Shortly after I entered Freemasonry, I asked one of the Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee why we didn’t recognize any of the Prince Hall Grand Lodges, as some of them were older than our own and they came from the same roots. He laid out some of the history of the attempts to do this and why those attempts failed. His closing remark stuck with me, as it’s one I’ve heard several times since then when the topic of making Freemasonry more relevant to modern men came up.
He said, ” A lot of people will have to die” before that can happen.
In other words, there are too many men locked into the old way of looking at the world for necessary changes to take place. This mindset is part of why Freemasonry has lost members for decades.
In politics, there is a similar fixation on old ways of looking at the world to the detriment of us all.
One example of this is modern American libertarianism, which is, in essence, individualist anarchism. (I qualify it as modern & American, because the term had another meaning in other countries and in previous centuries.)
There is a strong trait within libertarianism toward simplifying politics. Thus the Nolan Chart (shown below) that seeks to place everyone into a grid somewhere along an X and Y axis, despite the many facts that such as grid fails to account for.
Thus the push to limit government to only those powers enumerated in the Constitution, despite the centuries of expansion beyond those limits. Thus the desire to cut taxes to the bone and “starve the beast” of Big Government, despite the impact such actions would have on everyone involved.
While simplicity is a virtue, not all virtues can be appropriately practiced at all times. The “body politic” (the nation or society) is not like a person’s body that can be cleansed with a detox regimen. Purging programs have real world effects on the ability of real people to survive or to improve their lives.
Slash and burn works for extreme situations where you don’t care what’s inside the fire and you’re prepared to keep it from spreading beyond reasonable bounds. If innocent people will be destroyed in the flames, you had best have a very, very good reason for lighting that match, as you will become a murderer by doing so.
The attraction of libertarianism is that it is a simple philosophy. Everyone has the right to liberty and anything that interferes with that right is wrong, that is the core belief. That no country or society anywhere has ever operated for any length of time following such a simple belief should give a reasonable person cause to stop and wonder why.
Such a reasonable person might conclude the philosophy must have some serious flaws. I would suggest it’s the very simplicity of it that is the flaw, as it ignores the web of relationships in society and the history that built that web.
Why so few libertarians apply their simple rule in analyzing Big Business is an open question. It certainly appears to me that Big Business is a more pressing threat to liberty than government, especially in the current crony capitalist system that allows Big Business to corrupt and control government.
In any case, in order for libertarian solutions to be applied, a lot of people will have to die. There is a world of difference between waiting for them to pass away so you can make changes and causing them to pass away with the changes you impose.