Masonic Conspiracy Theory
A conspiracy theory is a set of hypotheses that attempt to explain the sequence of socially significant events, some historical phenomena, or course of history, in general, as a result of a conspiracy of a group of people (Byford 21). These people manage this process due to self-interest, ambitions, or some group, clan, and other interests. One can consider conspiracy theories as one of the most extreme versions of the theory of elites. Conspiracy theories attribute to individuals and small groups the supernatural ability to control and manage complex social and political processes. They introduce any private conflict as part of the universal struggle between the good and evil. One of the widespread theories of conspiracy, which has relatively many followers all over the world, is the Masonic conspiracy theory, involving Freemasonry and Illuminati. Nevertheless, many people also consider it absurd. This essay traces the history of the Freemasons and Illuminati and defends the point of view that they do not rule the world.
Causes of Conspiracy Theories
Among the causes of conspiracy theories are underlying social and psychological needs of an individual. The perception of the theory of conspiracy is closely linked to the mechanisms of stereotyping, the projection, and the phenomenon of escapism. Another reason for the success of the conspiracy theories is an ideological reaction to the social inequalities.
The mechanism of the projection presupposes that the conspiracy theorists usually project some of their positive and negative personality characteristics on the alleged co-conspirators. At the same time, they exaggerate these characteristics. On the one hand, the conspirators are demonized; particularly, they are considered to have evil intentions and personally immorality (Byford 24). Such characteristic allows to avoid moral condemnation, criminal liability, and any moral limitations of actions against the alleged conspirators. After all, the one who destroys such monsters should be recognized as a hero not a criminal. On the other hand, the conspirators are believed to have special abilities, such as intelligence, cunningness, and purposefulness among others.
The desire to avoid cognitive dissonance leads to the fact that it is usually difficult to convince a person, who once apprehended a certain conspiracy theory, to deny it. Consequently, such individual simply ignores or rejects all the facts, which contradict the theory by typical conspiracy theory techniques. For instance, a person can deny the facts by considering them the provocative activity of the conspirators. Moreover, an individual can interpret these facts in such a way that they will contradict the proof. Conversely, even the most harmless fact, which at first glance seems not to have any relation to the matter, can become a part of the proposed conspiracy theory.
History of Masonic Conspiracy Theory
Masonic conspiracy theory is a kind of conspiracy theory, according to which there is a connection between the secret society of Freemasons and their influence on numerous significant historical events, including coups, revolutions, and assassinations of famous and influential people. The theory of the Masonic conspiracy rests on the fact that throughout the history, many governors and influential and famous people admitted the participation in any of the Masonic lodges (Preswik). There is a belief that through them, the Masons exerted their influence on the development and course of historical events. Most commonly, the conservative and radical-nationalist social classes use the Masonic conspiracy theory as one of the arguments during the political turmoil. Such argument is used as an attempt to give political unrest a clear explanation or as a weapon against their opponents.
The word mason means bricklayer or stonemason. Initially, it dealt with those who built impregnable castles, churches, and other facilities (“History of Freemasonry”). There is no doubt that the construction required the participation of not only the builders, engineers, and masons but also the nobility and the representatives of the church responsible for the construction. First masons contacted with clergy more often than with the nobility. The birth of the Freemasonry is still associated with the construction of cathedrals by the masons and, consequently, with the need for transfer knowledge to those who will bring the construction to the end. It is important to remember that the usual construction of Gothic cathedrals took approximately 50-100 years, as there were never enough skilled builders and money.
Closed organization of masons was not something unique in the Middle Ages. Almost any craft shop (carpenters, sausage makers, bakers, and chemists) arranged such private clubs and did not allow outsiders to join. Therefore, it was convenient to preserve the trade secrets. One of the major benefits of masons was the freedom of movement because teams of professional builders had to move from city to city. Masons were the only residents of England, who were officially permitted to move around the country freely, without any permitting papers (“History of Freemasonry”). Therefore, they were called free.
By the beginning of the XVI century, masons realized that it was useful to accept wealthy people to their community (“History of Freemasonry”). The closed society of professionals had a high status and respect in the city and many noble people wanted to join a membership. After a hundred years, the number of stonemasons and engineers among the Freemasons became microscopic, as the community has become a cultural mystique elite club. Even the English King William of Orange was a member of a Masonic lodge.
Masons and Illuminati are connected with many prominent historical events. For example, there is a connection between the assassination of John Kennedy and Freemasons (Preswik). Furthermore, Howard makes a list of American Presidents who were Masons or Illuminati and tries to explain the course of history with the help of this list. Moreover, these are just several examples; there are much more of them.
Credibility of Masonic Conspiracy Theory
The credibility of conspiracy theories and universal Masonic conspiracy theory continues to be controversial since it has no documentary evidence. An unspecified number of the supporters of the existence of such conspiracy cannot justify its essence. Usually, they refer to the fact that some persons are engaged in Freemasonry as if it is illegal in the countries where Freemasonry exists. Unfortunately, the supporters of the conspiracy theory often simply list the actions committed by people who cared about their country instead of searching facts that can support the existence of the conspiracy. The idea that a mason who represents some high authority could organize a conspiracy is an erroneous logical construction. Besides, the majority of facts attributed to the Masonic conspiracy theory is attributed equally to other types of conspiracies and theories. Furthermore, alike with other kinds of conspiracies, a clear definition of the objectives could not be found because of the lack of serious research and credible data. In particular, the goals and objectives of the Freemasons vary from doing harm to the citizens to world domination due to the establishment of a new world order and the elimination of all traditional religions.
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Even though there are people who seriously believe in the conspiracy theory of Masons and Illuminati, the idea, in general, seems questionable and controversial. It makes an impression of either a phobia, some kind of paranoia, or a weird hobby. On the Web, there are even blogs about Masonry and traveling. For instance, Masonic Traveler writes about the locations connected with the history of Masonry and discusses the Masonry. Of course, it is not easy to prove that the Masonry conspiracy does not exist but further research is also needed to confirm its credibility.
In general, analyzing any of the conspiracy theories, it becomes obvious that they are based on a small amount of the facts and a large amount of speculation. It is difficult to refute the Masonic conspiracy theory because, as a rule, one has to fight with the speculations and the assumptions. Speculation is logically derived from a set of postulates and opponents have to appeal to common sense and indisputable facts. The facts and experience show that the group of people cannot have the significant influence on the course of a human history and keep this in secret from everyone except the conspiratologists.
Summing up, the theory of conspiracy is a set of theories created to explain the significant events in the human history. The creation of the conspiracy theory is often associated with the psychological and social needs of an individual. The theory of Freemasons and Illuminati conspiracy is the subspecies of the conspiracy theory. According to the theory, all great personalities who altered the course of history were masons. As a result, Freemasons secretly run the world. The Freemasons were often accused of various illegal and immoral actions, such as the assassination of Kennedy and many others. The theory has many followers. Nevertheless, the idea that Freemasons and Illuminati secretly run the world is doubtful because further research is needed to make any conclusions about the Freemasons. People supporting the idea of Freemasons controlling the world often interpret facts according to their wishes and preferences.