Secret Societies

: >Personally, I wonder about the Elks Clubs.  Just what does B.P.O.E.
: >stand for anyway?  Just what are they *really* up to?

: In many small towns and even large cities,  the Elks include prominent
: members of the community.  They get together,  sometimes make business
: deals and plan political actions.  They are the equivalent of the 
: Masons in England which includes a large part of the "establishment"
: in its membership.

: The result is a "conspiracy" of sorts,  but in communities where no
: formal club exists,  groups of "power players" get together at certain
: eating spots or spas or whatever else is "in".  Typically the coalitions
: formed are loose, disturbed by conflicting interests and in many cases
: the time spent cultivating such "contacts" can be better spent elsewhere.
: However in not a few cases, collectives of the (relatively) powerful
: result in unsavory behavior including outright corruption.

: The problem is that no specific organization is really the cause.  Such
: organizations simply act to bring people together.  If the organization
: is disrupted, then a new one will form.  For example in the Italy of
: the seventies,  national corruption was clustered in a pseudo Masonic
: organization known as Propaganda 2.  When this was exposed,  the games
: moved elsewhere and the recent scandals have shown.

: One thing that the powerful know (and this is no secret, Ben Franklin
: wrote about it) is that places and organizations which encourage people
: to meet are an important tool (often benign).  Such groupings will
: always exist and cultures (eg. Jewish, Chinese) which encourage them
: will often have advantages in business.  More recently, the American
: rightwing has used churches for such purposes.  

: Those who feel left out by the system should remember the pragmatic
: reality that they have to build their own system.  This often requires
: a substantial investment in time and money. One reason that the
: American "left" is so weak as a grassroots organization is that
: relatively few of those who wanted an "alternative culture" were
: willing to go through the sacrifice.  They hoped things would
: somehow happen spontaneously.

: Every organization is a potential powerbase.  And evryone is suspect
: (at least within local conditions) because power can be abused.  But
: a great deal of positive accomplishment is also associated with
: such groupings because "they can get things done" (be it cleaning
: a local park or gathering votes for their favorite canidate).

Yes indeed!  Conspiracy or "breathing together" is in the very nature of

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