February 10, 2011

More sacred than Scientology

When two cults collide ...

From the New Yorker's tediously fact-checked, litigation-proofed article on Scientology by Laurence Wright:
On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego,” Haggis wrote. Before the 2008 elections, a staff member at Scientology’s San Diego church had signed its name to an online petition supporting Proposition 8, which asserted that the State of California should sanction marriage only “between a man and a woman.” The proposition passed. As Haggis saw it, the San Diego church’s “public sponsorship of Proposition 8, which succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California—rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state—is a stain on the integrity of our organization and a stain on us personally. Our public association with that hate-filled legislation shames us.” Haggis wrote, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.” He concluded, “I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.”

Haggis was prominent in both Scientology and Hollywood, two communities that often converge. Although he is less famous than certain other Scientologists, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, he had been in the organization for nearly thirty-five years. Haggis wrote the screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby,” which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2004, and he wrote and directed “Crash,” which won Best Picture the next year—the only time in Academy history that that has happened.

That's pretty funny when you think about it: a major player in Hollywood is a Scientologist for his entire career, but he finally rebels because ... one Scientologist staffer in another city signed a petition against gay marriage.

To me, the most interesting thing about Scientology is how it was an outgrowth of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. L. Ron Hubbard was a sci-fi writer, the great editor John W. Campbell heavily promoted his Dianetics (which was originally intended not as a religion but as an equally plausible and cheaper competitor for Freudianism), and Hubbard's pal Robert A. Heinlein supposedly gave him the idea that you could get rich starting your own religion.

I've wondered how often Heinlein was tempted to launch his own cult, seeing the success of lesser popular novelists like Hubbard and Ayn Rand as cult leaders. I suspect Heinlein was too easily bored for the repetition necessary.


89 comments:

Mick said...

Actually it was Lester del Rey not RA Heinlein who told LRH get Rich quick 'start a religion'

RKU said...

Actually, if you take the names of the most prominent Scientologists in Hollywood. And then you consider some of the various "Internet rumors" floating around those individuals. Well, then this particular religious/ideological schism is less surprising than it might seem.

By contrast, I'm not aware of too many Mormons who left their Church over its (vastly stronger) support for the Prop. 8 campaign...

Severn said...

.. rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state ..

Whence comes the power of courts to "grant" rights to anybody?

Anonymous said...

It's depressing that, after so many years of debate, reasonably intelligent people like Paul Haggis (from my home town!) are utterly incapable of seeing that there is a principled, non-homophobic case against gay marriage.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

BBC had a great series confronting that creep "tommy" davis.
I am glad germany and other countries consider it a cult and ban it, it should be here we go way to far with the definition of 'religion' its a money making scam and aggresive cult.

Anonymous said...

"lesser popular novelists like Hubbard and Ayn Rand as cult leaders."

Very dry, indeed.

Gilbert Pinfold.

none of the above said...

RKU:

It seems like the Mormon church wouldn't be especially good at attracting (or even retaining) gay members, so there's probably a pretty good reason why they haven't faced much backlash from their members.

Heinlein wrote a bit (I think in an essay in _Expanded Universe_) about some of the correspondence he got after writing _Stranger in a Strange Land_, which would have been a pretty good book to spawn a cult from. Among other things, he was at some pains to point out that he didn't have answers to any of the big questions.

Rand's cult has always seemed incredibly tragic for her. I mean, I think she honestly wanted to found (or move to) Galt's Gulch, be surrounded by people who were as smart and strong-willed as she was. And instead, she got followers, second-rate types looking for a guru to follow. And they were just not able to push back against her when she went off the rails in various ways. She was a Dagny who surrounded herself by Eddies and Jims, and pushed away all the Franciscos and Hanks.

Anonymous said...

I never understood the allure of Scientology. Sounds like a lot of crazy nonsense to me.

Maybe that's why it's so popular in Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

So, human trafficking, slave labor, barratry, campaigns of intimidation, vilification and defamation against anyone who opposes their "church", theft, fraud; all these didn't bother Haggis enough to quit his "church", and yet opposition to gay marriage, this, THIS is what causes him to leave?

The guy is a loon. He finally made the right decision but for all the wrong reasons.

Munch1 said...

I don't get the Ayn Rand nut cultists meme. One person who fond value in her thought was Alan Greenspan. I see no evidence he was a Jim or Eddie. He turned out to be one of the most powerful people in America.

My favorite Philosophy professor had impeccible credentials, Phd from Princeton, yet he has several taped lectures on Objectivism (once available from one of the fractions it splintered into, the Objectivist Institute or something). I did a course with him and we were supposed to finish with a Q&A at her apartment in NYC. She cancelled. It was the ocassion of her lung cancer surgery, so I missed out.

Later I saw her speak in NYC. She could certainly hold her own. Watch an old tape of an interview. I saw John Stossel speak at another Objectivist event. I don't know if he accepts any of it, but he is not an insignificant person in modern American culture.

If the word Rand appears anywhere on the Internet it seems to spark a repeating fevered argument.

In many ways she was the pre_Roissy: her herions always demanded a man higher than themselves. In The Fountainhead, the lead female character is raped by a man and becomes his willing lover. In We the Living, the lead female character is mistaken for a prostitute and goes along. In Atlas Shrugged the female proag. discards one male lover after another riding up the pole to the supremam male, John Gault.

