The Church of Arrogance
In contrast to the heartfelt stories of abuse by former staff members in the recent St. Petersberg Times articles, the Church of Scientology’s response comes across as cold, arrogant and filled with utter contempt and hate. It’s issued over Tommy Davis’s name, but in all likelihood was written by Miscavige himself. It bears his imperious stamp.
The stories of the former staff are compelling. They are rich in detail. They tell their stories with emotion, and without guile. My heart went out to these people as they related their stories of abuse, criminality, pursuit and oppression.
And all the Church can say is “they are lying.” Really? All of them?
So I suppose they sat around and dreamed up all of these detailed stories, then meticulously co-ordinated them with each other so that the details matched, then rehearsed them and rehearsed them so they could deliver them convincingly. And maybe they took an acting class in their somewhere.
Yet this is exactly what the Church expects us to believe. And not only that, they tell us that these people are all malevolent criminals, perverts and lunatics. Despite the fact that these people devoted many years of their lives to the expansion of Scientology, despite the fact that these people passed the rigorous screening to be allowed to go to the Int Base, despite the fact that they were trusted with high positions in the Sea Org, suddenly we are asked to believe that they are all the dregs of humanity, every single one of them.
As proof, they offer up snippets from their PC folders and ethics files. Juicy little tidbits from their confessions. See? See how evil they are?
This sort of thing should send chills down the spine of every Scientologist. Because they are also saying, “step out of line and we’ll go through your folders.”
It’s called an ad hominem argument, or, to be more exact, ad hominem abusive. An article in Wikipedia describes it in these terms: “Ad hominem abusive…usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponent, but can also involve pointing out factual but ostensible character flaws or actions which are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This tactic is logically fallacious because insults and even true negative facts about the opponent’s personal character have nothing to do with the logical merits of the opponent’s arguments or assertions.”
It is a logical fallacy – a deliberate attempt to divert an inquiry by changing the subject.
Here’s another logical fallacy. The rebuttal says that the accusations cannot be true as Scientology has 8000 orgs, missions and groups, millions of members, and “some of the most successful social betterment programs on Earth.” Even if these things were true (and they are not – see my analysis of these sorts of claims here), it is not a rebuttal. It is an argumentum ad populum. “We can’t be guilty as we are so popular.”
Or how about this one. They accuse the St. Pete Times of “providing a platform to impugn the name of the ecclesiastical leader of Scientology, denigrate the religion and cause undue harm to its parishioners.” In other words, if you expose abuse, fraud or criminality in the management of Scientology, you are “attacking my religion.” Please.
Are you saying that abuse, fraud and criminality are an integral part of your religious belief system? Are these things vital to your religion?
“You can’t attack Miscavige because he’s a religious leader.” Really? Does that give him a carte blanche to commit any abuse or crime?
The whole “don’t attack my religion” stance goes beyond a mere logical irrelevance. It’s a red herring, a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the subject of Church abuse and crime by changing the subject.
The point is, these tactics are obvious. It is obvious to even the most casual reader of the St. Pete Times that the Church is trying to cover up, to divert attention, to impugn the reputation of anyone who dares to blow the whistle on them. Their tactics are transparent, obvious and clumsy.
With every word they utter, they strip away their mask and reveal themselves for what they are – an arrogant, fanatical criminal gang.