The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology is not a playground. It is not just a bunch of posts you can view on your monitor. Demonstrations, raids on individuals' homes, harassment of critics, and lawsuits have come out of a.r.s. We have been discussed in many magazine and newspaper articles, and some actions here are or are potentially precedent-setting cases for the future.
The church of Scientology uses the Iron Fist approach to deal with anything or anyone it sees as a threat. This was taught by Hubbard himself. For instance, when the church perceives that someone is violating their copyrights, they don't simply file a lawsuit; instead they raid the person's home, spend several hours rifling through the entire house, cart off uncatalogued private property, and return a portion of that property in an altered form, and then they sue you.
There is always the temptation on the part of critics to fight fire with fire. In other words, if the church posts some private information about a critic, then a critic may feel that some church member's private information should be posted in return. This seems like a rational approach. But I believe the way to fight such a group as Scientology is to *expose* their evil actions, not mirror them. If church critics are ethical, moral, and non-violent while the church is unethical, immoral, and violent, then the *contrast* between the groups is much more powerful than the harm a critic could do to the church by using church tactics back on them. This, I believe, was one of the secrets of the previously named activists.
If you really want to be an activist against the evils of the Church of Scientology, my request to you is to study the methods of Dr. Martin Luther King, Ghandi, and Vaclav Havel. And at the very least, read "The Power of the Powerless" by Havel (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., Armonk NY; 1990). Below is an excerpt of that work to show you why I think it is relevant to a.r.s.
Hopefully I'm just preaching to the choir here, but as we get new readers to our newsgroup and people choose sides, I also believe that we critics should understand just how we can best accomplish the end of the evil actions of the Church of Scientology, and strive to make sure that no critic chooses the wrong method of reaching that goal.
Between the aims of the post-totalitarian system and the aims of life there is a yawning abyss: while life, in its essence, moves toward plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution and self-organization, in short, towards the fulfillment of its own freedom, the post-totalitarian system demands conformity, uniformity, and discipline. While life ever strives to create new and 'improbable' structures, the post-totalitarian system contrives to force life into its most probable states. The aims of the system reveal its most essential characteristic to be introversion, a movement towards being ever more completely and unreservedly itself, which means that the radius of its influence is continually widening as well. This system serves people only to the extent necessary to insure that people will serve it. Anything beyond this, that is to say, anything which leads people to overstep their predetermined roles is regarded by the system as an attack upon itself. And in this respect it is correct: every instance of such transgression is a genuine denial of the system. It can be said, therefore, that the inner aim of the post-totalitarian system is not mere preservation of power in the hands of a ruling clique, as appears to be the case at first sight. Rather, the social phenomenon of self-preservation is subordinated to something higher, to a kind of blind automatism which drives the system. No matter what position individuals hold in the hierarchy of power, they are not considered by the system to be worth anything in themselves, but only as things intended to fuel and serve this automatism. For this reason, an individual's desire for power is admissible only in so far as its direction coincides with the direction of the automatism of the system.
Ideology, in creating a bridge of excuses between the system and the individual, spans the abyss between the aims of the system and the aims of life. It pretends that the requirements of the system derive from the requirements of life. It is a world of appearances trying to pass for reality.
The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his or her ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, *are* the system.
*end Havel quote*