2. Scientific, published and political discussion about Scientology.
In the twenty-five years of its existence in Germany a wide-spread dispute with SC under altered social limitations has developed. It takes place on the plane of journalism (press and textbooks), the personal experience of ex-members, various international published and unpublished opinions and, comparatively recently, on the plane of philosophical and ecclesiastical essays. The main point was and continues to be the aspect of new age religion/psycho-cult, the practice of "auditing" under medical, psychotherapeutic and psychoanalytic reference points, but also, more so since the beginning of the 1990's, the commercial entanglements, the question of strategically placed infiltration of decisively relevant social areas, the polarization of the inner organization, formation of networks and the associated strategies and various ideological aspects. Questions about the political goals of the SC have played an increasingly significant role in the past few years. This indicates a critical deficiency: analyses of social and political scientists who analyze the SC as a political organization are practically non-existent. Constitutionally theoretical aspects in regard to conformity to the constitution as well as empirical reference points of a membership, sociology and internal group dynamics prove themselves to be a critical deficiency. The overview of the literature and research serve to bring the deficit of knowledge and information about the SC into context.
2.1 First-hand Accounts
The growing number of published reports from former Scientologists in the past few years is, as Ursula Caberta, leader of the "Scientology Work Group" with the Hamburg city council, has rightly established it, "one of the chief sources of information about Scientology and their various groups" (Caberta, 1994, p. 22) On the basis of their authenticity, the personal experiences of former Scientologists promise deep insight into the structure of the SC, its day-to-day practices, and the possible consequences for those affected. Information from previously high-ranking, long-term former SC members, who have gone increasingly public since the early 1990's, has turned out to be revealingly noteworthy. Their credibility is far-reaching because they all agree on central points. Each of the four autobiographical reports presented here (note 8) express the totalitarian structure of SC and the preeminently politically rated claim to world domination. Their experiences and expressions are quite different, but a comparison refers to a biographical time track, that can be subdivided into four parts.
The first is recognized through the awareness of an individual life's crisis and through the need for assistance in life, for conversation partners, for the improvement of one's own situation, or at least [for the improvement] of the openness for similar providers. Most receptive to SC are young people who are basically interested in progress, whose dissatisfaction with their personal and general relationships have caused a certain measure of insecurity and lack of orientation, with which organizations such as SC can connect. According to all the materials at hand, religious motives do not serve as the main reason for the decision to take SC courses. Potthoff reports dissatisfactions "with myself, with my wife, with my position in life" (1994, p.21). Voltz bases his open-mindedness for SC on a general readiness for the cultural and religious experiments of the youth movement at the end of the sixties and at the beginning of the seventies (1995, p. 17ff).
He was impressed with the idealistic motives, the interest in personal development, the desire for security and for a philosophy which had at hand the answers to meaningful questions. It was not just the young, dynamic open-mindedness of young people and young adults. A 23-year-old psychology student reported that it was clear to her after taking the "personality test", "that I (am able to) improve my life with Scientology in order to be in better standing with friends and at school" (Valentin/Knaup, 1992, p. 12). Contact with SC is pursued with either the personal acquaintances of SC members for the purpose of recruitment, with newspaper advertisements, or with SC recruiters on the street, who invite one to take a "personality test", which, as a rule, shows an alleged deficiency in the areas of relationships and communications and which can be alleviated through taking courses.
The second phase follows with the connection to the Scientology system in which the recruit takes expensive courses whose success is dependent upon the taking of further courses. "The Bridge to Total Freedom" is what SC calls the gradiently constructed course system which has its own certificates and which is replete with an abundance of home courses, videocassettes, etc. Although precise data are not available, it can be deduced that in this second phase the decision to either leave the SC "career" or to continue on Scientology's straight and narrow path is made. "In principle", recalls Potthoff (1994, p. 33), "you can leave the Hubbard cult only in the first few weeks. Once you have graduated the difficult communications course and you have learned to think and feel in this new vocabulary, the way out is so difficult and tedious that you would rather stay in." Euphoric stages accompany the continued path in the SC; it is supposed to be fun, according to Potthoff, "to work on the construction of a 'new civilization'" (Potthoff, 1994, p.28).
