Challenge Match: ALightinDarkness vs Rockpuck: A Mason Conspiracy

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posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 05:41 PM
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The topic for this debate is "The Masonic Power Behind The Throne: Secrecy And Manipulation In Masonry.

ALightinDarkness is arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Rockpuck will be arguing the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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This is a challenge match. The winner will receive 2 ranking points, the loser will lose two ranking points.




posted on Jul, 16 2008 @ 07:48 PM
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I am happy to have the opportunity to debate with Rockpuck, who is extraordinarily talented in this arena. I look forward to a vigorous discussion about masonry and its role in our communities and power structure using secrecy as a lens for debate.

Introduction

There can be little doubt that freemasonry is - at the very least – a society that keeps some secrets. At the very worst, it is a secret society. My opponent, no doubt, will argue the later. But for the purposes of this discussion, the degree of secrecy which masonry keeps from those outside of its lodge doors is irrelevant. It is not what is kept secret from us that matters, but the very fact that secrets are kept at all. I have little doubt that my opponent will argue that the nature of Masonic secrecy is immaterial to the public. This argument is moot, because I argue it is the very existence of such secrecy, regardless of its actual value, that is oppressive to our society.

Our government and our communities thrive on trust and openness that is diminished in the presence of ANY secrecy. It is this openness that allows us to live our daily lives as we know them today. We operate in what the sociology literature calls social networks of mutual trust. It is this trust between members of society that allows free markets to flourish because it lowers transaction costs into the marketplace and lowers fear over non-market forces manipulating our transactions through collusion. Robert Putnam (2000) argued that it is this climate of reciprocal trust defines the ideal society, and cited the lack of trust due to market and social group collusion as one of the main factors responsible for the degradation of modern social life.

It takes only a look at the local or national newspaper to see the negative impact that secrecy – ANY secrecy, regardless of its substance – has on our lives. Take for example Congress recently meeting in secret to discuss illegal wire-tapping – regardless of the substance of their discussion, the media and the public immediately clamored to know what the topic of discussion was. As citizens, we abhor secrecy from any organization, and such secrecy diminishes the value of our society. But the on going presence of secret organizations is numbing our rightful wariness of secrets in other parts of our lives, like the government.

Numbing our Communities to the Impacts of Secrecy

The academic literature proves what, to many of us, is instinctively true: the value of our society is diminished by any level of secrecy. But the negative impacts of secrecy from groups like freemasonry stretches beyond this. Political scientists have for years examined the nexus of power structures in our communities and government. They have noted that the elite class of citizens exercises great power through secrecy. One scholar has noted that:


Elites in democratic societies will close their ranks…guard their resources and compensate for egalitarian measures taken by social-democratic or socialist governments.

Source: Favereau and Lazega (2002)

When secrecy is used and even esteemed in our society, it sets a bad example for both those who adhere to such secrecy and those who are subject to it. For masons, secrecy is a value of the organization, and citizens are normalized to this value. Masonry as an organization is hundreds of years old, and its expansion has put lodges in nearly every town in the United States and the United Kingdom, and it continues growth in other countries around the world. These lodges practice this reverence for secrecy, and as they exist in their communities this acceptance of secrecy as a positive value becomes to seem normal over time.

This in and of it self is dangerous. As we become normalized to secrecy in masonry we become num to its effects in other areas of our life. Whether masons seek to actively manipulate those in power is not the point, but rather, through its emphasis on institutional secrecy, masonry promotes values which numb us to the impacts of secrecy in our lives and over time harms our expectations for mutual associates of reciprocal trust in our communities.

Freemasonry is Inversely Correlated with Social and Democratic Values

Scholars have noted that perhaps the best way to measure the prosperity of a community and its government is through social capital. Social capital is a term that amalgamates all the other values of trust and openness which I just described. It is a term that measures the level of open and positive communication between members of a community. These relationships build up a type of goodwill that can be spent in order to achieve individual goals at low transaction prices within our community and with our government.

There are two main types of social capital: bridging capital and bonding capital. Bridging social capital is the type of capital that defines a communities’ prosperity – it represents open relationships across people of different demographics and ideologues can operate without being exclusive. The types of groups that promote this type of capital, which benefits everyone, includes inclusive groups where membership is completely open, like a parent-teacher association or the key club.

Conversely, bonding social capital is a type of capital which remains within a group – members of a close knit group bond with each other in order and strengthen their own ties, but do not help the value of our community as a whole. The types of groups here include those organizations that are exclusive and require prerequisites to join – including churches and freemasonry. The greater the density of organizations in a community which are exclusive in nature, like freemasonry, the greater the nexus of relationships between secrecy and power. The quantitative research on groups like freemasonry and their relationship with power shows that they are inversely correlated with democratic values and high levels of social capital (Paxton 2002).

The above constitutes my framework which I plan on using throughout my discussion. The evidence clearly shows that Freemasonry and groups like it which promote close knit secretive relationships is an anathema to an open and thus democratic society. Whether masons themselves are willing or unwilling participants in this is immaterial, as is the nature of their secrecy. Their very existence, the peer reviewed literature suggests, acts as a sort of invisible hand behind the thrones of power – numbing us to the effects of secrecy and diminishing the value of trust in our communities over time.

Questions for my Opponent

1) The literature clearly shows freemasonry and institutions like it are best conceptualized as organizations which promote bonding social capital. If one of the goals of masonry is to increase the prosperity of our communities, why does it choose this type of structure due to its reverence for secrecy?

2) Whether or not Freemasonry is “up” to anything sinister, is it not true that the very presence and continued normalization of secrecy in it may numb its members to the concept of secrecy as a whole?

3) What has freemasonry done to reverse its negative impacts as a bonding social capital organization?

4) Masonry teaches charity as one of its chief tenets. If the presence of secrecy harms the community as the literature shows, why not do away with it?

5) As masons are numbed to the effects of secrecy, are they not at a great predisposition to be involved covertly with the seats of power in our communities?

References

Favereau, O., & E. Lazega. 2002. Conventions and Structures in Economic Organization: Markets, Networks, and Hierarchies. Northampton, MA: New Horizons Institutional and Evolutionary Economics.

Paxton, P. 2002. Social capital and democracy: An interdependent relationship. American Sociological Review, 67(2): 254-277.

Putnam, R.D. 2000. Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of the American community. New York: Simon and Schuster.



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 06:25 PM
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reply to post by ALightinDarkness
 


Thank you, once again Memory for setting up a fine debate between two ATS members.. I often wonder if ATS leaves you any free time...

And of course, to my opponent who I must admit, has be shaking in my Masonic boots here..

The Intro:

Freemasonry.. Every one if asked could rattle off questions to a Freemason. It is "secretive" in the sense that, in this modern era of information in nano seconds .. precious few people know who or what Masonry is. Unbelievable in my good honest opinion, that in this age of information, a fraternity has been able to escape the lime light of the media in it's entirety. That in it's self to so many screams "secrecy" and other diabolical plots against man kind..

And it is, with no offense to anyone not a Mason .. that I believe the vast majority of misconceptions regarding Masonry stems from ignorance. I know, because believe it or not, Freemasons are not born into Masonry.. we seek it out.

To seek out something that is, perhaps, a part of us. A common calling.

So how do we, as normal individuals become Masons? Perhaps 90% of Freemasons join the Brotherhood because they know someone in the office, group of friends, relatives that are Masons. The other small percentage will join (like me) out of curiosity, not knowing a soul within the institution.

So how could I, a 19 year old kid (That would be when I joined) join a fraternity that was supposedly "secret" .. I had no money.. I had no contacts .. I had no relative that was a Mason, and I did not know a single person in the lodge.

Yet a joined. Not very secret. And I can say that, in joining through this manor, that it took down any guard I had for Masonry.. because if I could join, and if any one could join .. then the stories and lies about a Masonic conspiracy where essentially ... lies.

Now, my opponent has said:


It is not what is kept secret from us that matters, but the very fact that secrets are kept at all. I have little doubt that my opponent will argue that the nature of Masonic secrecy is immaterial to the public. This argument is moot, because I argue it is the very existence of such secrecy, regardless of its actual value, that is oppressive to our society.


Which is astoundingly asinine..

And it pains me because, as one who believes in mystics and rituals beyond Masonry .. I know where this argument stems from .. it stems from my opening comments.

The age of information brings about a finality to our quench for questions .. anything, every thing is divulged on the internet, on the TV, on your hand held devices. We not only believe that everything should be transparent, but we are born expecting it. So instead of holding mystery and the unknown in high regard, it is shunned, it is feared, exploited and destroyed..

But what is the "secrecy" of Freemasonry? .. The extreme belief and, at times, vile hatred against the organization has not once caused Masonry to flinch, to give public statements, or hell, go public at all. Instead it carries on it's way as if the opposer's don't exist.

Because we know it's foolishness, why do we as a society have to bend to the wills of the weak and insecure?

