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Attacks on Dissenters


Skepticism and Evil

The Danger of Communication
Drowning in Noise
Ad Hominem
Apologists of Apologists

Epilog

Skepticism and Evil

One of the characteristic of the cultic mindset is intolerance to dissent. In ARS, this manifests by virulent attacks against moderate critics who question central aspects of the invisible party line.

Jeffrey S. Victor in his book "Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend" (Open Court, 1993) describes the phenomenon quite adequately :
 

People who are activists in moral crusades tend to be impatient with skeptics and often intolerant toward outright critics. They often regard the expression of skepticism by critics as equivalent to giving aid and comfort to the evil they are fighting.


This principle is of course very visible with scholars being referred to by anticultists as "cult apologists", but the phenomenon can also be clearly observed in the newsgroup towards "internal" dissenters.

The danger of communication

Although this has somewhat rescinded in time, Diane Richardson and myself were two of the favorite targets of ARS fanatics.

Diane Richardson, a critic who has been invaluable in debate against claims of Scientologists over psychiatry, subsequently questioned central anti-cult topics, such as the mind-control myth, pointed to failings of central anti-Scientology icons, such as Paulette Cooper,  and opposed unsubstantiated allegations made in ARS. This has attracted her the hires of ARS fanatics who have declared communication with her "dangerous":
 

Roland Rashleigh-Berry
<33EC3BD4.5E77@netcomuk.co.uk>

Be aware of the dangers of communication with someone like Diane Richardson. [...] Better still, *plonk* the bitch.


The similarity with Scientologists discouraging communication with dissenters is of course striking, and I believe that the basic mentality is just about the same. The difference is really just a matter of resources, degree, and circumstances:

As for myself, reasons why ARS fanatics may not like what I have to say should be obvious reading this web site. But what is more remarkable to the matter at hand is once again the similarity of some of their reactions with what was popular as an "explanation" back in Communist times: to declare dissenters insane or mentally ill:
 

Roland Rashleigh-Berry
<33EF9DA8.72D3@netcomuk.co.uk>

It is my belief that Bernie is mentally ill. In a sense he is worse than Koos. [...] It would be better not to communicate with this person.


The message of course is always the same: don't communicate and don't listen to those who dare question the holiness of "The Fight".

Drowning in noise

One of the means certain ARSers have been using in an attempts to prevent dissenting voices to be heard was to try and drown them in noise. Here's how it works, as described by Dave Bird in a conversation with Paper Tiger:

Dave Bird
<USdBaHAfOXj0EwDm@xemu.demon.co.uk>

[Paper Tiger]

You know what? I've really little idea of what Diane DID have to say, because whatever it was got drowned out in flame wars

[Dave Bird]

Then you fell for my (openly stated) strategy. Tell people it's a load of crap and they should killfile her, all you get is arguments who are you to say that. Pile in and oppose her hard generating a lot of noise, people killfile the noise. Obviously it worked.


and here is the same the tactic described by Martin Hunt's.

Martin Hunt
<9JUi3Mdlg0Ud092yn@islandnet.com>

Here, Diane; here, kitty kitty kitty. Here, Stephen. Bernie, over here. Here, kitty kitty kitty kitties. Any more little kitties about, shitting on the floor? Come over here. We'll have a little flame war, and let the lobbiers, the protesters, the workers go back to work.

If you have two braincells to put together and realize that Scientology is a Bad Thing [tm] and you're working against it, please ignore these little shits. Leave them to me. :-)

Ad Hominem

Here's an example of one of the countless insults and personal attacks Martin Hunt launched at Diane:

Martin Hunt
<GTUi3MdlgM7Z092yn@islandnet.com>

[Diane’s] a stupid cunt because she doesn't have the wits to see that Scientology is a Bad Thing [tm], and should therefore be opposed by more sensible people.

Yes, she's too stupid to understand that Scientology hurts people and should be brought to heel. She must be pretty dumb. Who's dumber, Jenna Elfman or Diane Richardson? One's in the cult, one's too stupid to oppose it.


Of course, challenging critics’ basic tenets, objecting to unsubstantiated accusations, and pointing out unethical behavior of critics is equal in Martin Hunt's mind to "give aid and comfort to evil" (to use Jeffrey S. Victor words above), and it seems to be all it takes for him to make one "dumb" and "stupid":

Here are a few more quotes, taken from a posts I made at the time where I gathered a few ridiculous and patently false statements Dave Bird has been making about yours truly and which I asked him to substantiate. Needless to say, he was unable to come up with a single quotes of mine or anything else to support his assertions. (Note: "Barnie" is one of Bird’s "witty" way to refer to me):
 

Dave Bird

<sIdvczBAr9U0Ew9l@xemu.demon.co.uk>

Oh fuck off, you tedious twit. I simply point out that Barnie constantly promotes and defends a bunch of extortionate killers

<guZMVCBSr7U0EweK@xemu.demon.co.uk>

Hmm. I can EXPLAIN the killings: He asserts that they are justified,

<r2sODfBOnjW0EwPS@xemu.demon.co.uk>

And perhaps Barnie disagrees with reality because he is barking mad.

