I've made these observations before on this subject of Masons and I feel that I have to reiterate them.
Apart from the family of the Discovery Network cable television channels, poorly written books by Dan Brown and an occasional NatGeo piece on cable TV, how many of us would ever think about or discuss Freemasonry? (Oh yeah - the equally idiotic National Treasure movies with Nicholas Cage..very believable - NOT.)
Yet, within the fevered imaginations of some, often those who also buy into conspiracy theories and Bigfoot sightings, how relevant are they in our modern society? Decades ago, being a Mason was viewed by some in the immigrant communities as a way to 'buy in' to the American dream of upward mobility or class mobility in some parts of Europe. But since the end of the second world war, the membership and influence of Masons has diminished considerably. Seriously, how many of you really know of any serious Masons under the age of sixty? Just how 'secret' can a 'secret' society remain in today's world of the internets, Facebook, iPhones etc.... In town and city after town and city one can find underutilized or abandoned buildings which once housed large clubs of Masons, Scottish Rite temples, Kalurah temples etc..etc... - in downtown Binghamton, NY, my hometown, the sturdy, size of a city block 1930's Temple has been vacant since I was in high school in the 1970's and is a decrepit, falling apart hulk. The equally large Kalurah temple in town, which once showcased boxing matches, basketball tournaments and circuses has been an Assembly of God church for as long as I can remember going back to the 1960's.
Rotary and Kiwanis have adapted to the modern world, admitted minorities and women for decades and they have replaced the philanthropic purposes that many Masonic lodges used to provide.
The fellows on the little bikes in parades are fewer and fewer and older and older.
I'm not saying that there are no more 'true believers' out there, but their import and influence is grossly exaggerated and they serve as an excuse not to look at real issues.