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Statistically Speaking: Jefferson Hawkins Takes Us Into Scientology’s Numbers Fixation

StatisticsJefferson Hawkins was once the top marketing executive for the Church of Scientology and helped it reach its greatest extent with the famous “volcano” TV ads in the 1980s. He’s told his tale of getting into and out of the church with his excellent books Counterfeit Dreams and Leaving Scientology, and he’s helping us understand the upside-down world of Scientology “ethics.”

Jefferson where are you taking us today?

JEFFERSON: This week we’re covering Chapter 3 of Introduction to Scientology Ethics, which deals mostly with statistics. It’s a pretty detailed description of the importance of keeping statistics, exactly how you graph them, and how you determine statistic trends.

THE BUNKER: Anyone who has spent any time around Scientology is well aware of its fixation on weekly statistics. And anyone who has spent any time as a Scientology staff member knows the stress that is associated with Thursday at 2:00pm — the day and time that the “weekly statistics” are turned in. But what does this have to do with the subject of ethics?

JEFFERSON: As a staff member, I never questioned that the subject of statistics would be part of a book on Scientology Ethics, but if you step back for a second, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why would you have such a detailed description of how to keep statistics and how to graph statistics in the context of a discussion of ethics, of right and wrong choices in life? What do statistics have to do with ethics at all?

THE BUNKER: It does seem out of place for a book on ethics. So why is it included?


GettingOurEthicsInJEFFERSON: A couple of weeks ago, we were talking about utilitarian ethics, and I mentioned in passing something called “state consequentialism.” Consequentialism, broadly speaking, is the idea that the consequences of one’s actions are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct. In other words, the end justifies the means. State consequentialism, according to Wikipedia, is “an ethical theory which evaluates the moral worth of an action based on how much it contributes to the welfare of a state.” Specifically, anything that contributes to the order, material wealth, or population increase of the state is considered “ethical.” That is, anything that contributes to “the stats” of the state.

THE BUNKER: So anything that contributes to Scientology’s stats is considered ethical?

JEFFERSON: Right. Hubbard makes it clear later in the book that the end product of his ethics system is increased statistics. How you get those increased statistics does not matter. A few gems from later chapters:

Ethics actions must parallel the purposes of Scientology and its organizations…The purpose of the organization is to get the show on the road and keep it going. That means production.

We are not in the business of being good boys and girls. We’re in the business of going free and getting the organization products roaring. Nothing else is of any interest then to Ethics but (a) getting tech in, getting it run and getting it run right and (b) getting production up and the organization roaring along.

Therefore, if a staff member is getting production up by having his own statistic excellent, Ethics sure isn’t interested. But if a staff member isn’t producing, shown by his bad statistic for his post, Ethics is fascinated with his smallest misdemeanor.

In short, a staff member can “get away with murder” so long as his statistic is up and can’t “sneeze” without a chop if it’s down…

So I don’t care what men or women do if they just wear their hats and keep their stats up.

So if your statistic is up, you can do no wrong. If your statistic is down, you’re hounded and penalized. Every action is judged only by whether it got the stats up or not. That determines your “Ethics Condition.” I recall this principle being applied at Flag. There was one Registrar who was a known alcoholic. He kept a bottle of booze at his desk. And he carried on a number of affairs with prominent Scientology public. But no one could touch him because he was bringing in the bulk of Flag income. Therefore, he was considered “ethical” no matter what he did.

THE BUNKER: No wonder Scientology staff are fixated on their statistics.

JEFFERSON: It creates a dog-eat-dog environment. I was interested to read a 1995 article in the Wall Street Journal about an attempt to get Hubbard’s “admin tech” implemented at the Allstate Insurance Company. The article, posted on Arnie Lerma’s site, describes what happened when Hubbard’s system of statistics, rewards, and penalties went into effect at Allstate. The article says:

Allstate employees who took the classes say an important, although hardly exclusive, theme of the training was an uncompromising commitment to the bottom line — even if that meant treating poor performers harshly. The course materials warned managers never to be sympathetic to someone whose productivity numbers, or “statistics,” were down…

But the seminars focused mostly on management by statistics, a concept that involved charting income and production on weekly graphs. Employees who produced so-called up statistics weren’t to be questioned, no matter how they behaved…

Workers with declining production had to be investigated immediately, the course taught. “A person with low statistics not only has no ethics protection but tends to be hounded,” the training manual said…

“It allowed management by intimidation. It was vindictive — a way to try to remove people,” Mr. Richardson says. “We would harass agents” by calling them constantly and visiting them repeatedly.

Gee, sounds like every Scientology organization I ever worked for.

So to summarize where we have gotten to in our Ethics book, Hubbard has convinced us that older systems of morals and ethics are worthless, that the only way to survive is to learn his “tech of Ethics.” He has convinced us that concepts of “right” and “wrong” depend on the results of that action. And finally, he has shown us that the only way to measure those results is by statistics — specifically, Scientology’s production statistics.


From a previous Barrack appearance on the program

From a previous Barrack appearance on the program

We Get a Love Letter from Tommy Davis

When our top secret sources let us know that Tommy Davis was in the New York area yesterday, we couldn’t help asking him for a friendly chat.

The former Scientology spokesman was at CNBC’s studios across the Hudson in New Jersey with his new boss, Tom Barrack of Colony Capital. Barrack co-hosted the network’s “Fast Money Halftime Report,” but unfortunately, Tommy himself didn’t appear on camera.

Before the show started, we e-mailed Davis, asking him for a friendly chat while he was in town. He sent us this response:

A) who says I’m in NYC.
B) you’re a delusional, bigoted, hate mongering asshat

Don’t ever email me again.

Awww, Tommy! Well, we sincerely did hope for a friendly chat with the guy who was, from about 2007 to 2010, the face of Scientology. He’s left the Sea Org, moved to Austin, and went to work for Barrack. He’s scheduled to be deposed soon in Monique Rathbun’s harassment lawsuit against Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Come on, Tommy, let’s have a gabfest!


Angry Gay Pope Gets His Day in Court Today

We talked to attorney Graham Berry, who told us that his client Donald Myers — a/k/a Angry Gay Pope — would get his day in court this morning after spending another day in a Los Angeles jail on felony stalking charges and facing $150,000 bail.

Berry tells us that we should get a lot more information today after the court hearing. Pope was arrested Tuesday outside the Hollywood Guaranty Building while he was picketing the Church of Scientology.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 7, 2013 at 07:00

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