Rule by force was partially overcome by the granting of limited free speech to Christianity, a religious ideology which in its authentic form, as Locke and Jefferson recognised, approximates closely to the inclinations of common sense. Christian moral influence created the conditions for abolishing slavery in Europe and throughout the world because it combines at its heart egalitarian human ideals which are both transhistorical and universal: that we are all born equal, that the meek should inherit the earth, and that it should be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven. Roman imperialism, the Christian church and Feudal monarchy alike however, though willing to concede equality in the hereafter, were not willing either to lead or to consistently support the transition to government by consent.

The Galileo affair confirmed the Papacy, mired in scholastic dogma, to be an unreliable ally of common sense not only in matters of politics but also of science. Papal opposition to freedom of speech and worship and its support for royal claims to divine right made the transition to government by consent more difficult and more complex. Despite, therefore, the affinity of Christianity with common sense, its chief constituency of social support has derived mainly from craft industry and skilled labour along with their natural ally: the movement for democratic progress. This movement gave political expression to the increasingly organised character of common sense understanding in British society, including its influence upon the development of modern science.

Nonetheless the conversion of slavery to serfdom facilitated by Christianity granted rights to the lower classes which could be developed when the opportunity arose. Rights to bear arms and to trial by jury even for serfs emerged against this background. In 1215 the church scribes who put the Runnymede agreement to paper affirmed the implicit relation between government by consent and sortition by upholding the right to jury trial. Subsequently, as with the right to bear arms, this relation was reaffirmed in the English Bill of Rights.

The struggle against monarchical resistance to realise common sense principles of understanding in political life became both more successful and more complex in the English revolutionary period of transition to government by consent in consequence of the reasons cited above. The republican James Harrington, appointed to counsel King Charles I in his period of detention and trial prior to execution, developed his theory of constitutional reform from general study of all previous government, but most especially of the Venetian republic, which had incorporated the use of sortition for over five centuries. He advocated abolition of primogeniture and the regulation of inherited wealth based on a written constitution of mixed government which would incorporate sortition, rotation and the secret ballot as the main instruments of electoral method along with the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. Harrington proposed sortition as a means to empower democratic forces and contain what had long been considered to be the main deficiency of aristocracy - the tendency to faction and intrigue. He also, as stated, strongly advocated the right to bear arms. In short, Harrington advocated almost all that may be considered most essential to government from the point of view of common sense.

History since Harrington is very much a tale of how, even from a promising beginning, things can go very wrong due to the factors outlined above. King Charles reportedly was not unsympathetic to these ideas but they were nevertheless viewed with suspicion both by Cromwell and subsequently by King Charles II. The English republic was so weakened by factional intrigue that Cromwell trusted neither Levellers or closet Royalists, and in this context ordered Harrington's work Oceana to be seized from the printing presses. This state of instability and mutual suspicion still continued after the restoration, and in 1662 Harrington was arrested and imprisoned for conspiracy. Charles II thereafter sought to restrict fundamental rights to the rich, including, as stated, the right to bear arms. Even so the independence of the jury, and with this rights to free speech and freedom of worship were largely established after jurors refused to convict William Penn in 1670 despite being imprisoned by the judge for their defiance of his orders. The origins of the American republic can be traced to this event. Jury support for defiance of sedition laws contributed decisively to the development of the American revolutionary movement and its ultimately successful defence of the unconditional right to free speech and assembly.

In this way it can be seen that the use of sortition was integral to the process of Anglo-American democratic development even from its early beginnings in pre-feudal society. In the modern period its use became essential to social progress and yet was also limited by factional rivalry and suspicion. Without stable unity of leadership and agreement between at least two of the contending powers - aristocracy, monarchy and democracy - sortition appears a less attractive constitutional option to rival aristocratic factions because it is itself the organisational form which is least amenable to monopolistic control from above. Yet without the right to trial by jury the American revolutionary movement may never have developed a leadership able to remain at liberty while organising popular support for the democratic struggle. In short, without the right to trial by jury modern democracy, even in its limited representational form, may never have been established. By the 18th century therefore the transition to government by consent had begun, but had been complicated and distorted chiefly by a combination of factors arising from the reasons cited above. The secret ballot had been introduced but only within narrow parameters. Sortition had been suggested as a goal of constitutional reform but rejected, not because it had been demonstrated to be intrinsically flawed or been tried in practice and found wanting but because of factional impediments to democratic progress.

The commercial and trading aristocracy within modern society developed on a more influential and cosmopolitan foundation following the English revolutions. The integral relation between Jewish diplomacy and finance with the British state dates from this period, following Cromwell's decision to annul the feudal ban on such influence, itself originally inspired by Christ's famously demonstrated contempt for banking practices, which in the ancient world were frequently conducted in temples for reason of security.

