San Jose Police Bureaucrat Busted for Fentanyl Importation
The executive director of the San Jose Police Officers' Association faces charges of drug trafficking for allegedly importing large quantities of synthetic opiates into the United States. Joanne Marian Segovia, 64, a twenty year employee of the police union, stands accused of “attempt[ing] to unlawfully import a controlled substance (specifically valeryl fentanyl).” Filed on March 27, 2023, the charges in question are based on US Customs and Border Protection records, which show that “between October 2015 and January 2023, Segovia had approximately 61 shipments mailed to her home” from international drug traffickers based primarily in Asia, especially India and China. According to court documents, the shipments of narcotics were marked as mundane items like “Wedding Party Favors” and “Gift Makeup.” When held for questioning, Segovia placed the blame for the illegal shipments on a family friend and personal housekeeper who, according to Segovia, used her smartphone to impersonate her in order to place the orders. Seized chat logs from Segovia's Whatsapp account, however, tell a different story. Authorities believe that Segovia was in fact using a computer at her work office to arrange the illegal shipments. In several different text exchanges seized by authorities, Segovia goes as far as to casually divulge department info to an Indian drug trafficker. For instance, a text from May 2, 2022 reads “Im so sorry, im on a business trip because we had 2 officers that got shot! I should be home tomorrow night...” The allegations against Segovia are particularly troubling, not only because the mass importation of incredibly deadly narcotics like fentanyl leads to upwards of 100000 overdoses a year, but because of the complicity of law enforcement in this crisis. Though comparatively rare, perhaps, the case of Joanne Marian Segovia is not an isolated incident. It is unclear whether any Segovia had any accomplices in the San Jose law enforcement community, or whether any colleagues were privy to her dealings. AP reports that Segovia's professional associates were shocked by the allegations. According to San Jose police union spokesperson Tom Saggau, “we didn't have any reason to suspect her.” The ignorance of Segovia's colleagues in law enforcement is hardly comforting, however. If a 64-year old police bureaucrat can be so brazen as to conduct international drug trafficking from her department work computer, under the very nose of the San Jose police force, one can only imagine what drug trafficking crimes routinely transpire in police departments across the nation, on the taxpayer dollar no less, while thousands die every day from the toxic drugs flooding our streets. (Take, for instance, two cases from 2022 alone, one involving an officer from NYPD, another from Columbus PD.) How many major police forces harbor (knowingly or not) such criminals on staff, even on active duty, all while we we pour billions every year into a failed war on drugs?
Psychedelics, Psyops, and Secret Societies
Hallucinogens are hip again. Far out. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021 saw a record-high rate of 8% for past-year hallucinogen use among young adults. With rising rates of hallucinogen use has also come a general softening of old attitudes toward laws outlawing psychedelic drugs. Oregon, for instance, decriminalized possession of psilocybin mushrooms in 2020. Colorado followed suit in 2022. As of December 2022, California is considering legislation (Senate Bill 58) that would do the same. Read the news for a month or two, and you are certain to encounter a slew of (mostly softball) pieces shining up the psychiatric, creative, or spiritual benefits of psychedelic drugs (and it's not just VICE anymore). Consider suggestively titled headlines such as The "Psychonauts" Training to Explore Another Dimension (New Republic), The Psychedelic Revolution is Coming. Psychiatry May Never Be the Same (New York Times), and Aaron Rodgers says psychedelic drugs led to "best season of my career" (New York Post). Such favorable perceptions of psychedelic drugs can, of course, be traced back to the familiar cultural “myth” of hallucinogens and the golden age of American counterculture in the 50s and 60s, when such popular intellectuals as Aldous Huxley, Richard Alpert (Ram Dass), R. Gordon Wasson, and Timothy Leary hailed the “mind-expanding” properties of drugs like LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, and mescaline. Picked up by the Beats and the Hippies, such drugs were used by some of the brightest young minds of those decades, catalyzing great artistic innovation and cultural change. Or so the story goes. But the closer we look, the more we realize that this familiar narrative is based on a misconception, if not a deception. Early psychedelic drug culture appears not so much to have grown organically, erupting into western consciousness from the “bottom up” as a vital outgrowth of marginalized countercultures in the 50s and 60s, but rather “top down” as a byproduct (or intentional manifestation) of abusive psychological ops such as MK-ULTRA, perpetrated upon the American public by elite factions in the CIA. Even foundational Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, first introduced to LSD through government-funded psychedelic experiments at Stanford University, asked himself: "Am I […] the product of one of the CIA's lamentable, ill-advised, or triumphantly successful experiments in mind control?" –Quoted from Martin A. Lee, Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. (USA: Grove Press., 1992) p xix If we interrogate the cultural myths about the so-called psychedelic era, many cracks begin to appear. In particular, disclosures about grossly abusive CIA involvement with psychedelic drug research (the notorious MK-ULTRA psyop in particular) have become a matter of public record. While not yet mainstream, such revelations are also no longer “fringe.” Yet, despite the public availability of verified historical accounts on the matter (see David McGowan, Henry Makow, Peter Levenda, Jim Keith), we have not yet been able to square these disturbing revelations with increasingly positive perceptions of psychedelic drug use. What are we to make of this? As a veteran of the Beat generation, poet, religious scholar, and conspiracy analyst Charles Upton had a front row seat to the psychedelic era. Upton delves into this impasse in Vectors of the Counter-Initiation (2012), a collection of essays probing the complex relationship between global political elites, occult ideologies, and the New World Order agenda. The ninth chapter Drug-Induced Mysticism Revisited: Interview with Charles Upton (p207-258), presented as a dialogue between Upton and Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, considers the impact of psychedelic drugs on public consciousness during the 20th century