<APUUNBBxLqR0EwgR@xemu.demon.co.uk>

That's my guess. There has been a lot of noise from obnoxious lying scum, for all I know one person with three accounts, posting as whippersnapper & barnie & richardson.

<ggTs20As2VR0Ew2z@xemu.demon.co.uk>

Barnie clings on to the bits of the cult which halfsane people reject: the killing, extortion and deceit.

Apologists of Apologists

As a further similarity with cultic and totalitarian thinking, other posters who expressed strong disagreement with the extreme behavior of some critics were then accused of having been corrupted by dissenters' evil influence and flamed  same. Dissenters have, in sort, become akin to what is referred to in Scientology as "suppressive persons":

Martin Hunt
<PMuhyQqBDq5f092yn@freenet.victoria.bc.ca>

Diane, you're very persuasive; you are completely wrong, morally, ethically, philanthropically, socially and in many other non-logical ways, but you have attracted a handful of lost souls to your holy cause.


Of course, Martin Hunt never managed to show how Diane was "completely wrong", and when he tried, he ended up looking pretty foolish, showing himself unable to understand even the most basic points Diane was making. Check for example his glorious interventions in the mind-control thread, both in the first and the second installment.

Here's Martin Hunt arguing with Sister Clara who objected to Dave Bird's behavior. BTW, Sister Clara's whole post is a classic in its kind and much worth reading:
 

Martin Hunt
<VgxozMdlgk6H092yn@islandnet.com>

[Sister Clara:]

As if it is not bad enough coming into contact with the Scientology fanatics, we have to put up with fanatics on the critics' side as well. And I find both to be equally frightening.

[Martin Hunt:]

Bingo; you just admitted you're:

a) full of shit.
b) incapable of thinking your way out of a wet paper bag.
c) so hysterical when you lose an argument that you tend to go insane.
d) thoroughly influenced by Diane's insane garbage.


Sister Clara objected as well to Roland's outrageous behavior. Here is his answer:

Roland
<3453CC9B.2856@_SPAMTRAP_virgin.net>

You are one of these fuckwits who believe that the opponents of the Co$ should not behave like them. That's about as sensible as expecting the police not to swear, not to get into fights, not to drive their cars fast and never to use guns because it would make them no better than the criminals they were supposed to catch.

You have picked up this line from fuckwits like Diane and Bernie.

Since you can't think to save your life you best stick to simpler things like scones, paper doilies, tartan rugs, car blankets, cream teas and things like that.


and here's Roland applying the same kind of "logic" to Rebecca Hartong during the mind-control debate:

Roland
<34317C3A.7363@_SPAMTRAP_virgin.net>

You are obviously a follower of the Bastard Librarian From Hell, Diane Richardson. The lying cow who claims extensive studies exist that are aimed to harm people when in fact the Helsinki agreement at the back of each study design protocol forbids it and proves that Diane Richardson is a lying bag of puke.

You fucking stupid slut. I am sure you could walk into a place where hypnosis was being demonstrated. You could probably arrange it that your friends went with you so you could witnes it for yourself. You are so full of dishonest shit though, like your mentor, the fucking lying bag of shit Diane Richardson, that you would rather repeat her lies.o

Go lie against your fellow bag of puke.


I could of course come up with loads of similar examples, but I think the few above are eloquent enough.

flag01.gif (1195 bytes) Epilog

I'll give the last word to Peter McDermott, who expressed the phenomenon, which he witnessed through reaction of ARSers towards Diane, better than I ever could.

Peter McDermott
Message-ID: <B010226C96683100A0@0.0.0.0>

Dennis, you accused me of 'slinging generalities' when I talked about the sort of abusive responses that I was seeing to Diane's posts and you wanted me to quote an example from the newsgroup. I use an off-line newsreader though, and delete them after I read them, so I couldn't cite one of the posts that had shaped my perceptions of the issue. However, it wasn't very long before I read another example of the type of posts that I was referring to.

So try this one. The post it's following up takes was of a similar nature, but only calls her a brainless bitch. This goes a little bit further, claiming that Diane is evil incarnate and comparing her with (guess who?) the Nazis.

It appears that the cost of expressing views that differ from those of the dominant posters can be very high indeed. So much for our precious defense of free speech, huh? So long as it's approved speech, attacking approved targets, we'll defend it - but if it happens to be raising questions that we don't want to hear, let's stick our fingers in our ears and scream abuse as loud as we can. After all, it's *so* much easier

The odd thing is that I never even saw the Scienos themselves work *this* hard to smear their critics. At least posters like Andy Milne would make some attempt to rebut their opponents positions. This stuff is simply mindless abuse aimed at discrediting the *person* and diverting all attention from the arguments and the issues being argued over. Now where have I seen *that* tactic used before? Hmmm.

It seems to me that the thing that lies at the heart of all this anger is a difference over tactics. Diane's position seems to be lets get *everything* out in the open, put the emphasis on accuracy rather than just relying on the propaganda value of a statement, and acknowledge it when someone who is fighting the cult happens to be wrong, because by doing so you can only enhance your credibility and show that you have precisely the sort of integrity that Scientology lacks. I have to say that this is also the same position that I hold (and always have, which is why I'm somewhat bemused by those who claim that I've 'changed' somehow.)