TGGP said...

none of the above, Daniel Branden was likely the equal of Rand. He did most of the work of making Objectivism into a cult rather than just a small fandom. Not saying he was some sort of heroic figure, but Rand herself didn't live up to the ideals she set out.

I say this as someone who hasn't read any of her works, but has read a lot of people who read her and followed the history of her movement.

slumber_j said...

Anonymous wrote: "So, human trafficking, slave labor, barratry, campaigns of intimidation, vilification and defamation against anyone who opposes their "church", theft, fraud; all these didn't bother Haggis enough to quit his "church", and yet opposition to gay marriage, this, THIS is what causes him to leave?"

For me, the glaringly obvious subtext of that piece is that Haggis is a big self-deceiver--in the sense that he always wants to believe the very best about himself in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I would have to re-read it (which I don't want to do) in order to give multiple examples, but they're there: he considers himself a "man of the people" despite his Hollywood exaltation, considers himself a family man despite his infidelities, etc. etc. He comes across as a supremely self-deluded and generally odd bird.

A couple more points: first of all, if Hubbard was in any way part of any "golden age" of anything, you wouldn't know it from his writing, which is really, really bad even when it's not utterly incomprehensible. He was stupid, and deluded himself into thinking he was a genius. It's all there on the page: just try reading his botched novel Final Blackout as I did. It's an eye-opener, but not in the way he intended.

Second, when I lived in Hollywood for a year or so at the northeast corner of Franklin and Gower, I used to run into Sea Org types (presumably from the Celebrity Centre--note Ye Olde English spelling, by the way) when I would walk to the local Ralph's or whatever it was. The uniformed grownups were often accompanied by gaggles of uniformed children. "Creepy" doesn't even begin to describe the aura around these adult minders. They struck me as delusional people, who had willingly subsumed themselves in a fundamentally gross, fascism-tinged ideology.

I wonder how good a Nazi Haggis would have made, before he finally saw the light. A pretty good one, I think. Not to be too much of a dick about it, but that's what I found myself thinking after reading that article.

Anonymous said...

"It's depressing that, after so many years of debate, reasonably intelligent people like Paul Haggis (from my home town!) are utterly incapable of seeing that there is a principled, non-homophobic case against gay marriage."

Hell, mot of the gay men I know are themselves no supporters of gay marriage. The "movement" is one run by and for a very small % of an already small minority.

Whiskey said...

Haggis is typical of Hollywood, and IMHO belies Steve's assertion that Hollywood is middle class in values and movies. Maybe it was during Steven Spielberg's non-insane run in the 1980's and early 1990s (before Spielberg went nuts from people literally thinking he was God). But more are like Haggis. Supporter of Hugo Chavez. Hyper-radical. And Gay-supporting above all else (most of America has some strong reservations about Gay Marriage and celebrating "Gayness" 24/7).

Moreover, Haggis gets selected on part of the "New Boy Network" (which is just the latest old boy network) not on merit. A guy like Shane Black, granted A-hole but so is most of Hollywood (see Charlie Sheen) has been MIA in Hollywood for years. He wrote a little film called Lethal Weapon. You'd think Hollywood would have been all over him to make action movie scripts. Nope.

LMAO from the beyond L Ron Hubbard said...

I never understood the allure of Scientology. Sounds like a lot of crazy nonsense to me.

Maybe that's why it's so popular in Hollywood.


From what I gather, it's appeal is that it has the evangelical fever, salvation and openess of Christianity, the tribal choseness of Judiasm and the sugary happiness of New Ageism mysticism.

It seems it would appeal to particularly successful, dumb and shallow people. No guilt, compunction to help outsiders or quandies over the big issues.

I got rid of my thetas so I deserve everything I have and more. You can too if you only pay for these long series of course. It's a clever way to turn charity and good works from a giving to a taking enterprise.

David Davenport said...

I never understood the allure of Scientology. Sounds like a lot of crazy nonsense to me.

Maybe that's why it's so popular in Hollywood.


I once had a certain Los Angeles or Manhattan Beach girlfriend, for maybe three months. She shared an apartment with another woman about four doors from the beach on, what was the name of that street? Next street south of El Porto St., anyway.

After a while, she told me she was getting into Scientology. She thought it would help her acting career.

I lost track of her ... never have seen her in any movies or TV shows.

John Seiler said...

Heinlein closed himself in a room for two-week stretches to write, his wife bringing him food and fending off visitors. One novel, one draft. That way, he said, he had the other 50 weeks a year free. Not the type to found a cult.

David Davenport said...

One person who fond value in her thought was Alan Greenspan. I see no evidence he was a Jim or Eddie. He turned out to be one of the most powerful people in America.

Holding high office in today's USA is no proof of merit or virtue. Dr. Greenscam is largely for the real estate bubble and subsequent, present economic slump here.

I don't get the Ayn Rand nut cultists meme.

Of course you don't get it, Munchy. She's still your hero, isn't she?

Bruce Lewis said...

One semester spent studying real philosophy (e.g. Socrates, Aristotle, etc.) is enough to make it painfully obvious to even the shallow thinker just what an intellectual lightweight Ayn Rand was. Calling Objectivism a philosophy is like calling Scientology a religion.

As for the "alpha male guy" on the Internet: a real alpha male would never run a website to tell the world what at alpha male he is.

Anonymous said...

