A living organization changes with time. Some parts of it may remain identical to that which was first constructed. Most parts will adapt to changes in the world, in society and in mankind itself. Nothing remains the same, when and where it is created by man, composed by men, and has the commonwealth of men as its purpose. That which does not change, withers and dies. Organizations which fail to adapt to changes, whether they like them or not, tend to become shrunken relics of their original selves. They become mummified images of a once living creation.The Order is no exception to this rule of nature. It is now one hundred and seventeen years old. It has already passed through four stages in its life. It has concluded the Fourth Era of its existence. It stands on the threshold of a new era, the Fifth Era. What influences will be brought to bear, both from within its ranks and from without, whether by friends or foes, one cannot say at this date. That such influences will be felt can be forecast rather confidently. The nature of the organizational structure and the methods of its operations remain yet to be seen. The purpose of this thesis is to offer an option to be considered, to those who will guide the Order, comprise its officers' cadres, and the ranks of its soldiers.
The First Era
Consider that the First Era of the Order was a combined military and legal political manifestation of local resistance to federal authority. The legal political resistance was provided by the open, socially acceptable vehicle of the Democratic Party. The military resistance, covert and not as totally acceptable openly, but generally supported and encouraged by private society within the open society, was the Order. It was the mailed fist, physically and psychologically, of the political party of our Folk. It did that which was necessary to be done to return power to local hands. It did the necessary even when the necessary was distasteful to many of its supporters. It was secret. It was totally serious, no fraternalistic overtones or social purposes. It was an armed party of the Folk. When it had accomplished its purpose, the total elimination of federal presence and authority from its community, it disbanded. It disbanded as do reservists and volunteers in any army after the war is won. It stood by, awaiting the next call to arms.
The Second Era
Consider the Second Era of the Order. This arose out of a nostalgic atmosphere aided and abetted by a new entertainment vehicle, the movies. It arose out of the fertile imagination, fierce patriotism and ardent religious fervor of one determined organizer. It was born during a time when the treasured values of our land, and those of the lands of our forefathers, were under wide attack. Force, totally foreign to the morality of our Folk, had torn down thrones, social systems and values in lands long thought to be beyond such assault.The Order began, in this its Second Era, as a fraternal society to keep the flame of patriotism, Christianity and Free Enterprise alive. It was sparked by a new means of education, amusement and entertainment. The motion picture [Birth of a Nation] gave the Order its impetus at first. As the World War ended [WWI], and as the foreign blight began to increase on these shores, the fraternalistic nature of the Order rapidly changed to that of a political animal. It became a fire breathing dragon that seized power, legally and ever at the polls, throughout the land. It melded the fraternalistic waters with the political oils. It brought the new Order into being. From Masonic rituals, it created its own counterpart.From the love of the mystery, secrecy was extracted for a purpose. True secrecy existed side by side with a rather 'let's pretend' variety. It was a visible and an invisible force combined. It paraded its secrecy as one would virtue. It used its secrecy as a means for extending greater control over government and society. This Second Era passed into history when the World War II began. Peaking in its tenth year of that Era, it had slowly regionalized its power and presence by the twentieth year. By the time that it again became dormant, in its twenty seventh year, its main numbers and power had retracted into its original territory, that of the First Era.
