You’ve probably heard the allegations involving David Cameron’s penis and a dead pig’s mouth, but you might still be struggling with the “why.” I was, at least, until I stumbled on this.

Getting through extreme rituals in one of the world’s most exclusive clubs, he further explained, can be a traumatic but invaluable down payment for a young, ambitious member. A member’s demonstration of high pedigree combined with base loyalty can win him trust and advancement among his peers for life.

They can create a sense of groupiness and community…

Members have in the past been known to trash bars and students’ rooms like common thugs, and one rite apparently required members to burn a £50 note in front of a homeless person.

“As they become more isolated from the wider community, [elite groups] are more interested in themselves than society and they become like a cult – normal constraints are released and they feel they can do anything they want,” said [Dominic] Abrams.

… they can train you to dehumanize others or think of yourself as superior or stronger …

“These are not just social clubs – these dens are offering their members a lifetime of professional connections, and part of the way secrecy functions is to bind you in an indebtedness so that you all move forward with this shameful secret,” said Jane Ward, associate professor and vice-chair at the department of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California Riverside.

…. they can create blackmail material to punish slackers or apostates, or feed into the sunk cost fallacy, or some combination of all three. In hindsight, it’s no wonder these secret rites exist and persist.