Freemasonry is not Secret, it is Private. Just like you don't know the conversations that take place in the Vestibule of Church, the Country Club where executives meet, the private booths at a fancy restraint where corporate deals are struck, or the meetings between any two private individual's..

Freemasonry, as a private society, can include and exclude who ever it wishes.. because of our history of zealous persecution, we do not allow the public into our meetings, nor the majority of our rituals (some are public).

But my opponent will say:



Our government and our communities thrive on trust and openness that is diminished in the presence of ANY secrecy.


Which is completely irrelevant.

Freemasonry is a fraternity, we do plays, rituals, other stuff that, if anyone saw, would put them to sleep in a matter of minutes. We do not have to, and never will, display all of the going ons of our fraternity on the notion that if we don't we cannot be trusted .. our entire private structure was formed because of the mistrust we developed from the over zealous! .. We are NOT elected officials. We do NOT hold positions of power within the community, we do NOT plan, partake in, speak of, design, manipulate or in any way shape or form influence anything within the community that is NOT public.

All Masonic drives, charity events, awareness events and cooperation programs with city councils are in fact public information that can be retrieved at Masonic halls and or city halls.

What would you like to see? Our rituals? They have nothing to do with you .. if you find "secrecy" to be dangerous I personally find nosiness to be dangerous.

And rude.

Besides, if you REALLY wanted to know what Masonry was about, all you have to do is join!

But alas, people don't want to make the effort, to partake in the "journey" of Masonry, they expect someone ELSE to find the information and put it together and give it to them straight on the screen while they sit in their arm chairs declaring AHA! I knew I was right! They is evil!

Well guess what.. we only divulge the secrets of Freemasonry to those willing to take that leap of faith, because the real secret of Masonry is internal, and various infinitely .. anyone incapable of taking the small amount of effort to view Masonry for themselves, the secret is already lost to them.

And the "secret" is public.. it lies at the foundation of every major religion, philosophy and designated way of life.. within our constitution and our laws.. they very essence of morality and all that is right..

But like all things, it requires a personal journey.



the value of our society is diminished by any level of secrecy.


Secrets, by nature, are not bad.. not unhealthy, and do not "numb our societies" .. we expect secrecy, and privacy to be prevalent because we as Humans develop these skills as part of our nature..

Unless you can show me some direct way the supposed secrecy of Masonry has had a direct effect on your life.....

Because I can assure you .. men have been meeting behind closed doors exchanging words, money and power in all forms of government long.. long before Masonry was ever a concept.

The only one to blame for corruption in society: Is our selves.

Now to answer my opponents questions as I run our of chars, disregarding all things involving Capital because it has nothing to do with the secrets of Freemasonry (unless you can prove that there is a collaborative effort by Freemasons to consolidate wealth in a Bind Social Capital environment....)

1) Freemasonry does not seek to, nor does it in actuality, promote the betterment of our communities through finances or the raising of capital. To better a community, Masonry and Masons must do acts of charity. The notion of a bonding capital system in Masonry is none-existent on a administrative level. I will not deny that it occurs on individual basis, but I believe it no more prevalent then that of any other structured society such as churches, VA's, Foreign Legions, Rotary, etc, etc

2) No, quite simply because any Freemason knows that there is no secret. They are asked not to repeat the rituals or handshakes out of respect to the institution .. whether or not this develops a man's personal character to be more secretive is, imo, a deep flaw in that individuals moral fiber, and not that of Masonry.

We cannot and do not take responsibilities for individuals short comings.

3) Nothing. Why should we? The public can think what they like of us, because we are a private institution, and we do not need to protect the individual members light within communities.. if your reputation is tarnished in the community because you are thought to be collaborating to generate wealth within a select group of people. By all means. You are probably quality. But again, we do not take credit for our members mis-deeds.

4) Not sure I understand what you mean. Privacy and Charity are not interlinking, and do not correlate with each other.. charity is public, so I fail to see the connection.

5) First this would assume that they are, in fact, "numbed" to secrecy.. If someone is in a position to work with and perhaps manipulate the power players of a community, I would bet a good bit of money that regardless if they where a Mason, they would still be doing what they do. Freemasonry does not "change" a man in any way .. it's teachings may enlighten some, not all, and the community that Freemasonry exist as, may alter a mans way of thinking, usually for the better. But we except all men, so men of infinite characters come to us. Which is why we don't take responsibility for their actions. Someone involved in organized crime, embezzlement has probably been involved in such crimes since before they where Masons. They may make new contacts within Masonry, and they may corrupt other Masons .. but they do not represent a Lodge, Masonry or Masons as a whole. They represent themselves.

We value personal responsibility.



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 07:58 PM
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Freemasonry and Secrecy
As I previously predicted, my opponent has drawn his argument around the premises that the secrecy of freemasonry is immaterial and irrelevant to outsiders. In other words, he argues that the secrets masons keep are not in and of itself bad and that the impact of the secrets is questionable since they are not important.

I note the box my opponent has put himself in. He argues against the material relevance of secrecy in masonry and yet, if there is real secrecy about real things we should know about, he would have to make this line of argument. I on the other hand cannot argue that the secrecy is relevant because I do not know the secrets. So we placed ourselves in a box where my opponent knows the substance and value of the secrets he has been told, whereas I am only left to guess about their relevance.

This is why, ATS readers, that I suggested from the start that the nature and material relevance of Masonic secrecy does not have any impact upon my argument. It is not what the masons keep secret, but the very fact that they keep any secrets at all. For better or worse masonry has become a part of countless communities across the United States and the world. For years, their emphasis on secrecy as part of the values of their organization has impacted the communities in which they preside. As I previously showed, masons existed within social networks in their communities. The values they hold influence others, and over time their sheer numbers and ability to remain in communities means that their social influence grows. As it grows, the communities perception of their values grows – and so we become to believe that secrecy is not only a good value, but we become numb to its effects because we live in communities where our friends and neighbors the masons put it on a pedestal.

My opponent has called this “asinine” and yet was not able to refute this. Instead, he chose to attempt to convince us – without sources beyond his own experience – that while secrecy exists its nothing to worry about. He does not address the impact that the value of such secrecy has on defining what type of organization masonry is. It is this which makes it an organization that promotes bonding social capital – a type of networking whereby only members of the organization become stronger in terms of their social standing. The academic literature has shown that these types of organizations harm trust and democratic values in our communities.

We can argue all day about whether or not Masonry is secret or private. It is a moot point. The values of the organization – whether described as secrecy or simply being private – have shaped it into what it is. And it is it not good for our communities, it harms them.

Masons, Power, and Secrecy
Whether secrecy or simply private, there can be no doubt that the institution of masonry has influenced its members to believe that keeping things hidden is routine and something to be valued. Regardless of the nature of the things kept secret within the lodge, its members carry these values into their communities and jobs. So what we end up with is members of the lodge who have been taught an institutional value of secrecy, and whom defend it fiercely. This makes the behavior of masons more likely to be amenable to secrecy in their jobs and government – some of which is required – some of which is the basis for corruption, fraud, and all other things that are anathemas to our society.


Secrets, by nature, are not bad.. not unhealthy, and do not "numb our societies" .. we expect secrecy, and privacy to be prevalent because we as Humans develop these skills as part of our nature..


I note my opponent does not provide evidence for his claims here. He seems to somehow have knowledge that goes against all the literature about community power structure which shows his organization and others like it have negative impacts. Secrecy among individuals is not bad. That is not what we speak of here. We talk about organizational emphasis on secrecy as a value. That is what is repugnant to our society and our democracy.


Unless you can show me some direct way the supposed secrecy of Masonry has had a direct effect on your life.....


I can show you quantitative proof that the density of social capital organizations that put an emphasis on bonding relationships, such as Freemasonry, is negatively correlated with community prosperity as measured by economic success:

Regression Tests of Social Capital Theories on Economic Prosperity
Variable-----04 Wage Change-----Average Wage 90-04-----Job Growth 90-04
Northeast---------.070---------------------.188----------------------.428***
Midwest-----------.095---------------------(.254)***----------------(.505)***
West---------------.165**------------------(.094)--------------------(.192)**
Creative Class----(.017)-------------------(.001)---------------------(.062)
Human Capital----.135*-------------------.408***-------------------.259***
Intellectual Capital.570***-----------------.121*---------------------(.065)
Social Capital------.144*--------------------.065----------------------(.093)
"Bonding" Social -(.019)--------------------(.124)--------------------(.223)**
"Bridging" Social--(.057)--------------------(.018)---------------------.141
Adjusted R²--------.542----------------------.268----------------------.336
NOTE: N=276
*** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
** Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
* Correlation is significant at the 0.10 level (2-tailed)
Source: Hoyman & Faricy (2008)

The above table measures the impact of high densities of bonding capital organizations across the United States, which includes Freemasonic organizations, on the economic development of a community. This CONTROLS for all other major reasons why the economic condition of a community would go down or up, which have previously been tested in the academic literature. As you can see from the “Bonding Capital” line, high densities of Masonic organizations and those like it are negatively correlated with these measures of economic prosperity. I acknowledge only one of these tests of economic prosperity are statistically significant with bonding capital, but that significance is very high. What does all this prove for the particular above chart? The more organizations like freemasonry in any area, the lower the job growth.