The third phase is marked by a developing identification with the methods and goals of the SC on one side, and by a relative devaluation of and alienation from the current social environment on the other side. All available biographies unanimously describe successive absorption through the system of courses, group-induced peer pressure, baiting through work assignments by SC until the confirmation as an employee. The self-adaptation into a totalitarian structure with the claim that they alone are the right and the only thinkable way typifies the shutting off of criticism and doubts and a greater distance from the current social environment. Reports of divorces and personal disconnections in one's circle of friends creates a tendency of self-isolation. In this way a circle is set in motion: closer connection to the organization means cutting off communication to the personal environment. The resulting isolation increased the need to have SC as an "ersatz family." "I became more and more", said Potthoff (1994, p. 23), "the central focus of my own activities, which approached those of the Scientology world picture, until finally my personality completely fit in with the Hubbard system."
In the biographical narratives of former Scientologists the fourth, the departure phase, was described as the most difficult and most contradictory. According to their own statements an abrupt, spontaneous exit, as described by Trager in his case, appears overwhelmingly to be the exception (Trager, 1993). The break with the SC as an organization and as an ideology, as a rule, takes place gradually, full of self-doubt and with stages of being torn between two places. Several cases of both attempted and successful suicides are the end result of a complex process of disentanglement (see Hermann, 1994, p. 33 ff). The reasons for leaving are different throughout. Among them are external reasons such as, e.g., influence of people critical to SC or literature critical of SC, nevertheless they are overwhelmingly internal reasons resulting from SC-related practices. For Potthoff it was a conflict which was difficult to resolve in the workplace of the SC -- a feeling that he was being misused, and which he couldn't shake off -- that led to his departure (Potthoff, 1994, p. 28ff.) For Voltz it was internal misunderstanding, the absolute claims of the totalitarian ideology, the Hubbard-backed psycho-terrorism against critics and reformists and the lack of ability for self-criticism in the ranks of of the SC that motivated him to a painful disengagement process (Voltz, 1995, p. 29ff.).
When one regards the stations of the former SC members from a systematic point of view, the lack of uniqueness becomes apparent. Even though the SC is a unique ideology, a perusal of the biographical records of the dissidents resembles those which are known from careers in extremist organizations. Biographical analyses of youthful neo-nazis have shown that the dynamics of their idealistic reason for enlistment lies in an environment of personal and general dissatisfaction, connection and binding to the organization along with simultaneous social isolation, and a separation process made difficult by the lack of a social transitioning network.
The most serious difference between these two groups lies in the fact that former neo-nazis, along with former left-wing extremists and the adherents of other political sects understood themselves to be political subjects before, during and after the active time in their respective organizations; SC dissidents in each case [understood themselves to be political subjects] only in the indirect sense. However this difference has to be related conversely, because personal motives also play a role for the activists in extremist groups, so that personal and political motives are difficult to separate. Looking back at the effects over time of the activities of the SC on the individual and at the extremist groups on the other side, a comparable result can be determined: they experience their time with their organizations as a stage of de-democratization, of the domination and establishment through totalitarian structures, as a radical limitation of their personal freedom and they experience the organization itself in retrospect as anti-democratic, dangerous and self-justifying. The published narratives of former members throw a definite light upon the totalitarian, brutal practices of the SC. SC accuses one of them of "insane notions", [accuses] another, in an aggressive and condescending manner, of financial, moral and spiritual bankruptcy and corrupt convictions.
2.2. The Debate over Psycho-cults, Religious Sects and Modern Fundamentalism
In the Nineteen Seventies an abundance of new religious sects and alliances similar to sects arose in Germany. Unification Church, Hare Krishna, Transcendental Meditation and the Baghwan movement count among the most well-known. The literature of the time also put SC into this contest right from the start. The concept of "youth sects" goes back to the social background of the early Seventies in the numerous groups of disbanded student movements and to the positions spread in this context of a neglect of social change in favor of a change of its own subjects. The debate running in the Seventies over a "new life-style" meshed the political experiences of the shattering of the student movement with the awareness of an ecological crisis of society and tried to relate politics and day-to-day relationships with each other in this way (Wenke/Zillessen, 1978). Various psycho-cults and religious movements emerged with no political claims, they concentrated on an alteration of the subject and formed the organizational background for a new paradigm of "self experience." The social conditions made for a wide acceptance of organizations such as SC in the Seventies. "Total freedom from any limitation, immortality, control over space, time and matter - those are fascinating goals" (Mildenberger, 1979, p. 183). The social crisis scenario which destroyed the new individualism and later the new social movements, was described by Brand/Busser/Rucht as critical of modernization, "eschatologic end expectations, 'no-future' voices of a new 'lost generation', degenerate political romanticism as well as mystic escapism" (Brand/Busser/Rucht, 1983. p. 19).
