Democracy of secret societies

Politics for Dummies*

Democracy of secret societies

Democracy by definition is a political system based on publicity and openness. It is publicity and openness of the political debate that are the guarantee against the usurpation of public affairs and assets by tyrants and oligarchs. That was how it was planned by the architects of Greek democracy in the city-state of Thessaloniki, Clisthenes, Pericles and Demosthenes. The principles of publicity and openness are fundamental principles of the modern representative democracies. The questions of public importance are discussed on the Agora by the people of the Agora[1].

The principles of openness and publicity, much more than the principle of universal suffrage, guarantee to an optimal degree the rights of the separate citizen in respect to the others and in respect to the power of the state. These principles suggest that each separate citizen – as the mouthpiece of a political proposal or of a complaint about injustice – can state and check its social usefulness or admissibility in a public debate.

It should be underscored that the two principles are inseparable. Openness means that every political question can be put to public attention. And publicity suggests a public discussion that can eventually legitimize or dismiss the question posed. Legitimacy is the stamp that certifies public recognition and acceptance. It is in this way that a truly democratic society writes the program lines of the algorithm of its state government.

Only through complete openness and publicity can people achieve coexistence in a harmonious and just civilized society.

Just the opposite is suggested as an alternative for managing public affairs by the various kinds of secret societies. The lack of openness and publicity of the debate is their distinctive feature. Regardless of the brand under which they seek recognition and followers. Masons, Templars, revolutionary plots, intelligence communities, state security services and the like are designed and function as organized structures exactly for the purpose of justifying the solving of questions of public character and interest without openness and publicity.

I am not saying that there is no need for certain public issues to be solved in secret, far from it. The situations where the openness of public discussion can cost the freedom and even the life of freethinkers are numerous. Fighting tyranny, the mafia and terrorism requires confidentiality and a limited circle of participants. Nevertheless, if secret organizations really aim at the public good and justice, their actions should be made public sooner or later.

The Apostle of Bulgarian Freedom, Levski, kept a detailed record of every penny spent, so he can sooner or later give a public account of his activity. The intelligence services and the security services in democratic civilized societies regularly report to their parliaments. Not a single state in the world would allow the creation and functioning of secret societies and institutions outside public control.

In other words, in order for a secret society to be recognized as legitimate, it has to serve the solving of a public task. The secret societies that do not serve a public goal seek legitimacy through verbal jugglery, complex rituals and magnificent costumes. The more incomprehensible their external manifestations are, the more likely the egoistic purpose of their existence. Most often it is a question of a most banal possibility for trading political influence and concealing unregulated connections and arrangements.

Such should be the principles of institution building in societies capable of solving their problems in harmony and justice. Which of course is not a given thing but a constitutional goal. A goal that needs argumentation and efforts. The main responsibility for that is entrusted to the intellectual elite by the public.

A society that has ceased allocating funds from the state budget to the selection and education of quality intellectual potential is doomed to deep existential crisis. The lack of a quality intellectual elite means lack of competent staff for the state administration, of capable engineers and builders, of successful entrepreneurs, of doctors and teachers, of freethinking artists.

If there is no truly competent and responsible intellectual elite, the place of intellectuals is taken by illiterate and immoral individuals who are led by the ruthless instinct for their own survival and well-being. Such individuals shun openness and publicity, because they will immediately reveal their inability to manage public affairs. Hence, their illegitimacy. As well as the lack of reason for them to receive the material and moral privileges associated with public functions.

It is quite natural then that secret societies abound in societies in crisis and that the openness and publicity of public servants flags.


[1] Agora is the central square in ancient Greek city-states that served as a marketplace and as a venue for all-citizen meetings at the same time.


*By analogy with the popular book series of John Wiley & Sons publishing house. The books in this series are distinguished for the simple and popular language in which they present relatively complex topics with a lot of illustrations, humor and fun.

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Автор: Георги Василев

Георги Василев е роден през 1959 г. в Добрич. Завършил е Немската езикова гимназия в родния си град. Магистър е по Международно право от Московския държавен институт за международни отношения. Следвал е във Виенската дипломатическа академия и има Магистърска степен по Международно финансово право от Висшия институт по международни отношения, Женева. Георги Василев е натрупал дългогодишен опит и има успешна реализация в швейцарски банки и финансови компании. Автор е на монография на тема „Инвестиционни фондове”, както и на множество научни и публицистични статии в международни и български издания на тема международни финанси, инвестиции, политика. Г-н Василев е учредил и финансирал с лични средства „Награден фонд за принос към свободата на духа”, чиято цел е да засвидетелства обществено признание към български интелектуалци и визионери, които стоят в основата на гражданското общество у нас. Наградният фонд, единствен по рода си в България, подкрепя хората, които са приели като свое кредо гражданската и интелектуална мисия за издигане нивото на цивилизованост на българското общество. Г-н Василев застава зад идеята, че като неразделна част от обществото, всеки един от нас има мисия да участва активно в решаването на обществените проблеми с толерантност, творчество, уважение към индивида и отвореност към света. Владее свободно четири езика - английски, френски, немски и руски. Семеен, с две деца.