6. The Figure of the Leader in the SC

In all the totalitarian movements of this century, with all extremist organizations in the country and beyond, the Fuehrer of the day plays a special roll. They differentiate themselves significantly from the leading figures of democratic organizations whose attributes include competence, persistence, ability to compromise and to integrate, and not the least of which is charisma, as outlined by Max Weber in his writing "Politics as a Profession" back in 1919 (Weber, 1992). The difference does not consist in the nearly unlimited amount of power of a totalitarian leader and the structural model of circulation of the elite which destroys totalitarian and extremist leadership and which is compatible with democratic fundamentals. The deciding difference lies much more in the relationship between the leader and those being led. In democratic organizations there is a democratically legitimized relationship of trust over time; the leaders have to use their everyday dealings to justify themselves at definite intervals to the people who are being led. Compared to this, the totalitarian leader rules without bounds because he has elevated himself through natural authority above the circle of those who depend upon him, because he separates himself from them in that he sees himself and is regarded by others to be the redeemer and savior of his people or of the entirety of humanity

It is symptomatic of totalitarian organizations that leaders survive after their demise as leading figures, by hallowing use of banners, ideologically fixed points and "spiritual dictator", and in their veneration and glorification further deliver a central legitimization for the organization. Marx, Lenin and Mao Tse Tung experienced such a function by the extreme left in Germany; for the diverse neo-nazi groups Hitler is the deciding fixed point.

Such a totalitarian, anti-democratic leadership is found very plainly and clearly in the SC. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of SC who died in 1986 functioned then as much as now in the scriptures of SC as the greater discoverer of the pure teachings, as the lead figure of the SC practice, as charismatic father of all and bringer of salvation for all of humanity. The dark sides of his biography were faded out in favor of the aesthetics of glorification and of a personality cult. From that point the next logical step is that no critical discussion about the life and works of Hubbard, the founder of SC, takes place inside of the SC itself. Injuries, defeats, illnesses, misunderstandings, ruins, shattered hopes and expectations --dimensions which are more or less stamped into every human biography, play no part in the SC publications. In the meantime important questions remain unanswered: sometimes between the connection with the literary world of science fiction to which Hubbard dedicated himself for years and the teachings of SC. The philosophy of the overcoming of space and time is somewhat of a central theme of science fiction literature, as it is also in the teachings of "dianetics." Also the proceedings around the disempowerment of Hubbard and the rise to power of his successor, David Miscavige for whom -- if one reads the SC critical literature (Kopf, 1995, p. 15ff) - a strong, internal power struggle, of which not nearly enough is known to this day, remains unmentioned, presumably to avoid damaging the picture and the constructed legend of Hubbard.

The official information about Hubbard paints a picture of a heroic super-human who distinguished himself, even in youth, through research and erudition (What is Scientology, p. 83ff). Constantly searching for the puzzles of life he is said to have gone on many ocean voyages to study strange cultures. His chief gift in life was helping and instructing others. As leader of expeditions to all parts of the world he is to have made countless "breakthroughs." During the war he had enjoyed a "high regard" as commander of corvettes, after which he brought world attention upon himself through "Dianetics." Hubbard is said to have "solved the puzzle of human understanding" (What is Scientology, p. 83). All in all the official SC biography gives the reader the impression that Hubbard had no competition in his position as researcher of human life.

In 1995 a 130 page pamphlet about Hubbard was published by SC in 14 different languages. It projected the glorification of the hero in the known tones. It talked about Hubbard as a friend of mankind, pedagogue, manager, artist, philosopher, writer, pilot, discoverer, musician, Marine Corps trainer, photograph and garden expert - in each of these areas he is talked about in glowing terms and is furnished with "thousands of honors and recognitions." The strategy of the glorification of the super-human is pursued by the SC - disregarding the increasingly loud doubts of the biographical construction of Hubbard's Vita.

Voltz referred to several contradictions in the biography of Hubbard on the basis of new documents (Voltz, 1995, p. 60ff). They show a discrepancy between the factual life and the glorification of the SC propaganda. Several examples are enough to suffice here: The documents show, according to Voltz, that Hubbard, contrary to the official SC presentation, was in no way the interested, research-driven world traveler he was made out to be, and that the matters of religion and philosophy hardly came up in his travels, according to his diary entries. Service record entries from military superiors speak of "below average" performance, he was not qualified for a command nor recommended for advancement. Another superior wrote of him, "this officer does not meet the requirements for independent assignment", he was loquacious and tried to create impressions of his own importance (Voltz, 1995, p. 64 f.).

According to research done by an American journalist, Hubbard was not, by the way, a commander of corvettes, but a Lieutenant (Kopf, 1995, p.12). If one goes by Albers' contextual observations of the SC-critical literature, Hubbard's academic record has been feigned. For quite some time Hubbard had a doctorate degree-by-mail until he officially and publicly renounced the title to this degree (Albers, 1994, p. 59). Hubbard was for many years - part of the time using a pseudonym - an author of science fiction and western novels; according to the "Lexikon of Science Fiction Literature" he was a "predominately average author" (Alpers/Fuchs, 1990, p. 566). In the official SC presentation he had been, - an episode not entirely compatible with the picture of the ingenious researcher and discoverer - before the publication of "Dianetics", "long-established as a celebrated author, writer of novels and explorer" (What is Scientology, p. 83).

One can only understand the significance of Hubbard for the SC after the time of his death in 1986 if one takes into account the functions of the leader in a totalitarian movement. The Fuehrer-myth is a condition of existence and stability of totalitarian organizations. The celebration of the super-human, deprived of all evaluation, provides stability to the SC as an organization and as a program; doubt and criticism of Hubbard would bring SC itself under pressure and lead to processes of delegitimization. For this reason, SC needs such a Fuehrer-figure, without which they could falter as a totalitarian organization. The glorification of the leader further serves practical goals of the internal organizational hierarchy: the many described authoritarian methods of the conducting of business on a strongly compartmented hierarchical plane necessitates a personalized, sweeping legitimization in the form of the almighty and omnipotent, which is surrounded by natural authority. Doubts and criticism of him could result in dysfunctional consequences, because if criticism of Hubbard were permitted and tolerated in internal SC discussion, then the authoritative leadership methods could not stand up to internal organization criticism.


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