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This topic ought to be interesting.

I would say just with US history that a legitimate government doesn't mean the elected or appointed government. In 1770's, the English government was tyrannical in the taxing and lack of representation in the Parliament. So it may not be considered as legitimate by John Adams, George Washington, and Paul Revere.

Look at the 1860s, many Masons, including Albert Pike, took up arms against what they believed to be a tyrannical government. Masonic courtesy extended across the battfields and even throughout POW camps during this war. This almost seems that the Northern Masons didn't hold any animosity to their Southern Brethern for starting the war. Read Bro Robert Allen's, "House Undivided" for some really good encounters between our predecessors.

Following their examples, it would seem that it is up to each Brother to use his own conscience to decide the truth as he understands and lives it. And possibly it is not up to us to determine if he is correct in following his conscience.

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The United States Civil War has always been fascinating to me.

Prior to it, most especially in the South, a great many people did not believe that the United States was a country as we understand it today. Rather New York was their country, Georgia was their country, whatever State they lived in was their country. For those who believed in this way, the United States was simply an organization of independent countries, existing only for the common defense and commerce.

At the founding of our country, this view was the norm in every State. That is why we refer to them till this day as States and not provinces.

But we have lost so much of that early history. How many kids in school today are actually taught that George Washington was the first President of the United States after the Constitution took effect? I fear few if any. It is so easy to forget that the United States existed prior to the Constitution, and there were Presidents of the United States prior to Washington. Men who, like him, served their people with tremendous honor and distinction.

The Civil War radically changed the way American's viewed government, and the scope of central governmental power.

There is a vestige of this still existing in Freemasonry. As designed, Freemasonry has a single Grand Lodge per country. The United Grand Lodge of England, The Grand Orient of France, The Grand Lodge of Russia. We've got 50. Because when American Freemasonry was born, each individual State/colony was then considered to be its own country by those within it.

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If you look at what was unfolding at the time, I believe Washington him self kept to the oath. He fought for the local government. I think the phrase was very much an American invention following the Revolution. If you remember up until the 1820s Masonry was seen as the "keeper of the republic." Its influence in society waned with the rise of the Antimanic party until the 1840s. That said, This paragraph was meant to serve as a guide post to any new mason to be a upright citizen, contributing to their local government. I take “As a citizen, you are enjoined to be exemplary in the discharge of your civil duties, by never proposing or countenancing any act which may have a tendency to subvert the peace and good order of society; by paying due obedience to the laws under whose protection you live…”as: Do what you must to protect your self, but do it on your own accord, don't do it in the name of Masonry. The masters oath is in reference to being a master, leader. Don't use your position as a bully pulpit. Build, don't tear down. IMHO

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One has to look at what has become a fairly common tactic used by people who may be in disagreement or conflict with an ideal. That tactic is the convenient denial of an association with an ideal as it fits the narrative or situation. If you are a Mason, you are a Mason, and if you take a stand that may be contrary to a Masonic ideal, precept or perception, the idea that you are able to somehow magically separate that particular subset ideal from your Masonic association by merely saying I am not doing this as a Mason, but as my own person or personal belief, then you really need to take a look at how you are living your life and are you being truthful to your own obligation. If you are perceived as a Mason by your peer / community group you are going to be unable to separate that perception to take a stand or action contrary to a Masonic precept. You don't get to flip light switch's on and off as it fits a particular situation and not another.

I live in an HOA that has a Board of Directors and Committee members that live in a fantasy clown world. As members of such private governing bodies, the members regularly insult and demean home owners in meetings and in other interactions. The minute they get called out by somebody, they say " Oh , I did that as a private citizen not a Board of Directors member so I cannot be held responsible for that.

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I agree, personally you can not disassociate what you do to the reflection of how it will appear to the public. That said, you shouldn't be am evangelist for violence and use the forum of masonry to promote it. Much less, use your position in an elected masonic office to lead men to insurrection. Those items are for the profane world and in that way they can be segregated. I believe that to be the intent of this phrasing. Half of South America was separated from ruling theocracy with many masons involvement in the several revolutions that led to separation and self rule. Those men or revolutionaries led armies and political parties. However in keeping to that way of thinking it wasn't the lodge that organized the movement. Still, you see what the church's thought on Freemasonry is. It saw free private and independent thought as a danger to its place in society. Public opinion will be what it is.

