The need for wisdom and judgement in
our fraternity did not escape our predecessors.
They prayed that even the lowliest ranking leader in the Craft should
have wisdom to comprehend and judgment to define. Clearly, a high level of these attributes is
expected as one ascends the pyramid of power.
Their decisions need to “pass the pub test”: simple, common sense and
readily accepted through the whole Lodge or Craft.
At about the time my enjoyable and
informative year ended with a Grand Team, a very senior past Grand Officer said
to me “If you really ambitious you should join xxxx Lodge and I would be prepared
to propose you.” I was grateful for and
flattered by his interest but I took the matter no further. I did not, and still do not consider our
fraternity as a career; an organisation to enhance one’s social standing or to
provide a status that many would never enjoy in the normal course of
events. It was a closed lodge and its
members must have been able to display professional management and leadership
capabilities at some stage in their working lives. However, I asked myself how such a lodge
could help anyone achieve the higher levels essentially for personal
aggrandisement. We are all supposed to
be brothers, sprung from the same stock, etc.
Never the less, he was right – many of its members seemed to rise to
eminence, as we say, by something else other than merit.
Passing the pub test depends on what
sort of establishment you are contemplating.
I envisage an old-fashioned style pub where you can freely breast the
bar without being harassed to a table and or having little or no opportunity to
fraternise. It is where there is a good
cross section of society. It is where a
group at the bar, providing they are inoffensive, need not be too concerned
about politically correctness. It is
where if any ladies present they are not too “precious” and will overlook a
man’s minor indiscretions. In such an
establishment, you will rudely know if a pub test fails.
In some pubs in the yuppie inner
suburbs the test might erroneously pass.
They are those whose social intercourse is constrained by the presence
of gaming machines or seating at dining tables served from pretentious
overpriced blackboard menus that only the nouveau riche can easily afford. (It is the sort of pub to be located near the
ABC headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney and patronized by its high paid staff – no
wonder an ABC pub test seems never to be tried or if it is, it never
Lodges can be like pubs as sounding
boards but they need to be egalitarian lodges such as our Lodge Devotion. Any lodge or committee, etc is an unlikely
sounding board whose members think of themselves as being “exclusive”,
particularly if real merit is absent and “group think” has set in. It is worse if this lodge emulating xxxx
Lodge in trying to exercise a high level of power and influence. It is exacerbated if there is patronage of an
individual particularly in an organisation vulnerable to authoritarianism. The “pub test” in such a lodge will not be an
accurate reflection of the fraternity’s acceptance of a decision, one that may
involve more than just the issue of guilt or innocence because in the past our
leaders have also set and demanded a high moral standard for emulation.
If a pub test put properly fails
there needs to be a focus on how to recover.
Closing ranks can just indicate obstinacy. Recovery may require a contract for a service
to be re-tendered, policy change or an alteration in leadership style or
selection. If it involves the
appointment of an individual he or she should stand aside and applications
re-opened for the organisation (or fraternity) should always be bigger than an
individual: if this is not recognised they are not the sort of person required
A leader has a mistaken belief if
they think acquiescence constitutes loyalty or respect.
Yours fraternally, Don Paterson