Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #3: L. Ron Hubbard

15 Nov

This entry into the Dick Hall of Fame is very near and dear to my heart. Many of you may not know why L. Ron Hubbard is. Some of you may have heard the name and vaguely associate it with dickishness (Let’s face it. There are only two people in history who have gone by their first initial and remained awesome: J. Edgar Hoover and J. Robert Oppenheimer. I cannot help but notice that L. Ron Hubbard is neither of these people).

For those of you who are unaware, L. Ron Hubbard is a (bad) science fiction writer, a tax evader, and, most famously, a cult leader.  Unable to make a good enough living writing such classics as “The Indigestible Triton” and “Typewriter in the Sky,” L. Ron is today best known as the founder of the religion beloved by insane celebrities everywhere, Scientology.

These guys look like they know a little something about religion.

Admittedly, we here at Dick of the Week are usually hesitant to cast aspersions on those who have served their country, and L. Ron Hubbard served in the US Marine Corps for almost a decade, including four years of active service during World War II.  Laudable, for sure.  However, the level of exaggeration and (alleged) falsification of L. Ron’s military records keeps our conscience clear in this case.

Scientology publications portray L. Ron as a highly decorated war hero.  Bent Corydon, in his book L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman, identifies the following claim, a favorite of Scientologists: “After serving in all five theaters of World War II and receiving twenty-one medals and palms, in 1944 he was severely wounded and was taken crippled and blinded to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital.”

Corydon further notes that Hubbard claimed that, “crippled and blinded at the end of the war, he resumed his studies of philosophy and by his discoveries recovered so fully that he was reclassified in 1949 for full combat duty. It is a matter of medical record that he has twice been pronounced dead and that in 1950 he was given a perfect score on mental and physical fitness reports.”

Not a handsome man, but even we have to admit he looks pretty good for dead.

Except that not one of the things in the previous two paragraphs appears to be true.  The following notes all appear in L. Ron’s military record:

  • “This officer is not satisfactory for independent duty assignment. He is garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance. He also seems to think he has unusual ability in most lines. These characteristics indicate that he will require close supervision for satisfactory performance of any intelligence duty.”
  • “[Hubbard is] the source of much trouble.”
  • “[Hubbard is] not temperamentally fitted for independent command.”

Ouch.  L. Ron was also noteworthy for the courageous battle he fought off the Oregon coast against a series of magnetic deposits. Biographer Russell Miller identifies perhaps the final word on L. Ron’s military career by discovering the following note after this battle:

“Consider this officer lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable results. He is believed to have been sincere in his efforts to make his ship efficient and ready. Not considered qualified for command or promotion at this time. Recommend duty on a large vessel where he can be properly supervised.”

L. Ron Hubbard was certainly not the worst military officer of all time.  But he was a far cry from the valiant war hero that Scientologists wish that he was.  All of his superior officers seem to think that he was a huge dick, and the opinion of commanding officers in the US Marine Corps is all Dick of the Week needs.

Amazing that we have gotten this far without even mentioning Scientology in detail!  The “religion” of Scientology has been much maligned, there can be no doubt.  This is largely because L. Ron’s story of Scientology reads like bad science fiction.  Indeed, after reading the great work of fiction that is L. Ron’s professed military record, Scientology itself is a little bit of a letdown.

As briefly as possible, the story of Scientology is as follows: Galactic Overlord Xenu had to solve a massive overpopulation problem in the galaxy.  So he rounded up billions and billions of aliens, drugged them, flew them to Earth, stacked them in volcanoes, and dropped hydrogen bombs on them.  Overkill to some, but when you’re an evil galactic overlord, I guess the preferred mantra is “eh, fuck it.”  In any event, the spirits of these billions of aliens floated upward, where they were caught by Xenu’s spirit catchers and indoctrinated with false religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc) and then released back into Earth. These spirits (or “thetans,” according to Scientology) now attach themselves to our human bodies and are the cause of anxiety, negative feelings, and, apparently, religion.  The only way to eliminate these “body thetans” and become completely “clear” is to pay L. Ron Hubbard a lot of money (reportedly in the realm of $750,000 to reach the final level of being “clear”).