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One of the worst decisions I ever made was buying a home in a community with an HOA. An even worse decision was running for the HOA Board and being elected President.

A bunch of petty tyrants, with just about zero checks on them.

I honestly can't fathom how such a quasi private regulatory scheme ever took root in this country.

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It is pretty amazing. The good thing is that in my HOA anyway, the incompetence of the Board of Directors and the HOA management, and their constant focus on infighting and adversarial interactions with the home owners has prevented them from running it properly and thusly increasing our dues.

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I just have a hard time understanding why we, as a society, would have ever created, and widely adopted, a private governance system that took the very worst parts of City Government, none of the best parts, and decided to give that flawed system power over our private property.

But heck, I have a hard time understanding why we thought it was a good idea to stop using a grid system for neighborhood streets, so perhaps I'm just a throwback to an earlier time.

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Freemasonry must always stand in opposition to brutal tyranny, for as shown in our rituals, it is only suitable for free men. I think that it also must stand in opposition for reasons of legitimate self defense, for with the notable exception of Cuba, vicious dictatorships have never permitted it to exist.

I think that Freemasonry lost a great deal following the Morgan Affair during the Anti-Masonic aftermath. We gave up a great deal in efforts to lessen the blows.

Does Blue Lodge Masonry teach the high ideals of moral government anymore so that it could serve as a keeper of the Republic? I don't think so. I think it doesn't because it confuses those with politics, and of course politics is rightly precluded from the Lodge.

But talking about the intellectual and moral underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution for example is not politics.

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I think maybe i miscommunicated in my haste. I don't see freemasonry as a arm of a republic, but in 1820 and before it saw it self as such. Members ran for office and used their membership as acknowledged credo.

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I think that prior to the Morgan Affair and its aftermath, Freemasonry did, as you say, have an outsized influence. Masons were driving events. Heck, we had a Grand Master fight and die in the battle of Bunker Hill.

But I don't think that we had that influence because Freemasons made up a large percentage of the population. They didn't. Freemasonry was small then.

I think it had that influence because of the quality of men who were Freemasons.

This has nothing to do with me, but it has to do with all the rest of you, but just look at the quality of discussion here on Emeth. It is superb. Every man who participates here adds value and interest. The things everyone here post are interesting and relevant.

Just compare that to so much of the drivel found on easier platforms like Facebook. It takes a lot less effort to post there, much less is expected, and most discussions there show it.

If Masonry had more ways to highlight the very best (all of you) and mute those who call themselves Masons while having no or little understanding of Freemasonry, our influence would grow, and we would attract men similar to ourselves.

We could also better learn from each other. In the short time that Emeth has existed, I've learned a lot. Men posting here have changed my mind about things, more than once, but even more importantly, driven me to think more deeply about things. That is vital if we are to build a better Masonic experience for tomorrow than we have today.

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I don’t for a second think that those sections of the charge existed before the anti-masonic movement. They were added in response to current sentiments at the time.

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This is interesting to me, because I agree, it seems obvious to me as well that these are an addition. An innovation if you will.

I've never actually looked into when they may have been added, so only have my hunch, and as such, I assure you that it isn't worth a wooden nickel.

My hunch has always been that these were added long before the Anti-Masonic movement, and added in England. I've figured that they were added by the Masons loyal to the Hanoverian Monarchs who were then in conflict with the deposed Stuart Monarchs.

But as I say, that's just my hunch. We should look into it. I do agree though, they seem an obvious addition for political reasons.

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As already noted, one could hardly consider the tyrannical taxation without representation attempts to impose colonial rule on the colonists can be considered a legitimate government and implying that Washington rose against a legitimate government is not a fair portrayal of his actions against the Crown and King George.

As far as patiently submitting to the laws of the government, this one could go on forever into schematics and word definition. In the current situation in Oregon the governors use of

" executive orders", "mandates" and " guidelines" and the use of state agencies to enforce such nonsense is not considered "law" under most current definitions. Laws have status as ordinances, with criminal code numbers that allow proper enforcement and are properly prepared and enacted either by the Legislature and / or the ballot and referendum process by the people So calling or assuming that the governors actions are " law" and applying a Masonic reference to obedience of such is way too literal for me when such government has subverted the legal process in a successful and ongoing control of the people and their free movements in society.

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May 13, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

Each of us wrestles with an organizing principle for our actions so that we can get along in society.