as a possible vector of occult influence. Upton remarks: And we also need, not just to remember, but to grasp the full import of, the fact that LSD was first distributed in the United States by the CIA, partly in the context of the infamous MK-ULTRA mind-control program, which included experiments practiced upon unsuspecting American citizens that were worthy to stand beside those conducted in the Nazi death camps [...] Timothy Leary was assigned to feed acid to the intelligentsia, Ken Kesey to everybody else; the idea was to compare how it acted under “controlled conditions” with its effects in a totally free-wheeling, “party” atmosphere. And the hippies actually knew about this! They said “SURE we were a CIA experiment, man – an experiment that GOT OUT OF CONTROL!” But the fact is that LSD initiated a kind of “bardo” or revelatory decay of American culture […] And the social engineers simply sat back and took notes. […] The hippies naively equated social control with a simplistic authoritarian repression; they rarely awoke to the fact that REAL control is based on co-optation, on the covert implantation of engineered beliefs and attitudes in the mass mind. (p239) Elaborating on this point, he cites examples of connections between the US intelligence community and psychedelic counterculture during the 1960s. He notes, for instance, that William Mellon Hitchcock, associate of CIA front organizations Castle Bank and Trust and Resorts International, was not coincidentally landlord of Timothy Leary's “psychedelic manor house” at Millbrook. Hitchcock was known to have paid chemists to produce “millions of doses of acid,” having collaborated with Robert “Tim” Scully to produce the famous “Orange Sunshine” LSD. (p241) As Upton reveals, such entanglements are only scratching the surface of elite involvement in psychedelic research. Cults and secret societies, in fact, have demonstrably steered psyops such as MK-ULTRA to study psychedelic drugs for their own questionable purposes. Upton presents a number of compelling pieces of evidence on the involvement of Freemasonry and other cults in the early history of psychedelic research, via vectors of influence in the intelligence community (see Endnote VII, p255-256) He quotes conspiracy researcher Jim Keith: "Curiously, another MK-ULTRA faction consisted of representatives of the Scottish Rite of Masonry, which had sponsored research into eugenics, psychiatry, and mind control since at least the 1930s. MK-ULTRA doctor Robert Hanna Felix was director of psychiatric research for the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and the director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Felix was the immediate senior of Dr. Harris Isbell, already noted in relation to MK-ULTRA. Another prominent Freemason involved in MK-ULTRA was Dr. Paul Hoch, financed by the Army Chemical Center." —Jim Keith, quoted from “The CIA and Control” in Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003) p65 Upton also notes the career of Andrija Puharich, a parapsychologist who who was involved with a new age divination cult which claimed to channel the will of a group of extraterrestrials called the Council of Nine. He quotes Keith: After the demise of Puharich's Round Table [Foundation, located in Glen Cove, Maine] he spent time with social engineer Aldous Huxley in Tecate, Mexico, again studying the effects of electronics on the human organism. Puharich was also employed at the Army's Chemical and Biological Warfare Center at Fort Detrich, Maryland, researching the effects of LSD for the CIA in 1954. He delved into the effects of digatoid drugs at the Permanente Research Foundation, with funding from the Sandoz Chemical Works. –Jim Keith, quoted from “Electronic Mind Control” in Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003) p176 Are cults and secret societies still involved in studying psychedelics? Evidence points in this direction. In the Afterword to chapter nine, Upton notes that during the 1990s, the Freemasons again took interest in funding psychedelic research. He writes: Some time after granting this interview, I talked with a physician acquaintance of mine who had participated in the second round of psilocybin experiments within academia in the 1990s; I hadn't realized that they had started up again that early. He investigated the source of the funding for the experiment he'd been part of at the University of New Mexico, and discovered that the money for the DMT research that led up to the experiments he had been involved in had been provided by the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research – the Freemasons!” (Afterword, p243) Upton corroborates this report with a quote from Dr. Rick Strassman himself, the same UNM scientist whose research (notably presented in the book DMT: The Spirit Molecule , turned into documentary film in 2010) was responsible for catapulting the hallucinogen DMT (dimethyltryptamine) into the public eye. Upton quotes Strassman (see Endnote VII): “A grant from a branch of the Masons, the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research, helped establish the merit of my study a year before I actually began it. Why the Masons had an interest in schizophrenia in general, and DMT in particular, I do not know, but I believe that garnering such support enhanced the esteem of my study in the eyes of the relevant regulatory and funding agencies.” (emphasis added) —Rick Strassman, quoted from “DMT: The Brain's Own Psychedelic” in Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2008) p48 You don't need to be a “square” to find this alarming. I do not particularly object to ethical scientific research on, or even limited therapeutic usage of, psychedelic drugs in a controlled psychiatric context (for treatment of PTSD, for instance). Do some people have positive, even genuinely therapeutic, experiences with psychedelics? Yes. Have thousands of otherwise harmless citizens been harshly, even unjustly, incarcerated for simple possession and personal use? Also, yes. Yet, there is reason to view the recent spate of media enthusiasm for psychedelic drug use with great suspicion. Patterns of cult and intelligence community involvement in hallucinogen research should be a huge “red flag.” We must be especially wary of propaganda which elevates drug trips to the level of mystical revelation, and thereby reifies the various visions and delusions experienced by the tripper. Projects such as the quest to “map” the DMT headspace and its resident “sentient entities” by researchers at Imperial College London's Center for Psychedelic Research, for instance, smack of occult influence. Even as alternative media giants like Joe Rogan excitedly promote such undertakings, I believe we should maintain skepticism, even caution, toward those who make such claims. Be safe out there, and as the hippies said, question authority. Especially if they're offering you drugs.
