33 Great Morals and Dogma Quotes
Shôn Ellerton, December 14, 2021
Often cited as the bible of Freemasonry, here are 33 memorable quotes from Morals and Dogma which can be applied to today’s politics.
This is the second piece on Freemasonry I wrote about, the first being titled, What Freemasonry Means to Me.
Here, I’ve put together thirty-three timeless quotes from an old piece of work titled Morals and Dogma which resonate uncannily well with today’s politics.
Back in 1871, a man by the name of Albert Pike wrote a piece of work called Morals and Dogma. This is, by no means, a book which you can simply pick up and read within a week, let alone a month. Based on the 32 degrees (the 33rd being the highest but only as a conferred degree of merit) of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, each chapter centres on each degree progressing from the first three (Masonry Proper or the Blue Lodge) up to the thirty-second.
The following 33 quotes — a number I deliberately chose of course — come from the first three degrees of Freemasonry in Pike’s work, the remaining twenty-nine being shorter chapters with further esoteric knowledge based on the Scottish Rite.
The material is dense and written in the language of the day, which can make reading it somewhat more challenging than those written in today’s parlance. The material integrates, in general, three areas of study. The mystical and spiritual origins of Freemasonry, much of it based on Judaism in terms of the biblical story and its morals and virtues. The application of morals and dogma and how they apply to government, liberty, democracy, politics, and nation state leadership, particularly with respect to republic states. And a certain predilection of numbers and geometry, a fascinating aside in itself.
Here, I chose 33 fragments from the first three chapters which I thought, in reading in the context of today’s politics, very interesting. Particularly interesting are those quotes which centre on maintaining democracy, how keeping freedoms is more difficult than gaining them and how a little protesting is important to maintain truths and freedoms and to keep the wolves of Tyranny at bay. My favourite quote is the twenty-fifth (XXV) below!
A free people, forgetting that it has a soul to be cared for, devotes all its energies to its material advancement. If it makes war, it is to subserve its commercial interests. The citizens copy after the State, and regard wealth, pomp, and luxury as the great goods of life. Such a nation creates wealth rapidly, and distributes it badly.
The Mason should struggle in the same manner, and with the same bravery, against those invasions of necessity and baseness, which comes to nations as well as to men. He should meet them, too, foot to foot, even in the darkness, and protest against the national wrongs and follies; against usurpation and the first inroads of that hydra, Tyranny. There is no more sovereign eloquence than the truth in indignation. It is more difficult for a people to keep than to gain their freedom. The Protests of Truth are always needed.
Christianity taught the doctrine of FRATERNITY; but repudiated that of political EQUALITY, by continually inculcating obedience to Caesar, and to those lawfully in authority. Masonry was the first apostle of EQUALITY.
MAN IS SUPREME OVER INSTITUTIONS, AND NOT THEY OVER HIM.
Mere knowledge makes no one independent, nor fits him to be free. It often only makes him a more useful slave. Liberty is a curse to the ignorant and brutal.
If Masonry needed to be justified for imposing political as well as moral duties on its initiates, it would be enough to point to the sad history of the world.
It is necessary to say, that, even in the ordinary affairs of life we are governed far more by what we believe than by what we know; by FAITH and ANALOGY, than by REASON.
The free country, in which intellect and genius govern, will endure.
To give a nation the franchise of the Intellect is the only sure mode of perpetuating freedom.
We do not know, as yet, what qualifications the sheep insist on in a leader. With men who are too high intellectually, the mass have as little sympathy as they have with the stars.
Do not expect easily to convince men of the truth, or to lead them to think aright.
Education begins with the burning of our intellectual and moral idols: our prejudices, notions, conceits, our worthless or ignoble purposes. Especially it is necessary to shake off the love of worldly gain.
The sovereignty of one’s self over one’s self is called LIBERTY.
Liberty is the summit, Equality the base.
Let a Republic begin as it may, it will not be out of its minority before imbecility will be promoted to high places; and shallow pretence, getting itself puffed into notice, will invade all the sanctuaries.
Whenever anyone aspires to and attains such high post, especially if by unfair and disreputable and indecent means, and is afterward found to be a signal failure, he should be at once beheaded. He is the worst among the public enemies.
Despots are an aid to thinkers. Speech enchained is speech terrible. The writer doubles and triples his style, when silence is imposed by a master upon the people.
Man is by nature cruel, like the tigers. The barbarian, and the tool of the tyrant, and the civilized fanatic, enjoy the sufferings of others, as the children enjoy the contortions of maimed flies. Absolute Power, once in fear for the safety of its tenure, cannot but be cruel.
In a free government, the Laws and the Constitution are above the Incapables, the Courts correct their legislation, and posterity is the Grand Inquest that passes judgment on them.
The body of the commonwealth becomes a mass of corruption, like a living carcass rotten with syphilis.
The citizen who cannot accomplish well the smaller purposes of public life, cannot compass the larger.
Free States always tend toward the depositing of the citizens in strata, the creation of castes, the perpetuation of the jus divinum to office in families. The more democratic the State, the more sure this result.
It was the written human speech, that gave power and permanence to human thought. It is this that makes the whole human history but one individual life.
Matters of government and political science can only be fairly dealt with by sound reason, and the logic of common sense: not the common sense of the ignorant, but of the wise.
The acutest thinkers rarely succeed in becoming leaders of men.
In a free country, human speech must needs be free; and the State must listen to the maunderings of folly, and the screechings of its geese, and the brayings of its asses, as well as to the golden oracles of its wise and great men.
Politicians, in a free State, are generally hollow, heartless, and selfish. Their own aggrandisement is the end of their patriotism; and they always look with secret satisfaction on the disappointment or fall of one whose loftier genius and superior talents overshadow their own self-importance, or whose integrity and incorruptible honor are in the way of their selfish ends. The influence of the small aspirants is always against the great man.
It is lamentable to see a country split into factions, each following this or that great or brazen-fronted leader with a blind, unreasoning, unquestioning hero-worship; it is contemptible to see it divided into parties, whose sole end is the spoils of victory, and their chiefs the low, the base, the venal, and the small. Such a country is in the last stages of decay, and near its end, no matter how prosperous it may seem to be.
The Public Opinion of the civilized world is International Law.
Permanency of home is necessary to patriotism. A migratory race will have little love of country.
Corrupt and venal orators are the assassins of the public liberties and of public morals.
The great problem is to find guides who will not seek to be tyrants.
Those who feel themselves competent and qualified to serve the people, refuse with disgust to enter into the struggle for office, where the wicked and jesuitical doctrine that all is fair in politics is an excuse for every species of low villainy; and those who seek even the highest places of the State do not rely upon the power of a magnanimous spirit, on the sympathizing impulses of a great soul, to stir and move the people to generous, noble, and heroic resolves, and to wise and manly action; but, like spaniels erect on their hind legs, with fore-paws obsequiously suppliant, fawn, flatter, and actually beg for votes.