Over the millennia, we call part of this “justice.” If we’re lucky, we live in a time and place where our sense of justice, and the next man’s, and the law, largely overlap. At the same time, we know our lawmakers are imperfect (“The law is a ass.”).

We know law can be perverted to protect injustice: cartelism, influence peddling, slavery, Holocaust.

At some point each of us will decide whether we will tolerate injustice, ignore it, flee it, reform it, or overthrow it.

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Your point that lawmakers are imperfect is I think very important to the discussion. Even our most revered Founding Fathers were imperfect men, with huge blind spots and lesser or greater moral failings.

That is why I think they felt it so necessary to place an intellectual and moral underpinning to their Revolution, and why it achieved its aims instead of slipping into dictatorship as so many have. Because those underpinnings, and the lofty ideals they inspired, were things that we could strive for, those together much greater than any man or group of men.

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May 13, 2021Liked by Cameron M. Bailey

What are our Civil duties? I think we’re called upon to discharge our right to vote and our duty to pay taxes. The first is certainly something we should all strive to participate in, the second can be burdensome and at times difficult but necessary.

I think as a fraternity, because one of our tenets is to not talk politics in lodge, we fail to work as a group on certain issues that would benefit us or conversely, those that might harm us. We seem to be much happier to impose rules and regulations on ourselves. We in-fight over ridiculous issues such as the shape of an apron or the color of its border. I haven’t seen brothers on social media call for open revolution but close. I have seen brothers assign derogatory names to members of opposing parties or ideas. To what end? To promote brotherly love? To promote unity. Do we need to work on subduing our passions?

Yesterday we talked about myths. I don’t think much of what we may call “news”, whether on social media, network television, podcasts or blogs is really anything more than myths sprinkled with bits of facts. Talking heads are not news, they are, at best an opinion but usually a slant on their take of the news. We would all be better if, before we jumped on a keyboard about an issue, we we’re reminded that all the “news” outlets/sources only survive by selling advertising. We’re losing our civility. Maybe we would be better served if we turned our smart phones, computers and televisions off and read a good book or two.

Getting back to the question. We are, I believe, truly called upon to work within the system we have in order to effect change. To speak out, peacefully and civilly, when governments overstep. Whether that government is the civil authority, or our own GL “government”. We are all men of differing backgrounds and differing opinions but we are also taught “that the cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and Brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree”.

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>>"I think as a fraternity, because one of our tenets is to not talk politics in lodge, we fail to >>work as a group on certain issues that would benefit us or conversely, those that might harm >>us."

I agree. We should not discuss politics in Lodge. But discussing the moral supports upon which legitimate government is based is not politics.

I think we can make an easy comparison to our ban on discussion of religion. We should not discuss religion in Lodge. That doesn't mean that we don't pray in Lodge, or mention God in Lodge. It is the same with government, moral supports, lofty ideals, these things are not politics.

>>"I haven’t seen brothers on social media call for open revolution but close. I have seen >>brothers assign derogatory names to members of opposing parties or ideas. To what end? >>To promote brotherly love?"

I agree, this kind of thing is unbecoming of a Mason. If a guy wants to be a crazy Facebook warrior for one political faction or another, more power to him. But to do that while illustrating one's page with the Square and Compass, loudly proclaiming one's Masonic affiliation is wrong.

I will say though that this is a trap that is easy to fall into. Not too long ago I was working up a post on an issue. Not an obnoxious post, a good polite post, but a political post about a current issue. I mentioned it to a Brother, he reminded me that as my page is Freemasonry all the time, existing for the promotion of Freemasonry, it would harm my message. Even though it was perfectly civil, for it was still outside of the bounds of Freemasonry. I heeded his advice, and I thanked him for it.

My point is, in telling of my own error, that we need to remember that Freemasonry is sacred. It stands apart from the profane world. Because of that separation, the two don't mix well together.

>>"Yesterday we talked about myths. I don’t think much of what we may call “news”, whether >>on social media, network television, podcasts or blogs is really anything more than myths >>sprinkled with bits of facts."

This is I think exactly correct. It is no secret that by trade, for most of my career I've been a partisan political operative. I've had one side, and agree or not, it has been my job to argue and defend that side with all my might.

Much like the slanted news passed off as journalism today.

But the thing is, in order to argue well, I need to actually know what the heck is going on. I've learned that can't be done watching Fox or MSNBC. In order to actually get a reasonably full picture, one has to watch Fox and MSNBC. It is a sad commentary on American journalism, but it is true. Both sides spin, so to try to get a good picture, you have to see both ways it is spun.