The necessity for self-experience and for a "new life-style" was the justification and the social background for the psycho-cults and the new religions in the Seventies. They were tied to the recent experiences with the youth and student movements and appear as a historic consequence of these experiences. The adherents of the new sects and psycho-cults have for the most biographical part run the course of the student protest movements, and regarded the search for their own identity as a logical consequence. Today this connection is broken. Trager estimates that 40-50 percent of the activists at the beginning of the Seventies are no longer with it today (Trager, 1993, p. 92). Today SC does not recruit its adherents from the youthful circle of protest movements, but prefers the upper echelon and those "successful" people who want to be more successful, ideally the particularly "dynamic" elite functions of commercial branches of growth in the third estate.
The recent discussions about religious sects search for an explanation which will carry weight in the altered social field of resonance. The theoretical model of individualization appears suited to explain the readiness for engagement in unconventional organizations (see Eiben, 1993). According to that source, modern society is marked by a pluralization of orientations and life style on the one side, and by an ebbing binding force of institutions, including churches, on the other side. The individual is "set free", as it were, from the forces of traditional connections into a situation of extensive possibility of choice in all areas of life. Religious - or presumably religious - interpretations are also affected by the process of pluralization and individualization. On one side they are losing more of their regular customers, on the other they also enjoy the supply of people because they promise clear-cut pluralized opinions and clear orientation in an unclear, incomprehensible situation. The Christian churches lose more in principle - they lose more from the climbing number of those departing from the church, while newer establishments are increasingly tested or are also able to find reliable, new adherents.
Besides the individualization theory, the most convincing explanation is found in the debate about modern fundamentalism. Firmly fixed principles, certainty of perception and a closed picture of the world appear as worldwide answers to the uncertainty and risks of the modern world. Doubt, reservations of judgment, recursive questioning of one's own position is foreign to fundamentalism; it thrives in a hermetically sealed philosophical community on exclusivity and self-validation of its own worth and of its own methods. Meyer speaks for Germany of an existence of a world-life, of a cultural (e.g.. "New Age") and of a political fundamentalism (e.g., the "Eco-Fundis" ["ecological fundamentalists, i.e., tree-huggers], see Meyer, 1989, p. 263). Meyer categorizes youth sects in the area of world-life fundamentalism. However, Meyer rightly says, this separation does not really hold up, because:
"All of these groups employ a saving principle that guarantees salvation for mankind. Whoever becomes a member of a group becomes part of the saved family which is guided and led by a saving master. All groups employ a closed view of the world or an almost isolated belief system. It defines and explains the entire world and the meaning of life of the individuals in it. This meaning always contains a promise of salvation and safety for all who accept this philosophy and act in accordance with its principles. Each of these world philosophies make claims against all other exclusive [entities]. They reduce the complexity and contrariness of the world together with all their competing signficances to a manic duality of health and sickness, good and evil, friend and enemy. Contradictions to their positions towards themselves or to others are met with lies or suppression. In this manner the discussion with adherents is spared any stress, conflict and unfairness of reality. The groups are constructed hierarchically in the highest degree, with the exalted leader always at the top. A bearing of dependency and strict subordination, which is always demanded, completes the picture of being the 'chosen' group" (Meyer, 1989, p. 266).
If one pursues this definition, two themes come out of it: One leads to a deal of discussion, even better - an absolute core of all fundamentalist movements to which groups as SC can be counted. The other, a further sample, will become significant through this theoretical discussion. Out of the discussion about political extremism come definitions which are not unknown to Meyer [in his discussion] of fundamentalism. Symptoms of modern political extremism could profit from a number of the characteristics of fundamentalism - in retrospect from the hermeticism of world philosophy, the Fuehrer-principle and the certainty of salvation. This context will be taken up later.
