Past Grand Master, National Grand Lodge of Romania
Honorary Director, MASONIC FORUM Magazine

Actuated several years ago, the financial crisis is (re)modeling dramatically not only the national economies of a few states, but also the social behaviours and the set of mentalities of some nations. How does crisis affect the public’s reference to Freemasonry?
The question is not at all rhetorical. Almost over all the world, along with the outset of the economical crisis, the appetite for theories of conspiracy increased proportionally, we may say, with the intensity of the financial problems. Organizations of the kind of Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group (institutions which, in passing said, have nothing to deal with Freemasonry and obviously the Craft), have become the core of some theories which assimilate crisis with a conspiracy meant to establish the global order – of course, in favor to a few, and of course too, in the detriment of others.
We barely find – within these theories – Russia, China, France or Germany among the beneficiaries of this “new global order”, most often, the “wires” of the conspiracies go across the ocean and end – nothing new under the sun, isn’t it? – in the capital of the most powerful state in the world, USA.
Why USA?
In 1991, when USSR was falling apart, USA remained the only global hegemonic. Its overwhelming military force, its huge economy, its aggressive pop-culture and the symbolic merit in winning the “cold war” along four decades, all these legitimated America for the role of primadonna in the global concert. China was barely starting its astonishing economical ascension, Russia was leaking its wounds, as it was reduced to its 17th century’s geographical dimensions, Germany was stretching its muscles in order to realize the difficult reunification with the eastern lands, UK was percepted as a close extension of America and less as a player in itself, and France yet was looking for its future in neogaullism’s crystal globe which shyly began to coagulate its political from through Mr Chirac. For over a decade, USA was going to attract all the world fears and to be looked just like Roman Empire was during Emperor ­Augustus age. Always the little have fear of the most powerful: that was the mental ­para-logic which has transformed America, in the perception of some good part of the public, from the Champion of the Free World in a fearful hegemonic.
The economical crisis did not do but to pour a torrent of water in the pool which fed these fears. Evidently, USA wants to conquer the world – these theories say – and evidently too that, alas, it does not do it with tanks and airplanes anymore, it does do it with the politics of dollar and potshots meant to destabilize the world economy, in order to have this felt in its hands like a ripe fruit.
The big faults of these theories are almost often invisible to a public rather uneducated and easy to seduce with deformed, truncated or directly liar “quasi-information”. If one tries to explain to someone the simple at all causes that led to the actual crisis, one has to appeal to financial, social, anthropological etc etc theories, theories which are like Chinese language to the most inhabitants of Europe, for example. If one will say America wants to conquer the world, everybody can “catch” such an “explanation” of what is going on.
After the Great Crisis, 1929-1933, the scapegoat was found, at least in some states, in the Jews; a minority without defense mechanisms, vulnerable through non adherence to majority religion, at all sympathized by the large public as an a consequence of a few decades of open or veiled anti-Semitic propagated in press. The abracadabra theories professed in fake products of tzar’s ­Ohrana, like “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, or of the triad ­Hitler-Rosenberg-Goebbels, went directly to ­Holocaust, which cost six millions lives only among the Jewish ethnics.
On actual crisis’s background, especially in the countries where the unemployment rate is increasing, the fear for the day after becomes chronic, the incertitude about the future give birth to increasingly stressed neurosis, the tendency to find an “explanatory enemy” is very large. In Slovakia, for example, the “enemy” found by some publications were the rroms; until a guy grabbed a carabin and coldblooded executed a few people that came across him. In Hungary, there was observed an increase of anti-Semitic positions. The fascistoid extreme right wing won ground in Russia, the country which payed with 10 millions of lives the victory against fascism, during World War II.
In these conditions, the public may let themselves seduced by an extremist political discourse, and politicians, in their turn, may include in their speeches meant to bring votes certain elements which seemed unimaginable even a decade ago. Hitler did not need a majority in the German parliament for taking the absolute power, but less than a one third; the rest was gangster-like actions and black propaganda against the opponents and the “trip fellows.”
How is the Craft positioning in front of these attacks which become increasingly intense, especially due to the capacity the internet offers about the possibility of dissemination the “information” with a speed unique in the world?
Evidently, not trying to demonstrate that it is not guilty of the imaginary conspiracies of which it is “accused”. These accusations are sometimes so absurd, so that any attempt to use rational arguments against the irrational in pure essence would be equivalent to a dialog between a paranoid who ­believes himself Napoleon and the doctor who tries to blow his conviction. The Craft never exhausted its energies in the fight with its chronic detractors and with its always enemies (extremists of a kind or other, tyrants, fundamentalists). But also it does not have, I believe, to ignore the force of these so-called “theories” and their power to seduce a public increasingly worried by the future and increasingly avid of pseudo-explanations. Especially in the states where democracies and the democratic reflexions of the large public are not yet consolidated at all.
Are these “theories” going to surpass the ­now-a-days stage of “underground” and coagulate into political ideologies? Are these ideologies going to give birth to party forms? Are these parties ­going to adjudicate to themselves entire hunks of national parliaments? In other words, is the story of the last century’s years of the ’30s going to repeat, when these viruses, taking advantage of the fall down of some nations immune system, as a consequence of the economical crisis, fully attacked and took the power? An entire history adverts us that we rarely learned from the mistakes and that we often repeated them.