Why this negative impact on our community? Because of the secrecy. It is what transforms freemasonry from being a positive, bridging social capital organization into a bonding organization. The data clearly show the impact of Freemasonry on my life – and everyone else – hits where it hurts: in the wallet.

The Masonic Lodge – An Undisputed Bonding Capital Organization
My opponents attempt to refuse Freemasonry’s status as a bonding social capital organization seems to revolve around: “Its not a bonding capital organization.” And yet, a review of the peer reviewed literature demonstrates that freemasonry fits the definition of a bonding social capital organization exactly:


All societies are built from social groups rather than individuals, and these groups determine attitudes, beliefs, values, as well as access to resources and opportunities – and ultimately access to power. Since most societies are not homogenous, but are divided by class, caste, religion and ethnicity, groups different in their access to resources and power. There may be high social capital within a group (“bonding” social capital) which helps members, but they may be excluded from other groups (the lack “bridging” social capital).

Source: Narayan (1999)

Other scholars have described bonding social capital societies as being those with close and tight-knit memberships to organizations which are exclusionary in nature (Portes 1998). Research on masonry has shown that the institution itself is undoubtedly a bonding, and not a positive bridging social capital organization:


Consider a rural town of 500 people I recently visited. By all measures of volunteer organization membership, the town was high on social capital…Elks lodge, Veterans Hall, Masonic Lodge, etc. Yet this town suffered from high levels of alcoholism, sexual abuse, and inability of its young people to survive outside the social circle created by this enmeshment…In such a case, bonding was so strong that social enmeshment was the result; virtually no bridging took place.

Source: Kane & Smidt (2003)

There is little doubt, ATS readers, that freemasonry is a bonding social capital organization that promulgates in our communities. The research shows what high densities of these organizations do: they drain the community of prosperity, and the numb us to the impact of secrecy in our lives.

Questions for my Opponent
1) Lots of bridging social capital organizations build up social capital through charity. Capital does not refer to money, when we use the term social capital, it refers to the build up of social relationships trust that is then "spent" when we engage in "social transactions" in our community. Why can freemasonry not do this?

2) If there is no more secrets in freemasonry, why keep up the ruse? Why not drop it and become a bridging organization, thus increasing your ability to help the community?

References:
Hoyman, M., & C. Faricy. 2008. It Takes a Village: A Test of the Creative Class, Social Capital, and Human Capital Theories. Urban Affairs Review, 43(6): 1-32.

Kane, S.E., & C.E. Smidt. 2003. Religion as social capital: Producing the Common Good. Baylor, TX: Baylor University Press.

Portes, A. 1998. Social Capital: Its Origins and Applications in Modern Sociology. Annual Reviews in Sociology, 24: 1-24.

Narayan, D. 1999. Bonds and bridges: Social Capital and Poverty. World Bank Poverty Working Paper.



posted on Jul, 17 2008 @ 09:45 PM
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Grasping at Straws

The notion that Masonry, or rather, any society that is or is not secret can be construed as "bad" or at the very least "influential" has always been carried out by grasping at far reaching topics to tie together to create the Grand Plan.

This put me, of course, in a tight spot. How can one simply say that a society that is private is not maliciously secretive if there is nothing that I can provide as solid evidence?

But alas, there is a way.

There being no proof of the contrary, that in fact Masonry secrecy manipulates it's members and the societies around them, one must deduce that after several hundred years of no Grand Plan being discovered it does not exist.

If it does, and that I am ignorant of it, the sheer volume of skill taken to keep such a secret well.. secret .. for so long, then I would sit in awe.

Because in my studies of histories, societies, and governments both current and past.. It is that no one secret is EVER kept. The list of Government sponsored secrets, plots, conspiracies and blunders.. black projects, proxy wars, assassinations, economic manipulation, wars started on lies..

They ALWAYS come to light.

So how is it then that one group of decentralized Masons (there being no "head of Freemasonry.. or even "head of Masonic Lodges") .. have wielded control of society in general, it's government, and all through strict secrecy?

And any story brought to light is debunked, repeatedly, as none hold the weight of evidence and quite often, can't even get primitive facts straight.

So we can concede then that in order for Freemasonry to in fact wield secrecy as a weapon to use against society in general .. there must be the following:

Centralization: A central command of Freemasons that "run the show" so to speak. This must be to control the goal, aims and achievements of Masonry.

Principle: An idea, or a founding principle to guide the Masons .. one goal accepted by Masons.

Government: A Government that can withstand consistent change and still keep centralized secrecy.

Bureaucracy: Because Masonry in it's self is by nature Bureaucratic, we can deduce that this centralized power will be as well.. the nature of how Masonry is formed by elected offices, and an ever revolving chain of command.

Funds: Ah yes, dirty money. Does Masonry even have the financial ability to carry out this diabolical plan, what ever it may be?

But most importantly a secret.

What is the Masonic secret? .. How we function in a meeting? What we discuss? .. Is my opponent suggesting that a grand scheme is in the works quite simply because we don't post our financial business and lodge voting records on the Sunday Times?

Yes, light, I would call that Asinine, as well as childish.

Centralization: There is no centralized Masonic body. There is no Head of Grand Lodges, there is no Head of all Masons. Without a centralized Masonic government, there cannot be a single goal of Masonry. And also without it, there cannot be:

Principle: Because there is no unified governing body that runs in political parties, there cannot be an agreed upon principle to stand by. Masonry it's self is the ritual, which you can read easily online. I know Masons of all political backgrounds.. if we aimed to covertly corrupt, we would need to agree on a goal, and that would be nearly impossible..

Government: Masonic governments are elected once a year by a vote from Lodge officers from all over the state at Communications. All masonic law is as well .. including a public report of finances. Positions change once a year, with a MWM rarely sitting more then a year. Almost always, the head of the Masonic Grand Lodge's ideas and methods are different..

Bureaucracy: Masonry is designed in a way that the "checks and balances" prevent change.. any major change has to go through paper work, then presented once a year at a Communication. We cannot even expel a person without a formal vote from all lodges..

And Masonic lodges watch the Grand Lodge like a hawk .. especially when it comes to money..

Money: Most Grand Lodges hold balances under $20 million dollars. 90% of that is typically in investment portfolios and is not "liquid". Most finances come from investment, dividend return, death benefits from members and lodge dues. And donations of course. Many Grand Lodges currently have negative balance sheets, and must include a full report of where and how they got money and where they spent it to the Lodges..

From the outside, Masonry is opaque.. from the inside it is incredibly transparent.



He does not address the impact that the value of such secrecy has on defining what type of organization masonry is.


You being not unintelligent, should be able to discern here is that Masonry is a Private Institution .. because there is no single secret that the organization or it's members revolve around. That being the case, and that the only things kept private are rituals and Lodge Meetings, one must admit that because the supposed "secrets" have nothing to do with the community and only to do with Freemasonry, it is Private, and not Secret.

Unless you believe there is a Grand Plan, I would be highly interested in hearing what it is.



only members of the organization become stronger in terms of their social standing.


That's true. It's hard not to benefit when be excepted into a society of people with one thing in common: Masonry

Of course, the same is true for people who join the Republican Party, who join the Church, the Marines, the Foreign Legion ..

Anyone who joins an organization of any kind will serve to benefit in some way then someone who has not joined.

The reason: Those who don't join, cannot benefit as they are not associated with them

Only makes logical sense.. I don't expect to gain something from the Knight of Columbus, seeing as I am not a Knight, why would one expect to benefit from being a Mason, if they are not a Mason?



The academic literature has shown that these types of organizations harm trust and democratic values in our communities.


Only the insecure fear secrets and privacy.. Governments for instance, fear privacy because privacy is a right to withhold information .. this is why, even in your beloved "Democracy" (built by many Masonic ideas..) has grown, like all Governments, afraid of secrets.. and you see wire tapping bills and domestic espionage..

And there is nothing in the mandates of any Democracy that says "privacy or secrecy" is inheritally "bad" for the said Democracy.. Democracy is only a form of Governing, the way it's processed, in the end, it is no different then any other government in history.



We talk about organizational emphasis on secrecy as a value. That is what is repugnant to our society and our democracy.


And you can throw textbooks all day, but you still have failed to detail

1. A Masonic conspiracy revolving around Secrecy
2. How said supposed conspiracy actually negatively effects society in everyday life.

All organizations are inheritantly different, if they where not different, they would be the same organization. Many, many organizations are private, in fact, the vast majority, and yet Masonry is singled out for ridicule..

Why?

Because it's different, it's hard to understand, and people are afraid of it through weak minded insecurity of the unknown.

I have not once heard a legitimate excuse for hating Masonry. And I have never once heard a legitimate conspiracy involving more then a select few Masons who act as individuals.

The Table Said WHAT?