Exactly because the new psychological and religious cults of the Seventies center around the postulate of a radical change in society in the program of self-actualization of the individual, they appear to be mainly unpolitical, although the debate over fundamentalism emphatically warns of the political core of "youth sects." The denial of the integration ability of the institutions, including the Christian church, is often listed as the cause of the attractiveness of sects, as is a failed identification process for youth and a predominantly general "discomfort with the times", along with progressive thought and performance of society. Numerous parents' initiatives were concerned - mainly in conjunction with churches - with finding a way to retrieve their sons and daughters from the sects and to re-integrate them into a normal life (Mildenberger, 1979, p. 238ff). Today these initiatives are more political in that they are no longer driven by the individual freeing of their children from the clutches of the sect, but argue the case that organizations such as SC are to be understood as politically dangerous. SC is, according to the rationalization of Muller over the more recent social reactions to SC, "a social, a political system, that on the basis of its anti-democratic intentions is irreconcilable with the foundation of our society (Muller, 1994, p 177). Protest movements against SC today refer to the exit [fm SC] theme and do not act solely in cooperation with the ecclesiastical position under the main idea of gaining back the lost children, but with the modern means of citizen's initiative and action alliance against a sect which is judged to be politically dangerous.
Several examples illustrate the modifications of the discussion of sects such as SC. The alliance for action against SC which came out of Hamburg in 1990 gathered all democratic parties and other groups, managed networks and publicity work in the interest of a "determined defense from aggressive systems", in order to defend the common values of society. The example of the town of Hoisdorf near Hamburg showed how citizens' initiatives using the politically preventative methods have already prevented projects of SC from their onset. An SC boarding school for children which had been planned there was stopped by citizen's protests after community meetings, petitions and public work. After a more than one-year discussion the SC backed off from its intentions of [establishing] a boarding school in Hoisdorf (Birnstein, 1994). At the start of the Nineties renters initiatives formed in Hamburg and Berlin, which protested, with public effect, against the conversion by SC-managed companies of apartments into condominiums. A third example illuminates the meanwhile numerous activities against SC by the democratic parties. In November of 1993 the Youth Union of Germany (JU) established the "1. Wormser Scientology Tribunal." Besides analyses and recommendations it ran off a thesis. It showed, in all clarity, that SC today is seen less and less as a "psycho-cult" or religious sect and more as a political organization. To the general estimation of SC was added in the thesis that SC was "a totalitarian, anti-democratic movement with goals hostile to those of the state. It is a new form of organized crime. This wording is recommended for all forms of publications" (Junge Union, 1993).
These new debates and actions against SC arise from a theoretically as well as a politically very significant assumption: SC tries, by means of its strategy of infiltration, to systematically undermine parts of commerce and society and to change their functions to meet their own political goals. The more recent literature gives some rather noteworthy information about this.
2.3. About the political and commercial influence of SC
In the most recent literature about SC the question of the influence of this organization and its ideology upon the economy play an increasingly significant role. Hermann reported of an SC plan for the "takeover of German economy", which was based upon four strategic points: targeted selection of businesses, recruitment of their highest representatives, extinguishing the opposition, and the establishment of the SC practice of auditing. Billerbeck/Nordhausen tell of numerous world companies which, as a result of SC instructions, have already given SC courses, among them Honeywell, Motorola, General Motors, Ford, Renault, Volkswagen and Shell (Billerbeck/Nordhausen, 1994, p.150). More important seems to be the targeted infiltration of medium-size companies. SC has its foot in the door in the areas of construction, computers, employment agencies, business and personnel consultation and real estate - one follows the available detailed descriptions. According to estimates 150 companies work in Germany following scientology principles, mainly in the commerce areas of Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich (Knaup, 1992, p.84). Cases are also apparent in politics and administration: the director of the academy of trade in the Hamburg chamber was "outed" as a Scientologist (Knaup, 1992, p.89), two FDP representatives of the Hamburg council have close business ties to the SC (Hermann, 1994, p.107).
