The Elite ?

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Travelling Man91, Jan 20, 2016.

  1. Travelling Man91

    Travelling Man91 Registered User

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    We've all heard stories of the small groups within a large group known as the "Elite." Although I try not to think anyone is superior than I, I often wonder due to "invitation only" clubs. Just to list a few Jason Society, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg, Skull and Cross Bones Society, Honorary °33. Do you brothers believe there are "Elitist" within Freemasonry or in the world ? And if so, how is one chosen ? Why " invitation only "?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Masonry is elistist - We only take good men.

    There are a number of invitation only appendent bodies, but do I consider them elites? Sort of but mostly not. To me elite means extra influence not in some specialty - There are academic invitational groups for example. The only generalist one I know about is the 33rd degree in the Scottish Rite but that group acknowledges men who made themselves elite through abundant service before getting the degree. The degree is only an acknowledgement.

    Our grand lines are in charge and the pipeline tends to be invitational. But every jurisdiction has elections in the grand line so there is at least a veto.

    No elites in the conspiracy theorist sense.

    Think about it. The eminent guy down the block that everyone calls Grandpa is a Brother. Would that guy tolerate being a dupe for that type of elite?

    There are entire jurisdictions that get candidates by invitation instead of by petition. Some European jurisdictions have this policy.
     
  3. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I'm not going to touch the whole Bilderberger / Illuminaty / New World order conspiracy as that only leads us to long winded discussions.

    But as for invitational groups within Masonry, sure they are elitist. Especially in the US. Some are for people that are true seekers of light, but it's unfortunately my impression that many of them are clubs where people invite their buddies and where little light is dispenses except a couple of dinners a year.
    The funny thing is that when you look around the world this invitation only setup is very rare. It's only the US that's really taken it to the extent that you see. Take for instance the Rosicrucian Society in the UK. Here you can freely petition to be accepted. That would never happen in the US.
    And that's a shame. I believe that some of these groups that originally were keepers of light and esoteric teachings unfortunately now largely function as political organs.
     
  4. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Is that a comment on Freemasonry more generally?
     
  5. Travelling Man91

    Travelling Man91 Registered User

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    Not trying to get into conspiracy theories, but I would like to get brothers honest opinion. See I'm on the fence about masonry only taking good men, because I've seen otherwise. I guess that's just my opinion
     
  6. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    I like to think that we as Masons are a group of elite men but that we do not practice elitism.
     
  7. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    I wonder if perhaps the diminishing number of members has lodges scrambling for numbers, in turn accepting less than quality?
     
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  8. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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    No system is perfect. Of course men get through our screening and balloting processes who should not have. And people change over time, as well.
     
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  9. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I like to think many of the invitational bodies are the answer to the fact that in the U.S. we have flung the doors wide open. In many European countries, Freemasonry is still elite. Here, there probably isn't a single lodge that doesn't have members who should have never been admitted. They are composed of men who are the most active in their Blue Lodges and men who endeavor to present and conduct themselves at a higher standard. They are composed of the state's Masonic leadership, but that's just a natural byproduct; if you are active in the leadership, then you would be the type to receive an invitation as recognition of what you do.
     
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  10. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    Yes, MarkR, very true. Which also gives further light to why Traveling Man91 may notice some not so quality men being let into our Craft. It may or may not have to do with elitist values at all but can be likely explained by a number of different hypotheses. Elitism, the modern world, diminishing numbers, imperfection of system, people changing over time. All reasons why a lack of quality in candidates might be explained. Could be all of these put together, could be none of the above. I think every situation and perhaps even every jurisdiction can have a different reason or reasons why this is so.
     
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  11. SeeKer.mm

    SeeKer.mm Premium Member

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    Companion Joe, you make a valid and excellent point as well
     
  12. Travelling Man91

    Travelling Man91 Registered User

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    In many European countries, Freemasonry is still elite.

    What do you believe makes freemasonry in European countries more elite than the US ? I'm not disagreeing with you because I'm kinda on the same trail. Even watching documentaries, it had always come off as if there is something more in those countries.
     