In contrast, there are those who believe that we should fight the clams 'by any means necessary' and if that means lying, or breaking the law, focussing on the propaganda value of data rather than whether it's true or not. Actually, I do have an emotional tendency towards this point of view myself. However, there's a big problem with it, and that is when you get caught out, your credibility is all shot to shit. And of course, this is another of the strategies that the cult uses to deal with its critics, another good reason why I feel critics should explicitly distance themselves from it. If you want to establish your moral and ethical superiority, you really do have to behave in a morally superior manner.

Mind you, it does highlight all manner of interesting parallels, and goes some way to illustrating Bernie's thesis that anti-cult posters are often very similar in their thinking and behaviour to the cultists that they profess to hate.

Another way that it does this is by showing that critics reserve their most intense venom for their apostates in *precisely* the same way that the cult does.

You and Diane may have a bit more in common than either of you currently recognize. I've heard you go on quite a lot about persecution. This looks to me like a pretty clear example of persecution, and if it were happening to anybody else *besides* Diane I'd be astonished that you weren't speaking out about it.

Maybe it's time that this old bus went in for a service?

Here's the post.

[Alec <alec@flash.net>]:

Thank God Arnie and others have spilled the church's beans, whether illegal or not. I might have spent the rest of my life anticipating good things from this abusive church. Arnie and the others have courageously given me the discriminatory data I need to dispell the church's possessive lies. From the realm of religion and truth the Law is a Whore! If the Law opposes my pursuit of salvation, then Fuck the Law! I consider that anyone who would side with the Law over the rights to the Truth is a Whore!

[anima@bermuda.io.com (Anima)]

'Da Bump would be proud to be as obstructionist as this woman has dedicated herself to being. Unable or unwilling to supply useful material in researching the crimes, history, behavior, or dangers of Scientology, she focuses exclusively these days in trying to ensure that no one else does any better. Now, in the <snipped> material you quoted, all is explained: Her sense of morality, ethics, appropriate behavior, is all subordinate to the One Important Thing-- legality. If something is legal, it is acceptable to her, obviously, and if it is Not legal, it must be opposed. Since it is not illegal for her to produce off-topic rants about those who are still trying to discuss the cult, such rants are obviously moral, ethical, appropriate, etc. And if a judge orders someone to suppress evidence of a deadly crime, such as the "church" <spit> has been accused or convicted of over and over in the last year or two-- and, of course, very often before that as well, then no matter how many deaths may be caused as a result, it is obvious that the law is more important than life-- or, one supposes, either liberty of the pursuit of happiness.

In short, if it is illegal, it IS wrong, immoral, unethical, and inappropriate. But may the god help anyone if she can find something to to to them that is Not explicitly illegal, because such behavior would obviously be acceptable. Thus, no matter how many lives Arnie's brave (and it seems to me, Unintentionally illegal) posting may have saved, she gets to sit around on her high horse and condemn him. People who have their ethics dictated by the law, and not from some better source, are indeed victims whose acts are controlled by others and must waver with the wandering wind rather than act as a beacon to others, an example of conscience in the face of, say, Jim Crow laws, Apartheid, political arrests, book banning (What if the courts condemned Huck Finn? What would a librarian do-- defy *gasp* the law?), the mandatory wearing of a Star of David or a pink triangle. Yes, there are those who would defy those laws. And there are the quislings who would file Knowledge Reports on them, berate them in public long after they had confessed, and shove others aside to be first in line at the stoning.

Is there any possible doubt which of these two classes the hatemongering pseudo rationalist falls into? And in that case, why bother to attempt to engage someone whose agenda has no credibility, whose morality is secondary to wriggling within the law and smiling as sweetly as ever Sid smiled when he went running to tell Ma that Tom did not whitewash the whole fence himself, and who has such a powerfully, repeatedly demonstrated ability to tear at people's lives at any cost with all the tenacious bile of a rabid Hubbardite going upstat on a church-ordered mission to destroy and leave behind some kind of warning message, "something witchy," to be remembered by. The difference between Di and Chuck's followers is that she doesn't need to be ordered into action by some Manson type; she boldly strikes out all on her own.

What fucking interest can you possibly have in Scientology issues?, you brainless fucking Bitch!

Now, now. Obviously her interest in Scientology issues is to impose her views on those who are discussing those issues and attempting to destroy those who dare to cross her OR who are demonstrating their effectiveness in bringing to justice the international criminal conspiracy disguised as a church. Other than her bloody savaging of Factnet, Arnie, Rob, Paulette Cooper, and others, she has contributed nothing of value for a couple of years now. Just do what almost everyone else has done-- killfile her. It may astonish you how much more useful and productive this newsgroup becomes when you eliminate her hatespew and focus on the issues, keep up with the news, and join in the camaraderie that helps people hold on in the face of Evil-- the face seen in the mirror each morning by the woman who, when she touches pitch, defiles it.

 



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Disclaimer :

This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

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