On June 19, 2020, in Washington, D.C., Black Lives Matter protesters performed a by-now-familiar ritual, destroying a monument to a Confederate general—indeed, the only Confederate general so honored in the nation’s capital: Albert Pike.
“Who?” many asked. Pike was no Robert E. Lee. He ignominiously lost a minor battle in 1862 and spent the rest of the Civil War in an Arkansas log cabin. Pike had been commemorated, it soon emerged, because he was a leading Freemason. Yet some of the reaction on Twitter also revealed that the Pike statue had a very strange alliance of enemies. A “GOP Senate foreign policy adviser” tweeted that he was an “occult, Luciferian Freemason.” A self-proclaimed anarchist called him both a “luciferian Freemason” and a “co-founder” of the K.K.K.