once that happens, then they have no interest in the old white guys who had been the stewards of their lodges for the past half century. In many cases, these stewards are descended from the lodge founders.
So what is a good Mason to do? We cringe from the idea of excluding a prospective brother on account of his ethnicity, but we also want to maintain the distinctly Anglo-American traditions of The Lodge.
I can see three possible courses of action:
We can do nothing. This is (mostly) what we are doing now. We are waiting for Assimilation to do its thing. Still waiting… Meanwhile the foreign presence at Annual Communication is staggering. A few years ago, MW Loui dodged a floor nomination for Jr. Grand Warden…by pretending not to hear it and rapidly closing nominations. This trick won’t work forever, and ducking the issue with parliamentary maneuvering is not leadership. It is cowardice*.
Containment – we can limit them to the lodges they have already conquered. Some lodges, those who have seen infiltration in neighboring lodges, have unofficially adopted this policy. It may be more accurate to say that a number brothers who see clearly have independently adopted this policy. Hard to say, since no one discusses it. They will simply begin to black ball foreigners when they notice a pattern.
This measure falls short, however, in one critical way: it is conservative. I mean “conservative” in the same way that we might use it in politics. This is conservatism applied to our “guest problem.” Why use a political label? Because it is, much like political conservatism, a half measure. It’s reasonable and practical, but, in the long term, ineffective. It does not halt. It does not restore. It merely delays.
My stance should not imply ingratitude. Indeed, without this approach, we might have lost more lodges than we already have. In the same way, without conservatives, we might be even more socialist than we already are. However, if we are to turn back this tide, other measures are called for.
Dissociation – it’s time to remove the lodges or individuals from the Grand Lodge of California. They can form their own Grand Lodge and charter their own lodges. Maybe as part of the agreement, they can keep the assets they have thus far acquired. I don’t know what the specifics should be, but it should be done, by cooperation if possible or by coercive means if necessary. Perhaps we can ultimately have some form of Masonic intercourse with this new Grand Lodge, in the same way we have relations with Prince Hall. But it must be done.
Now, the contemplative Mason will wonder if this reaction isn’t a bit too strong. That’s a perfectly reasonable question. It sounds so un-Masonic. Admittedly it is strong, but it must be if we are to preserve our lodges in the long run. There is no other option, because they have done nothing illegal. Yet, the situation is untenable. My solution is quick, it is effective and it can be, if done properly, amicable.
So why not propose it? Why not find a few other GL members and present it? It’s too early. Few would vote for it, let alone five sixths of the members. This is something Masons will need to consider for some time. Hopefully we can propose it before foreign members are too numerous to block it. It will have to be a carry-over.
Brotherhood is not diminished here if it’s done right. We welcome travelers in a different way than we do members. This is no different. Not all can become Masons; we already know that. Not all are worthy of our brotherhood or our protection (see the Bee Hive).
Ultimately, it falls to you, brother. Do you wish to see our Blue Lodges fall, one by one, to the third world and bitter, tribal politics? Or would you rather preserve the distinctly Anglo-American flavor of your Lodge for posterity? Personally, I would rather see my descendants present at my Lodge’s tercentennial. How about you?
* It might, at first, seem to the reader that the charge of cowardice rings hollow when leveled by a pseudonymous author. I could offer a number of excuses: the ideas are more important than the man, point to other anonymous writers (most of whom are much more talented). Ultimately there is a great deal to chew on. I imagine the Masonic reader is probably simultaneously intrigued (I hope) and wary. To reveal too early is to present a target. It would be a different story if this topic were currently permissible, even in hushed voices, in the dining hall, if not the Lodge proper. If there is a mission for Masonic Reaction, it is to plant important ideas in the minds of my brothers. We can’t talk like this openly…yet.