Your table is making the notion that communities benefit or loose based on "bonding capital" that is to say, the presence of an organization that has "tight nit groups of people"

Like say, Churches. It does not specify one particular organization and, quite frankly, is irrelevant to a communities financial well being.

Freemasons are "average joe's" .. Some prosper more then others.. I don't do so bad my self, but that's because of me, not because of Masonry.

Answered Questions:
1) Freemasonry does get involved in "bridging social capital" in the sense that "favors are returned" as with any organization. In fact, we once pulled a favor to get us a spot working a concession stand at a baseball game.

Because of this incident of bridging social capital, the regions economy plummeted.


2) Simple.. the philosophies of Freemasonry indicate that to truly be a Mason you must be Searching for the Light. As quirky as it sounds, it's the God honest truth. If Masonry was transparent from the outside in.. well you wouldn't search for the Light, you would already have dissected it, taken what you wanted, and walked away before ever joining.

Part of the benefits of Masonry is putting trust into strangers and embarking on a journey that will test your ability to trust, believe, strive through personal "embarrassment" and situations you would never find your self in, in the outside World.

If every one knew the rituals of Masonry, Masonry will have lost it's meaning...

There would be no need for a Lodge. We could all just get drunk at the local pub and sing drinking songs. It essentially wouldn't be any different.

Masonry was never meant to be a social club.



posted on Jul, 18 2008 @ 12:09 AM
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Freemasonry and Secrecy – The Secret is Immaterial
My opponent has yet again has attempted to dismiss the quantitative peer reviewed economic evidence I previously provided about the negative impacts of freemasonry on our community by simply asking us to believe Masonic secrecy has no negative impact on us.

His evidence of this? That no “grand plan” has been discovered after hundreds of years. ATS readers, I again must stress that I am not arguing that there is a coordinated attempt to do evil in the guise of some “Grand Plan of Secrecy”. I have never argued this because due to the nature of secrecy, I can neither prove or disprove it. What I have argued is the institutional culture of masonry – which we know beyond a doubt has an emphasis and traditional reverence for secrecy – has harmed our communities over time. The source of this harm comes from nature of relationships masons have in the community, and the impact of being around an organization with such traditions over time. Scholars have conceptualized institutions that have this impact as social bonding institutions. And the evidence, I am afraid, demonstrates quite clearly that freemasonry has negative macro-level impacts on our communities because of its nature of secrecy through its status as one of the social bonding capital institutions.

Masonry, due to its tenure in our communities, has a prevalent institutional culture that is pervasive throughout all sectors of our communities. It is an organization whose members are from, as masons often like to brag about, all levels of the socio-economic spectrum. Of every race they come, of every culture, of every ideology. Masonry promotes this, as my opponent has, as a virtue. My friends, this is nothing less than in a vice in our community culture. Masons bring back from the lodges and into every single crevice and ethnic enclave of our communities their institutional culture with its emphasis on secrecy. We become used to it, we become to think it is normal, we become numb to its effects. It matters not the nature of Masonic secrecy – what matters is that due to the masons, we become more accepting of secrecy as a value and less likely to question what we see around us. And that only leads down a dangerous path.

It’s the Bridging Social Capital, Stupid!
My opponents repeated attempts to dismiss the proven impacts of social capital without references or evidence leaves me pondering why he continues to do this. Clearly, the peer reviewed evidence is against him. Much like Bill Clinton reminded his opponent, I must reinforce yet again: it’s the bridging social capital, stupid!

Social capital is how communities are built. We thrive when it surges, we decline when it wanes. Its impacts have been proven to be just as important as any sort of financial or human capital. People must feel like they can trust each other in their community – that is the cornerstone of social capital theory. These networks of trust enable our communities to prosper. Freemasonry decimates these networks, because the type of trust emphasized is among its members. Everyone else is left in the proverbial Masonic darkness about what is going on. It harms networks of trust in the community and – as I have shown –annihilates our prosperity. It promotes a type of social capital that only enhances the vitality of its members through bonding. In order for communities to prosper, we must have organizations that bridge to each other and form loose ties of inclusive associations.

It would perhaps be easy to dismiss masonry as simply 1 of many negative social bonding institutions. After all, as my opponent has correctly stated, there are many social bonding capital organizations in our communities – including some types of churches according to the literature. However, when we speak of masonry, its reach in terms of institutional density expands far beyond a few blue lodges in our town. Masonry has a seemingly boggling number of appending and quasi-Masonic rites attached to it, which all have their own separate organizational structure, and many of these rites have a higher level administrative body over them which meets separately. The amalgamation of all these Masonic organizations in our cities gives them a very high density level, and so their negative impact on our communities is magnified to a far greater extent than any other type of social bonding capital organization.

The Masonic Secret: Manipulation through Organizational Values
So what is the Masonic secret? My opponent spends so much time assuring us that its nothing to worry about, I ponder his intentions. I propose that what it is does not matter. What matters is that Masonic secrecy exists, and it exists as a part of an institutional culture which encourages it. My opponent cannot deny this, because he knows it is true. It is this secrecy that encourages strong and exclusive ties between its membership, and transforms the organization a heavy promulgator of bonding social capital.

I believe the real secret of masonry is the manipulation it can have over our communities due to its unique institutional culture. Think of it: in countless communities, Masonry is a stalwart of the community. Its edifices of shining marble, its membership universal. And for all this loveliness on the outside, my previous post has shown that it rots our values to the core. It promotes secrecy in a society of openness, concealment in a society where we demand the light shine for all to see.

Note that this does not require masons to be intentional or active participants in manipulation. Their role is simply to spread culture acceptance of values like secrecy. Everything else can happen without their interference.

Micro Level Analysis: The Nexus of Secrecy, Manipulation, Power, and Freemasonry
I spent my previous posts laying out a framework for demonstrating through the peer reviewed evidence that masonry harms our communities in a macro-level institutional context. When we look at a high level on our communities and run the statistics, the result is absolutely clear: Masonic institutions are harming us through their reverence of secrecy. This harms our social capital levels, and destroys our communities economically – as the data show.

Now I tend to demonstrate, using again only peer reviewed academic sources for the highest standard of evidence, that the institutional secrecy of masonry has allowed it to influence those in power and, quite possibly, manipulate them. History scholars have found interesting ties between masonry and figures of power. One notes that, in the final years of Hawaiian monarchy, royalty and masonry became so intertwined that it constituted what he calls “civic masonry,” because the fraternity was so involved in civic affairs:


Civic Masonry persisted through the succeeding regimes of Kamekameha V (ruled 1863-1872), Kalakaua, and, to some extent, his successor Queen Lili’ukoalani (ruled 1891-1893). Several features characterized Civic Masonry, including regular displays of Masonic symbols and rituals in public ceremonies such as laying cornerstones, parades, and festivities involving both Masons and Hawaiian royalty; the appointment of dozens of Masons to government positions at all levels, including the Privy Council, the inner circle of decision makers; the elevation of royal Hawaiian Masons to the highest offices and degrees of Masonry; public and private acts of goodwill between Masons and Hawaiian royalty, both individually and collectively; and finally, the active participation of Masons in the cultural/civic life of Honolulu under royal patronage.

Source: Karpiel, 2000

As you can see, history gives us clear example of a micro-level case involving relationships that exist within a nexus of power in masonry. When masonry and power structures are so clearly interlaced, there is little doubt that manipulation occurs. Indeed, the very article cited above gives numerous examples of favors offered to masons and Masonic corruption. This interlacing of power involved all of masonry’s most prominent institutions – not only the well known blue lodge, but also in both the York and Scottish rites. At all levels and in every way, masons and royalty interacted – what better example can there be of using Masonic secrecy at the macro-level through its institutional culture to manipulate at the micro-level? There can be no better example of a Masonic power behind the throne. It was so enlaced that even a Queen, who fails the major land mark of masonry (not being a man) was manipulated while not even being a member of the lodge. Oddly, all of these prominent power figures received invitation only degrees. Masonic degrees in exchange for political favors, perhaps?


…it is clear that the ongoing relationship between Monarchs and Masons developed at a perilous time for the kingdom and that indigenous leaders believed the fraternity would strengthen the monarchy.

The queen’s autobiographies of her contain an abundance of references to her regard for the Masonic order…and her efforts to enlist Masonic leaders to help her regain the throne.

Source: Karpiel, 2000

The quickness and ease at which royalty turned to Masonry to prop up their Kingdom is an enigma in and of itself if we are to believe my opponent. If masonry is powerless, how can it be that even royalty was quick to use it – successfully, for a time – to prop up their divine right to rule? I believe my opponents constant insistence that masonry is nothing to worry about may be just a tad bit underplayed. And I do not base this on my own musings, as he has done, the data and peer reviewed literature clearly does not support him.

References
Karpiel, F.J. 2000. Mystic Ties of Brotherhood: Freemasonry, Ritual, and Hawaiian Royalty in the Nineteenth Century. The Pacific Historical Review, 69(3): 357-397.



posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 01:16 PM
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Peer Review This:



My opponent has yet again has attempted to dismiss the quantitative peer reviewed economic evidence


I was never much for school. I went to college, dropped out, became quite successful. It turned out, now one really cares if you go to college.. because in the end, the stiffs at college are just that: Self indulged stiffs. In fact, in my short stay at the university I attended, I disproved in 30mins a professors doctoral dissertation from George Town University.

