Daily Archives: September 28, 2011

An Open Letter to Tony Ortega

reference: yours at,

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/09/l_ron_hubbard_top_25_crippling_scientology.php

Notwithstanding your prediction, you won’t hear any howls from me Tony.  Only a long sigh of disappointment.

You start out your opus on L Ron Hubbard with an interesting incongruity: the Village Voice sanctimoniously talking down on somebody for being “a bigamist” and an “occult dabbler.”  Really?  Who do you expect to stand out of line and swim against the current at the height of the Cold War, McCarthyism, and state sponsored institutional psychiatry?  The monogamous, obeying, church-going Ozzie Nelson?  I would think the Village Voice of all fairly influential publications would understand this:  If you want to find someone to step outside the box and question the manner in which humankind has been doing business for thousands of years don’t call on Little Lord Fauntelroy.

The first crux of your attempted take down of L Ron Hubbard begins with a straw man burning of what you quote a religious scholar as calling the church’s “mythological hagiography” of Hubbard.  Tony, name an established religion whose founder or messenger is promoted by its organization with anything other than a “mythological hagiography.”

You then “prove” it’s all by Hubbard’s design by taking a third-rate propaganda piece (Russell Miller’s Barefaced Messiah) and converting it into, well, your Bible.  It is the same technique being used by mainstream, corporate media for the past sixty years to make fun of and tear down that which it doesn’t have the intellectual integrity to attempt to understand.  So, just as you introduced your hagiography burning by allowing yourself to call my “bullshit”, please allow me to call yours.

I explained to you at some length my own considerations about Hubbard’s hagiography; and explained to you that most Independent Scientologists share them.   First, I told you that I was not the kind of person to allow someone’s alleged “biography” to influence my evaluation of the workability of methods suggested by that person.  In fact, I told you that I caught myself beginning to do so when I first entered a church of Scientology in 1977. But, it wasn’t in the way you’ve inferred is the only way to evaluate the worth of Scientology.  I saw a photo of Hubbard in his naval uniform, with some plug as to how this showed him to be credible.   I nearly made an about face right then and there because to me the last cred I would credit in the field of the mind and the spirit would be someone’s stint as an officer in the US Navy.  But, I decided to keep an open mind and stay focused on what he had to offer;  and more importantly to test for myself whether it produced a result.  Remember, I was a writer for the alternative paper at the University I had attended before all this; I had been honing my bullshit detector for some time.

Whether Hubbard was a blood brother to Native Americans, an Eagle Scout, a teenager who in the 1920’s once used a pejorative term to refer to Chinese, was responsible for killing a sub full of people, considered homosexuality deviant in 1951, or generally went about his life with a bigger-than-life swag really never figured into the equation for me.

So, your part A, for me, is not much more than much ado about nothing.

As for your part B, the recitation and condemnation of the very few words you cherry picked out of the millions Hubbard wrote and spoke on the subject of Scientology, your techniques were even more disappointing.  I’ll cite some of the words you chose to characterize as policy, and give each passage a touch of context.

a.     “The only way you can control people is to lie to them.”

Tony, I have heard more than one one-hour lecture by Hubbard where takes this axiom and ruthlessly examines it toward forever freeing those listening from ever being controlled through lies.

b. Your repeated references to and quotes on the Hubbard Policy Letter Keeping Scientology Working:

In context, again as I explained to you, outside the culture of the church that policy letter, Keeping Scientology Working, means ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”   That was the meaning my wife summed up as gleaning from it.  As you know she had never set foot in any “church” of Scientology, and therefore was uninfluenced by the culture of Miscavige that interprets virtually everything for people, when I asked her to read it.  But, apparently her view doesn’t count, not when it might slow down a witch burning of L Ron Hubbard.

c. “There’s only one remedy for crime — get rid of the psychs! They are causing it!”

Is Shakespeare condemned for having prescribed a disappearing of all lawyers to remedy the world’s ills?  Is Michael Moore condemned for cheerleading for the abolition of all Capitalists to create peace on earth?  Certainly not in your publication. Further, it really doesn’t sound much different from the attitude you’ve espoused about Scientology in your article on Hubbard.   Glass houses?

d. “A truly Suppressive Person or group has no rights of any kind and actions taken against them are not punishable.”

Tony, while you know damn well that I – and all Independents I know  – take exception to any attitude or conduct even reflecting adherence to the above sentence,  let’s add a broader type of context.  Apparently the mental health field is sixty years later coming round to Hubbard’s way of thinking.   I am reading a book (The Sociopath Next Door) by a prominent practitioner in the specialty of repairing the victims of sociopaths.  Her description of the sociopath reads like a modern day rewrite of Hubbard’s descriptions of what he then called the covertly hostile person, and later called the suppressive person.  The psychiatrist announces that modern psychiatry cannot cure the sociopath, and muses for 3 pages beating around the bush about what then to do about them – the subtext is clear, she wishes it were 1951 and it was politically correct to say “quarantine them”, but alas, it is 2011 and she winds up babbling into apathy over the problem.

e. “MAKE MONEY. MAKE MORE MONEY. MAKE OTHER PEOPLE PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MORE MONEY.”

A Finance Office policy.  I think if your job is Finance and you do things that do not add up to making more money and getting others to do the same, you are not long for finance (whether you are in the Finance Office of the Catholic Church, the United Way, or General Motors). To infer this policy applies broadly to Scientologists is just a plain cheap shot.

To place L Ron Hubbard above David Miscavige in your rankings of those doing the most to “cripple Scientology” does everyone a disservice in my opinion.   L Ron Hubbard died twenty-five years ago.  He wrote what he wrote.  He has no further say in what people do with what he wrote.  Following your logic, the solution would lie along the lines a good old-fashioned book burning.  Further,  you are naïve to assume there are more active Corporate Scientologists (whom Miscavige demands read Hubbard the way you have chosen to) than there are Independent Scientologists (who don’t miss the forest for the trees and choose to apply what Hubbard wrote in a sensible, lawful, respectful manner befitting the age in which they live).  Your final article tells the latter that they are no different than the former – that all are condemned to read and apply Hubbard as you and David Miscavige have chosen to.  Worse, you aid and abet a dangerous sociopath by providing him with the ultimate defense  – Hubbard made him do it.

I respectfully disagree.

While Independent Scientologists might be inclined to howl, I can guarantee you  one thing.  They won’t investigate you, they won’t threaten you, they won’t attempt to intimidate you, they won’t threaten to sue you, they won’t sue you, and they won’t do much of anything to make you even slightly uncomfortable.

I’ve got news for your Tony.   Those facts right there about how Independent Scientologist will conduct themselves towards you is living proof that your article was dead wrong.

Peace my brother.