Thoughts about Tyranny of the Minority
rough draft… 12/18/2017
Intro / Conclusion…
[Lord Radcliffe in a Lecture on “The Dissolving Society” given in London in 1966… On the Art of Political Theory: in regards to the known knowns, and when the civilized man should be most patient,
“[the wishes of majority] ought not to be given effect to at the expense of a minority, large or small, and of that art, so far as I can see, our public life is almost totally deficient.”
A Master Mason learns that the trowel is a useful instrument whereby speculative masons ‘spread the cement of brotherly love and friendship.’ It is this cement that symbolically binds the fraternity together. A Freemason’s master mason learning lecture ‘Leaves,’ as we are told, ‘but one noble contention. The brotherly disagreement that causes consideration to Who is best to work, and Who is best to agree.’ It is also known that the mason is expected to submit patiently to the laws of their government and leaders . Further, masons promise not to cheat, wrong nor defraud several common and steadfast institutions, nor be given to plots of anarchy. Obligations all masons take within the walls of the Masonic Lodge. These obligations lead to morally difficult choices in our everyday lives.
The requirements are not lofty or unclear. Masons stand for free thought; freedom to pursue their own answers and freedom to think for themselves. Freemasonry formed to protect the freedom to keep their mental data private,as with any personal property, and the freedom to express their conclusions without fear of harassment or reproach. Most recently, American Masons chose Revolution to protect the right all free-born people have defined as certain unalienable rights. Order and structure are very important. Cooperation and compromise are necessary tools to get the daily work done. Masons should never forget every man’s basic rights. Those basic rights that elect leaders within a democratic society. The rights that confer free discussion without the torrential passions crushing open discussion. When this type of tyranny arises, masons [and people in general] lose their freedoms as the offenders try to squash their fellow brethren. The American Founders gave this much thought, and when all agreed on the correct words, cemented the phrase ‘United we Stand, Divided we Fall.’
“And Justice For All” means total consideration of all thoughts, expressible in an open atmosphere, and free from tyranny and attack. What defines the mason’s power of free thought, and the list of allowable activities? Those rights often described as freedoms created by or contained within the mason’s body, brain, and immediate property. Further, free discussions and creative thoughts are central pieces that Freemasonry strives to protect. History has marked numerous instances where a majority or minority has crowded out the individual’s or group’s freedoms. A mason must ensure tolerance during appropriate open expressions and discussions. The cement of brotherly love and friendship that unites the fraternity is the same sticking agent that encourages free and open thought. In fact, even the Entered Apprentice mason has a ‘daub’ of this cement, which necessarily protects the discussions that occur. No majority or minority agent should ever usurp power of individual and act in a tyrannical manner.
David Weinberg describes two types of Masonic Harmony in his article “Harmony Isn’t What it Used to Be.” Bro. Weinberg describes the fraternal bond as the reminder that it is fine to ‘agree or disagree amicably.’ Masonic Harmony ‘does not imply’ zero disagreement. [http://www.masonicdictionary.com/harmony2.html] Brother Weinberg explains his observation of two types of lodge discussions as variants of the same process. (1) Harmony is invoked when regular discussion and debate is finished and ‘the lodge returns to Masonic Harmony.’ [http://www.masonicdictionary.com/harmony2.html] The second type of harmony is closer to an ‘emergency eject button,’ or what he terms (2) Aggressive Harmony. Aggressive Masonic Harmony is the hand brake that strips away a challenge or different opinion’s merit and concepts, to preserve what some group or leader(s) feel is the status quo. [http://www.masonicdictionary.com/harmony2.html] The offending discussion is painted as ‘unmasonic,’ and no consideration or floor time is given to the alternative viewpoint. This discussion curtailment is not based on craft logic, or time constraints, or even definite masonic precedence. The ‘aggressive use’ description implies witness to any challenge or re-direction toward the leadership that gets censored before all the facets of said thought or expression are examined. An Annenberg Classroom article explains how [majority] rule in a Democracy historically gets checked against any person[s] holding unpopular views. “Unlimited Majority Rule in a Democracy is potentially just as despotic as the unchecked rule of an autocrat or an elitist minority political party.” [http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/glossaries.aspx?term=majority-rule-and-minority-rights&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1]