Peer reviewed. Accepted. Proven wrong by an undergrad.

What does it take to get an idea into the world of Academia? .. Only the prospect that if enough effort is put into an article, and that there is no blatant obvious reason for it to be wrong, it is peer reviewed and accepted as theory.

Not fact. Never fact.

So what has Mr. Light brought to me, and is so upset I refuse to recognize?

He is claiming that, according to this peer reviewed article, any community that houses a Bonding Capital Institution has adverse economic effects, proven by numbers, lines, graphs and big words.

But break it down, past the guise hes put over it to wield it for his own good.. what is the article trying to say?

It is saying that any community that houses a Social Bonding Capital Institution has adverse economic effects....

But what is a Social Bonding Capital Institution? .. It is any society, club, religious institution, financial institution, political party, and any other group where Humans congregate and money exchanges hands. The Article says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN REGARDS TO FREEMASONRY.

He is trying to say that in individual communities, according to this very broad and very generic article, that Freemasons exchange and prefer each other in regards to money, sources of money, etc. That because of the numbers, it must mean Freemasons are in fact evil doers hoarding money and causing adverse effects on society in general.

If that's not grasping for straws, what is?



I am not arguing that there is a coordinated attempt to do evil in the guise of some “Grand Plan of Secrecy”


Indeed Mr. Light, I am so curious I will throw out there a Socratic Question

Question 1: In lamens terms, explain and describe the Masonic conspiracy you see unfolding.

Because there seems to be a massive void.. you have the sources, the numbers, the graphs but no compounding theory in which to place it all.

To me, it would appear your thesis is that Freemasons because of the nature of the institution are inheritantly evil.

Didn't your mother ever tell you not to generalize people?



Masonry, due to its tenure in our communities, has a prevalent institutional culture that is pervasive throughout all sectors of our communities. It is an organization whose members are from, as masons often like to brag about, all levels of the socio-economic spectrum.


Hmm.. and where is your Peer Reviewed works of art to prove that one good sir?

Freemasonry is often invisible in the community, I have never once seen a mixture of City politics and the Lodge, in fact, mixing politics and Masonry is illegal under Masonic Code. I have seen joint efforts to raise awareness about something with city councils..

Question 2. What evil acts do Freemasons engage with in regards to the community?

I know our partnership with the US Marines to bring about the largest drive of Toys For Tots in the entire region sure has caused some adverse economic effects.


The power of Freemasonry is so often over inflated by those who don't really grasp the idea of what Freemasonry is..



Masonic secrecy exists, and it exists as a part of an institutional culture which encourages it.


That is incorrect.

Freemasonic secrecy exist only because NON Freemasons say it does. No Freemason will ever tell you there is a secret.. in fact, they could tell you anything and everything. So often they do. You read it on the web from Masonic discussion boards, on ATS where Masons answer ANY Question truthfully.

Masonry was made out to be a Secret Society by Protestant Christians in England and Ireland for keeping the names of Catholic Masons secret. Like wise in Europe, Catholics deemed them secret for protecting the identities of their members. Because members where masked, so where most of their works.. it was not ever nor ever intended to be a charitable organization as it was to be a secret Guild to escape the religious persecution during the age of Enlightenment..

Carries on today because a few ignorant individuals need something, someone to hate. Masonry is easy, we have a record, we even had a US 3rd Party against us at one point. Religious bigotry.

So no, Freemasons do not encourage secrecy, do not practice secrecy, and will never admit to secrecy. Only outsiders call us secret, because they are to ignorant to see how it operates. I had asked an old fella once a while ago as I joined what he thought of the Freemasons. He said it was a life style. Not secret, not evil, not even different, just a life style.

I don't think he could have been anymore correct.

And if you believe small acts such as laying a corner stone is evidence of an evil connection, I got news for you.

It's a frackin stone mate.

When a major structure is being constructed, the Patriotic Freemasons quite often want to leave a part of their institution on it. It is a wonderful ceremony that never raised any problems and quite honestly is practically tradition in the US, Freemasons where almost always allowed to lay their corner stones with a corner stone laying ceremony.

Which are public, and often attend by thousands of people. They just did one in Columbus Ohio in June where tens of thousands packed the street, masonic or not, to watch.

And then Columbus suffered severe economic fallout from the heinous actions of Freemasons laying a stone!




The quickness and ease at which royalty turned to Masonry to prop up their Kingdom is an enigma in and of itself if we are to believe my opponent.


In every Kingdom the Monarch at some point outlawed Masonry. There where a few Masonic Kings, Fredrick The Great comes to mind, however for the most part injustice was handed to the Freemasonic population. There is also absolutely no evidence that any Monarch has ever "propped" up a Kingdom on Masonry. Especially since Masonic ideologies undid the vast majority of European Monarchies.

Currently to this day to hold a public office in Great Britain, you must register your self if you are a Freemason.

The reason being, they believe Masons to be evil doers plotting against the Queen of England.

No doubt the Masons across the pond find that asinine.



posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 05:52 PM
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Evidence? Who need’s evidence?

My esteemed opponent began his latest response by appealing to the crowd and by launching into a red herring about his dislike of academia. ATS readers, I note that this discussion is irrelevant to the topic at hand. It requires no higher education to be able to use and analyze peer-reviewed evidence against you, and it says much that my opponent cannot refute any of the peer-reviewed evidence shown to him. He gives us some tangent about his ability to “refute” a doctoral dissertation, and yet is incapable of defending the evidence presented from other sources that are in may ways less vetted. This, ATS readers, is a classical deflection tactic.

I note yet again that my opponent has offered no references, and has dismissed all evidence against him by proclaiming peer-reviewed evidence as having no value. I ponder whether ATS readers should simply believe my opponent at his own words – without evidence – or the research conducted by scholars across many subjects of academia (political science, sociology, psychology, and history) that have been judged as being relevant by top scholars and having points which are backed up by independently reviewed data sources.

A Review of the Evidence Thus Far

As my opponent spent much of his last response attempting to spin and take out of context the mountains of evidence against him thus far, it is important to briefly correct his presentation of the data against him before moving on to even more evidence.

Organizations are classified into two types in terms of their impact on social relationships and mutual trust between members of a community. The first type of social capital is a bridging organization. Bridging organizations are those that are inclusive in nature such that they have low barriers of entry, and they work with other organizations to form loose ties of relationships and mutual trust. The includes membership in any number of volunteer organizations, like the Red Cross or the ASPCA. The second type of social capital is formed from a bonding organization. In these organizations the membership is very tight-knit and exclusive in nature, and the organization mainly operates to uphold the status of its members. This includes organizations like freemasonry and evangelical churches.

There is no gigantic list classifying organizations for good reason: the number of types of organizations in existence is infinite in nature. We can classify each community organization by looking at what it does compared to the classification scheme offered by the literature. Is Masonic membership exclusive or inclusive? As only males of certain age and a belief in a “supreme being” are required, it is by its very nature exclusive. Do lodges form loose ties of association with other organizations? I spent some time looking at Masonic charity, and no charity efforts by the lodge I have seen does any sort of collaboration with other community groups except other Masonic groups. T

My opponent is correct that masonry is not exclusively a bonding social capital organization. However, the scholarly research demonstrates that freemasonry’s bridging social capital initiatives are negative. One scholar has noted that the types of bridging capital initiatives engaged by bonding capital organizations is primarily negative due to their nature as being exclusive, and mentions masonry as an example (Warren 2001). So we see, even when freemasonry attempts to promote bridging capital, it is still harmful. It will remain so until masonry moves away from its secrecy and can become a true bridging capital institution and a positive member of our communities.

Masonic straw-man: evil, secret society, stone laying, etc.

My opponent has yet again spent much of his post explaining to us how masonry is not evil nor is it a secret society. This is lovely, but has nothing to do with the topic or anything I have said. It is indisputable that masonry at least is an organization with secrets – my opponent has not even attempted to argue otherwise – and it is this organizational value of secrecy which is the basis for my argument. Masonry is not evil, but it has obvious negative impacts our communities.

I have never stated anything was wrong Masonic public ceremonies, such as stone laying, but they no doubt reinforce in the mind of the community elite the existing power structure – which as I have shown – is likely to involve masons. Such ceremonies up play the social importance of masonry to the community, and reinforce Masonic values like Masonic secrecy.

Denial – the Cornerstone of Masonry

Interestingly enough, my opponent simply denies the peer reviewed evidence I have provided showing that masonry has had a large influence on royalty and power structures. My opponent expects us to believe that all monarchies have outlawed masonry and that they never have any influence, when a peer reviewed article from a Historian tells us the Queen of Hawaii’s diaries say the exact opposite. The influence of masonry on Hawaii is but one example, but I urge my opponent to read it again: it is a clear cut case where masonry and power intertwined to a very disheartening degree. The historical record shows a high degree of overt manipulation going on between masons and those in power.

