Thursday, July 26, 2012

Eisenhower, Philip of France, Truman: War & Economics; Religion & Economics; Religion & War

This is a preliminary post outlining a series of historically important actors and the lessons to be learned from what they have bequeathed to us through their acts, both positive and negative. It is a complex historical study that I will fill out and expand as I have time. Since I have broached the topic of the Freemasons and secret societies, and asserted that they have a pernicious influence on democracy and open society, this is a historical study in that it aims to address aspects of that assertion with reference to concrete historical actors and events. 

Dwight Eisenhower was a battle tested general that eventually became president who, though a religious man himself, perhaps in light of the strife he had seen brought about by those espousing dogma in the form of particularistic ideologies with a nationalist hue, such as Nazism, issued a famous warning to beware of the "military industrial complex" in his farewell address as president.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

In light of the fact that Eisenhower lived during a period when communism had been swept to power in both the Russia and China, it can be presumed that to a certain degree his repeated references to prayer and God in part represented an appeal to a universal and benevolent force that could help unite people to overcome differences that separated them. It can be seen as a message to Americans that even though the communists are avowed atheists, they are in fact the same as us in respect of this universality, and should not be excluded from democratic dialog and processes on the basis of an espoused ideology. 

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

His message is clearly highly nuanced and humanistic, not dogmatic. He values intellectual endeavor and individual effort and achievement, and counterposes that to a sort of bureaucratization of the halls of intellectual inquiry and research. 

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity.

Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.

You and I – my fellow citizens – need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals.
To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration:
We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

And with regard to the Freemasons, Eisenhower had long been tasked with making up for mistakes by Truman's megalomaniac commander MacArthur from the time of WWII. So there is no question that he was familiar with that aspect of the American political environment. MacArthur had apparently been the head of the same Freemason lodge as Truman had, in Missouri.

Philip IV of France was a king that found himself caught between the countermanding claims of differerent forces during a transitional period toward the end of the Crusades.

From Wikipedia:

He relied, more than any of his predecessors, on a professional bureaucracy of legalists...His reign marks the French transition from a charismatic monarchy – which could all but collapse in an incompetent reign – to a bureaucratic kingdom, a move, under a certain historical reading, towards modernity.

Philip was hugely in debt to the Knights Templar, a monastic military order that had been acting as bankers for some two hundred years. As the popularity of the Crusades had decreased, support for the Order had waned, and Philip used a disgruntled complaint against the Order as an excuse to disband the entire organization, so as to free himself from his debts.

Reader's comments from reviews of the above book:

The Templars have always fascinated me, an order founded on a vow of poverty that rose to become one of the richest and most powerful organisations of their time, a religious order, yet it was politics and money that sealed their fate and brought about their destruction.

Malcolm Barber examines the trial and supression of the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon, also known as the Knights Templars, as the trial unfolded in France and other countries. The account of the positional jockeying between the French King Philip IV and Pope Clement V is fascinating.

Harry Truman was a high-ranking Freemason part of a political machine out of the Midwest who had been picked as a surprise choice of running mate by FDR in his reelection bid.

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