Freemasonry and the Founding Fathers
The role of Masonry in early American politics is a complex question. As mentioned in the previous introductory article on Freemasonry and American Politics, many of the most esteemed Founding Fathers (including at least nine of the fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence) were Freemasons. For instance, lodge registers and personal correspondences show that George Washington, Ben Franklin, Paul Revere, and Justice John Marshall, among others, were all active members of various lodges throughout the American colonies. Even so, the precise extent to which Masonic philosophies weighed on the political thought of the Founding Fathers is less than clear. Though it may be accurately said that 18th century Masonry was deeply sympathetic with Enlightenment philosophies, and that such philosophies also underpinned the American Revolution and our founding documents, it is difficult to fully isolate the political influence of Masonic doctrines on early American politics from the influence of Enlightenment values in the broadest sense. 20th century occult writer and 33rd degree Mason Manly P. Hall takes a rather extreme view on the issue. Hall asserts that the American Revolution was the culmination of a secretive humanitarian scheme by Masonic organizations to install a democratic civilization on the American continent according to Enlightenment principles. Hall's theory hinges on the supposed role of philosopher Sir Francis Bacon – Lord Chancellor, royal counsel to several English monarchs, and an alleged occult initiate – in executing the American colonization project according to a carefully laid philosophic plan. Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin, he claims, deliberately labored to build this long-prophesied utopia – the New Atlantis – in America: “When Benjamin Franklin went to France to be honored by the state, he as received too by the Lodge of Perfection, the most famous of all the French secret orders; and his name, written in his own fine hand, is in their record ledger […] Franklin spoke for the Order of the Quest [i.e. the Masonic tradition], and most of the men who worked with him in the early days of the American Revolution were also members. The plan was working out, the New Atlantis was coming into being, in accordance with the program laid down by Francis Bacon a hundred and fifty years earlier. The rise of American democracy was necessary to a world program. At the appointed hour, the freedom of man was publically declared.” – Manly P. Hall, The Secret Destiny of America (1944) p94-95 While Hall entertains some colorful, occasionally compelling historical theories about a Masonic grand design behind the American Revolution, the truth is probably less romantic, and a good deal messier. First, the fact that most Masonic lodges in the colonies were loyal to the British crown, while only a minority sided with the Revolution, is strong evidence against the sort of singular and unanimous Masonic design for American democracy imagined by Hall. Second, the exact degree to which any given Founder was initiated into Freemasonry is difficult to ascertain, and whether the social and fraternal or philosophic and occult aspects of Masonry took precedence for these men is largely a matter of speculation. Finally, the written opinions of the Founding Fathers on Masonry were by no means unanimous, ranging from cautious admiration to outright opposition. John Adams, in an amicable letter to a body of patriotic American Masons, praised them for safeguarding their own Masonic institutions against corruption and suspicions thereof. Yet, he also cautioned against the capacity for Masonic institutions for corruption. He writes: The zeal you display to vindicate your society from the imputations and suspicions of being “inimical to regular government and divine religion,” is greatly to your honor. It has been an opinion of many considerate men, as long as I can remember, that your society might, in some time or other, be made an instrument of danger and disorder to the world. Its ancient existence and universal prevalence are good proofs that it has not heretofore been applied to mischievous purposes; and in this country I presume that no one has attempted to employ it for purposes foreign from its original institution. But in an age and in countries where morality is, by such numbers, considered as mere convenience, and religion a lie, you are better judges than I am, whether ill uses have been or may be made of Masonry. – John Adams, “To The Freemasons of the State of Maryland” (July 1798) George Washington expressed similar opinions to Adams, holding that Masonry was an imperfect but fundamentally moral institution: “So far as I am acquainted with the principles & Doctrines of Free Masonry, I conceive it to be founded in benevolence and to be exercised only for the good of mankind. If it has been a Cloak to promote improper or nefarious objects, it is a melancholy proof that in unworthy hands, the best institutions may be made use of to promote the worst designs.” — George Washington, in a draft of a letter to the Grand Lodge of Free Masons of the State of Maryland (8 November 1798) Yet, even from the pen of Washington, the notion of an elite secret society, with secret occult doctrines, designed for the benefit of broader society, raises an eyebrow. And, despite his apparent good faith in the institutions of Freemasonry in America, George Washington (like Adams) also conveyed great concern for the subversion of Masonic lodges in America – particularly by radical quasi-Masonic elements from Europe, such as the Illuminati. He writes, in a different letter: “It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am. The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of seperation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a seperation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.” — George Washington, in Letter to the Reverend G. W. Snyder (24 October 1798) The aforementioned “Doctrines of the Illuminati” were associated with the most radical currents of late 17th century political thought – particularly the Jacobin politics of German philosopher Adam Weishaupt, who founded the the storied Bavarian Illuminati on May 1, 1776. While the Masonry of his time was strongly inclined toward Christianity, Weishaupt's founding of the Illuminati represented a pivot to a militant, anti-clerical (that is to say, anti-Catholic) ideology that was hostile toward the “less enlightened” values of the broader populace. A contemporary and critic of Weishaupt attributes the following quote to him: “What Christ even did for God and for Cæsar, why shall not I do against God and Cæsar, by means of adepts now become my apostles?" – Quote attributed to Weishaupt by A. Barruel, Code of the Illuminati: Part III of Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism (1798) By “God” and “Caesar,” Weishaupt refers to the Church and the Monarchy, the two primary targets of Jacobinism, particularly in the context of the French Revolution. The stated purpose of his organization, as detailed to his high-level initiates, was a fantasy of world domination: “[...] to rule in a secret society […] Not only over the lesser or more important of the populace, but over the best of men, over men of all ranks, nations, and religions, to rule without external force, to unite them indissolubly, to breathe one spirit and soul into them, men distributed over all parts of the world.” – Adam Weishaupt, "Greeting to the newly integrated illuminatos dirigentes", in Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften vol. 2 (1787) p45 Pursuant to this globalist pipedream, Weishaupt's Illuminati operated on principles of utmost secrecy, organized in such a way as to keep lower level