John Locke theorized that the individual’s freedoms are protected when property, in the most general notion, is respected and safeguarded. In fact, it would appear that it is not best to pin down the Who is best to think and act. Rather, the spirit of the teaching renders the ‘who’ irrelevant. When masons are able to respect the winding path to a conclusion set, no matter what that might be, the best answer[s] are ensured. When masons acknowledge what they really strive to protect is the freedom to think in unique segments, and the circumstances by which those thoughts are arrived at, the entire craft is allowed to flourish. When the entire craft can flourish, masonry as an organization is able to best lead. RW Brother G. H. Robertson wrote about how masons should be ‘other regarding’ instead of self-regarding. In the article “Religions and Political Discussions,” Brother Robertson recognizes the direction of masonry to respect the vote of the majority. These ‘wishes’ MUST exist within the sphere of “reflection, consideration, and application of the thoughts of the minority(-ies).” The honest application of math and science and clear discourse with simple and understandable words will lead to the learning of the ‘Art of Democracy.’ Brother Robertson wrote that ‘the general public’ has no knowledge of or has forgotten about, the art of democracy. [http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Articles/Freemasonry/masonic_institution/religions_and_political_discussions.html ]
When a mason considers who is best to work, and who is best to agree, he is not thinking about who is incompetent or unfit. Best to work and best to agree seems to really be teaching us to listen to everyone, and respect everyone’s right to property and free thought. This respect will then lead the craft down the rightful and natural best path(s), because all knowable options will thus have been explored, with all in agreement on how to proceed. This debate is framed in our modern lodges by the newly raised brothers, and the fresh energy which they bring to the craft. The temper of repeated explanation will harden confused thought, but care must be applied not to incinerate the bravery that comes with fresh eyes. New ideas are not poisonous to the craft because they are modern, fresh, or untried. It is the passion of curiosity and freedom that inspires everyone to recalibrate and continually consider whether or not things could be done better, or to greater effect. [https://www.reddit.com/r/freemasonry/comments/4p5n2t/younger_masons_what_are_some_things_youd_like_to/]
It is most important to remember the history that documents the craft’s discursive patience during times of hardship and suffering. These bookmarks remind us that there is no wrong thought, theory, observation, or belief, that may stop the brethren from finding solutions. W. Smith’s pocket companion (London, 1734::1735) testifies that ‘most members have learned to abstain from political and religious discussions.’ This may be one of the earliest formative ‘landmarks,’ or ‘a charge,’ on record. Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, are among the greatest qualities a mason can posses. Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic must not serve to confuse or trick a listener because it was taught that a brother’s passions and prejudices are to be divested from communication. Patience and not abstention, will lead a brother to be ‘other regarding,’ and not aloof and inconsiderate. [http://www.themasonictrowel.com/Articles/Freemasonry/masonic_institution/religions_and_political_discussions.html ]
Many masons have been shocked into wakefulness while contemplating how divestiture of passions can co-exist with individual freedom of mind and body. The months and years leading up to the American Revolution mark one of the most inspired and documented periods of free and open masonic thought. The irony of this period is the amount of discussion and type of criticisms American Freemasons engaged in, concerning their superiors and governing entities. How is that possible? Were American Freemasons really anarchists? The Scotland Yard Yearbook contains critical sections on Tolerance; it is tolerance that allows a man to feel, and therefore be, free to think, research, formulate, speak, and refine all available facts and information. This diversity is the natural root of creativity. Without the freedom, and tolerance of free thought, all opinion becomes the same. Men need to learn to pursue different paths to conclusions, because this is the only tested and accurate way to derive ‘Truth.’ “[regarding Masons] We may well disagree, but we [should] try not to be disagreeable.” [http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/Davidson.html
John Locke [a known mason], framed the need for Governmental and Political power as necessary for societal function. The powers of any local government are built through the unification of the individuals minds and bodies. Every freeborn man has the right to freedom of Property- Locke postulated. Locke defined a property right as protection and security of self, body, and possessions. The individual has the natural right to withdraw his power when a stated leader fails, or when the individual’s confidence is lost in the leader’s abilities. Locke defines this corruption of power by the word ‘tyranny.’ Tyranny, Locke explained, is the ‘exercise of power beyond liberty.’ This type of excess destroys personal property, which no person or group has the right to do. The final assumption in the theorem is the definition of ‘re-absorption.’ When personal property and liberty are damaged, Revolution becomes the tool for re-calibration. [http://www.knightstemplar.org/KnightTemplar/articles/inspiration.htm]
