A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed Reviewer's Bookwatch, August, 2004 by William Harwood
A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed
Carol Publishing Group
600 Madison Avenue, New York 10022
ISBN 081840499X, $21.95 440 pp.
reprinted from Freethinker, July 2004.
A Piece of Blue Sky is not the latest expose of the Scientology scam. More recent dissections of brainwashing cults have touched on Scientology. But there has not been a later book sufficiently focused to justify including the word Scientology in the title, perhaps because Atack does such a thorough job of exposing this moneymaking scam posing as a religion, that there is little more to say.
Human beings are not descended from any terrestrial lifeforms. The first humans were brought to earth by benevolent aliens millennia ago from a galaxy far, far away. If you believe that, you are not necessarily a Scientologist. But if you are a Scientologist, you are required to believe it, since the alternative is to recognize that you have been hoaxed by a cult that originated in the imagination of L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer with such total contempt for anyone who could take his fantasy seriously, that he gloated to an associate, "Let's sell these people a piece of blue sky." (p. iii) When the associate expressed skepticism, Hubbard bet him that he could invent a new religion and have it showing a profit within a year. He won the bet. While no other evidence survives that Hubbard had a sense of humor, his naming the Thetans' (aliens) residence Arslycus cannot have been a random choice. (p. 134)
But while it was L. Ron Hubbard who first organized the conspiracy to pass off science fiction as a religion, the cult leaders' true role model was Benito Mussolini. When A Piece of Blue Sky was first published, the Scientology gangsters were able to intimidate the dirty little cowards at Amazon into removing it from their catalogue, out of fear of the kind of vicious reprisals that got eleven members of the cult, including Hubbard's wife, convicted and jailed in 1979. In 1978 Hubbard was himself convicted of fraud in a French court, in absentia, and sentenced to four years imprisonment. Amazon only re-listed the book when public outrage threatened them with more serious consequences than even Hubbard's mobsters could inflict.
It was Hubbard himself who initiated the cult's ongoing policy of filing frivolous lawsuits to intimidate opponents into ceasing to oppose it. As he explained to his deputies (p. 139), "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway ... will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly ... We should be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance so as to discourage the public press from mentioning Scientology." Probably as a preemptive measure against an investigation of himself, Hubbard wrote several letters to the FBI claiming that communists and psychiatrists were targeting him. The FBI eventually stopped replying, and on one of Hubbard's letters an agent wrote, "appears mental."
Because even pretend-religions are such sacred cows in America, practitioners of American religions, afraid that allowing Scientology to be treated as a criminal conspiracy would lead to their own cults being similarly categorized, pressured much of the world into accepting Hubbard's swindle as a legitimate religion. While three Australian states for several years categorized Scientology as the criminal conspiracy to defraud that it clearly is, they eventually backed down under American pressure. Only Germany continues to recognize Scientology as a moneymaking scam posing as a religion, and refuses entry permits to cult members. And it was lobbying by other fringe sects that won Scientology tax-exempt status as a religion, in the hope that if Scientology was categorized as a religion, their own cults could then claim the same status.
But Scientology is not merely a fruitcake cult like the Southern Baptists, which peddles mind pablum to the braindead because its pushers are themselves braindead. Like America's 1st and 2nd ranking brainwashing cults, Catholicism and Mormonism, Scientology has been exposed as a fraud so many times and in so many ways, that anyone who thinks the pushers of any of those Big Lies are unaware that they are peddling falsehoods is being unrealistic. (Notable exception: Pope Wojtyla is far too feebleminded to comprehend that a Bible that states in fourteen places that the earth is flat must be fiction.) Scientology is a conscious, money-grubbing swindle, perpetrated by persons who know full well that their pretend-religion has as much resemblance to reality as the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. In recent years the cult succeeded in convincing a jury that an anti-cult website was legally culpable for an attempted deprogramming. The brainwashers not only forced them out of business. They also took over the website and, in the pretence of being the same anti-cult site, have since been peddling their propaganda to persons looking for information on how to combat such cults.
Much of Atack's book is a biography of Hubbard, or more precisely an analysis of Hubbard's own published accounts of his life, which are so impossible to harmonize into a single biographical chronology, that the only reasonable conclusion is that they are a pack of lies from start to finish. One detail, however, seems to be accurate. Hubbard's medical scam that preceded Scientology, Dianetics, only took off when it was actively promoted in the 150,000 circulation Astounding Science Fiction by the magazine's unbelievably gullible editor, John Campbell. (p. 107) Even Isaac Asimov, who got his start with Campbell, was embarrassed by the man's superstitious ignorance. It was in Campbell's presence in 1949 that Hubbard casually mentioned, "he would like to start a religion, because that was where the money was." (p. 137)
That several prominent Hollywood actors are Scientologists raises a chicken-and-egg question: Are they Scientologists because they are stupid, or are they stupid because they are Scientologists? No one has ever mistaken Foundation or Dune for nonfiction, and no one with a functioning human brain has ever mistaken Ron Hubbard's imaginative fantasizing for nonfiction.
There are two kinds of Scientologists: the conscienceless gangsters who run the cult the same way Mussolini ran Italy, and the mindless marks whom the gangsters believe were put on earth to line their pockets and eat their excrement. In the words of Justice Latey, ruling in the High Court in London in 1984:
"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious ... it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based upon lies and deceit and has as its real objective money and power for Mr. Hubbard, his wife and those close to him at the top. It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestioningly and to those who criticize or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others." (p. xiii) "Deprived of property, injury by any means, trickery, suing, lying or destruction have been pursued throughout and to this day with the fullest vigour ... Mr. Hubbard is a charlatan and worse as are his wife Mary Sue Hubbard ... and the clique at the top privy to the Cult's activities."
In America, Judge Breckenridge ruled (p. 2), "In addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the organization over the years ... has harassed and abused those persons not within the Church whom it perceives as enemies. The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder LRH [L. Ron Hubbard]. The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him as disloyal or hostile."
Scientology is a criminally felonious swindle. That verdict is not offered as the personal conclusion of either the book's author or its reviewer. It is the recorded judgment of law courts in America, England and France, and governments in Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and Germany. That we both agree with it is beside the point.
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