initiates in the dark regarding the activities of their superiors. In a set of instructions for the governance of the order, Weishaupt writes that “the inferior lodges of Freemasonry are the most convenient cloaks for our grand object, because the world is already familiarized with the idea that nothing of importance, or worthy of their attention can spring from Masonry.” The foundational communist intellectual, Leon Trotsky reflected on the success of the Illuminati in fomenting revolutionary activity across Europe, writing that “in the eighteenth century, freemasonry became expressive of a militant policy of enlightenment, as in the case of the Illuminati, who were the forerunners of revolution.” (Leon Trotsky, Ch. 8, My Life) The full extent to which the Illuminati became a dominant force in the early American Freemasonry is not clear. Still, as Washington attested, Weishaupt's conspiracy had demonstrably reached American shores by the latter part of the 18th century, and began to expand substantially in America following the Revolution. During the 1780s, at least fourteen Illuminist lodges were established in America, and student societies promoting a fusion of Jacobin and Illuminist philosophies emerged as a political force at elite universities such as Yale and Harvard. (David Allen Rivera, Final Warning, 1.3) Like Washington, John Adams was an admirer of traditional Masonry, but also a critic of Weishaupt and his Illuminist cult, which he called “The most profound, most extensive and at the Same time the most delirious and the most wicked of all the mistic Empiricisms [i.e. philosophies] of ancient or modern times.” He remarked of Weishaupt: “How it was possible that Such a Knave [Weishaupt] could associate with two or three other Knaves and find So many Dupes and among them Princes Magistrates, Nobles Philosophers, Some of whom were respectable Characters I cannot conceive. […] The very Circumstance, that his Scheme for the Perfectibility of Man to Such a degree as to make Princes Magistrates and Laws unnecessary, was not to be expected to be accomplished in less than thousands of Years would to my contracted Mind, have been Sufficient to discredit it forever.” – From John Adams to John Quincy Adams (12 November 1807) Differing from Washington and Adams, Thomas Jefferson (though there is some question about the exact nature of his membership in secret societies), wrote favorably about Weishaupt, attributing the secrecy of his organization to the tyrannies under which he lived: “As Wishaupt [sic.] lived under the tyranny of a despot & priests, he knew that caution was necessary even in spreading information, & the principles of pure morality. He proposed therefore to lead the Free masons to adopt this object & to make the objects of their institution the diffusion of science & virtue. He proposed to initiate new members into his body by gradations proportioned to his fears of the thunderbolts of tyranny.” – Letter to Bishop James Madison (Jan. 31, 1800) This sympathetic perspective, vis a vis the other Founding Fathers, might be explained by Jefferson's strong sympathies with the French Revolution, of which Weishaupt was also an ardent supporter. The United States having only recently broken free of the British crown in military alliance with France, Jefferson was understandably hopeful about the future of Republican France under the banner of “liberty, equality, fraternity,” and perhaps viewed the doctrines of Weishaupt in this favorable light. Of the early American presidents, John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, was the most outspoken critic of Freemasonry, and an ally of the Anti-Masonic party. Unlike his father, who believed that Masonry was an inherently laudable institution, John Quincy Adams believed that “the Order of Freemasonry, if not the greatest, is one of the greatest moral and political evils under which the Union is now laboring” (Letters on the Masonic Institution, p124), and called for the outright abolition of the sect. “It is wrong,” he writes, “essentially wrong – a seed of evil which can never produce any good.” (p68) In addition to differing from the theological doctrines of the Freemasons, vis a vis Christian teachings, he also decried the corruption of law and morality in service of preferential treatment for members of Masonic fraternities, so that “ the force of the Masonic obligation was made visible in the courts of justice.” (Letters on the Masonic Institution, pxxix) He writes: “The sheriffs, whose duty it was under the laws of New York to select and summon the grand juries, were, in all the counties in which the deeds of violence [...] had been committed, Freemasons. Several of them had themselves been parties to the crime. They did not hesitate to make use of their power as officers of justice to screen the criminals from conviction. The jurors whom they summoned were most of them Masons, some of them participators in the offenses into which it became their civil duty to inquire.” – John Quincy Adams, Letters on the Masonic Institution pxxix-xxx In particular, John Quincy Adams objected to the secret oaths and grisly penalties which Masons invoked upon themselves in their initiatory rituals, contending that men bound by such secret oaths and hidden fraternal obligations could not participate in civic society with impartiality, and were liable to all sorts of ethical corruption. He writes, elsewhere: “I saw a code of Masonic Legislation, adapted to prostrate every principle of equal justice, and to corrupt every sentiment of virtuous feeling in the soul of him who bound his allegiance to it. I saw the practice of common honesty, the kindness of Christian benevolence, even the abstinence from atrocious crimes, limited exclusively, by lawless oaths and barbarous penalties, to the social relations between the brotherhood of the Craft. I saw slander organized into a secret, wide-spread and affiliated agency, fixing its invisible fangs into the hearts of its victims, sheltered by the darkness of the lodge-room, and armed with the never-ceasing penalties of death. I saw self-invoked imprecations of throats cut from ear to ear, of hearts and vitals torn out and cast forth to the wolves and vultures, of skulls smitten off, and hung on spires. I saw wine drank from a human skull with solemn invocation of all the sins of its owner upon the head of him who drinks from it. And I saw a wretched mortal man dooming himself to eternal punishment (when the last trump shall sound) as a guarantee for idle and ridiculous promises. Such are the laws of Masonry, such their indelible character...” – John Quincy Adams, Letters on the Masonic Institution p231-232 Clearly, there was no unanimous sentiment on Masonry among the Founding Fathers, but rather a wide range of opinions which constituted a lively debate over secret societies and their political implications.(Compare to the present day, when the very topic of secret societies has been effectively laughed out from our public discourse.) Even those Founding Fathers who were Masons themselves, or admirers of Masonry, were circumspect in their comments on the topic, acknowledging the potential for philosophical lodges to turn into conspiratorial, even criminal, fraternities. Were Washington's concerns that Freemasonry was susceptible to ill uses by the Illuminati justified? Or were the aims of Adam Weishaupt basically pure, albeit misunderstood, as Jefferson believed? Or, as John Quincy Adams feared, was Masonry “a seed of evil which can never produce any good”? abolished? Perhaps most importantly, what features of Freemasonry made it so attractive to subversive actors such as Weishaupt as a breeding ground for conspiracy? In the next article, we will explore the organization and political agendas of occult secret societies.