The story goes that Hubbard was actually an acolyte of a certain Jack Parsons - A Californian rocket scientist and devotee of Aleister Crowley.
Parsons divulged secrets to Hubbard that he should never have done so (Hubbard was not 'intiated' you see).Perhaps not uncoincidentally Parsons died very soon afterwards in an 'accident' involving fulminate of mercury.It has been claimed that the parts of scientology that 'actually work' are direct lifts from Crowleyana.
See the excellent biography "Bare-Face Messiah" by British journalist Russell Miller, for further elaboration.

Anonymous said...

"Haggis" is of course a famed Scots dish comprising of chopped sheeps' liver, heart and lungs mixed with oatmeal and wrapped inside a sheep's stomach.The whole is boiled for several hours prior to serving.
Burns'* night passed recently, and the 'ritual' ode to and serving of the haggis forms the center-piece of the Burns' night dinner.

*Robbie Burns - The Scots national poet.

Anonymous said...

Haggis seems like the prototypical odious Hollywood liberal.

And Crash sucked.

Anonymous said...

"Whence comes the power of courts to "grant" rights to anybody?"

It doesn't of course, if you adhere to the 18th/19th century understanding of the US Constitution as a negative political contract restricting the federal government's powers and not something that grants "rights". But we've long since abandoned that concept of the Constitution; even most conservatives today talk about "rights" as though they were a gift of the US federal government; which makes it very hard for them to argue against such "rights" when the fed. gov. extends or grants "rights" in ways they disagree with.

"It's depressing that, after so many years of debate, reasonably intelligent people like Paul Haggis (from my home town!) are utterly incapable of seeing that there is a principled, non-homophobic case against gay marriage.

Cennbeorc"


It's pretty universal on the leftist/liberal/progressive side to not see any kind of principled case against any leftist/liberal/progressive project whatsoever. It worked for racial issues, it works for the "gay" issue. So much easier to intimidate and silence the opposition with "hate words" and make people afraid of acknowledging "hate facts". It works.

Is there a principled case against gay marriage that isn't explicitly religious? There should be, since not everyone is going to go along with a purely religious line of thinking; sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, history and tradition should count for something, as should Burkean resistance to social experiments based soley on abstract "principles" and "rights" without regard to organic social structures.

But this entire line of thought has simply collapsed in the face of a relentless Frankfurt School assault on anything remotely accusable of "racism", leaving only the religious arguments on the right side of the so-called "debate". When's the last time conservatives even mentioned Edmund Burke? Sociobiolgy and evolutionary psychology are also unwelcome on the right; it is too close to the "racism" thing for conservatives to touch and the religious types are suspicious of it because they suspect "godless science" on general principle, so the religious argument alone is all that seems left on the right, with disastrous results.

Allowing sectarian religious types as your only public face in opposition to gay marriage has been a sure recipe for political defeat. This isn't an argument against the religious right, they should have their say and be part of the political process, but they shouldn't be the only ones making the conservative case on issues like this. The right needs a far broader coalition than that, yet is too divided and/or afraid to do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

"I don't get the Ayn Rand nut cultists meme."

It's not a "meme". It's a fact. You're just a bit too invested in the Ayn Rand cult to see it.

I've dealt with Randians in person. They're as nutty as a Snickers bar. They don't hold a candle to the actual cult around Ayn Rand herself, though, when she was alive. Rand is entirely responsible for creating this cult. Suggested reading, for starters, would be Jerome Tuccille's It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand.

none of the above said...

Munch1:

The Collective is a very different thing than the set of writings she and a couple of her more capable followers produced. From everything I've read about life in The Collective, it had all the trappings of a cult--one absolute leader who turns out to never be wrong, ostracism for anyone who turns away, siege mentality, inflated descriptions of their own importance and their leader's greatness, etc.

In Branden's autobiography, he sketches out a scene where Rand spent an evening with Ludwig Von Mises, who *was* as bright and stubborn as she was. It didn't go too well; they seemed to mostly talk past one another. (I don't know how that affected Murray Rothbard breaking away from Rand.)

TGGP:

Maybe. I've read a couple of Branden's books, and they're interesting and intelligent, but not mind-blowing. Even if Branden was about as bright as Rand, he was much younger and very inclined to hero-worship her. (Given what she wanted in male/female relationships, there's a cruel irony here.)

Dahinda said...

There is a great book called Sex and Rockets about Jack Parsons and it shows how weird L Ron really was. The Jack Parsons connection to Scientology also connects scientology to the Jet Propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, Alistair Crowley, and to the Manson family. Many of the Manson followers were children of workers at the JPL and were also involoved in Scientology.

Mr. Anon said...

"none of the above said...

Rand's cult has always seemed incredibly tragic for her. I mean, I think she honestly wanted to found (or move to) Galt's Gulch, be surrounded by people who were as smart and strong-willed as she was."

Then she was stupid. Such a place does not exist. An intelligent grown-up deals with people as they actually are - not as they are imagined in teen-aged day-dreaming.

John Cunningham said...

Actually, Stranger in a Strange Land did give rise to a religion, the Church of All Worlds, based in No. Calif. it never got above a few hundred members, it was/is in the neo-pagan strain of beliefs.

Anonymous said...

"I don't get the Ayn Rand nut cultists meme"

Join an objectivist forum and see how insane they are.

"In many ways she was the pre_Roissy"

Yes, I can't imagine why anyone would find her to be distasteful - she's just like Roissy, that intelligent and insightful sage of our times.

Ray Sawhill said...

