“The Most Ethical Group on the Planet”
Scientology styles itself as “the most ethical group on the planet.” But when we see such things as a group of senior Scientology executives verbally and physically attacking someone on a city street, when we see Tommy Davis telling bald-faced lies on national TV, when we hear about David Miscavige threatening and beating his juniors, when we see PIs and dirty tricks, we have to ask what definition of ethics these people are following?
I am sure that they all consider they are “in-ethics,” but what do they mean by that?
Hubbard describes ethics in terms of “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics.” This is almost a direct quote from a guy named Jeremy Bentham (1748 – 1832) an English philosopher known as an advocate of utilitarianism, which is a philosophy of ethics. Utilitarianism is often characterized by Bentham’s phrase, “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” Utilitarianism holds that that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. This view is often expressed by the phrase “The ends justify the means.”
The basic problem with utilitarian ethics is, of course, who gets to define what is good.
I am sure that Hitler, for instance, believed that what he was doing was “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” He believed that the Jews were destroying Germany and Europe. Therefore, to “save” the greatest number, he had to incarcerate and kill off as many Jews as possible. One can say this is a ridiculous example, yet in Germany in the 1930s, it was Hitler who dictated what was “good.” And millions followed and supported him. The end of a pure Aryan race and a triumphant Third Reich, justified the means that he used – terror, imprisonment and mass murder.
And I am sure the Inquisition considered it the “greatest good” to arrest, torture and kill heretics.
Machiavelli (1469 –1527) was an earlier proponent of utilitarian ethics. In his famous political treatise The Prince, he argued that “the greatest moral good is a virtuous and stable state, and actions to protect the country are therefore justified even if they are cruel.” And of course the term “machiavellian” has come to mean the placing of political expediency above morality and the use of craft and deceit to maintain authority.
Aha. And we start to get closer to something that looks like the current Church of Scientology.
The Church of Scientology promotes “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics.” And of course the Church defines what is good and bad. The Church leadership is good. Miscavige is good. Anything which forwards Scientology is good. Anything which reflects negatively on Scientology is bad. Critics of Scientology are bad. Challenging the status quo is bad. To paraphrase Machiavelli: “the greatest moral good is the continued survival of the Church of Scientology, and actions to protect the Church are therefore justified even if they are cruel.”
Thus, threatening and abusing one’s juniors is justified. They are “downstat” and therefore harming Scientology. The “greatest good” demands that duress be leveled at staff to make them produce. After all, didn’t LRH say “Men will keep the accounts straight only because you can muster bayonets to enforce that they do”? (HCO PL 4 October 68, Ethics Presence) Didn’t he say, in the same issue, to use “power and force” when issuing orders? It’s all for the “greatest good.”
And one has to penalize downstats, right? So how do you do that? Well, throw them overboard or into a lake, have them run laps around a building, put them on “beans and rice,” have them work through the night. Assign them to the RPF. That’s the “greatest good,” right?
Donating money to Scientology strengthens the Church, therefore that’s “in-ethics.” Refusing to donate your money to the Church does not benefit the Church. So it’s “out ethics.” Buying up real estate with parishioner money is “good for the Church.”
And if someone tries to expose the abuse? Well, they are creating “bad PR” for the Church. That’s not the “greatest good.” So those people are SP. And how are you supposed to handle an SP? By any means necessary. After all, didn’t LRH say “One treats a real Suppressive Person pretty rough” (HCO PL 5 April 65 Handling the Suppressive Person) – a quote Miscavige loves to repeat.
So of course, ganging up on someone and screaming at them is for the “greater good.” Disconnecting people from their families is for the “greater good.” Making their pc folders public is for the “greater good.”
And when all this “goodness” gets exposed, how do you handle the Church’s resulting “bad PR”? Well, of course, you lie. You lie to protect the Church. You tell “acceptable truths.” There’s no violence. There’s no disconnection. There’s no abuse. That’s also for the “greatest good.”
And sure, you can say, no, no, no. This is a misapplication, this is an aberration. This isn’t what LRH intended, this isn’t…”
And I say to you, this is how Scientology is applied by thousands of staff members, Sea Org Members and public Scientologists, day after day, year in and year out. This is the culture of Scientology. This is how life is within the Church. Disconnection is tolerated. Cruelty is tolerated. Lies are tolerated. Abuse is tolerated. All for the greater good. And if it is a misapplication and a misunderstanding, then it is a universal misunderstanding and misapplication shared by the entirety of organized Scientology – for many years.
So if anyone is serious about “reforming Scientology,” how about re-examining Scientology’s “utilitarian ethics” system?
What’s the alternative? Well, here’s another viewpoint:
Ghandi said, “As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.”
Ghandi saw means and ends as inseparable. He held that it is contradictory to try to use unjust means to obtain justice or to try to use violence to obtain peace. He wrote: “They say,‘means are, after all, means.’ I would say, ‘means are, after all, everything.’ As the means, so the end.”
You cannot use violence, threat, punishment, duress, lies, fraud and fear to attain “A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war.”
Because what you actually get is violence, threat, punishment, duress, lies, fraud and fear.
As the means, so the end.
Or as Ghandi also said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”