The SC influence appears to be branch-specific in areas of the real estate business, and here above all to grow in the market of conversion from apartments to condominiums. In respect to the areas of commercial trade of Hamburg and Berlin the influence of SC in this sector has gained considerable momentum. A newspaper article reports that according to information from the Berlin Renters' Association, approximately a third of all condominiums in Berlin are being offered for sale by companies associated with SC (Nordhausen, 1995). The Hamburg "Arbeitsgruppe Scientology" ["Scientology Work Group"] has reported similar proceedings in Hamburg as well as a corresponding opposition movement by agent and rental associations and the chamber of commerce. The attractiveness of the SC ideology to the opinion leaders and the higher ranking managers in the area of commerce is easy to grasp. SC offers ultimately capitalistic, ruthless strategies of execution which simplify the money-making process, and presumably shows the way to shut off all possible hindering factors. The SC course system "connects spiritual welfare with crassly capitalistic yearnings for profit" (Augstein, 1995). SC particularly addresses each of the business elite who are oriented to wealth, but at the same time necessitates an orientation system and a justification to carry out their efforts at expansion unhindered by any social responsibilities. From fear of possible damaged image of individually affected businesses, attempts at infiltration seldom succeed in public, says a commercial publication (Branahl/Christ, 1994). The possible consequences are described as follows:
- "mental deterioration of the employee
- employee ruined by debt
- employees capable of being blackmailed
- industrial espionage and embezzlement
- disloyalty, favoritism in the office, unspoken competition
- violations of confidentiality of the workplace"
- (Branahl/Christ, 1994).
It is right there in the applieed, journalistic, informative presentations (see Billerbeck/Nordhausen, 1994, Hartwig, 1994) that questions meaningful to our context are asked: do the relations in the areas of commerce and administration follow the rules conforming to market commercial expansion with the goal of the maximization of profit or do they follow a politically motivated strategy of undermining and infiltration; are they the ends themselves or only the means to an end? Hartwig asserts that the economy is the "chief target of the organization which wants to use commercial potential for the control of power." Money is not the goal, "the commercial power is meant to clear the way to a higher goal: political power. With their help Scientology wants to establish a totalitarian police state" (Hartwig, 1994, p.9f.) As a matter of fact SC has recently aligned its business structure with institutional commercialism.
References to that are found in the debate about the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE), which was founded by SC in 1979. WISE sells contracts for business and personnel consulting, which use SC concepts, to franchises. According to Potthoff this development leads to the "transition from Scientology (religion) to Hubbardism (politics)" (Potthoff, 1993, p. 101). In a self-presentation of SC we read in the chapter about WISE:
"If the current business world and governments could understand and competently use the fundamental principle of organization and administration, they would be in the position to take action against the economic chaos, instead of supporting it. ...Business can grow, governments rule wisely, and the population can live without economic pressure. The administration technology of L. Ron Hubbard makes the goals, which have been withheld from society for so long, attainable" (Was ist Scientology, a.a.O., p. 449) [What is Scientology, loc.cit. p. 449].
In this self-promotional piece the expansion of the SC program is expressly limited to not just the area of economy, but governments and with them the centers of power are also referenced in the strategy. It follows then that it is not only about an unpolitical, managerial heightening of efficiency using all means, but also a program that, in principle, envisages social and political areas. Commercial and socio-political expansion go hand in hand.
The consultation activities of the company "Robin Direkt e.V" [Robin Direkt, Inc.] in commerce is an indication of the attempts at infiltration of the SC and the rising necessity for consultation to adequately protect oneself from the SC (Hartwig, 194). In the meantime businesses and associations are also taking preventive actions, and try to stop business transactions with SC in advance. For example the Koblenz trade union suggests to its members that they not conduct business transactions with SC, and that they demand written guarantees [of non-association with Hubbard], especially in the areas of offers for advanced training, business consultation and course offers.