Sounds reasonable.

Wow. Just…wow.  The truth is, we aren’t sure what’s more disturbing: that L. Ron Hubbard thought that people would actually believe this shit, or that he was apparently right. And that’s before we even mention quotes like this one:

“You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.”

Pretty much sums up L. Ron’s motivations right there, doesn’t it?  Despite the fact that L. Ron was, well, a science fiction writer who publicly stated his desire to start a religion solely to make money, people continue to buy into his scam.  It’s actually hard to tell who’s the bigger dick, L. Ron or all of the idiots who continue to throw money at his estate. Oh! And a quick consultation of wikiquote reveals that there is no shortage of great quotes, like these:

“The only way you can control people is to lie to them.” – Lecture: “Off the Time Track,” 1952

“If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace.” – Internal memo, Dept. of Govt. Affairs, 1960

“ENEMY: SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.” –
Penalties for Lower Conditions, 1967

“Make money. Make more money. Make other people produce so as to make more money.” – Principles of Money Management, 1972

We at Dick of the Week don’t even have the words to express the sheer dickishness of each of these quotes.  Any of them individually might qualify him for the Dick Hall of Fame, but taken together it seems amazing the the dicks of the world never banded together and made L. Ron their king.

Some might say, but who is he hurting? If people want to give him their money, that’s fine. In fact, just because he’s hit on a successful scam doesn’t make him a horrible person.  Of course, those who would say that clearly never spoke to Lisa McPherson, whose friends and family believe might be alive today if it weren’t for Scientology.  Her story is a disturbing one, in which she was allegedly denied proper medical care by the Church and discovered on her deathbed to be dehydrated, underweight, and covered in what appeared to be insect bites.

Or perhaps we could ask L. Ron’s wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, who was arrested with 12 other Scientologists in 1979 and convicted of conspiracy against the US government for their role in “Operation Snow White,” a Church mission to infiltrate and spy on US government offices.  Or we might have asked L. Ron himself, we died in 1986 having been on the run from the law himself since 1980 (he went into hiding so well that his son actually sued for control of his estate at one point until L. Ron proved that he was still alive).  He died leaving behind a $600 million estate, a testament to either his skills as a liar or his followers skills at self-deception.  Either way, quite impressive.

The Church of Scientology itself of course did not fail to seize the opportunity to continue to build the Hubbard Mystique, announcing upon L. Ron’s death that he had “discarded” his mortal body intentionally, choosing to continue his work free from its burden, and that he was now living “on a planet a galaxy away.”

Possibly this one.

This greedy science fiction writer managed to start his own religion/cult, and make millions upon millions of dollars doing it while committing only a handful of felonies.  His words, be they on internal memos, Scientology directives, speeches, or books have proven a dickishness well beyond the level of the typical everyday dick.  Many would have believe that L. Ron hit the peak of his dickitude during his military career, but his consistent, lifelong dedication to the art allowed him to rise to even greater heights.  L. Ron sets a high bar for future Dick Hall of Fame members.  And he reminds us that, even in death, a true dick can continue to troll the world:

Overhead view of the Scientology (and Boob) Compound.

(I have internally linked to her already, but particular thanks to Margery Wakefield’s ‘Understanding Scientology‘ for many of the quotes in this article. It makes for excellent further reading!)

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2 Responses to “Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #3: L. Ron Hubbard”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #13: Religious Celebrities « Dick of the Week - January 27, 2011

    […] from a maniac.  Scientology.  Yes, to sum it all up if you have not read our previous post…“You don’t get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” Oh yes.  This whole concept of alien souls between Mormonism and scientology really really […]

  2. Dick of the Week, Jan. 31 – Feb. 6: Daniel Snyder « Dick of the Week - February 8, 2011

    […] for all to read, and we recommend that you do.  Our distaste for Scientology is well documented in previous posts, and we firmly believe in the notion that the more you know about cults, the less likely you […]

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