James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton, thought quite a bit about personal liberty. When the first group of leaders sat down to pen the US Constitution, and agree to its contents, Madison, Hamilton and John Jay assumed the role of the first defenders of Constitutional American Liberty. The initial document’s wording and phrasing did not convince every congress person of the need for a warrior – general – presidential system. Madison, Jay, and Hamilton secretly took the pen name of ‘Publius,’ and wrote the Federalist Papers. Publius thought there was a definite need to discuss just what ‘personal freedom’ and the ‘individual’s rights to property’ represented. The aim of these documents was to convince the ratifiers of the constitution why there was a need for separation of powers, a bi-caramel Congress, and individual Executive and Judicial entities. Division of power was necessary because of the known nature of man, and the innate requirement of the Constitution to consciously or otherwise protect citizens’ rights to personal property and thought. “Freemasonry itself may be politically neutral” by design, “but its political values have become woven into” societies’ at large basic fabric. This ‘new DNA’ is at such a low-level that is often ‘taken for granted.’ http://www.knightstemplar.org/KnightTemplar/articles/inspiration.htm]
There are two basic types of freedom theft that concerned Madison. James Madison was an avid reader, and developed his ‘property’ instincts based upon thought experiments. His background forced him to consider two types of liberty curtailments. They are Tyranny, by the Majority or the Minority. Their definition arises from a stubborn autocrat’s tyrannical despotism, whereby a group, within a Democracy, acting similar to the evil tyrant, ‘squashes’ the freedoms of the remaining citizens. [https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tyranny_of_the_majority]
Madison was able to easily relate to tyranny by the majority, but lacked the foresight of present day distance travel and data mobility that modern inventions afford most people. It took weeks to travel across the country, large sums of money to organize people, mass marketing did not exist in modern form, and the data infrastructure and information end nodes were not created yet. Madison knew that tyranny by the majority could occur when individuals with similar ends link together to form a large voting block, or clearinghouse of deciding power. The Republican led congress of Barrack Obama’s second term, or a conservative slanted Supreme Court are two examples. Madison realized that decisions could be influenced, or made in entirety by such majorities. Protections are necessary to protect the individual or ‘weaker groups’ from decisions made that oppress or fail to include varying points of view.
Modern Tyranny of the minority is not automatically prevented by great distance, or the overwhelming task of the information gathering process. Madison wrote about the inevitability of factions, and how their tolerated existence is required to protect the concept of personal freedoms. The Huffington Post article ‘Tyranny of the Minority’ cites evidence how modern-day splinter interests can (1) force candidates and office holders into extreme positions; And, [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-newell/tyranny-of-the-minority_b_4503341.html] (2) Factions exist to protect themselves because compromise would cut of their funding and media grandstanding. Also, (3) They are well organized and inspire clingy supporters to further empower the renegade thought by imparting a ‘me too’ identity to the forming agency. (“I belong to _____,” which makes me feel more powerful and identifiable) [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-newell/tyranny-of-the-minority_b_4503341.html] (4) Factions can also damage a Democracy by withholding support or blocking passage during critical debates. Groupings who simply ‘make threats’ against open discussion of policies and possibilities skew the larger dialog away from energetic exploration of individuals’ freedom of thought and association. Finally, (5) Plato’s analysis of democracy that careens off the rails explains that this type of degraded democracy seek to reset itself, and turn to dictatorship to regain control of the internal fighting. (https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/isms-ocracies-and-ologie/)
Dictatorship is the spectrum point opposite regarding individual freedoms, and does not necessarily limit despotism to a single person ruler. Elitist Minority rule or Unlimited Majority rule is camouflaged despotism, and care must be taken to protect the individual’s implied and verbally expressed rights to thought and property. The classic phrase describing Constitutional Challenges within a Democracy is framed as “deciding outcomes based on a case by case basis.” Socrates analyzed conceptual democracy, and tried to pick out flaws in its underlying design. (http://allanstime.com/Government/socrates_democracy.htm)
This type of inductive reasoning creates lists of most probable outcomes based upon the strong evidence given, but does not seek to offer the ultimate answers derived from deductive reasoning. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning) Individual, Majority, and Minority rights must be preserved in an ordered Democratic system. The case by case analysis is computed at all levels, filtered, and coalesced into generally acceptable paths and proscriptions to enable the preservation of Individual Property and Freedoms. (http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/glossaries.aspx?term=majority-rule-and-minority-rights&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1)