2.4 References to the endangerment of the democratic, constitutional state
Since its establishment in Germany in 1970, SC has publicly been observed and categorized as one of the religiously inspired youth groups, which, as a result of the cessation of the youth protest movements of the Sixties, wanted primarily not to change society, but the person and the self. In the Seventies and Eighties the discussion about SC centered around the background of the broader topic of "youth sects", but it also centered around the question as to whether the SC had to do with religion, and in which religious stratum of tradition it stood, or [whether it had to do] with a primarily or completely exclusive profit-oriented commercial business. The posing of the problem of constitutional hostility which emanated from the SC was first addressed in detail in the literature of the Nineties. The more recent discussion in the social sciences about the tendency of erosion of the party system, about a new alternate politic and about political influence through and close to the classic method of parties and parliaments heightened the perceptions for alternative political forms which had previously been regarded as unpolitical or anti-political. In this way today one must understand, as a natural example, a movement which was previously judged to be culturally hostile, such as the "New Right", to be politically motivated, because it avoids the classic methods of politics and follows Gransci's Credo, that the conquest of political power must be preceded by the conquest of the cultural sphere. And one of the main works of her French predecessor, Alain de Benoist, which contains the argument on behalf of a new paganism as a European religion must, of course, be understood to be a political work.
The shifting of the question to the political aspect in the past years is also demonstrated in the discussion with SC. The question about its political goals and about a politically motivated danger to a democratic, constitutional state by the SC becomes more predominant in the recent literature, but is nevertheless inherently poised very unsystematically. If one follows appointed sect official of the Hamburg senate, Caberta, then the "Scientology system" is completely anti-democratic (Forward in: Voltz, 1995,p.11). In the report of the Hamburg Senate to the electorate of September, 1995, the danger to the political system by SC was heavily emphasized: "The final goal of SC is the scientologization of society. If the strategy were to grow and if there were no intervention from the governmental side, then this would be the same as a slow undermining of our political system." According to Herrman, the accumulated activities of the SC pose a political problem to society, because "the systematic undermining of politics, commerce and culture are to be categorized as an serious attack upon democratic culture" (Hermann, 1994, p.12).
In a quite similar manner, Hartwig expresses a fear in her analysis of the SC influence in commercial enterprises whose commercial power is to "pave the way to a higher goal: political power. With their help Scientology wants to establish a totalitarian police state" (Hartwig, 1994, p.9f). Abel, with a background of constitutional law, says the ground perception of the SC "energetically contradicts the implementation of the basic laws of human dignity, democracy, and plurality" (1994, p.152); texts which are alien to the constitution are found in many places in the published SC materials. "Lately, in reference to organizations such as Scientology, there is only the circumstance that power and also alteration of thought are not to be aspired to in the classic way between political parties, but rather to serve the commercial cult as a religious pretext and as an economical influence" (above, p.145). Hartmann states the subject, the long-term goal of SC, to be the extension of their domination over choice by legal methods (Hartmann, 1994, p. 296). Also in the governmental positions the debate no longer only centers around the question of the return of sect members, but also around the problem of constitutionally hostility. According to an opinion of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution from November of 1992, there is evidence of constitutionally hostile efforts. The opinion comes to the conclusion that SC has met the conditions for surveillance under the constitution protection clause.
These kind of assessments were strengthened by a string of insiders. According to Trager the Office for Constitutional Protection has, "with certainty," correctly put SC under observation, because "what Scientology wants, comes from a totalitarian state" (Trager, 1993). The former SC manager Potthoff continues by stating that inside the SC power is organized in accordance with the model of a military dictatorship: "This model is to be transferred into society, whereby a new form of dictatorship arises which spans countries and continents" (Potthoff, 1993, p.92). Pothoff refers to "Hubbardism", which is said to have been developed around 1980 by the SC:
"Hubbardism is a type of fundamentalist state religion, which aspires to a single (totalitarian) leadership of humanity according to the principles of Scientology ethics (everything used for the survival of Scientology and Scientologists is ethical), and is unconditionally interspersed in the currently available sphere of power. This sphere of power is expanding, not as a CHURCH, but as WISE (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises) into the economy and as ABLE (Association for better Living and Education) into many socio-political areas and into politics" (Potthoff, 1993, p.93).