Freemasonry and the Elite

The evidence clearly shows that freemasonry has an indisputable relationship with the elite. Note this does not require all masons to be elite, nor does it require that the power they hold be material. There are many members of a community which hold no formal power and nevertheless influence and shape the way their society runs. The peer-reviewed evidence, once again, shows that freemasonry is part of a larger conglomerate of institutions which enhances the hold of the elite members of society. One article about Freemasonry notes:


Contrary to many popular conceptions, I argue that esotericism is by no means primarily a “counter-culture” or “subversive” phenomenon, it is very often an elitist phenomenon, the province of highly educated, affluent and power intellectuals, who wish, not to undermine existing social structures, but rather subtly to reinforce them, or else to bend and reshape them according to their own interests.

Source: Urban (1997)

We often see in defense of masonry great sweeping line of populist rhetoric meant to convince us that masonry is for everyone and they do good for everyone. And yet, this is not what the literature shows. The literature shows that members of masonry utilize this as part of a larger strategy to subvert the status quo, or at the very least, bend it to their liking. How do they do this? Urban (1997) offers three strategies they employ:


…Three primary tactics…employed by the Masons: 1) the creation of new social space or private sphere, which promises “equality” and liberation for all classes, while at the same time constructing new and more rigid hierarchies; 2) a hermeneutical strategy, which appropriates the authority of traditional scriptures, while at the same time asserting the superiority of esoteric exegesis; 3) a ritual strategy, which creates a homology between the body of the initiate, the hierarchy of the esoteric sect, inscribing the individual into the body of the order, and inscribing the order onto the human body.


Urban offers how the creation of the lodge and promise of the equality paints the illusion of safety and liberty for outside spectators, while informal relationships (building on bonding social capital) emerge and create a rigid hierarchy. Concurrently masonry relies on symbols of conservation and safety to the community (holy scriptures) as an integral part of lodge practice, while at the same time giving initiates a higher esoteric meaning unavailable to the public. Finally, the ritual of initiation offered by masonry seals the link between him and the society, forming strong (yet again, bonding capital) ties between him and his brethren.

Response to Questions

1) Freemasonry as an institution promotes secrecy as part of its organizational values. Freemasonry is an integral part of countless communities, where its lodges have been inside our cities for hundreds of years. This organizational emphasis on secrecy has been constantly in those communities for all that time through its membership, and as such has numbed us to the adverse values of organizational secrecy. This has allowed a nexus of power and manipulation to form between masonry and those in power, resulting in the quantifiably proven decrease in economic prosperity, and the qualitatively proven corruption caused on such cases as the Hawaiian royal family. This conspiracy requires no large-scale plan or action by masons.

2) My opponent has spent some time of his last post knocking down this straw man about masonry being evil, then asks me to prove his straw man. I have never argued that masonry is inherently evil. I have only argued that masonry’s existence has a negative influence on our community. This is not evil. It is something, however, that we should be concerned about.

Questions to my Opponent

1) Why can you not provide any evidence, either primary source or peer-reviewed, for your points?

2) Why is it that you simply dismiss the historical record that Masonry had an obvious influence with the power and attempted restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy?

3) Why is it not possible that informal hierarchies and social ties are not strengthened through the lodge's initiation experience?

References

Urban, H.B. 1997. Elitism and Esotericism: Strategies of Secrecy and Power in South Indian Tantra and French Freemasonry. Numen: International Review for the History of Religons, 44(1): 1-38.

Warren, M.E. 2001. Social Capital and Corruption. A paper presented at the European Research Conferences, November 19, 2001.



posted on Jul, 21 2008 @ 06:32 PM
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reply to post by ALightinDarkness
 




I note yet again that my opponent has offered no references, and has dismissed all evidence against him by proclaiming peer-reviewed evidence as having no value. I ponder whether ATS readers should simply believe my opponent at his own words – without evidence


The evidence is the Burden of the Accuser my dear friend.. it is not my responsibility to supply you with "evidence" that Masonry does not do evil acts.. such evidence would be hard to come by to begin with. Because I would not be refuting a fact, I would be refuting a hypothesis.

One which has no grounds.

You on the other hand are burden with the responsibility to back up your audacious claims with evidence, the caliber of which ranges to what ever fits your fancy.

The evidence supplied thus far, reviewed a million times, has been highly inadequate in suggesting any form of Masonic conspiracy at any level.

As a matter of fact, as of yet we still await your actual theory.



As my opponent spent much of his last response attempting to spin and take out of context the mountains of evidence against him thus far


Actually I didn't. I would have, but didn't need to. See, your evidence is so obviously incomplete that well.... there was not much left for me to do except explain it.

The study does not mention Masonry.

The study does not mention the manor in which such evidence was compiled and against which groups.

It identifies Bonding Social Capital, but fails to define what such an institution is, how it operates, how they very, the direct effect, or even HOW the effect comes about.

Aside from not only refusing to name Masonry, or any particular study, it is highly generic.

And it sadly happens to be what you based your entire position on thus far....

Remember my friend, you accuse, you supply the evidence. When you lack the evidence your hypothesis is shot, debunked, and your classified with the rest of the AntiMasonic propaganda..

Because we then must wonder what you are actually saying because so far you have talked in circles.. WHAT is the Masonic conspiracy???

I won't ask again, I already did so formally in my last post.. your reply was inadequate at best. But lets dissect it, just for fun:



Freemasonry as an institution promotes secrecy as part of its organizational values.


Which through very public Masonic Code, Laws, Ritual, and practices you fail to supply evidence for.



Freemasonry is an integral part of countless communities, where its lodges have been inside our cities for hundreds of years.


Yet you fail to show documented and dare I say "peer reviewed" evidence that such a thing actually takes place. There is a 100 year old Korean Temple in my city, I don't suspect they rule the world now..



This organizational emphasis on secrecy has been constantly in those communities for all that time through its membership, and as such has numbed us to the adverse values of organizational secrecy.


You fail to show evidence that in fact Masons hold positions of power in the community to "rub off" their "secretiveness" on all other men in power..



This has allowed a nexus of power and manipulation to form between masonry and those in power, resulting in the quantifiably proven decrease in economic prosperity


You fail to show the evidence that in fact Freemasonry is the culprit in communal corruption. You also fail to show the direct relationships between any private organization much less Masonry as having positive or negative implications within any given community. You also fail to demonstrate how this could occur.

You further more fail to show any actual evidence that through Masonic teachings, code, law and practices that this is endorsed, promoted, condemned etc.



This conspiracy requires no large-scale plan or action by masons.


Because Masonry in general through it's teachings promotes corruption. Which you fail to show evidence for.



I have never argued that masonry is inherently evil. I have only argued that masonry’s existence has a negative influence on our community. This is not evil. It is something, however, that we should be concerned about.


Replace the word Evil with Corrupt, and you still failed at every level.

Hawaii's Story

An interesting story, it is not uncommon for Monarchs to belong to prestigious clubs, fraternities, and social gatherings. There was once a time when Masonry was "fashionable" for let us not forget, above all, Freemasonry is a Fraternity, not a Charity.

The Hawaiian Kings where Freemasons for, apparently, a few generations. 5 Total Monarchs where Master Masons under the Hawaiian Grand Lodge..

That in it's self is not unusual.. why should we fear a King in a place like Freemasonry? It's enlightenment ideologies gave rise to Democracies all over the World.. it's beliefs the corner stone of Modern Civilization.

The United States during it's era of Imperialist take over, did not treat the Hawaiians fairly.. in fact, they replaced the Monarch like a Tyrant.. Hawaii in following years is the only US State to remain in a state of Martial Law outside of a civil conflict or major war.. clear through World War Two.

The Masons did in fact urge the protection and eventual restoration of the Monarchy before Hawaii became a state. Why? Because they where Hawaiian. They are Hawaiians, Men of God, Men of Family, long before they are Masons.

Yes Masonic lodges have been used as a sanctuary for plots against dictatorial Tyrants. The Revolutionary War would never have happened had Masons not converged in our sacred halls..

Democracy in it's concept is pure beauty, however it can be a weapon, it can destroy and maim .. and it does not fit everyone.

To speak out against he Hawaiian movement against the United States illegal take over of the island, is to preach ignorance in the ways of Human Nature and how Humans will latch to institutions and use them to fit their needs. Where their actions Masonic? No, they where idealist, out side of the lodge they are no longer acting for the cause of Masonry, because Masonry is an idea, not an institution, only the Ritual is Freemasonry. To act in a Masonic way is only to act according to our teachings.

And yes, this throws a wrench into your little hypothesis Light.. because when men are not doing rituals, initiating or doing something directly through the lodge... they are NOT acting for Freemasonry.. they are acting as men. Men, being inheritantly corrupt from birth will do what they do, but their actions are not Masonic, and they are not acting for Masonry. Even if a few Masons together try and plan some grand scheme, it is not condoned by Freemasons, does not represent Freemasonry, and is not Masonic in any form.