The protestant cause in the medieval period gained support in the world of finance and commerce chiefly because it adopted a more pragmatic approach to these activities. In this context Cromwell aimed to enlist the influence exerted by Jewish diplomacy on world affairs for English republican purposes. Religious suspicions in regard to usury do nevertheless have a commonsensical foundation, especially when consideration is given to the fact that it was the financial aristocracy which gained most from the English revolutions, and which thereafter has exerted a more powerful mode of influence upon political development.

While Harrington's suggestions had indicated the possibility of genuinely democratic development, what instead transpired in practice was the substitution of one bluntly crude system of direct patronage based on blood ties and land ownership for another in which power could be exercised less directly but just as effectively through more sophisticated and discreet methods of influence and control. Jewish banking financed the conquest of Ulster by William of Orange. The origins of elective aristocracy, long before its mature metamorphosis to representative democracy, begin with this process, as does the preponderant role of banking and finance in world affairs.

Freemasonry, the Bank of England and the National Debt were all established in the period following the Glorious Revolution. British Parliamentary and borough elections, founded almost exclusively on election by choice, not sortition, similarly develop in this context, and along with the party system come to increasingly supplant and subsume both the feudal practice of appointment during the 18th century and the genuinely non-partisan democratic inclinations of the English revolutions. Freemasonry played a leading role in the American, French and European revolutions. Marxism, as does most social theory, effectively ignores this fact. This phenomenon however needs to be taken account of in relation to democratic development.

Freemasonry has sought to portray itself as a symbiotic, not parasitic, ally of free thought. No reasonable person can deny this claim is problematic given masonic organisational practices and the facts of history, which include the rise and decline of the American Anti-Masonic party, fourteen US Presidents openly named as freemasons, and a shrine to J. Edgar Hoover in the Washington DC Masonic temple. Such evidence of conspiratorial influence in the political realm cannot be ignored, especially given the suspicions it has aroused in Europe and the Arab world. A widespread belief is that freemasonry has long served the interests of an international Jewish cabal of the super rich headed by the Rothschild dynasty, patrons of the Rockefeller family and thus the United Nations itself. There is no concrete proof of this murky allegation however, and so it cannot serve as a basis for firm conclusions. Nevertheless it is a matter of public record that from Metternich to the Third Way the Rothschild dynasty has been involved in global diplomacy and intrigue on both sides of the political spectrum sometimes at one and the same time for over two centuries. Political analysis should therefore be alert to suspect relations between finance and politics, including communism, not least when account is taken of publicly admitted facts such as that most Bolshevik leaders were Jews, along with the recent disclosure of the former de facto Soviet state secret that Lenin himself was of Jewish descent.

Though theory is more safely informed by an approach which is sceptical, it must also be comprehensive and free from all constraints of censorship while at the same time maintaining a clear focus on the most important factors of influence upon social and political development. In this regard the aristocrat Thomas Jefferson was quite clear that despite the seeming complexity of political allegiances they can all nevertheless be understood within a single framework of analysis: 'Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two classes 1) those who fear and distrust the people and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes 2) those who identify with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them therefore liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object. The last appellation of aristocrats and democrats is the true one, expressing the essence of all.'

Judged by this standard it can be seen that despite the claims of freemasonry to the contrary it can be more adequately understood as a disguised form of aristocratic, not democratic organisation. As such, like hereditary monarchy, it is not natural, that is to say it does not reliably combine virtue and talent, but can even exclude them altogether. As self selecting aristocrats freemasons unsurprisingly tend to regard themselves as better qualified to rule, or at least a more wise depository of the public interest, than the people themselves, and on these grounds can be tempted to use, at certain decisive moments, the power of secret influence - that is to say, force - not only against the higher classes but also against the people. Moreover, the principle of unlimited centralism at the heart of freemasonry, whereby the lower ranks cannot know the identity of those holding higher rank, means that the elite rulers of the highest masonic degree comprise an aristocracy whose power is not accountable to anybody. They are less accountable than even absolute monarchs.

Although there is a case for using such organisational methods in conditions of dictatorship and tyranny, in states where men are free to think, speak and write, they assume an increasingly negative character the longer and more stable the conditions of free speech and assembly are established. In modern democracies the common people enjoy reasonable access to educational facilities and have no need of secret, artificial aristocracies, no matter how well intentioned they may be. In these circumstances masonic practices are an impediment to the organisation, scrutiny and election of competent, honest leadership in politics and may serve as a locus of power for new forms of aristocracy to develop in inverse relation to the democratic cause, in which the temptation to use force against the people assumes a more purely reactionary character.

Against the background of these considerations any serious appraisal of masonic influence in the transition to government by consent must take account of the strong possibility that it has served to disguise, confuse, and misrepresent the relation between its own aristocratic interests and those of general democratic progress. This consideration is more especially pertinent in the modern period given the accentuated importance of information and intelligence in the world of business, politics and military affairs. Freemasonry may or may not be at the heart of secret influence in the world, but in either possibility it remains the case that both political and economic power during and since the industrial revolution has been integrally connected to and dependent on an expanding realm of espionage and intelligence agencies to degrees which are historically unprecedented. It is this dependence which has led sociologists such as George Simmel to conclude that 'under modern conditions, the lie, therefore, becomes something much more devastating than it was earlier, something which questions the very foundations of our life.'

