The “broom” he uses is intimidation, censorship, and outright banning of people who do not toe his line in the sand. The fact is, he uses this “broom” to sweep away any opinion at variance with his own about what is “ok” to talk about. It is this “Conformity or
I will not name the brother, or the forum, as it is really unimportant. I use his “broom” only as a metaphor for what seems to be a challenge today. Masonry is about freedom, to think, to talk, to act, to chose, yet there are those who, in favor of something they call harmony, are willing to shut down conversations.
Why and how did this come about? How can a fraternity, dedicated to freedom, come to a place where that very freedom is curtailed in the name of something called harmony? There is but a single word to describe it, and it is, unfortunately, simply fear. Fear of having your cherished world view challenged, fear of different thought, fear of other facts, fear of change.
Yet, as freemasons, we should be able to examine any issue, thought or problem, openly, as intelligent men. Benjamin Franklin wrote that intelligent men should approach issues with an open mind. That means we should hear out all sides, weigh the facts, then make a rational decision.
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the American way these past few decades. “Debate” seems to have gone from rational examination to demonization. The process no longer seems to be one of the exchange of ideas, but one of demolishing your opponent, of crushing them, not only on the merits of the argument to hand, but also personally, and often professionally.
Masonry, fortunately, gives us a way to learn from each other, to exchanges points of view, to discuss issues on their merits, as brothers, circumscribing our desires so that we can meet on the level and act by the plumb. When we meet on this basis, as masons, we should be able to discuss any issue, no matter how contentious, without resorting to the tactics of personal destruction.
Experience demonstrates that most people that have opinions about issues, but if we act as brothers, as adults, as men and of course, as masons, we can share and learn from each other. When we act as masons, there is no reason to use the broom named harmony, because real harmony exists, and there is no need to sweep things under the carpet.
Instead of a broom named harmony, freemasonic principles offer us the methodologies to work together.
Keeping Charity in mind, we can remember that our brothers are never villains, by keeping brother love in mind, we can remember that our brothers are our friends, and that they have only our best interests at heart, even when we view the world differently. Keeping prudence in mind, we can chose our words carefully, and remember that our brothers are doing the same.
Keeping all the tenets of Freemasonry clearly in mind, we can speak openly and freely, so that even as we disagree, because men of good will can and will disagree in a most friendly manner, we can remain brothers. Most of all, we should recall Masonic tolerance, so that as we deal with our brothers, we listen to what they are saying.
It is our differences that make us whole, not our similarities. If we keep that in mind, we will have no need of false harmony, created only by sweeping our differences under the carpet. We can join of differences, and by understanding each other, understand ourselves. To use a Masonic metaphor:
When polishing a stone, we do not use a smooth stone, but a rough stone, that by rubbing the two together we end up with a smooth surface, a perfect ashlar.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.