This weekend, Marty posted a blog entry entitled Blog Moderation Policy. First of all, let me say how glad I am that Marty has finally acknowleded that the “freedom of speech” he promotes is not entirely free. Let me also reiterate that his blog is his blog, and he is welcome to censor as he sees fit. I have a policy of letting anyone say anything, and as we saw this past week, such a policy has its drawbacks.
However (you knew that word was coming, right?) I do wish Marty was a little more up front about what he censors.
Jeff Hawkins or David Miscavige?
Marty says his moderation policy is modeled on Jeff Hawkins’ (outlined here). From Jeff:
“Remember that the spirit of this blog is respectful debate. Other posters may have different opinions than you do. That doesn’t make them evil or stupid. Try to learn from other points of view. See if you can see things from their point of view or understand why they feel that way. Don’t immediately attack someone if they’ve tromped on one of your sacred cows.” — Jeff Hawkins
A perfectly sensible policy – and I’m sure many of the folks who reads Marty’s blog (especially those who have been censored) will see the difference.
For all his protestations to the contrary, Marty often zaps comments that present a sensible yet negative viewpoint of LRH, as well as comments that call out Marty himself out for being misleading, dishonest, or simply incorrect. (And also that Marty’s followers frequently attack dissenters like a pack of wolves, and as long as their viewpoint agrees with his own, Marty will do nothing to stop them.)
I started a collection of comments that were Censored By Marty™, and several users have added their own. Check out that thread, and I think you’ll see quite a few comments that should have been allowed if Marty’s censorship policy really was similar to Jeff Hawkins’.
In truth, Marty’s censorship policy is pretty much the same as that of the Church of Scientology. Both Marty and Miscavige censor “entheta” as defined by L. Ron Hubbard.
LRH: Entheta and what to do about it
“ENTHETA means enturbulated theta (thought or life); especially refers to communications, which, based on lies and confusions, are slanderous, choppy or destructive in an attempt to overwhelm or suppress a person or group.” — LRH, Technical Dictionary of Dianetics and Scientology
LRH wrote a great deal about how to handle entheta:
“AN ENTHETA LETTER = is a letter containing insult, discourtesy, chop or nastiness about an org, its personnel, Scientology or the principal figures in Scientology…. when you try to help some people – or help them – they react like mad dogs… Such people are Suppressives or belong to Suppressive Groups…. Rather than go to the trouble of issuing a Suppressive Person order or even investigating we assign writers of choppy letters to the DEAD FILE. We just don’t comm.[unicate] with the entheta line… All choppy, nattery, rumour-mongery letters dead end in the DEAD FILE.” — LRH, HCO PL 7 June 1965, ENTHETA LETTERS AND THE DEAD FILE, HANDLING OF
“Complaints, upsets, snarls, discourtesy, are not answered by the Letter Reg but when received by Letter Reg are stamped “Entheta” and with no answer to the writer are sent to [Central files and from there to the] Justice Section.” — LRH, HCO PL 6 April 1965, LETTER REG HAT (emphasis in original)
“We long ago discovered in Dianetics that what we validate comes true. Thus, if we continue to process or connect with or continue to harbor entheta, we discover that entheta becomes quite live. But if we decide to process on the theta line, validating such things as affinity, reality and good communication, we make short work out of the case.” — LRH, Accent on Ability, Foundation Bulletins Vol. 1 No. 3
In other words, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, quietly and without sorrow. This makes for great PR for Scientology, but it does not lead to respectful debate. Sadly, LRH did not realize that his censor-entheta policy might piss off a person enough that he starts his own blog which becomes a pain in everyone’s ass. (That would be me.)
Entheta or ego?
It should also be noted that the organized Church of Scientology goes to great lengths to censor information that is critical of David Miscavige. Marty censors comments that are critical of him. So far as I know, neither is in keeping with LRH policy.
Here’s the bottom line: Censorship usually occurs because the people doing the censoring have something to hide. That’s why censorship was practiced by Nazi Germany, that’s why it was practiced by Soviet Russia, and that’s why it’s practiced by the Church of Scientology.
LRH knew his subject wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny, which is why he put so many controls on what could be said, who could be admitted, and who could be ignored.
Marty, you’re talking about creating a kinder, gentler Scientology. If that’s the case, why not stop the censorship altogether? Why not allow what you say to be scrutinized by all? Why not allow your followers to be exposed to entheta – don’t you think they are smart enough to sniff out the truth for themselves?
Or are you afraid they are smart enough to sniff out the truth for themselves?
I’ve been thinking about my own no-censorship policy, and after reading Marty’s blog entry, I’ve come to a decision: I’m not changing it.
I’m not in this for the glory. I’m not trying to start a movement or portray a positive public image. I’m just an anonymous guy who thinks that Scientology is harmful. I post facts that are verifiable and opinions that can stand up to scrutiny or criticism.
I realize that my posts and the comments that follow them may stir up some emotions, and not all of them are positive – but we’re adults and we can handle it. I’ll ask you to be respectful, but I won’t tell you what you can and cannot say. That may get some people angry and it may earn me some razzing on the forums, but I can live with that. So long as we get out the truth about Scientology – and about those who would lie and censor to cover up its true nature – we are doing good work.
REMINDER: If you’ve been CENSORED BY MARTY™, please post your censored comment here!