Hinter dem Großen Orient
Freimaurerei und Revolutionsbewegungen
By Lorenz Jäger
(Karolingerverlag, Vienna/Leipzig, 2nd Revised Ed. 2010)
It is a pity that no more than a handful of American Traditionalist Catholics have become acquainted with the esteemed Karolingerverlag of Austria. This publisher is an amazing source of works traditional, brilliant and arcane: from a picture book of portraits of all the Holy Roman Emperors to the complete works of Nicholas Gomez Davila in German translation. Hinter dem Großen Orient: Freimaurerei und Revolutionsbewegungen (“Behind the Grand Orient: Freemasonry and Revolutionary Movements”) is a major addition to their catalogue. The author is the noted German scholar – and guest of the Society of St Hugh of Cluny in Connecticut last year – Lorenz Jäger.
We need to remind American readers that although Freemasonry in the US may be a declining force limited to certain regions and social strata quite the opposite is true elsewhere in the world. Francois Koch, who authors La Lumiere the Masonic blog of the magazine L’Express in France, states “Une certitude: le monde maçonnique est toujours en expansion. Plus de 160 000 frères et sœurs en France.” (One thing is certain: the Masonic world is still expanding. There are more than 160,000 brothers and sisters in France.) Just the fact that a leading French news magazine feels the need to sponsor a blog on Masonic news – corresponding to the Vaticanista blogs of the Italian media – demonstrates the significance of the craft in that country. We are not dealing with any mere social club.
Dr. Jäger focuses on one “denomination” of Freemasonry – that of the Grand Orient of France. This is the most resolutely political of the Freemasonic sects and the first to be officially open – to put it mildly – to atheism. But Dr. Jäger’s book is not really a history of the Grand Orient. Rather it focuses on the repeated links of continental Freemasonry – usually deriving from the Grand Orient of France – to revolutionary politics. The lodges sometimes provided ideological support and at other times direct organizational leadership of the revolutionaries. All this is most carefully documented and researched by Dr. Jäger; the usual carping about “conspiracy theories” finds no support in this book.
It is quite a story – from the role of foreign Freemasons in the French revolution to links with early communism. Freemasons fought side by side with the French communards in 1871. They played a significant role in the founding of the First International – although relations with Marxists quickly soured. Kerensky and the clique that overthrew the Czar in 1917 were members of the lodge. And we find that the “young Turks” who staged a revolution against the sultan, led the Ottoman Empire into World War I and launched the massacre of the Armenians and other Christians were also brethren. That is doubly curious because at that same time the Italian lodges were leading Italy into a disastrous war on the side of France and England.
Dr. Jäger devotes considerable space to the Masonic ties of German and Jewish revolutionaries active in France 1830-1848 and later- as well as to the Masonic membership of the intellectual leaders associated with the Weltbühne (a left-wing publication in 1920’s Germany). Now the significance of this – which German readers would immediately understand – is that the doctrines of these revolutionaries – unsuccessful as they were politically in their day – have become a key element of the quasi –totalitarian ideology of the current Federal Republic of Germany.
This brings us up to the present. Freemasonry for much of the Twentieth Century was upstaged by communism as a revolutionary force. Yet the fall of Soviet Communism, the “strange death of Marxism” (Paul Gottfried) in Western Europe and the “march through the institutions” of the 1960’s radicals resulted in Grand Orient Freemasonry reemerging more potent than ever. Dr. Jäger documents their new role in France as conscious promoters of the “culture of death.” Already in the 19th century the introduction of cremation instead of burial was a specifically Masonic initiative. (Pope Paul VI and the Church would later capitulate on this issue) At least as early as 1963 Freemasons were agitating for the unrestricted right to birth control in France – their efforts crowned with success in 1967. Later, introducing “rights” to abortion, sterilization, artificial insemination and euthanasia became the main focus – along with the consolidation of the secular society – of Masonic activity in France.
So on whatever front Freemasonry has been active over the last three centuries there has been one constant: the opposition of Freemasonry to the Catholic Faith and the political and social institutions of Christendom. Freemasonry’s war on the political order allied with the Church was concluded successfully generations ago. The battle – up till now also usually successful – to extirpate the remnants of Christian society and morality continues to the present day. Dr. Jäger’s book is a powerful key to understanding what is going on.