The Third Era
Following WW II, a new menace to our Folk arose in the South. The transient nature of war workers had torn up many roots. The movement of people, various peoples, in and out of communities to serve the needs of war industries, destroyed the concept of community loyalty among many. In order to counter the influence and influx of newcomers, who neither knew the habits of a community nor wanted to adapt to such community, the Order again came to life. As if reservists called to duty, aided by new volunteers, the Third Era members became the covert arm of the local police and the local governments. The face of that old foe, the federal authority, was seen as the cause of this new rootlessness. It became the true foe when communities attempted to maintain their costumes, their mannerisms and their beliefs against the tide of strangers invading their soil. That which the local police could not do, because of federal laws, the Order did. That which the average citizen in that community wanted said, but because of church and business restraints, did not feel free to say; the Order proclaimed.The Order became a military arm, once again, of the legal political party. The range of the Order included non-Southern states, but it primarily was effective in the nine Southern states that once had comprised the Confederacy. Where it once had centralized leadership, it now had autonomous structure. There were components of the Order, attempting to act as the central seat but there were more components that recognized no leader but their own chieftain. They were effective. They did hold the line against the strangers. They compelled that ancient foe, the federal authority, to side with the ones who were the true intruders. They compelled the ancient foe to drop his smiling mask and his velvet glove, to reveal the sneer and the mailed fist. That they were so effective was proven by the necessity of the flood of federal legislation which followed from the ninth year of the Third Era onward.They [the Order] combined secrecy with public openness. They took the fraternalism of the Second Era and made of it guerrilla theatre for all to see. Yet, within their openness, they maintained a hard core of covert operations as did the founders of the First Era. As a bastion of local self-government after bastion collapsed, under the weight of federal armed and financial might the Third Era Order buckled and fell. Its last major component, tied to the fortunes of an ambitious legal politician, fell in numbers and influence when those ties became weights instead of strings to a rising balloon.
The Fourth Era
The Third Era died after the birth of the Fourth Era. There was a period of time in which both existed together. As if the grandparent fought to stay alive, until the infant grandson was beyond danger, so it was with the Third Era. The Fourth Era correctly can be termed the 'Television Era'. As with the Second Era, the Fourth Era was created by the new form of education, amusement and mass entertainment. It used television to grow, and television used it to profit.The leaders who arose during this Era was individualists of the most pronounced variety. They were sincere, for the most part. They were dedicated. They were actors more than leaders. To them, the troops, the other members and officers of the Order, were merely the stage props necessary for them to be heard at stage center. Personal appearances on television, before the press and in the radio forums, became the raison d'etre of the Order and its total program. All activities, all finances, all energies are geared to this end. It worked. It created an awareness of the positions of the Order in every house of America. It made the very name of the Order something commonly seen in every newspaper in the land. Secrecy, the concept of the "Invisible Empire", were pushed aside even though maintained in print. It was an open Era. It was publicity designed Order.It gained its goals. It was proof that the old Order had not died but that it had changed. As it had changed from the First Era to that of the Second Era and from the Second Era to that of the Third Era, so had now the Third Era changed to that of the Fourth Era. It ended, as is ending, as did that of the Third Era. For the Fourth Era is dying while the Fifth Era is being born. The Fourth Era was an excellent supersalesman. It knew its product and it sold it like a carnival huckster. Unfortunately, it was not able to deliver the product which it so competently sold. It was as if a salesman had gone on the road to sell linen, while those charged with the manufacturing the linen had not even broken ground for the factory.
Whither the Fifth Era?
The Order cannot continue on with being merely a television oriented Order. It cannot return to its role supporting local police because the local police, now totally federalized, no longer support its goals. It cannot return to fraternalism for that role requires wealth to dispense and the Order can barely pay its own way, let alone provide charities to others. It cannot return to any past Era. It can draw upon past Eras for examples, but it must create its own vehicles aboard which to travel into tomorrow. It must dare to win for if it dare not act, then it deserves no part in the play on history's stage. If the Order continues to sell, without any ability to deliver, it will shrink, wither and vanish.It is a grand Order. It had the ability to extract victory from defeat. It was a tocsin warning against perils existed. Immigration unchecked; alien moralities; red teachers, priests and preachers; drugs and especially the worst drug of all, alcohol; voter participation and the lack thereof; national defense; the home and family versus divorce and free love ... these are among many concerns it spotlighted in the Second Era. In the present age, those concerns flood our entire nations' news media. The Order saw the threat first! The Order stood alone in its station on the ramparts, sounding the alarm! The Order has a distinct value to our Folk. With that belief firmly entrenched in my mind and my heart, the following suggestions are made for a viable and effective new Order for the Fifth Era.
And it shall be called...