I was once at a party yakking with some actor friends. The topic of another actor friend came up -- this person had become a Scientologist and was having trouble with people in the cult, I think. I asked my actor buddies what it is about Scientology and actors. What I came away from their babbling with was roughly:

1) Actors all know that they're prone to falling for cults. It's an occupational hazard, and they all know it.
2) Why? Because they're enthusiasts, joiners, believers (you have to be all this to be an actor). Plus many of them tend to be silly and spacey.
3) Scientology in particular is like catnip to them. Something to do with its mythology, the tests and rituals, the sense that you can pitch yourself into it and make measurable progress ... In other words, it's a little like a great big metaphysical version of acting class.
4) Plus, at least in Hollywood, you can make connections via Scientology with the movie business.

Interesting that the actors all knew this about not just Scientology but themselves. They're the funniest people -- daffy, ditzy, self-centered, often not-smart, but sometimes amazingly perceptive about things, and about themselves too.

Anonymous said...

They don't hold a candle to the actual cult around Ayn Rand herself, though, when she was alive. Rand is entirely responsible for creating this cult.
another incredible display of self deceit as well -they were almost entirely jewish and if you go on the objectivist official website there are tons of articles supporting Israel and a bunch against Christianity "take the Christ out of Christmas' was one..

yes she married a gentile but as she got older he was more and more alienated.

PS don't be fooled by name changes Natheniel "Brandon" was really Blumenthol, etc.

Anonymous said...

Scientology:
It seems it would appeal to particularly successful, dumb and shallow people. No guilt, compunction to help outsiders or quandies over the big issues.

A good test would be to see if the world of professional athletes is as Scientology-penetrated as Hollywood.

torpor said...

"There is a great book called Sex and Rockets about Jack Parsons and it shows how weird L Ron really was. The Jack Parsons connection to Scientology also connects scientology to the Jet Propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, Alistair Crowley, and to the Manson family. Many of the Manson followers were children of workers at the JPL and were also involoved in Scientology."


Was Arthur Young, inventor of the Bell helicopter, associated with that? I heard something to that effect...

Dutch Boy said...

People are a perverse lot and even the intelligent ones frequently believe nutty things (who thinks every Communist, Nazi, Muslim or Mormon is stupid?).

Anonymous said...

I don't know who suggested to Elron that he found a cult, but expert engineer and top-notch writer George O. Smith, who knew Elron and John W. Campbell and many other SF luminaries of the time well, wrote that Elron told him (Smith) that he had decided to found a cult because he figured it would pay better than writing for straight people. Elron thought he was onto something with dianetics, but all the Xenu stuff was pure hokum, which Elron cynically invented to bemuse his cult followers.

Anonymous said...

"Rand's cult has always seemed incredibly tragic for her. I mean, I think she honestly wanted to found (or move to) Galt's Gulch, be surrounded by people who were as smart and strong-willed as she was."

In fact, Ayn Rand labored under this self-imposed dilemma:

1. (Rock) She wanted smart and strong-willed people around her.
2. (A Hard Place) She wanted to be around people who agreed with her on every single particular, down to the movies and music they enjoy.

Only Ayn Rand could have failed to have understood that 1 and 2 couldn't both be satisfied.

Anonymous said...

"They're the funniest people -- daffy, ditzy, self-centered, often not-smart, but sometimes amazingly perceptive about things, and about themselves too."

If in the above passage you replace the word "things" with the word "people", you'll get close to a description of how all women appear to most men.

Anonymous said...

As it happens yesterday I downloaded "The Storm" by A.E. Van Vogt onto my new Kindle.

Van Vogt was the real cult oriented writer. He ran a storefront for Dianetics in the fifties - before Scientology was even dreamt of.

By the time he met Hubbard he had already championed Bates Eye Control, General Semantics, and Nexialism. Wacky cults all.

If Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were the leaders of "hard" SciFi, then Van Vogt was the guru of the soft, wacky, cult oriented type of Science Fiction.

Van Vogt stopped writing for a decade or so. He claimed it was because he was harassed and persecuted by Hubbard and the Scientologists.

Whiskey's ideas are in a sense a development of Van Vogt's creation of an ideology about men who are "instantly attractive to women". Most of these cultists propose a world full of strong men and adoring women.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

On Ayn Rand, etc.:
I knew Ayn, her early followers, as well as my good friend Murray Rothbard. A few points:
1. On the "rape" scene in Fountainhead: Ayn once said, in her great Russian accent, "If it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation." Her preference was for somewhat rough, male-dominated consensual sex, never rape in the real sense.
2. Murray Rothbard's break with Rand and her group was occasioned by the pompous idiot Nathaniel Brandon's insistence that Murray's wife Joey--the light of his life, a very smart and wonderful woman, and a practicing Christian--convert to atheism or else Murray had to cast her off. Guess what Murray decided in a heartbeat.
3. Beyond that, Murray grew disgusted by the insufferable pretentiousness of the inner circle, the Brandons and the others. These nonentities literally believed that, next to Ayn, they were the greatest minds that ever existed.
4. The ludicrous soap opera that her followers created isn't worth a damn. What will be remembered 50 or 100 years from now are the brilliance of Rand's novels and her indomitable intellectual courage.

Anonymous said...

Why is opposition to gay marriage a conservative belief? You would think it would be the conservatives who proposed and supported it.

Religion sanctified public pairings so as to protect the offspring. If a man stood up in public and declared that he was united with a woman, he would not find it easy to abandon the children she bore him.

This makes a lot of sense. The child and the woman get access to the man's resources. It also marks the beginning of a period in which the man's sexual energy is focused on his wife - creating domestic stability.