  13. NY.Light.II

    NY.Light.II Registered User

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    I think part of it is political. Take Ireland for example. While things are better now, throughout the 20th century sectarian violence ravaged communities. With a strong Catholic-Protestant division already in place, certain auxiliary organizations were dragged into this cultural separation. So while Catholics defined themselves (generally, not universally) through membership in Catholic parishes and the IRA, Protestants (again, generally) sheltered themselves in Protestant churches, paramilitaries, the Orange lodge, and Freemasonry. Given the Catholic tension in respect to freemasonry, Irish lodges were densely packed with Irish Protestants and others from the rest of the U.K. With globalization and a dedication to the peace process, these tensions have subsided, but the history of political and organizational separation remains. Perhaps others can speak more knowledgeably about other European countries.
     
  14. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I believe Freemasonry in many European countries is still elite because it is still mainly composed of community leaders, industrialists, etc.
    My lodge counts among its membership a U.S. President, a Cabinet member, an ambassador to Russia, two U.S. Senators, four U.S. Congressmen, two state supreme court judges, and a Major League baseball player. All of them were prior to WWII. Today, we have a couple of minor, local elected officials, but the only time you see them at a lodge meeting is just before an election. In 22 years as a Master Mason, I don't know that I've ever sat in lodge with a judge or a doctor. Local business leaders join the country club, not the lodge. (For full disclosure, I am a teacher and have a master's degree, so I like to think I am influential and make an impact in my local community.)
     
  15. Travelling Man91

    Travelling Man91 Registered User

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    See that's what I was getting at. So do you believe these people are invited into these organizations based on their social, and economic status ?
     
  16. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I don't know if that's the case. It might be. I think people of varying social and economic status naturally gravitate toward their own. That doesn't make in sinister. It makes it human nature. If you want to improve your lot to those ranks, then you naturally strive to join them.

    Let's put it in this light: Formerly, Masonic lodges were composed of people who were respected in the community, but today, I don't know if there is a group of people who are respected in the community. Most people don't even know who their local business and civic leaders are. Many of those who do know them are either indifferent or are hostile/jealous because someone is more successful than they.
     
  17. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I would argue that Freemasonry is exclusionary in nature, as opposed to elitist. We exclude women, atheists, and in some instances, men of color. The list of what we don't accept is arguably longer than what we do accept. One of our most serious charges is that of guarding the West gate, which is essentially keeping undesirables out of Freemasonry. Applicant screening, voting, and blackballing all coincide with being exclusive. Within the structure of Freemasonry, the only instance of elitism that I can think of is the 33rd degree of Scottish Rite. Even that is a stretch, since it's more of an honorary title that is earned through distinction and service, as opposed to being some kind of insider club or good ole boys network.

    I belong to a "farmer's lodge", where the vast majority of us are simple working-class stiffs. I'm one of the few white collar guys. Our most recent PM shoes horses for a living. The current WM is a local cop. If memory serves, the most socially distinguished members that I can think of are:
    • high school Superintendent
    • a few small business owners
    • the county Sheriff
    That being said, I live in a rural area of Ohio. Men don't necessarily seek to distinguish themselves in the eyes of the community through Freemasonry. This isn't an elbow-rubber's or elite club. Around here, that distinction belongs to members of the county fair board, county trustees, and local township government positions. The amount of clout assigned to fair board members in particular, is staggering. I'm not a part of any of that stuff, so I really don't understand why these people are so special. Anyway...

    Where I live, Freemasonry is more of a "family lineage thing". It's definitely not the "rich guy's club" or "who's who" of the community.
     
  18. Browncoat

    Browncoat Registered User

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    I think this hits the nail on the head.

    People who are self-made and driven to succeed are always going to gravitate towards leadership roles and seek out self-improvement. OP seems to be hinting at a time in our culture that existed 50 years ago, to a time when the community was much more closely knit. Technology has driven us further apart. Yes, you can now network with someone across the globe...but at the expense of never really knowing your neighbors.
     
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  19. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    Another consideration is this:

    I would bet a fair amount that if you pulled into any give town prior to the 1960s, stopped a random person, and asked them for directions to the local Masonic Lodge, the vast majority could have told you exactly where it was. Today, the most common answer would be "no" or "what's that?"
     
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  20. Travelling Man91

    Travelling Man91 Registered User

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    I agree. My lodge for instance, the most honorable men would be veterans. I dont know of any "socially" higher than that. Speaking of "farmer lodges" I'd like to visit one one day. I bet their very down to earth.
     

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