My response to Anonymous

Here’s my Open Letter to Anonymous, a group of netizens who have declared war on Scientology. In short, I disapprove of their methods.

[This is assuming that there really is a group of netizens who’ve decided to take on Scientology through harassment, DOS attacks, and dirty tricks]

Dear Anonymous,
It’s understandable that people get upset over the things the Church of Scientology has done online and off. They harass, sue, play dirty tricks on people, lie, etc. They tried to shut down a.r.s.  They spam our newsgroup to this day.
   So I can see why you’d think damn it, it’s time somebody shut them down!
   I’ll just give you my insight for whatever it’s worth. I’ve been a public critic of Scientology since 1987. I’ve been on a.r.s. since 1994. My actions are pretty well known, and in fact you can go to youtube and watch a lot of our protests and such, or go to lisamcpherson.org and see some more of my activism.  Also, I’m older. I’m 52. So if it’s of any value, here’s an old, experienced critic’s 2 cents.
   The internet has already taken a big whack out of Scientology. Free speech has allowed us critics to expose many of the lies and horrible actions of Co$ for all the world to see. We’ve protested, right at their front door. We’ve been on radio, TV, newspapers, magazines. So it’s not like you have to jump in and reinvent the wheel, or assume nobody’s been doing anything.  We’ve been quite successful because of the Golden Rule of the Internet; Free Speech for Everybody. In fact, whenever Co$ has attacked our free speech, it has spawned dozens and dozens of new critics who would not otherwise have cared about this cult. Most of us, and indeed most netizens, value free speech almost religiously.
   So, as I understand it, one of your first methods for dealing with Scientology is to shut down their web sites. This goes against the Golden Rule. By silencing them in one format, all you’ve done is make a martyr out of the cult. Martyrdom is GOOD for Scientology. It’s something for the members to rally around. It’s proof that they’re in the right because they’re being persecuted. Externally, it makes some people ask “why is a church being attacked?” So you’ve lost me at hello.
   The weapons we choose are important. Our weapons as critics are reason, evidence, argument, and free speech. If we “win” [and by win I mean, Co$ renounces its practices and policies that hurt people], then we’ve won the argument over their policies and actions. However, if YOU win using dirty tricks, harassment, and such, then you still haven’t won over their arguments. You’ve just pounded them into submission. Their arguments stand.
   We’re supposed to be the good people. They’re supposed to be the bad people. If both sides are being creepy, then the public will just look on this as a battle between two creepy groups and not be very interested. If, however, one side is moral, honest, and just, and the other side STILL beats up on them just for speaking out, there you have a story. It is this CONTRAST between us and them that is part of our message. The nicer we are, the better the contrast, the more easily it is to see which side is the right side.
   I’m very confident that we as critics have severely hampered Scientology. I don’t believe our goal is to destroy Scientology as yours seems to be [here I’d better say, I don’t represent anybody but myself]. Our goal is to get them to stop locking people up until they’re dead, to stop pretending they’re doctors, to stop destroying families. If they want to believe in Xenu, fine. No problem. We can still debate that, but believing in weird things is no reason for some group to fear attack.
   If you don’t believe my mamby-pamby methods work, consider all the cases in history where such actions did work; Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Vaclav Havel, etc. These people didn’t harass. They didn’t pull dirty tricks. They were straightfoward, honest, moral, and they won. I believe their methods work admirably well on Scientology as well.
   So my wish for you is that you stop a while, listen to some of us who’ve already been out there on the front lines working to expose Scientology, and reconsider your methods. You seem to be coming onto the stage presuming that us experienced critics never got anything done since Scientology still exists. You’re quite wrong. I hope you’ll take time to listen.
Jeff Jacobsen
for the ARSCC[wdne]

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4 Responses to “My response to Anonymous”

  1. anon Says:

    hey jeff thx for runing the lisamcpherson.org website. people need to know the truth. the world must wake up to this evil money hungry corporation that is CoS.

  2. Elephant Bones Says:

    Lisa’s death will not be in vain. You can count on Anon for that.

  3. Another Anonymous Says:

    It’s a nice sentiment you proclaim here, and I’m sure I will not persuade you otherwise… but I don’t think it’s very realistic.

    Keeping the moral highground is a sound approach, but let’s face it; it has not had the effect you wanted to, they’ve expended to more countries in the last 20 years and become more powerfull. There’s a time for words… and a time for action.

    Anon decided it’s time for the latter… To wake people up to the misconduct of Scientology… 10-02-2008

    Jeff replies:

    I don’t see any evidence that Scientology is expanding. I believe they peaked in the late 1970s and have been going downhill since. Now, how much money they have, I don’t know. They’ve been buying buildings like crazy recently. But as far as influence or membership it just looks like they’re in the dumpster. I have no idea how much credit we can take for that, but I’m sure it’s some.

  4. machinemind Says:

    Jeff, good on you for the activism you have worked so hard at over the years, you are an unsung hero.

    I was in a martial arts cult and it sucked. I spent thousands of dollars and two years working for them, so you can imagine I really felt like a sucker.

    I’ve visited from a website http://www.sociocide.com/forums which is a spinoff of http://www.bullshido.net/forums, bullshido is a website which focuses on exposing martial art cults and fraudulent behaviour in the martial arts industry. Sociocide is a kind of ‘off topic’ region for anything unrelated to martial arts, and many of the members on sociocide have been following the recent activities of anonymous and the CoS in general for a long time (at least since I started reading on those boards).

    If you would like a sympathetic audience to your views, please visit sociocide and talk with us there. I would love to hear some of your views on cult behaviour and feedback on some people experiences in the martial arts.

    P.S – Not all of the members are polite, most of us hide behind screen names but generally good conversations and civil discourse is possible, there are also heavily moderated sections of the site where the best topics, conversations or articles are posted.

    Sociocide has about 1000 active members and bullshido has about 40,000 active members, so there is a large audience for your views 🙂

    All the best for the future Jeff, its people like you who change the world, one step at a time 🙂

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