Freemasonry and Why it Matters
Part 1: Freemasonry and American Politics – An Overview In a 1961 speech, President John F. Kennedy warned the American people of the all too real dangers of secret societies. “The very word secrecy,” he said, “is repugnant in a free and open society, and we are as a people, inherently and historically, opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” JFK's words have perhaps never been more timely. Even so, they are only half true. The politics of a truly open society should be free from any and all clandestine influence. Yet, America has never been an open society – particularly in the corridors of political power. It is nigh impossible to study American history (honestly at least) without inquiring into the role of secret societies – particularly Freemasonry, and Masonic offshoots – in our culture and history from the eighteenth century on. Freemasonry, to condense an obscure and controversial history, is an occult tradition that traces its own origins to the Knights Templar of the First Crusade, and the religious mysteries of the ancient world. As the story goes, these secret doctrines were preserved by secretive guilds of medieval stone masons, and eventually evolved into secret societies called Masonic lodges, which became a fixture of upper-class society in Western Europe during the Renaissance and early modern period. During the colonial period, Freemasonry and adjacent Western European occult traditions such as Rosicrucianism and Illuminatism (the philosophy of the Illuminati) also established themselves in North America. Freemasonry is a hierarchical institution, divided into 33 degrees of occult initiation, which – as notable Masonic authors boast – employ a complex network of religious symbolism in order to obscure true Masonic doctrines from the unworthy and unenlightened. The influence of Freemasonry in American history is attested in the symbolism so conspicuously emblazoned across our national capitol. The physical layout of Washington DC and its monuments bears evidence of a Masonic influence in its city planning. Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the French engineer appointed to oversee the city planning of the capitol, was in fact a Freemason himself. The cornerstone of the US capitol building was laid by Masonic lodges on September 18, 1793, and Masonic religious motifs dominate the capitol city, from the Washington Monument to the IRS headquarters. And, of course, there are the familiar, yet alien, images on the back of the one dollar bill. On the right hand, an eagle grasping an olive branch, and a bundle of arrows (a fasces, from which fascism takes its linguistic derivation), with a banner reading E Pluribus Unum (Out from Many, One) clutched in his beak. On the left, the eye in the pyramid, perhaps the most famous symbol of Freemasonry besides the square and compass, underscored by the Latin Novus Ordo Seclorum – New World Order, or New Order of the Ages... A significant share of our Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Chief Justice John Marshall, were active Freemasons. In fact, since revolutionary times, more than a third of US presidents from 1776 to the end of the 20th century have been Masons. Woodrow Wilson, a Freemason, signed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, entered America into WW1, and, of course, presided over the founding of the League of Nations – a forerunner to UN-style globalism. FDR, another Freemason, presided over the introduction of Masonic iconography to the one dollar bill. Law enforcement and the court system have historically been steeped in Masonic influence – a troubling conflict of interest, considering that Masons of the seventh degree are sworn to conceal each others' secrets, and to “espouse [a Fellow Mason's] cause […] whether he be right or wrong," under penalty of mutilation and death (“to have my skull smote off, and my brains exposed to the scorching rays of the meridian sun...”) (Duncan's Masonic Ritual and Monitor, p230) Nor has Masonry ceased to be a political force, as the fingerprints of secret societies and their elite ideologies are all over our public life. In a speech delivered on September 11, 1991 – eerily, ten years to the day to the 9/11 attacks – H.W. Bush infamously used the phrase “New World Order” to describe the post-Cold War global paradigm, characterized by projection of American values and geopolitical interests all around the world in the name of “democracy.” His son, George W. Bush was openly a member of the Skull and Bones secret society at Yale – a quasi-Masonic society which, according to scholar Anthony C. Sutton, had connections to the Bavarian Illuminati from the 19th century. It was under his administration that the United States pursued a disastrous policy of neocon-style globalism, and installed the modern American surveillance state following 9/11. Furthermore, Barack Obama has been pictured wearing Masonic jewelry, as an enhanced scan of his hand in a 2008 Newsweek special reveals. Since 2020, the phrase “New World Order” has been bandied about freely by the likes of Lori Lightfoot, the medical police state of the Australian government, the aptly named World Government Summit, and Joe Biden himself. Masonic symbols also appear to be embedded in the corporate iconography of Google. Perhaps even more concerning, powerful Masonic offshoot groups have taken on increasingly sinister tones. Writing in 1972, foundational Satanist Anton Lavey claimed that “Masonic orders have contained the most influential men in many governments, and virtually every occult order has many Masonic roots.” (The Satanic Rituals, p44-45) Even if we are very charitable, and grant that the Masonic ideal is a basically moral enterprise (a doubtful assertion), the occult secrecy of its rituals, beliefs, and oaths of allegiance make the institutions of Masonry conducive to corruption – “good intentions” notwithstanding. Despite the rhetoric of Masonry's proponents, who claim that the aim of Masonry is simply “to make good men better,” there is compelling proof that Masonry is more than some benign humanist fraternity, but an elite secret society with globalist ambitions. In conspiracy theory circles, Masonry is often casually associated with the globalist elite in general, and its cadre of shills, spooks, and social engineers. But what has Masonry to do with the politics of America today? The very nature of secret societies makes assertions to this effect inherently difficult to prove. This should not be surprising. Although the writings of Freemasons from previous centuries are now widely available, we have little access to the logs, registers, and internal literatures of contemporary Masonic and quasi-Masonic societies, and are thus reliant on historical extrapolation and circumstantial evidence to draw conclusions. Yet, this should not dissuade us from research. To the contrary, it is all the more vital to persist in inquiry into this inherently challenging topic. The lack of clear public conversation on the matter of Freemasonry makes it difficult for the public to make any accurate assessment of its political import. The very topic of secret societies tends to elicit a raised eyebrow from the average man. This is hardly surprising, considering that history courses in both public and higher education completely omit the influence of Masonic secret societies on America's history. Moreover, the political establishment and media industrial complex collude together to silence, or at least play damage control against, any speculation on secret cabals, false flags, globalist conspiracies, or elite occultism. As a result, one of the most important, and least recognized, political divides in our country is between those who understand the historicity of secret societies, and those who don't. The purpose of this series, Freemasonry and Why It Matters, is to provide an evenhanded exploration of the primary literature of Freemasonry, and to produce from this literature a sketch of Masonry's influence in modern history, and its political agenda. It is not the author's intention to slander Masons past or present, to allege some particularly sinister dealings at the local Masonic lodge in your city, or to negate the achievements and contributions of individual Freemasons from various walks of life, but simply to let the words, writings, and deeds of the Freemasons speak for themselves. Both famous and notorious figures throughout history have been associated with Masonry, from Mozart, Bach, and several Apollo astronauts, to KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, and deranged dark magician Aleister Crowley, who was expelled from the Masonic organization Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1899. It is impossible to paint such a wide assortment of men in one broad stroke. Because religious tolerance and freedom of association are cornerstones of American civilization, participation in various cults, sects, and secret fraternities is a constitutionally protected activity... but only up to such a point where such religious activity does not interfere with the law or the impartial operation of government. Imagine, for a moment, the furor that would ensue if the public learned that politics in Washington DC were compromised by the Church of Scientology, with its science fiction mythology, fringe psychotherapy, and pseudo-scientific speak regarding “Thetans” and psychic reprogramming... In fact, this very thing happened in the 70s. In a criminal conspiracy codenamed Operation Snow White, over 5000 operatives from the Church of Scientology conspired to infiltrate various administrations of the federal government in order to destroy unfavorable data on the organization and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This resulted in FBI raids and criminal convictions. Yet, American politics for several centuries have been demonstrably shaped by a much older, far stranger cult, which claims divine origins in the mists of antiquity and (as subsequent entries will demonstrate) a global political mandate. This passes beneath public notice, generating hardly a smidgeon of controversy, or even inquiry. There are no law enforcement investigations, no public exposes, no convictions. Why? The answers are complex, hard to swallow, and potentially earth shattering. Perhaps at no point in history has American civic life been more beholden to special interest groups, oligarchic power players from the corporate world and, as this series intends to demonstrate, secret societies. It is altogether unfitting for any free people to be governed by a ruling class which, publically professing the dogmas of the masses, in private adheres to the philosophies and doctrines of a politically powerful religious cult, whose membership, rituals, and degrees of initiation are deliberately shrouded in the darkest veils of secrecy. The very future of our republic may depend on how we respond – indeed, whether we respond at all – to the serious conflicts of interest created by secret societies in our political sphere. The next article in the series Freemasonry and Why it Matters will consider the influence of Freemasonry in early American politics, particularly exploring the writings of the Founding Fathers on the topic.