"For me it was, from the first day, completely beyond question", Potthoff recounts his experiences as a Scientologist (see above, p.15), "Scientology existed as a political movement." The fundamental possibility of a connection between SC and "political extremism" was explicitly understood, and was part of the Scientology history from its inception. Voltz, an ex-manager, like Potthoff, in SC, leads further arguments along these lines, based on his own experiences and previously unknown documents. The SC organization is said to be structured not only in a highly anti-democratic manner, but it also is the political goal of SC to transfer its internal relationships into society: "If Scientology had the influence it wants to have, then it is my fear that it would ultimately direct the executive, legislative and judicial branches [of government] to one central place. Hubbardistic directives would have the force of law" (Voltz, 1995, p. 154).
2.5 Aspects: Lines of development, standpoints of knowledge, and deficits in the discussion of SC
The twenty-five year history of SC in Germany is accompanied by a large number of scientific, journalistic, political and administrative interventions. They do not remain constant, but they are developing from an individualistic concept of a religious "chosen few" to a debate of the political and anti-democratic qualities of the SC. The predominant trends in the present discussion can be connected in four areas of consideration at the end of this section.
1. If one takes the cumulative time and space of the discussion since the beginning of the Seventies into consideration, it develops from a critique of the psycho-cult and "new religious movements" in the beginning stage into a not completely exclusive conceptual critique of the SC as a political organization. If one pursues the more recent debates, then the SC complex moves from a provider of life assistance in the context of ideologies of self-experience and liberation of self in its beginning years to a covertly operating, strategically directed, totalitarian, anti-democratic, political organization with considerable commercial, white-collar criminal, and financial resources, whereby the positioning in the "psycho-market" and the associated standards of conduct are preserved by the provider, SC. Available empirical proof and documents do not deliver a complete picture of life on the inside of the SC organization, but they are enough to substantiate this thesis.
2. The most important sources and empirical background for this development of the discussion are extensive: the published first-hand reports since the early Nineties by former, in part, high-ranking SC members and functionaries. They confirm the expansive infiltration strategy with ultimately political intentions. They also describe the fundamentals of totalitarian structure of the apparatus along with their consequences for the individuals whose "career" path inside the SC is easily comparable to the career models of members of extremist organizations, although the social status and the chances of being re-integrated into society vary widely. Other noteworthy sources are journalistic research, the analyses of the Hamburg "Scientology Work Group" as well as court decisions and parliamentary reports.
3. The discussion of the SC has become political since the begin of the Nineties. The duration goes from the parents concerned about their children in the initial period up to the newer citizen's initiatives, parliamentary hearings, to the incompatibility decision of the CDU at their party convention in 1992 and to the corresponding period of the STATT party in their articles, measures of the justice and interior secretary conventions and community action. SC is correctly shown today, many times over in the available material, to be a threat to the basic values of a democratic and pluralistic society. Not just the freedom of the individual, but the freedom of society and democracy are at stake - this is how the combined courses of the discussion about SC are summed up.
4. There is a variety of good sources for the topic of a constitutionally hostile quality of SC. Personal accounts from former members and investigative journalistic research point in this direction. From a theoretical perspective, there are references between the religious life-style, commercial and ultimately political expansion of modern fundamentalism a la SC and the totalitarian ideology of political extremism. Although the deficiencies in the current discussion are not to be overlooked, they can be summarized in the following points:
- There is a shortage of information about structures and developments for members and sympathizers. The count of 30,000 is based on estimates and self-quoted statistics of SC. Hardly anything has been published in specific detail on regional density, biographical samples, alternative structures and other socio-demographic qualifications of adherents and the operating levels.
- Hardly anything is known about the relationship of the organizational commitments and fluctuations in the duration and intensity of the commitments, of the multiplicative effect on the environment of activists and of the development of their political orientation under the influence of the SC.
- The deficiency of perception in the organization's sociology includes a shortage of information about the international and national network of the SC organization. Differences in the general pattern of the inner organization are known, although the actual power structure, the dynamics of of individual internal departments and the importance of individual functionaries have been determined only with difficulty up until recently.
- The theory and practice of SC are not to be investigated under the viewpoint of a "pro-active democracy." A provision of that would be the ability to systematically investigate the SC phenomenon to see if a variety of political extremism was at hand.
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