The case by case analysis and the majority / minority discussion are conducted and directed by the rules of the Charter or Constitution that overlays society. The American Constitution calls for property protections as described by John Locke. This manifests during the voting process. American Democracy is not bound by a simple majority. Thomas Jefferson is recorded in history speaking about the necessary protections and equal rights which all citizens under the American Constitution have. The United States third president said, “[concept of democracy in 1801 in his First Inaugural Address] All . . . will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect and to violate would be oppression.” http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/glossaries.aspx?term=majority-rule-and-minority-rights&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1) Masonry has its Landmarks, Constitutions, and Obligations that the craft must agree to, and abide by. These identities can be changed through different degrees of effort and debate. The organization and direction of the craft is laid out by our time leveled hierarchical rules. Landmarks are the most general and time-tested. Constitutions are the most directly applicable to the individual lodges. Obligations are what each mason promises to remember as the rule and guide to everyday life. Each mason is heartily encouraged to obtain copies of these rules and regulations. They should be thoroughly read, pondered, and even debated. This is the freedom which will promote a better understanding of life itself.
There are many votes which occur in formal and informal settings, at all levels and locations within our government (and masonic organizations). These votes are example of the ‘case by case basis’ testing that is part of what makes American society, and the US Constitution, a living entity. Challenges to freedoms arise the moment men became impassioned about a concept. It is most important not to get caught in worrying about the whip count, the majority, the minority factions, or what the great orators are trying to persuade the group to do. (https://www.thoughtco.com/congressional-majority-minority-leaders-and-whips-3322262) The protection of natural rights afforded by social contract, the freedoms of property, body, and mind, should be considered and applied when creating policy or allowing topic discussion on the speaking dais.
John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison (1787-1788) were aware of the fears of the states representatives’ considering the perceived balance between tyrannical central rule and states rights. States rights versus the power of the Executive Branch and Central Government sets up another debate regarding factions. The Greeks created a word to describe ‘tyrannical mob rule,” particularly through the ‘intimidation of the legitimate authorities. Ochlocracy is synonymous with the term ‘mobocracy,’ and can be viewed by the Latin phrase ‘mobile vulgus’ or Fickle Crowd. Ochlocracy further includes the notion of tyranny not just through brute push, but also by illegal actions, or ‘dirty tricks.’ (Nixon Administration,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Segretti) An individual or rogue group can use intrigue or corruption to ‘Betray the interests of the public.’ (http://www.gradesaver.com/the-federalist-papers/study-guide/summary-essay-) These types of power redistributions are exactly what people fear when they allow freedom of speech and property. As previously mentioned, societal and technological advancement will necessarily create opportunity for the wicked. Inclusion is the best policy of all because man’s passions are empowered by creativity. Creativity is best applied to the craft as a whole, and to moving in a single direction. Creativity and passion is wasted when factions tear apart unity and waste time for the reason of selfish recognition.
The Worshipful Master controls the craft’s discussions, and often exercises cloture to respect his scheduling and focus. Madison realized that the greatest agent of protection against factionalism and tyranny is inclusion. The Anarchist hates inclusion, and seeks to destroy unity to preserve the power of chaos. Inclusions into critical processes (1), and recognition of (2) adaptations and compromise can bring all logical parts together. The Federalist Papers (Madison wrote) also recognized the power of factions to dissolve factionalism, as more secular and unique issues divided the Common / Wealth divisional debate into smaller parts. “Madison embraced the factionalism as a cure to the larger Wealth / Poverty struggle; because economic, geographic, religious, sectional, and social interests cut across every wealth gap.” http://www.gradesaver.com/the-federalist-papers/study-guide/summary-essay-) It should be noted here, that like all of mankind’s struggle to control fire [nuclear, AI, ‘power’] the blunt force object can develop a mind of its own. Many men have brought balancing forces into existence, thinking one magic door could ultimately control all outcomes. All agreement enters from the social contract developed and agreed upon. It is this point where compromise is forced upon all the shifty players, else Revolutions will obliterate the simple discussion, and change the sources and appointments of any power structure.