Four Paths Forward For the Libertarian Movement
American liberty in the 21st century will live or die on how American libertarians navigate the unraveling of the two-party system, the rise of the police state, and the encroachment of the globalist, collectivist, technocratic agenda over the next decade. Even as our nation is torn apart by ethnic and cultural tensions, constantly exacerbated by the age-old abuses of American criminal justice system, an alliance of technocrats, social engineers, and Masonic elites are rapidly paving the way for the great work of world domination in the name of humanitarianism (think Agenda 2030, all to the endlessly repeating tune of “Build Back Better” and other sugar-coated platitudes). Who is left to raise the alarm in 2021? The ever-accelerating death spiral of integrity in the Democrat Party has left the liberal establishment without a moral leg to stand on (but plenty of cringeworthy photoshoots like AOC crying in an empty parking lot and Pelosi and Schumer's kente cloth stunt)... Even as the Democrat establishment openly abets the advance of globalism under the banner of “social justice”, Democrat politicians are content to virtue signal while leaving America's draconian criminal justice system unreformed. Meanwhile a fractured GOP – one half run by traitorous fossils like Mitch McConnell, the other half still under the thumb of POTUS 45 – continues to reel from the chaotic fallout of the fraudulent 2020 election. Despite the anti-globalist platform of MAGA Republicans, the GOP has proven itself too racially myopic to advocate for the meaningful criminal justice reform demanded by minority communities across the country, and too entangled in pro-cop politics to check the advance of the global police state. This poses a new predicament for traditional American libertarians, who have historically been cultural and political allies of the Republican Party. In the coming decade, however, this de facto alliance will become less feasible. If libertarianism wants to stay a relevant force in an age when global liberty is in peril, it must redefine itself for the needs of a changing nation, and seek to reach a broad, multi-racial coalition of Americans who are willing to live out a hardcore commitment to the principles of maximal liberty and minimal governance. 1 – Lose the Libertarian Party While the Libertarian Party may once have served some commendable purpose in raising awareness of civil liberties issues in the US, it was never viable as the force behind a national political movement. For all practical intents and purposes, it is political and cultural dead weight. If Gary Johnson's 2016 “what's Aleppo” gaffe didn't convince you the Libertarian Party is out of touch, maybe this will. However admirably its candidates conduct themselves in future elections, the rehabilitation of the Libertarian Party into a politically viable force is a costly and ultimately futile exercise, and a measure that would likely have the effect of limiting the “Overton Window” within libertarian discourse. Libertarian runs at the presidency have always been a sideshow to the main circus act of election season, and this is unlikely to change, especially in this age of rampant electoral fraud. In a game where the house always wins, Libertarian Party bids at the presidency are nothing more than symbolic gestures that signal the supremacy of the two-party system and the impossibility of winning while playing the bipartisan game. 2 – Tear away from (Radical) Trumpism However you feel about Donald Trump's first term, Pizzagate, or the results of the 2020 election, libertarians, particularly young libertarians, cannot make POTUS 45 their hill to die on. Am I telling you not to vote Trump in 2024? Of course not. Whether to vote, and who to vote for, is a morally complex decision, and ultimately up to the individual. Yet, even those who will vote for Trump again must be wary of embracing any ideology that centers on a Trump-savior narrative. Whatever veracity there may be to the shocking claims of Qanon proponents about the corruption at the heart of the Democrat establishment, this does not necessarily mean that DJT is the cure-all. Trump is, if nothing else, an incredibly shrewd and self-interested politician with a knack for playing on the passions of an outraged support base to build himself up into a larger-than-life hero. He was admirably effective in keeping us out of war, highlighting the hypocrisy of Big Tech and the MSM, and promoting a healthy economy, but DJT's mile-wide crony capitalist, cop-cozy, “LAW AND ORDER” tweeting authoritarian streak should give any libertarian reason for pause. Allowing Trump and Trumpism to continue dominating the discourse will only serve as a bottleneck for new libertarians, and create stagnancy at this vital juncture in our national history. Loyalty to any man, even a US president, cannot be made the litmus test of patriotism. 3 – Ditch the Thin Blue Line A black and white US flag, with a ribbon of blue running across the eighth stripe from the top... this symbol, popularly known as the “Thin Blue Line”, is conventionally used to signal deference for American law enforcement which, as we are to understand from its central placement in this bleakly partitioned American flag, is the sole buffer between the American people and the forces of civil disorder... And perhaps it is not coincidental that, if we take away the blue line, all that remains is the stark reality of America in black and white... Racial anxiety is indeed at the very root of the paradoxical tendency for libertarian patriot types to profess their support of law enforcement as a political maxim. This is nowhere more evident than in the knee-jerk reaction of so-called libertarian Republicans (under all other circumstances, ardent critics of the police state) to dismiss BLM calls for police reform out of hand. They are unable, or more likely unwilling, to differentiate between “Black Lives Matter,” a simple statement of acknowledgment that racial injustice in the US is ongoing and must be addressed, and Black Lives Matter (TM), a lab-grown collectivist chimaera whose putrid underbelly hosts a legion of parasitic Marxist pseudo-ideologies. So they stick a fresh new “Thin Blue Line” decal next to the faded Gadsden Flag on their car bumper, and call it a day. If this were not so common, I may be able to dismiss it. But I've seen it too many times to ignore what has almost become a cliché at this point. Such people may sleep more soundly thinking that the police are on their side...But are they really? On both ends of the political spectrum, there persists the faulty perception that, if you are white, you are insulated from the abuses of the criminal justice system... Tell that to Justine Diamond. Tell that to Tony Timpa. Tell that to Daniel Shaver. Tell that to Ryan Whitaker, an innocent white man who, on May 21 2020, only four days before the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, was gunned down by Phoenix PD while kneeling in his own doorway when cops came to investigate an exaggerated late night noise complaint. Yet this act of brazen violence against an innocent American in his own home generated little national outrage, even among white Americans... How far we have fallen! Remember how the Boston Massacre served as a rallying cry for the American Revolution? How many citizens have been killed by American cops under far less extreme circumstances? What white America shows when it dismisses protests against police killings is simply a gross