The Order never was called by a single name. It had many names. It had its own name. It had the nicknames of its members. It had the names hung on it by its foes. It was many things to many people; and thusly, many names were its reward. The single heartland characteristic of all Eras of the Order was and is and shall ever be, its secrecy. It is the mysticism about the Order that gave it power in the past. It was the fear of the unknown that provided the Order with a weapon of the mind. It is the fear of its potential, its ability to awaken our Folk, that gives our foes their headaches and trauma today. Respect comes later. Losers are respected by no one. Winners are feared by everyone. Secrecy breeds fear. That is why the First Era was secret. It was invisible. Its government was invisible. Its army was invisible. Its nation was an invisible empire.Never once was the name of the Order to be mentioned aloud, to strangers or to the curious. The Order had a name which was known only to its own. It must again be so. Let the name of the Order be a secret of the Order. Let the ones who belong to that Order know that they alone can whisper the name of the Order and then, only to another member of the Order. Let the world, the strangers, call the Order what they will. Let the Order vanish in the mists, unseen by the foes who seek it, untouched by the slings which they hurl. Let the Order be converted to the numbers which are the building blocks of this universe. For the number of the Order is Eleven, Eleven, Eleven. Three times Eleven equals Thirty Three. 33 is the name of the Order. Never anything else. Never speak of it to anyone who is not a member by any other name. Never write of it in any other manner. Computerize its name by converting the initials to 33.Let the Order develop its own language. Let that language be akin to the normal vernacular of the business, church or athletic world about us. In such manner, the Order may transact business before strangers, in public places, and none will know the invisible language, the invisible meanings of that language other than those who are of the order. Understand that foreign languages attract attention. Understand that mumbo-jumbo words attract attention. The Mafia in the 1930's, seeking open conversational codes, adopted baseball terms to relate to its activities and personages. Today, their very words are part of our street vocabulary. A "hit" no longer means just a baseball act. A "pitcher" no longer evokes the baseball diamond image. It became open conversation with a hidden meaning. The Order, in each jurisdiction, must do the same.Let its officers be known by names, numbers, that do not betray the roots and origins of the Order. No longer shall the mythical titles be used in public. For no longer will the public be made aware of the identity of the officers of the Order. Assigned, picked, capable and trained spokesmen shall represent the Order. Let the ranks be defined. Let the identities be concealed. Let the mystery of the Order be enhanced.Let the Order understand that it is truly a military entity, in the purest sense. It is the traditional fighting force of our Folk. Our Folk came from lands where chieftains were chosen for battle. Others might be chosen as chieftains for less martial responsibilities. Each chieftain served at the pleasure of his Folk. There were no periodic elections, terms of office or the like. A chieftain held rank for as long as those who followed him accepted his leadership. Once he had forfeited that trust, his term of office was ended. If he retained such trust, he held office forever. Let it be so again in the Order. Let it be clearly understood that chieftains are responsible to their followers and followers are to be obedient to their chieftains in return.Let the Order parallel the federal government in every area of operation. One must track one's foe, as one does the lion on the hunt. Where the federal foe is centralized, let the Order be decentralized. Yet, let the Order have equivalent levels of command so that it functions even more speedily than does its foe, the federal monstrosity. Whereas the federal power is like a water tower, storing it above the heads of its people, and pouring it down upon them as if a destructive torrent of water; let the Order build a sprinkler system of power, in which the power emanates from the Folk, is channeled upwards via the leaders closest to the Folk, and sprayed via the devices of mutual ties over a wider area. Intercommunication, exchange of ideas, materials and personnel, interaction are keys to the doors of success. Separately utilized, they enable all to enter the doors. Welded into one, they simply jam the locks. Unity in action, but diversity in approach, the principles of the Order live in reason and rational concepts.We have identified the Order by a numeral. Let it so be accepted. Never again shall the Order use the name of initials. Let its secrecy be a terror to its foes. Let them wonder, try to prove and seek to find such an entity, we who are of it, know where it is, what it is and who it is.