The main problem that male homosexuals have is early death from sexual promiscuity. If marriage can reduce their promiscuity they should live longer and be happier. I don't quite understand why anyone would oppose that. In fact I'm surprised that the federal government doesn't require gay men to be married. Avoiding unprotected gay anal sex is more important than trans fat or the portion sizes of a MacDonald's Happy Meal.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Any dissection of Rand has to include Murray Rothbards fine essay, The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult.

There is a widespread rumor which claims Rand demanded that Rothbard (an agnostic) divorce his Presbyterian wife, he refused, and that this led to their bitter falling out.

Dennis Dale said...

I've heard the late Isaac Hayes was a scientologist who left Southpark over their send-up of the organization.

Polichinello said...

Such a place[Galt's Gulch] does not exist.

Sure they do. They're called "gated communities."

Favorite alternative title for Atlas Shrugged: Left Behind for Libertarians.

Steve Wood said...

Allowing sectarian religious types as your only public face in opposition to gay marriage has been a sure recipe for political defeat. This isn't an argument against the religious right, they should have their say and be part of the political process, but they shouldn't be the only ones making the conservative case on issues like this. The right needs a far broader coalition than that, yet is too divided and/or afraid to do anything about it.

The problem is that the religious right is, itself, repellent to many non-religious people and even to many ordinary, non-fervent Christians. They are repellent not because of their religious beliefs per se but because of their ignorance and stupidity, in particular with regard to science.

Furthermore, the religious right is now strongly associated with a particular region and social class that middle and upper-middle class people outside the South do not want to be associated with.

Until strong secular* voices emerge on the right, the Bible-thumpers will dominate the stage and ensure that conservative ideas, especially on social matters, are marginalized.

*Secular does not mean anti-religious. A person can be privately religious but publicly secular.

Tanstaafl said...

There ain't no such thing as a gay future.

Dutch Boy said...

*Secular does not mean anti-religious. A person can be privately religious but publicly secular.
A good definition of a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

There is a great book called Sex and Rockets about Jack Parsons and it shows how weird L Ron really was.

Jack Parsons, now, would have made quite the libertarian guru, had he lived long enough and chosen that route.

Anonymous said...

Scientology:
It seems it would appeal to particularly successful, dumb and shallow people. No guilt, compunction to help outsiders or quandies over the big issues.

Myself:
A good test would be to see if the world of professional athletes is as Scientology-penetrated as Hollywood.

I take back what I said earlier. There is little evidence that pro jocks go for Scientology. It's too "wimpy", not militant enough, and not a stirrer of strong enough emotion. Jocks, the ones that are religious and make a big deal of their religion, usually go for Islam or conservative Christianity.

David Davenport said...

Furthermore, the religious right is now strongly associated with a particular region and social class that middle and upper-middle class people outside the South do not want to be associated with.

You're talking about me and my people.

Anonymous said...

Steve Wood:
The problem is that the religious right is, itself, repellent to many non-religious people and even to many ordinary, non-fervent Christians.

And of course, religious non-Christians. They do exist.

They are repellent not because of their religious beliefs per se but because of their ignorance and stupidity, in particular with regard to science.

It's partly religious beliefs, and partly their ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance.

Most people in 1980 weren't threatened by the RR; back then they only went after weirdos and not normal people. It's different now. And I don't think the RR was more mainstream then, and less so now, either.

EXAMPLE: I remember a RR book called "New Age Medicine" warning of all the evils of alternative medicine. The first message was that alt-med was non-Christian and therefore Satanic in origin. The other message was that "modern western scientific" medicine - i.e. the medical establishment and Big Pharma - is your friend.

In 1980, when the average age of the RR readership was a healthy clean-cut 40, that message went along well. Now, when the average age would be 70+, and the average reader stricken with arthritis, cancer, heart disease and the like, it would not.

(Heck, there is such a thing now as Christian alternative medicine, Christian herbs, vitamins, massage, yoga, yogurt. I kid you not.)

Until strong secular* voices emerge on the right, the Bible-thumpers will dominate the stage and ensure that conservative ideas, especially on social matters, are marginalized.

The strong secular voices ended with the Cold War. And normal people want to follow normal people who are also successful. They don't want to follow bible-thumpers, nor libertarians.

Personally, I'd like to see a strong alternative/pagan right, just to give the muggles of the Christian/Neocon Right some competition.

But it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore, the religious right is now strongly associated with a particular region and social class that middle and upper-middle class people outside the South do not want to be associated with.
not so much their doing as the hatred fomented on them by liberal east coast jews.
its more that they are in the way of the globalist secular paradise that's just around the corner.. if only we can get rid of those gun toting bible reading folks who want prayer in schools and christmas trees..

Frankly the nation wrecking blank slate disparate impact policies embraced by allegedly more sophisticated people are far more damaging and far more out of touch with reality than anything the mythical 'religious right' believes.

Severn said...

the religious right is now strongly associated with a particular region and social class that middle and upper-middle class people outside the South do not want to be associated with



These "middle and upper-middle class people outside the South" that you speak of - they sound strangely like good old-fashioned bigots and snobs.

Steve Wood said...

*Secular does not mean anti-religious. A person can be privately religious but publicly secular.
A good definition of a hypocrite.


By publicly secular, I don't mean that they hide their faith. I mean that they do not make their faith a central part of their public persona and that they can divorce their personal religious beliefs from what they support as public policy.

