The Freemasons have long included prominent and powerful citizens among their members. For whatever reason this has led a number of paranoid types to believe that the Lodge either runs the world or is secretly plotting to take over the world. In truth, the Lodge is too busy with its charitable work and fellowship to ever take on such a ludicrous project. Still, in the name of fostering better relations with our community, here are a few things conspiracy theorists never consider when accusing the Lodge of running the world.
Divisions in Freemasonry
There is no central body of Freemasonry—each nation has its own Grand Lodge, and within the United States each state operates its own separate Grand Lodge. These Lodges are typically in “amity” with one another, but agendas for one Grand Lodge do not bear upon others. This, in fact, is also a good reason to discredit anybody who tells you they know the secrets of Freemasonry. Passwords, grips and rituals vary a little from Lodge to Lodge and over time, so those claiming to know secrets are likely to be wrong in most places at most moments.
Further divisions also come into play, as there are some Masonic orders which are irregular and not in amity with the mainstream Lodges. In most of Continental Europe a different set of standards, or “landmarks” are in place than the English and American tradition—irregular French Masons are not expected to believe in God. In Scandinavia, on the other hand, the Swedish Rite requires all its members to be Christians, and in the United States most African-American Masons belong to the Prince Hall Lodge. All of this leads one to wonder how Masons are able to run the world when they can’t even come to agreement amongst themselves.
The Values of the Lodge
As part of the first stage of initiation into the Lodge, all Masons are required to swear their loyalty to their government, to promise to obey the law and to not participate in acts of rebellion. This has been a major reason why those parties and organizations which wish to overthrow their governments have often hated the Lodge—communists, Nazis and other disloyal types have hunted and killed Masons over the years. Whatever ruling the world would entail, it would certainly seem to involve acts of disloyalty and illegality, and so Masons are forbidden from taking part in such a practice.
Furthermore, the Lodge would have a hard time organizing any attempt to rule the world, as Lodges typically bar any discussion of politics in their midst. We wish to always be at peace, and Masons have found that discussing politics is sure to produce discord. This is one of the reasons a number of political figures have chosen to be a part of the Lodge, less to promote their political ambitions as to have a place where they can escape political battles and find fellowship with other confident, thoughtful men.
Can Anybody “Rule the World?”
In 2010 a large volcano in Iceland erupted, interrupting international air traffic for weeks. This is the very sort of unpredictable event that would make it almost impossible for any group of people to secretly rule the world. Government leaks and popular uprisings, weather changes and unexpected deaths or rivalries would all seem to make any such plot impossible. Conspiracy theorists need to believe someone is in charge in order to quiet their internal anxieties. Sadly, the Lodge has been a focus of their paranoia, a fact which we have not let slow us down in our quest to make good men better.