Friday, January 28, 2011

Decoded: Bohemian Grove

Click to enlarge.
Caught Decoded on the History Channel last night and was reminded of something I read once but forgot. It was a much-improved episode that tackled the mysterious cabal that converges yearly on Bohemian Grove in California's Russian River area. 

For more than a century, the powerful, rich, and influential men of this country (and others) have sought refuge deep within the towering redwoods of Northern California. They come, ostensibly, to behave like drunken frat boys or lodge members--bizarre druidesque rituals and all. 

While it may seem to be so much arrested adolescence, one can't help but think that this concentration of influence is not without its impact on the whole of society. Under-the-table deals are most certainly made here and perhaps secrets slip from whiskey-loosened lips. Others in the program made the point that political decisions are made all the time on golf courses and in churches. However, I would argue those are equally dangerous. This isn't how our government works. At least, it shouldn't. 

It was argued in this episode that much of the discomfort and suspicion surrounding the activities at Bohemian Grove center around sour grapes, but I don't think so. There's a genuine concern here when presidents, senators, and other politicos combine ad-hoc policy shaping and national decision making with drinking, dressing in drag, and worshiping a monolithic owl head in druidic robes. One can't help but think influence grows stronger and clear-thinking falters under these conditions. 

A sociologist who studied the activities at the Grove waxed eloquently about fraternal bonds and intimacy. It was all very naked-male-drum-circle. What becomes of us, though, when our elected officials are compromised by that same said brotherly bond? How often does it supersede the good of the nation? How many battles began in the Grove to satisfy the personal greed of small men? Since we don't know--since we CAN'T know--we can only wonder and worry. 

The team wasn't able to penetrate the intense security surrounding the Grove--even in the off-season. Two of the four who tried a river approach were arrested as soon as they trespassed. The episode, however, managed to uncover enough details to certainly give us all pause.

Learn more about Bohemian Grove's history here.

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Chilling, huh? Think of how many bad relationships started with a one-night stand. Not always the best decisions are made under hormones and booze.