>>"Maybe we would be better served if we turned our smart phones, computers and >>televisions off and read a good book or two."

The attention economy, driven by advertising, has been a disaster for reasoned discourse.

But, let's not forget poor little Emeth here. I'm all for reading books and the like, but we need to turn on our computers for our chats here!

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We all have members ho speak loudly against current government. To you and on social media. As Master of my Lodge, I avoid this behavior and good counsel to keep their passion in due bounds. Personal beliefs are important, but and it's a big but, has no place in a Lodge meeting. It does nothing to help Masonry and if you boast you're a Mason on your social media and spout political messages that could lead people to see Masons in a bad light. Yes I have very strong opinions about our current government, but I don't bring them to work or Lodge. Others, unfortunately, including Lodge Officers, don't see beyond their opinions. Enough said.

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Very good points, well said and taken Brother.

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For what it is worth, here's my take on it:

Unquestionably, by the laws, standards, and practices of the time, by all the then accepted measures, the British Government was the legal and legitimate government when our Founding Fathers took up the arms of rebellion.

But in the long course of reaching that decision, they did something that I believe to be unique in human history. They defined what a legitimate government was, not using the standards of man, but using the standards of something much greater than man.

They said that men had unalienable rights, granted by God, and that the only legitimate purpose of government was to defend those rights. That government had no right to exist without the consent of the people.

They went on to declare that if a government overstepped those bounds, the people had an absolute right to overthrow that government.

This was, up until that time, perfectly unique in the world. I would contend that it still is.

That to my mind, clears the question of legitimacy. The existing British government was the legitimate government under the then current definition. The Founding Fathers gave us a new definition of legitimacy, and under that new definition, the British government failed the test.

>>"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by >>their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of >>Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their >>just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government >>becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it"

This is I think precisely why the United States revolution worked. It attained the goals for which it was started. Because it had an intellectual underpinning. Because it was not an armed mob, fighting without truly knowing why, destroying for the sake of destruction, but it was rather a group of dedicated men fighting for ideals much greater than even they themselves.

This is also why I think virtually all other violent revolutions around the world have failed. The Russians did not envision the horror of Stalin when they revolted against the Czar. Our Brothers in Cuba did not envision dictatorial rule when they helped Castro. The French did not expect The Terror when they deposed their king. All of these revolutions, and countless more just like them turned to tyranny because there was no intellectual underpinning, no ideals greater than any man underpinning them. They were subject to the weaknesses of man, because they were about man, they weren't about principals greater than man.

Did Washington, assuming that he was obligated by a charge similar to what we are now, violate that charge by taking up arms against his legitimate government? Not in my opinion, because Washington, along with his other Founders, first created a new definition of legitimacy, and under that definition the existing government no longer qualified.

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" Not in my opinion, because Washington, along with his other Founders, first created a new definition of legitimacy, and under that definition the existing government no longer qualified.

This would hold true today as well. The government itself has created new definitions of its own legitimacy with its imposition of illegal controls and restrictions on the people. The people rightly can question those controls and actions as to the legitimacy of such and if such is not legit then speak out against and peacefully and civilly effect change.

Kind of like 2 sides to a contract. If one side changes the terms of the contract with out the agreement of the other, then the contract is no longer valid and enforceable.

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I don't disagree. Government in 2020-2021 has done things that when I was in school we were taught were so wrong that they were what we were fighting against in our Cold War.

Yet, once again, as with every election, the overwhelming number of Congressmen and Legislators were re-elected. Generally speaking we relelect these folks around 90% of the time. Do we, as a society truly believe that 90% of our Congressmen are the best possible option? I don't, I don't think anyone else does either. But that is how we end up voting.

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A very short take on the last question:

>>"How do we interpret them in nations in which the government itself murders Freemasons, such >>as Spain under Franco?"

In my view it is unquestionably evil for a government to murder its own citizens. It is the duty of all men and Masons, charged by God, to fight evil. I believe that a man of faith, as all Regular Freemasons must be, when confronted by so obvious of evil as murder, must act in opposition to that evil. To stand idly by, watching as another is murdered is itself an evil act.

Yet the horrors of violent tyranny survive, because men who know that the horror is wrong, do nothing.

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And that starts with questioning the wrong at a minimum.

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Agreed.

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