For example, you can believe that abortion is wrong, and yet also believe that there is enough room for reasonable people to disagree that you do not support imposing your own belief on the public.

You can recognize that your belief in the six-day Creation is purely religious and unsupported by science. You can teach that belief in your church and to your children as an alternative to science, while recognizing that people who do not share your faith should not have your unsupported beliefs forced on them or their children. Meanwhile you can accept that your own children have a right to learn what science teaches - theories that can be supported with physical evidence and that are accepted by a majority of educated people throughout the Western world.

Severn said...

The problem is that the religious right is, itself, repellent to many non-religious people


By "many non-religious people" you mean "me and my friends", correct? Because I find it perfectly possible to be non-religious without considering large numbers of people to be "repellent". In fact I'd say that such people are not properly described as "non-religious" as all - they are anti-religious.

They are repellent not because of their religious beliefs per se but because of their ignorance and stupidity, in particular with regard to science.

Scientifically speaking, abortion is in fact the killing of a human being. The people who are stupid and ignorant with regard to science are your smug, repellent left-wing friends.

Severn said...

Why is opposition to gay marriage a conservative belief? You would think it would be the conservatives who proposed and supported it.

You're a flake, Albert.

Religion sanctified public pairings so as to protect the offspring. If a man stood up in public and declared that he was united with a woman, he would not find it easy to abandon the children she bore him.

The point of marriage is not to protect offspring. It's to protect society by more or less enforcing a "one man, one woman" rule. The alternative is to let a few powerful men monopolize the women - you can look around the Muslim world and Third world to see where that gets you.


The main problem that male homosexuals have is early death from sexual promiscuity.

And why is that something which the broader society should care about?

Otis said...

Furthermore, the religious right is now strongly associated with a particular region and social class that middle and upper-middle class people outside the South do not want to be associated with.

I know you blue state beta males are tired of picking up the medical bills for mestizo babies, but don't blame your failures on the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

"If marriage can reduce their promiscuity they should live longer and be happier."

Married or simply partnered, most gay men do not practice monogamy.

Geoff Matthews said...

Albertosaurus,

What makes you think that married gay men would not continue to be promiscuous?

Granted, I'd be willing to trade no-fault divorce for gay-marriage, but I don't think that's a trade anyone is offering right now.

Malcolm said...

That guy must really like putting from the rough to risk the wrath of the scientologists

Anonymous said...

Haggis used the issue of gay rights as a fig leaf. He didn't have the courage to just leave, so he had to attach himself to a cause that was considered righteous in the circles he lives in - then he could leave without causing himself too much mental dissonance.

Sooner or later he'll be able to drop the fig leave, at least privately. For now it gives him the moral high ground he needs psychologically.

Anyway, I found the article fascinating, if long. It was coherent, which I don't always see with Scientology pieces. Haggis seems like he's smart but lacking in skepticism in general, not just in terms of Scientology.

Mr. Anon said...

"Polichinello said...

""Such a place[Galt's Gulch] does not exist.""

Sure they do. They're called "gated communities."

Those seem pretty wussified for randian super-men.

"Favorite alternative title for Atlas Shrugged: Left Behind for Libertarians."

That's clever. Very good.

Anonymous said...

Severn - Scientifically speaking, abortion is in fact the killing of a human being. The people who are stupid and ignorant with regard to science are your smug, repellent left-wing friends.

OMG, awesome! Severn, you should have your own blog. Or have you already?

Glaivester said...

You can recognize that your belief in the six-day Creation is purely religious and unsupported by science. You can teach that belief in your church and to your children as an alternative to science, while recognizing that people who do not share your faith should not have your unsupported beliefs forced on them or their children. Meanwhile you can accept that your own children have a right to learn what science teaches - theories that can be supported with physical evidence and that are accepted by a majority of educated people throughout the Western world.

What you seem to be saying is that it's okay for them to be religious, as long as they (a) don't ever try to defend their beliefs or try to convince anyone else of them, and (b) allow everyone else to attack their beliefs, and (c) tell their kids that their religious beliefs are really just hokum.

That doesn't seem to be a reasonable thing to expect.

For example, you can believe that abortion is wrong, and yet also believe that there is enough room for reasonable people to disagree that you do not support imposing your own belief on the public.

Why would such a "publicly secular" person be an ally in opposing same-sex marriage?

Glaivester said...

The point of marriage is not to protect offspring. It's to protect society by more or less enforcing a "one man, one woman" rule.

No, the point of marriage (and in particular of monandry - no more than one husband) is to protect offspring. The point of adding monogyny (no more than one wife) to that is to protect society by enforcing a "one man, one women rule."

Polygamous societies (both the polygynous ones and the far rarer polyandrous ones) still have marriage.

The main problem that male homosexuals have is early death from sexual promiscuity. If marriage can reduce their promiscuity they should live longer and be happier.

I think that gay men would change marriage more than marriage would change gay men.

Glaivester said...

As for the "alpha male guy" on the Internet: a real alpha male would never run a website to tell the world what at alpha male he is.

If you mean Roissy, I was always under the impression that he considers himself a beta male. Roissyism isn't about being alpha, it's about tricking women into thinking that you are alpha, at leat for long enough to get what you want out of them.

David said...

I loved a comic book character when I was 8. I will project what he must be thinking while doing his exploits, and call these projections "the facts of reality" and a philosophy. If any facts get in the way - say, about human nature - I will brush them aside as irrational.

