Time and time again, I find people linking the Masons with all sorts of curious conspiracy theories. Bildebergers, Illuminati, New World Order, Knights Templar, Dan Brown, all sorts of utterly preposterous things.
I know a couple of Masons. Not many, but a few. They are all generous, kind, unassuming people. Apart from one, who is a wastrel drunkard, but he's still generous and kind. They don't seem to be doing glamorous jobs. They worry about retrenchment and losing their jobs. They don't seem to do any better than anyone else. They die. They contribute regularly and generously to charity.
Masonry also sounds monumentally dull to me, people dressing up in funny clothes and going through endless tiresome rituals, combined with all the excitement of a committee meeting.
I struggle to associate these nice people with the shadowy machinations of legend. I realise it's a small sample, but they all seem to be entirely upright, moral, good people. I'm no expert, but I've been told that the Masonic code or whatever it's called specifically bans using Masonry for personal advantage.
Now, I'm sure that there are some Masons who don't adhere to that part of the code, but really, is a better, simpler explanation for this not that such people will use all sorts of networks for personal advancement, if they're that way inclined. Whether it's the Fabian Society, Conservative Youth, the Masons or whatever, there will always be most of the people there for the stated goal of the grouping and some people there who want to meet people that they can connect with and exploit (for want of a better word).
I think there is a much better reason why coppers and judges seem to get by on a nod and a wink than Masonry, for instance: they're always bumping into each other in their day job and in the court canteen or the local pub.
I realise it's a largely futile ask, but I'm going to do it anyway: can we stop blaming organisations, whether charitable, left-wing, right-wing or whatever, for the behaviour of a handful of their members?
Can we rather start looking at placing accountability where it belongs: with the people who do things wrong?