These factors are best taken account of - certainly their possible effects, known and unknown, on political development cannot simply be ignored. The provisions for intervention in world affairs postulated through the infamous protocols of the elders of Zion are shocking but they are not especially out of place given the realities of international diplomacy in the industrial age. As many observers have remarked, they were knowledgeably crafted, either by the Tsarist secret police or by the elders themselves. They encapsulate doctrines of a Machiavellian character which theoretically any major power could discreetly uphold as a guide to realpolitik in the exercise of state power among all classes and nations. Their essential points can be summarised as follows:

1) International control, through ownership, of banking and communications is a form of power greater than the military capacities of any single state, no matter how strong it may be, because war requires both money and the support of political and public opinion while allies and enemies can be played off one against the other. The viability of any regime can be decisively influenced by economic methods, including the creation of crises.

2) As with nations, different policies can be coordinated to influence opposing classes. The rich can be influenced by greed, but the idealistic striving of the lower classes for equality can also be exploited and used to help undermine unfriendly rulers. Radical movements for change can be fomented and misled by promoting utopian theories of social development which are extremist and not based on practical experience. In this way the striving of the poor for equality can be used to destabilise an enemy power and establish a dictatorship. Economic power and secret influence among the rich and poor alike can be used to promote and exploit freedom at one and the same time to create chaos, and with this the conditions for establishing dictatorship. In this way the striving of the poor for equality can ultimately be rendered futile, thus making the poor easier to rule after their illusions have been shattered and power has been taken from the old regime and used to crush dissent.

3) Stealth is very important to the success of these policies. Greed and fear are the most reliable motives to be exploited to influence human behaviour. Bribery, blackmail and blacklisting are instruments of policy to this purpose. The masses and most of their representatives are relatively easy to control by the use of such methods provided they remain cowed, ignorant, or confused. Tenaciously alert individuals who cannot be corrupted are far more dangerous than huge numbers of the unorganised masses and so must be dealt with by exceptional methods, if necessary up to and including murder. Although it is not explicitly included in the protocols the masonic practice of unlimited centralism in organisation is a cardinal principle of all clandestine methods which best meets the requirement of stealth. Plausible deniability - an option if available no practitioner of the black arts would forego even for trivial purposes - can only be fully guaranteed if this practice is fully upheld.

Countless numbers of influential persons, from Adolf Hitler to Winston Churchill (the freemasons have lost his letter of resignation from their order), have taken the protocols seriously. The superstitious alarm and hysteria they have generated however is out of proportion to world realities. After all, irrespective of whether they are a product of Tsarist black propaganda or Jewish intrigue, policies of this or similar kinds are fairly common among secret services. Sun Tzu preceded the protocols by over a thousand years; the Machiavellian emphasis on greed and fear is merely a transposition of Adam Smith's observations in regard to economic motivation to the realm of politics. Whether they have been put to the service of Jewish, German, Austrian, British or Russian national interests all three components of such policy could feasibly have been pursued by any intelligence service, with the possible exception of the first component, since this is related both to the amount of wealth controlled by those executing such a strategy and also their status in regard to the requirements of plausible deniability.

When Metternich, until Hoover probably the most influential conservative intelligence chief in world history, met to discuss international affairs with Rothschild, director of the most powerful business intelligence service in history, it seems unlikely that conspiratorial issues would not have been mentioned. The ambassadorial joke goes that Metternich rushed excitedly up to Rothschild one day exclaiming 'we've won, we've won!' Rothschild asked who exactly he was referring to. Metternich replied that he had not decided yet.

To summarise the question of freemasonry in its relation to social development therefore, it may be concluded that this institution perhaps more than any other gives visible expression to the fact that one of the obstacles to democratic progress is that aristocratic forces have sought to exploit the transition to government by consent for their own selfish purposes, most usually by hidden methods. In that regard, this issue provides a demonstrative model of the methods by which exploitation of the democratic cause by aristocratic factions takes place. All, as it has so far been presented to public scrutiny in regard to this transition, is unlikely to be as it appears. When examining political development on a general basis this consideration should be taken into account, most especially in regard to the manifest failure of all movements and regimes to establish democratic government in a form consistent with common sense understanding, despite the self evident nature of its most basic truths.

Although therefore it is not possible to compile a detailed analysis of the exact chronology and sequence of events by which the exploitation and subversion of democratic development for aristocratic purposes takes place, insights may still be gained by maintaining a clear focus on the basic truths of common sense in their relation to those processes, issues and conflicts which are most closely associated with and implicated in the failure of radicalism to maintain steady progress in constructing a democratic order in conformity with these truths. In this way an appraisal of the role of and relation between the factors impeding democratic progress cited above can be formulated which can illustrate the perspective and standpoint of common sense in regard to what has been the true course of events in the transition from rule by force to government by consent in the modern period.

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