Oh and by the way, "Evil philosophies are systems of rationalization." But hey, I'm rationalizing something POSITIVE, so in contrast to Kant and those other bastards, I'm not only exonerated but worthy of adulation.

Signed,
Alissa Rosenbaum...wait, that's too Jewish...must change the name to something else

Kylie said...

"'They're the funniest people -- daffy, ditzy, self-centered, often not-smart, but sometimes amazingly perceptive about things, and about themselves too.'

If in the above passage you replace the word 'things' with the word 'people', you'll get close to a description of how all women appear to most men."


Beautiful.

I'm a woman and your modification of the passage you quoted is exactly how most other women appear to me. I find them so alien that finally, in my late 40's, I gave up even trying to fathom their ways of thought and being. I now interact with them as you would a "tame" bear that wanders into your campground. You marvel at this wild creature, don't mind too much if it eats your breakfast and just hope it doesn't destroy your tent and then charge you. In other words, keeping your distance, exercising extreme caution and never ever forgetting it has teeth, claws and the will to use them.

Other than that, they're great. Seen at a distance, they're often so appealing that I can understand why straight men waste so much time thinking about them.

none of the above said...

Mr Anon:

I think living in a dreamworld of your own making is an occupational hazard of novelists and other creators of that kind. Think of all the utopian socialists and free-love types, who convinced themselves and their followers that because their vision worked in fiction, it would work in reality. Plenty of libertarian authors have the same disease, for the same reasons.

none of the above said...

Severn:

How could gay marriage affect the one man:one woman arrangement? Presumably gays and lesbians are not involved much in that, preferring to pair off male/male and female/female. (It can't be a good thing when a gay man marries a straight woman--how'd you like to be married to someone who never found you appealing as more than a friend?)

IMO, pairing off is instinctive. Gays and lesbians pair off naturally, though with different details. I'd guess gays are less promiscuous when married. For public health purposes, convincing them to put on a rubber and dial back the number of partners a bit is a win, but I don't know for sure how much that has to do with being married. I think lesbians are usually less promiscuous than straights, and don't have especially big STD problems by comparison. (Cue the joke about moving trucks.).

Anonymous said...

" The people who are stupid and ignorant with regard to science are your smug, repellent left-wing friends."

Yep, the left wingies are having a very hard time accepting that blank slate-ism is a myth.

To give up their "God," their belief that culture is responsible for everything, that culture need only be molded in order to mold the child (molded by the likes of them, of course, is just too much for them to swallow, for it takes their power from them. If they can't mold, after all, where's their purpose and power in life?

I have to agree that there is no greater example of pure ignorance on display than a lefty skwirming when presented with all manner of scientific research of the last several decades.

Fascinating and fun to see them floundering like a carp on dry land.

Severn said...

OMG, awesome! Severn, you should have your own blog.

Is that what passes for a devastating intellectual rebuttal among your "upper class" north-eastern friends?

Anonymous said...

Two groups I couldn't care less about, Hollywood types and Scientologist, written about in a magazine that caters to an audience of doofus hipsters. Satire need not be wasted on these fools.

David Davenport said...

Personally, I'd like to see a strong alternative/pagan right, just to give the muggles of the Christian/Neocon Right some competition.

About your his pagan alternative -- do you actually believe in any pagan Deity, Wotan or someone similar? If you don't really believe in some such, is your proposed Neo-paganism merely part of a cynical scheme to mesmerize the masses? Those SS trappings are kind of "gay," as today's young peepul say, don't you agree?

If you sincerely believe in some pagan divinity, then why are others wrong to have faith in their Christian God?

Or are you one of those old hippies who get stoned and dance around Stonehenge on Summer solstice morn? Is that what your paganism amounts to?

alonzo portfolio said...

Following up on Albertosaurus's comment, it's just possible that conservatives (such as myself) would welcome gay marriage if homosexuals themselves would agree to the necessary quid pro quo: disown the Left, cultural marxism, the name-calling regime, the whole edifice of transgression beloved in the universities. The explicit object of this would be to get down to the really important work, immigration control and putting blacks back in their proper places. Obviously, gays would never go for the deal.

David Davenport said...

The Challenge of Thor

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I am the God Thor,
I am the War God,
I am the Thunderer!
Here in my Northland,
My fastness and fortress,
Reign I forever!
Here amid icebergs
Rule I the nations;
This is my hammer,
Miƶlner the mighty;
Giants and sorcerers
Cannot withstand it!

These are the gauntlets
Wherewith I wield it,
And hurl it afar off;
This is my girdle;
Whenever I brace it,
Strength is redoubled!

The light thou beholdest
Stream through the heavens,
In flashes of crimson,
Is but my red beard
Blown by the night-wind,
Affrighting the nations!
Jove is my brother;
Mine eyes are the lightning;
The wheels of my chariot
Roll in the thunder,
The blows of my hammer
Ring in the earthquake!

Force rules the world still,
Has ruled it, shall rule it;
Meekness is weakness,
Strength is triumphant,
Over the whole earth
Still is it Thor's Day!

Thou art a God too,
O Galilean!
And thus singled-handed
Unto the combat,
Gauntlet or Gospel,
Here I defy thee!

Severn said...

Severn

How could gay marriage affect the one man:one woman arrangement?

I was speaking of the societal purpose of marriage, not of the pros and cons of "gay marriage". Since you ask, the affect of "gay marriage" would be to further make a farce of the whole institution of marriage. Gays, on the whole are vastly less monogamous than hetros.