desensitization to police brutality, and willingness to submit to a police state for the sake of convenience. Simply said, it is not that police do not also exploit (through civil asset forfeiture), incarcerate, brutalize, and kill white Americans at rates that should be deeply disturbing for anyone concerned about civil liberties and constitutional rule of law. It is simply that police violence against white Americans is not deeply racialized in the same way that police violence against minorities is. As a result of this perception that police interactions are safe for white Americans (at least relative to minority-police interface), even liberals have largely failed to see that the abuses of law enforcement threaten the freedom of all Americans. Too many have been propagandized into believing that police are on the side of ordinary, working Americans – that is, those in white suburbia. But the unconditional prioritization of suburban comfort – the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream,” as DJT put it – is ultimately incompatible with true libertarianism. We all saw in Summer 2020 how police departments across the country drew the riot lines at the richest neighborhoods, while leaving working class and middle class America to fend for itself against looting, burning, and mob violence. Meanwhile, riot cops fired paint canisters at Americans sitting on their front porches, all while the president tweeted his unconditional support for such measures. What Thin Blue Line? Still, the bootlicking continues...The thinking behind this puzzles me immensely, especially when coming from self-proclaimed libertarians. When these freedom-loving patriots get pulled over for speeding, ignoring seltbelt laws, or driving with an expired concealed carry license, do they belligerently repeat “am I being detained?” or comply in gratitude for the officer's service on the front lines of the race war? How do they respond when the local police shut down their businesses and houses of worship? When the inevitable happens over the next decade, and law enforcement solidifies its growing alliance with the medical technocracy, will the Thin Blue Line flag outside your house save you from door-to-door vaccine enforcers? Will it take you off the FBI watchlist for circulating “dangerous conspiracy theories”? In the end, law enforcement is only as good as the laws themselves. Choose your political friends accordingly... 4 – Reject Identity Politics If you go by the numbers, the average libertarian in America is a white man. This is unsurprising for most people, who associate the American libertarian with redneck masculinity, a love for capitalism, and unabashed worship of the American Revolution. Maybe you can picture him already? What most don't realize, however, is that a racial breakdown of self-identified libertarians in America shows racial representation roughly proportional to the nation's demographic makeup. This is especially the case for millennial libertarians. Moreover, we have every reason to believe that, if the discourse was shifted away from the pet issues of Republican libertarianism (free trade, environmental deregulation, cake-baking rights) to a focus on civil liberties issues that most directly affect poor, working class, and middle class Americans (freedom of assembly, freedom of movement, freedom from surveillance, rights of the accused, criminal justice/drug war reform), the numbers would show an even more diverse population of libertarian-aligned Americans. After all, so many of the issues that libertarians have been sounding the alarm about for decades are now being taken up as rallying calls in minority communities. Although right-leaning Americans may be alienated by the liberal obsession with race-based identity politics, those who truly care about the Bill of Rights should be able to find common ground with left-leaning activists on policing issues like terry stops, search and seizure laws, and police brutality. Contrary to the popular narrative, the civil liberties crises of the 21st century do not care about the color of your skin. Surveillance. Big data. Medical tyranny. Media censorship. Regardless of race or ideology, any American who doesn't want to live kneeling under the boot of the new technocracy and its police state enforcers should be able to find a home in the libertarian movement.
Tradition on Trial: #DisruptTexts and the Future of the Humanities
A ninth-century feud between two popes – one living, one dead – produced one of the most bizarre but teachable moments in the annals of medieval history. To put it briefly, in 897 AD, Pope Stephen VI took issue with the honorable burial of his unpopular predecessor Pope Formosus. In a shocking act of political theater, he had Formosus' corpse exhumed and conveyed to the papal court in Rome, where the still-decomposing body was posthumously tried and convicted of acceding to the papacy illegitimately. To ensure that Formosus be remembered forever as an anti-pope, Stephen commanded that the corpse itself be punished. The three fingers Formosus used in life for benediction were cut off, and Formosus' dead body stripped of its papal attire. He was buried again, but could not stay so for long: his body was soon thrown into the Tiber River. Later that same year, Stephen paid for this outrage with his own life, when he was imprisoned and murdered in prison by vengeful partisans. This whole affair became known, aptly, as the Cadaver Synod. As morbid as this story may be, there are vital and timely lessons to be learned here. If we write the incident off as nothing but a lurid testament to medieval barbarity and personal vengeance, we risk blindness to the same dark impulses in our society – and ourselves. This compulsion to carry on such highly politicized post-mortem inquisitions of our predecessors is, unfortunately, alive and well in America today. This strange episode in history is perhaps no where more relevant than in the culture war presently raging in higher education, where the academy has recently adopted the pastime of ransacking the graves of western civilization for its moral skeletons, which are displayed, tried, and denounced to the smug satisfaction of the left intelligentsia’s elite priesthood. With the mantra that “critique is cool”, the liberal arts academy has directed an ever-increasing part of its energies to this very task of enumerating, codifying, and publically censuring the shortcomings of generations long since dead and buried. This pastime has recently exploded from the narrow confines of the ivory tower into the wilds of leftist social media, where the quasi-religious denunciation the western tradition – particularly the lives and works of its “dead white men” (adding “straight” or “Christian”, as needed) – is prized as a valuable form of social currency among critical theory-enamored armchair activists who fancy themselves the moral moderators of the academy and digital commons alike. Lately, the #DisruptTexts movement has garnered national headlines, and no small deal of controversy, for their vocal claims that the western tradition must be unseated from public education altogether in order to put the nebulous specter of white supremacy to rest once and for all. A fundamentally Marxist effort to toss the canon from public education, #DisruptTexts boasts such dubious achievements as banning The Odyssey from a Massachusetts public high school, canceling young adult authors for daring to challenge bad “woke” readings of The Scarlet Letter, and advocating for teaching more graphic