To answer your questions:



I have never argued that masonry is inherently evil. I have only argued that masonry’s existence has a negative influence on our community. This is not evil. It is something, however, that we should be concerned about.


As I have said, I cannot nor would I post evidence to support that Freemasons are not corrupting society. You accused, YOU provide the evidence. Or lack there of.



2) Why is it that you simply dismiss the historical record that Masonry had an obvious influence with the power and attempted restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy?


Men who where Freemasons did, have, and will always have a hand in influencing power changes in society.. it is who the men are. Freemasonry however, will never play a part. There is a difference between the actions of an institution, and the actions of men. George Washington, was a Freemason, Thomas Jefferson, LaFayette, Ben Franklin .. we don't talk down their sacrifice to protect the ideas they loved.. and we also don't see them as acting for the benefit of Freemasonry.. we see them as patriotic individuals.



3) Why is it not possible that informal hierarchies and social ties are not strengthened through the lodge's initiation experience?


They can be, it is entirely possible. Probable? Probably not. Happen on a large scale? No. But possible none-the-less. The same question can be applied to any church, VA, Foreign Legion, Knight of Columbus, college frats, the Marines, etc, etc, etc..



posted on Jul, 21 2008 @ 09:03 PM
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A Review of My Opponent’s Evidence
Before closing, it is important to go over a review of my opponent’s evidence. This is going to be short, because there has been none. My opponent has swiftly dismissed his need to provide evidence by stating that he does not have the burden of proof. While it is true that he does not have the pre-emptive burden of proof, he does have the responsibility of refuting evidence I have presented. Any thorough critique of my arguments should come from other primary or peer reviewed sources, and yet I note my opponent has chosen for whatever reason to not cite one source – of any kind – that supports him.

My opponent dismisses the impacts of masons on Hawaii in a strange way. First he tells us this only occurs because the masons involved were Hawaiians. My opponent clearly has not read the evidence I directly quoted. The masons involved in influencing the Hawaiian monarchy were across the globe, and including Masons in Washington DC. This was not a local affair. Interestingly, he also tells us that we should expect this because masons always plot against dictatorial Tyrants. Apparently, ATS readers, the United States government is now a dictatorial tyrants and masons plotting against it in favor of a monarchy are righteous. He would have us then believe masons do these things as men and not members of their fraternity, when the case clearly shows how masonry as an institution was being used to support the monarchy by networking the lodge structure and the royal court.

Finally, I begin to wonder if my esteemed opponent is just making things up. He dismisses evidence as not mentioning masonry when it clearly does, and he dismisses it even though he could look up the cites himself and make sure if he felt I was being disingenuous. I am left pondering how someone could see so much evidence and simply dismiss it en masse. That my opponent has taken such tactics I believe lends credence to my argument, and I offer it as a demonstration of the weakness of the Masonic defense of the evidence.

Summary of the Evidence against Masonry
I have spent some time going through the quantitative and qualitative evidence to demonstrate masonry’s ill effects, but in closing I wanted to summarize it one more time in the simplest terms.

The evidence has shown that there exists two types of organizations in society – those which are inclusive and promote relationships with others, and those which are exclusive and promote the relationships only of the members within the group. The evidence has shown, and even explicitly named, that Masonry is of the later category. The more these types of institutions, like Masonry, become parts of our communities, the more the evidence shows they have a negative impact on our economic prosperity. This is because Masonry and other institutions like it cause bonding relationships to form between the membership, and the institution is so exclusive that it promotes a type of secrecy as an organizational tradition. Constant exposure to this organizational secrecy harms relationships of trust, and makes communities harder places to live.

Concurrently, as trust diminishes doors open for manipulation. We have seen this in the case study of the Hawaiian monarchy, where masonry became so intertwined with the elites that masons became the government and the monarchy relied on them to remain in power. Five generations of monarchs lived in this environment – an extremely long time to be dismissed as a coincidence. Especially in light of the last Queen of Hawaii, whose public diaries admit several times that she relied heavily on masonry to try to restore her power. The Queen seemed to have much faith in an organization that my opponent assures us could never be in such positions of power.

How is all this done? As I showed in my last post, through the creation of an informal social structure that is hidden behind the veil of Freemasonry’s proclaimed emphasis on liberty. This social structure informally reinforces the exclusive bonds between members, strengthening the membership against the outside community.

Masonic Secrecy
Strangely at the end of the debate, my opponent has now attempted to deny that Masonic secrecy exists. I must say I am astonished, as while the level of secrecy in masonry is much debated I have never seen a mason attempt to deny that secrecy plays no role in the organization. As Masonic secrecy is a cornerstone to my theory, and as my opponent has now oddly chosen to refute this well known fact, I offer a brief quote from a Masonic scholar that reveals secrecy does indeed play a large role in masonry. Arthur E. Waite, presented on the Grand Lodge of British Columbia’s website as a famous freemason and a known prolific writer, said the following concerning Masonic secrecy in his book “Secret Tradition in Freemasonry”:


We are apt to judge every Secret Order of the past according to the formal standards of modern Masonic procedure

Source: Arthur Waite (1997)

I was previously content to simply defer to my opponent the tired Masonic line that the society is “a society with secrets” and not a “secret society.” However, since my opponent has attempted recently to completely deny secrecy in masonry, I do now direct ATS readers to the words of Mr. Waite. He seemed to be quite fine with equivocating masonry as a secret society – indeed – Masonic procedure is the ruler for which he believes we should measure all other secret societies! I note before my opponent attempts to rebut this that he will tell us that these are the writing of one man and do not reflect masonry. To this rebuttal, I offer that Mr. Waite is in agreement with all other Masonic scholars I could find who have written on this subject. As he is a regular mason and even promoted as such on a Grand Lodge website, I take his words seriously.

The Ties that Bind Us

My opponent has admitted that the experience of masonry ties its members together in strong, social ties that are hard to break. He placates us by telling us that the same could be said of any other group. This is true, but it is not these other groups who have in the past networked with power and became part of the formal power structure through their organizations (not as individuals) as we saw in Hawaii.

Truly, my opponent is too modest about the impacts of these ties that bind him to his brethren. He calls out the case of Hawaii as irregular, and yet any review of the literature shows it is all too common. One scholar examined freemasonry in Russia, and noted that its impact gave benefits to its members that were unimaginable to the Russian commoner:


Thus, secrecy protected the organization from accusation and slander, and it allowed superiors to visit other circles incognito, so that they could observe how their work was successfully carried out.

Source: Faggionato (2005)

Lest my opponent tell us again that this is all mere coincidence, we shall move to yet another part of the world where scholars have documented how freemasonry intertwined with ruling families and formed a nexus of power and manipulation, this time in Egypt:


…The spread of freemasonry was indeed a facet of European influence – and the ensuing establishment of the local political parties, but also shows how the Masonic lodges as a “common meeting-ground” were a vehicle for the solidarity and cohesion of the Egyptian establishment and the aristocracy.

Source: Wissa (1989)

But I’m sure this is all a coincidence. Surely there could be not hint of manipulation when examining the historical proof that freemasonry intertwined with power and formed a symbiotic relationship with rulers and the aristocracy across time periods and country’s: from Russia to Egypt to the Hawaii, all just mere coincidence. I believe when things start happening like this, we call it a pattern.

But what does it all mean? It means that the evidence supports itself and forms a case against masonry: the secrecy that masonry espouses harms social networks in our communities and breaks down trust, causing us financial harm and allowing masons to become in many ways the hand behind the thrones of power across numerous countries and times.

Concluding Thoughts
There can be no doubt in what direction the evidence points. The data, such as it is, does not lie to us. The picture is clear: Masonic secrecy harms us in meaningful ways, and it allows unfair and at the very least questionable relationships to emerge between the elite and masons. This is not a story of men corrupting power, it is a story of freemasonry as a institution acting in at least 3 cases as a hidden hand behind the elite.

Note that all this happens without regard to the straw men arguments my opponent has been beating down throughout his posts. He has spent much time assuring us the secrets of masonry are meaningless, and that masons are just out there to have a good time. He assures us that people are men first, and not masons. I applaud him for these arguments, but must against point out I have never made them. All of my theory occurs regardless of what the secrets of masonry are – and it can happen without a massive behind the scenes coordinated conspiracy. It is simply the cause and effect of hundreds of years of organizational secrecy, which draws power like a moth to a flame.

References
Faggionato, R. 2005. A Rosicrucian Utopia in Eighteenth-Century Russia: The Masonic Circle of N.I. Novikov. New York: Springer.

Waite, A.E. 1997. Secret Tradition in Freemasonry. New York: Kessinger Publishing.

Wissa, K. 1989. Freemasonry in Egypt from 1798-1921: A Study in Cultural and Political Encounters. British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, 16(2): 143-161



posted on Jul, 23 2008 @ 01:55 PM
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reply to post by ALightinDarkness
 


The Close

Yes, like my dear opponent, I to believe that before closing statements we should review the information.. lack of information .. and which wild assumptions hold their own weight.