Gays don't even want "gay marriage". The charge for this is being led by the usual suspects on the cultural left.

Severn said...

the point of marriage (and in particular of monandry - no more than one husband) is to protect offspring. The point of adding monogyny (no more than one wife) to that is to protect society by enforcing a "one man, one women rule."


Point taken. By marriage I meant Western-style monogamous marriage.

Glaivester said...

If you sincerely believe in some pagan divinity, then why are others wrong to have faith in their Christian God?

Well, the existence of pagan deities is mutually exclusive with the existence of the Christian God, so to believe in one is to believe that the other is wrong.

I suppose that you could believe in created deities and also believe in a higher, self-existent creator deity (see the religion of the Centauri of Babylon 5), but the creator would have to be significantly different from what Christians (I am one, by the way) believe him to be.

TGGP said...

Two of Paul[ Haggis]'s three daughters are gay

Anonymous said...

I suppose that you could believe in created deities and also believe in a higher, self-existent creator deity (see the religion of the Centauri of Babylon 5), but the creator would have to be significantly different from what Christians (I am one, by the way) believe him to be.

Hinduism is somewhat like that. They have gods, and a creator God, Brahman (an impersonal force quite different from the Christian God.)

Anonymous said...

If you sincerely believe in some pagan divinity, then why are others wrong to have faith in their Christian God?

There are many different levels of "wrong". Most religions have one or more gods, with their worshippers, who naturally worship the "right" gods. All others are wrong is the sense they are not right.

Beyond that, most religions are tolerant of other religions and other gods, and have been known to corss-communicate. There may be historical or political reasons for intolerance. The mono- theistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are a little different; their Gods speficially abhor having other gods.

Well, the existence of pagan deities is mutually exclusive with the existence of the Christian God, so to believe in one is to believe that the other is wrong.

Not necessarily.

A Hindu could worship Jesus in the Hindu fashion, as a Hindu god, and still remain a proper Hindu. He would not be considered a Christian, though.

dores said...

"'They're the funniest people -- daffy, ditzy, self-centered, often not-smart, but sometimes amazingly perceptive about things, and about themselves too.'

Kylie "If in the above passage you replace the word 'things' with the word 'people', you'll get close to a description of how all women appear to most men."
I'm a woman and your modification of the passage you quoted is exactly how most other women appear to me. I find them so alien that finally, in my late 40's, I gave up even trying to fathom their ways of thought and being. I now interact with them as you would a "tame" bear that wanders into your campground.

Beautiful."


I'm due back on Planet Earth, but before I go (and now I understand Tim Wise better, and also feminazis) I would like the bear-baiter and the rest of the guys here know that the above opinions are also commonly voiced about blacks and "others." Apparently (and as an hbd believer, should I dispute them?), the only truly worthwhile earthlings are white, hetero males and they'd be better off gay if only they didn't turn into woman-like bear creatures..I'm sure with attiudes like this, you're not far from winning hearts and minds.
Good luck wih all that.

none of the above said...

Anonymous:

This bit about Hindus fitting Jesus into their scheme of gods is a bit of the background in S M Stirling's alternative history homage to Kipling, _The Peshawar Lancers_.

none of the above said...

alonzo:

I'm guessing few gay blacks would be excited by your proposal, somehow. WTF is putting blacks in their place, anyway? Resuming Jim Crow laws?

Treating everyone the same before the law, accepting a wide range of choice in how much different groups mix, that all makes sense. Resuming the systematic f-cking over of blacks under the law? You can count me out.

none of the above said...

Glaveister:

There are a lot of Christians (I'm one) who distinguish between our own values and what everyone else in the society believes. My church doesn't even recognize second marriages without an annulment on the first marriage, for example. I don't have any desire at all to impose that on the broader society. I think it's perfectly reasonable for a church to expect more of it's members than a broader, looser society does of it's members.

I'm the target market for the religious right--white, straight, married with kids, regular churchgoer, etc. But their rhetoric mostly doesn't appeal to me, and often repulsed me. Their support for the glorification of ignorance stinks like week old fish. Their remarkable ability to hammer the Gospels into supporting the political positions of their party looks like a slightly less embarrassingly cynical version of Romney's ongoing campaign. (Because free market capitalism and endless aggressive war and mistreatment of captives are all things that just *jump* out at you from the Gospels, right?).

Anonymous said...

I wonder what has been more destructive for black America - Jim Crow laws, or modern liberaldom's attempt to help them become dependent on handouts?

David said...

dores said

>I'm due back on Planet Earth, but before I go [...] I'm sure with attiudes [sic] like this, you're not far from winning hearts and minds. Good luck wih [sic] all that.<

Good-by. Watch out for those Gods of the Copybook Headings there on Planet Earth.

Anonymous said...

Scientology is, at its core, a mash-up of two things, General Semantics and Crowley magick (sic).

General Semantics was more popular and more influential than most people remember. A fair number of SF writers were heavily into it and a lot of proponents of invented languages. Also, GS'ers were very successful in the advertising business in the pre-"Mad Men" era, and in various carriage trade businesses. McIntosh, the expensive chrome plated stereo equipment manufacturer, was run by GS principles and sold a lot of relatively inexpensively made stuff to doctors and oter prestiege buyers for generations (and still does).

Steve Sailer said...

Looking up General Semantics in Wikipedia, I find that the St. Paul of General Semantics was S.I. Hayakawa, who was the Republican Senator from California in the 1970s.