novels as an antidote for “the worship of the written word” which allegedly permeates the “white supremacy culture” of ELA classrooms. (The latter complaint against “the worship of the written word”, is especially worthy of remark. It is a standard grievance of leftist critical studies to gripe about the oppressiveness of occidental logocentrism – a technical academic term for the cultural prestige given to the written word, and the ascription of certain metaphysical and ontological properties to written language. This is apparently a bad thing...). And who will run to the defense of the dead? Sentimentalism, we are told, belongs on pickup truck bumpers, not in higher education. The reputations of Columbus and the Pilgrims, Washington and Jefferson and (more recently) Lincoln, have all been pilloried beyond recovery. And sometimes, these complaints are sounded over even vaster chasms of time, so that pre-modern figures don't get a pass, either. In the past year alone, the statue of Marcus Aurelius at Brown University came under fire as an alleged icon of white supremacy, as did a statue of the sainted medieval French king, Louis IX, in St. Louis, Missouri, the city named named after him. It has grown routine for such complaints to go hand-in-hand with vandalism and political violence. Nor is this business of historical grievance limited to presidents, kings, and emperors. Even the touchstones of the western literary tradition have come under criticism. For instance, epic poems like Homer's Odyssey and the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf have drawn complaints for their failure to promote sufficiently “progressive” social values. Indeed, an overly fond recollection of, or identification with, the heritage of the distant past can invite allegations of cultural chauvinism and worse still, white supremacy. For instance, in 2019, the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists announced plans to change their name, under pressure from scholars who took issue with the ostensibly problematic usage of the term “Anglo-Saxonist” in the group's name. Citing selected misuses of the term in nineteenth century racist discourse, the most extreme of these critics have advocated for eliminating the term “Anglo-Saxon” from medieval scholarship altogether, even when used in reference to the cultures of early medieval England. Although the ISAS is by all means a legitimate scholarly organization dedicated to the academic study of the medieval Angles and Saxons, two Germanic tribes famous for colonizing Britain in the so-called dark ages, critics allege that the name of the organization suggests a chauvinistic and racially-motivated identification with the medieval past. To these sorts of critics, it is a greater priority to censure a classic work like Beowulf for its onstensibly racialized depiction of the man-eating monster Grendel, than to study the elegance of its verse, or (worse still!) the values of strength, fidelity, and self-sacrifice the poem celebrates. Of course, it is not impious to hold the western tradition to task for the crimes of western civilization. Reflecting on the atrocities of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the modern conscience chafes at the prospect of mitigating, much less absolving, moral judgments on its forebears. Even the recognition that war crimes, slavery, and sexual violence have been the rules rather than the exceptions at virtually every place and time in human history, hardly merits amnesty for the crimes of our own predecessors. To defend the private and public deeds of every so-called “great man”, simply because his name looms large in history books, is an impossible and frankly pointless task. But more often than not, the type of critics who lodge complaints against bronze age myths and medieval legends are content to pronounce moral judgment upon every generation that lived before the advent of Marxism, feminism, and critical theory, without making any substantial effort to learn from the voices that speak to them from across the centuries. Moreover, the liberal intelligentsia tend to labor under the delusion that the modern, hypersensitive, social justice-minded conscience emerged ex nihilo from the ashes of a primitive patriarchy. Unsurprisingly, they regularly fail to recognize that the very substance of their grievances draw from the ethical and philosophical developments of the tradition they seek to dismantle. And while all but the most bitter practitioner of grievance studies will acknowledge the importance of Greek philosophy as a foundation for critical theory, or the role of Christian social values in achieving social reforms like abolition and the civil rights movement, they are still loathe to acknowledge the inextricable relationship between their own ideologies and the western tradition from which they were synthesized. Those who can find no spiritual kinship with this strain of human history may insist that the moral failures of the western tradition have proved its obsolescence. The very vessel in which the modern conscience came to arrive in its current, ostensibly more “enlightened” form, they claim, can be now be discarded. This chain of cultural transmission, they say, running from the first millennia BC even to the present day, can be broken without consequence. It is only slight hyperbole to say that, in the twenty-first century, the American liberal arts academy stands poised to tear out its own ancient heart and present it, still-beating, as a peace offering to the Marxist left's ascendant cultural inquisition. On the surface, #DisruptTexts might seem laughable – yet another fleeting production of the left's round-the-clock outrage machine. But, beyond the hashtag, online movements like this are just the tip of an iceberg with roots chillingly deep in radical Marxist thought. This is not a natural progression in pedagogy, but a covert attempt at cultural engineering, aimed at reconstituting the world in the image of the impending globalist order. Before this can happen, however, the distinctive spirit of a civilization must be broken down, starting with its cultural and historical memories. “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born,” wrote the Roman statesman Cicero, “is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?” It is this very idea – the notion of finding continuity with the past and living accordingly – to live as homo historicus – that is under attack. What is truly being contested is who precisely the western tradition is for, and how it is to be used. Is it a dead relic, the dusty heritage of a people no longer extant, relegated to the custody of the academy? Or is it living yet, inviting all people to take it up and place themselves in a story greater than their own? The greatest peril to the Marxist project is the identification of an “I” (or even a “we”) in history. The social engineers would have us forget this train of memory, but we need not comply with their cynicism. From the Trojan War to 1776, and beyond, this is a story that spans continents and countless centuries, transcending even ethnic and religious boundaries. The western tradition is not a closed canon or a particular set of dogmas, but has always been an ongoing dialogue. Its dead are many, the good mixed up with the evil, with heroes and villains and many more in between. Before we exhume our own dead to conduct political “cadaver trials”, like Pope Stephen VI, let us remember that such symbolic actions can have deadly real-world consequences. Dig at your own risk.