My opponent desired that I post information that shows the counter to his information. He desired the information I posted to be "evidence" and for it to be peer reviewed.
However he fails to grasp that you cannot post proof against any and or all accusations brought forth. He says Masonic teachings leads to inner circles of wealth generation that lead to adverse effects on the community. I could say that the same thing is true for any Knights of Columbus until proven otherwise. In fact, I can say that mr. Light here is an adverse effect on the economy until he proves to me otherwise. Butt hat is not logic.

What he is doing however is diverting the attention from himself. His information and so called "peer reviewed evidence" lacked weight and could not hold it's own argument. His insufficient evidence leaves a void in the crux of his own argument.. he made the accusations and could not back it up. What easier way to change that then to divert the argument from you all together?



My opponent dismisses the impacts of masons on Hawaii in a strange way.


The logical and truthful way.

The Freemasons of Hawaii did have the sympathies of other Masonic Lodges.. not because they desired to see the rise of "kings" (which you speak of as if it where a bad thing) but recognized oppression where it is blatantly obvious. We can paint a picture of American history in rosy colors if it means you won't feel bad about our past.. but in reality it would be streaked with grays and blacks.. Hawaii is one such incident where American's lust for imperialistic conquest led to the destruction of a culture.

Yes, Masons sympathized with their situation for no gain in return. The Masonic institution however does not play part in politics.

There is also absolutely no evidence that Freemasonry in an organized way sought to restore the Monarchy.. only support to the Freemasonic individuals who where struggling from the oppressive atmosphere of change.



Finally, I begin to wonder if my esteemed opponent is just making things up.


Only telling the side of the story you either forgot, or through willing negligence left out.



my opponent has now attempted to deny that Masonic secrecy exists.


It does not. To have secrecy, you must have something to keep secret. An action, a history, an item, a knowledge. Masonry's actions are public. We do rituals, initiate, and hold Lodge business. We have a very public history, shrouded because of religious persecution, but it is there and non masons and masons alike search it. We have no item to keep secret, we hold no "holy grail" or some secret wealth generating function or anything like that.. God knows the things I have heard that we keep hidden in our lodge rooms.
We have no secret knowledge. Many believe we do, and aside from some magical item, this is the crux of most Masonic Secrecy conspiracy hypotheses. But we don't. Average Joes doing something we love.. Masonic teachings are public knowledge, they are the base of every major religion in the world without Dogmatic interference..

So then what can we keep secret? Absolutely nothing. We do however keep PRIVATE our lodge meetings and our ritual. The ritual exist, you can read it online but we still don't talk about it.

Out of respect. Something that has died in this modern era.

Our lodge business is quite boring, we pay bills, plan outings.. but it is none of the publics business. We are a private institution not sanctioned by tax payers dollars.. so like a church or any other club, we keep it private.

In fact, as I have family members who are KoC I find them far more private then Freemasons.. In fact, every institution has the exact same level of privacy as Freemasons..

It just takes a little, tiny bit of intelligence to see that.

Not everything is a fantastic tale with secret plots, world domination, and consequences for the people at large from a subversive evil plot by evil Masons.

It is the thing of child's tales. Nothing more.

Your evidence fell apart around you, you tried different angles and they to led to nothing but misunderstandings, misinterpretation and outlandish lies.

Freemasonry's only role in the public is charity, and how that can cause an adverse effect on our economy, I do not know.

You proposed we plot together to generate wealth, regardless if the fact that the vast majority of Freemasons are middle class americans.

You also failed miserably at telling us all HOW we act to generate your "numbers"

Gaping holes in your hypothesis that have never been covered.

You moved on to different angles and aspects of Freemasonry, but none of which is convincing..

But above all your biggest failure is this:

Freemasons are Human too..

Like all Humans, politics is unavoidable.. we all have our political views, they very differently. We also all have our own religions, and no, Masonry does not sanction any political party or belief system above any others.

Freemasons are free men, who can do as they please. If they wish to campeign for the Conservative party, so be it, their choice, if they want to work at a voters booth, who is to stop them. If they get a job and make something of themselves, it is themselves as men who formed their own persona.. NOT Masonry. No Freemason could say Freemasonry made them into what they are.. guided them morally, sure, but nothing else.

We can see Freemasons take political stances all over history.. the revolutionary war was plotted in Masonic halls.. in fact the first building destroyed by the British was a Masonic hall .. we see in the US Civil war Masons stood on both sides. The American Mexican war, Masonic leaders on both sides. French Revolution. Hitler murdered countless Freemasons for standing against his tyranny. As did Joseph Stalin.

Freemasonry is to guide a man morally.. what he makes of his teachings is his own .. Masonry does not dictate political or religious beliefs, and where you may see a congregation of Freemasons supporting something, they do not do so through organized channels of Masons, but rather through their own personal beliefs.

THAT is the problem with Anti Masons.. They never see Masons as individuals.. they only see them as a group..

And if ever they attend a Masonic Conference, they will see there is no more diverse organization then that of Freemasonry.



posted on Jul, 23 2008 @ 03:00 PM
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Well fought, gentlemen.

Your fate is now in the hands of the judges.



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 04:14 PM
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By unanimous decision, ALightInDarkness is the victor...the judges comments...



I came away from the debate feeling that it was a bit one-sided.

ALiD's argument is well structured and presented. He cites several academic and historical references that support his position.

Rockpuck draws wholly on his personal experience in refuting ALiD's position. I think he spends too much effort countering the perceived 'evilness' of Masonry, even though that was not integral to ALiD's position. I don't doubt he is being factual but I feel it is not adequate to win a debate.

My judgment for winner is: ALightinDarkness




In my opinion, ALightinDarkness won this debate.

Rockpuck failed to cite a single source. Although not explicitly expressed, one must assume that Rockpuck is either citing 'secret' Masonic books, or is an expert in all aspects of Masonic dogma and history, but neither position holds up in the face of the various sources of ALightinDarkness presented. Ridiculing a source is not a rebuttal.

Also, Rockpuck never fully refuted or rebutted the brief that, to paraphrase, "Secrecy inherently harms a Democratic Society, Masonry is based in secrecy, so why not end the secrecy of Masonry to better the community at large?" ALightinDarkness provided several sources that supported the premise, with Rockpuck only providing anecdotes in rebuttal.




I read the criteria for judging very carefully, and in the end it is what helped me make my decision.

First, a summary of the debaters:

ALightinDarkness (heretofore known as A) was without a doubt the more polished debater. His grasp of language was skilled, and he supplied copious references for his arguments. At one point, the reference was almost overkill, but that is neither here nor there. He asked good questions of his opponent.

For sheer mechanics, A gets the nod.

Rockpuck (heretofore known as R) had the advantage of real life experience, having been a Freemason. He had the additional advantage of being the "defense", which brings with it the advantage of forcing A to prove his points without having to refute them.

For initial lineup, R gets the nod.

Now we get into the actual debate. A presented the case that all secrecy is detrimental to society. Freemasonry is guilty of harming society since they have secrets. He presented academic sources as reference.

This should have been easy for R to refute. A never did make his point convincingly, but R did not take advantage of A's weak premise to destroy his arguments.

R also made me question his knowledge of Freemasonry, since one of his answers goes against everything I have ever heard from other Freemasons.

In the end, it was this one sentence from the judging guidelines that helped me make my decision:

"It is not necessary to adhere to whether or not a Fighter actually proved their position, just how they debated. "

If this had been a court of law, R would have won. Rather, A would have lost, since he did not make his point convincingly, despite his better mechanics.

However, this is a debate, and given those parameters, A did an overall better job than R in this instance.

My vote: A wins the debate.



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 04:52 PM
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I am flattered that the judges have voted in my favor. Rockpuck has a very engaging style of debate and is extremely good at it, and it is not easy to gain the upper hand when you are engaged with such a worthy opponent.

In the interests of full disclosure to those who may not know (although I thought everyone did), I should also say that I am a Freemason although not for the purposes of this debate. It was my goal to completely block out everything I knew as a mason and approach the topic as if I were from the completely opposite point of view. I wanted to make the best case possible for the other side without letting my own judgment come into play, and I believe I did so.

There are several flaws in the argumentation I presented, and I did come across academic evidence to refute me on some points, but I guess arguing against myself here at the end would defeat the point of a debate. If anyone is interested in knowing where the natural flaws are, feel free to post here or PM me.

Thanks for the opportunity to let me debate you, Rockpuck. Next time you can play the other side!



posted on Jul, 27 2008 @ 11:05 PM
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WEll you have me engaged! Now I want to see you debate your self! haha!

Seriously well job mate, I knew I should have ran the other way when I came against you ..

If only the REAL anti's came to the Masons with such a defined argument .. ah but alas, it's the Masons who have to beat the Masons on what it is to be a Mason! lol .. just hope some anti's took some notes..

It was fun, and congratulations light, well fought my man!





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