Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

Politics Versus Policy

There are two ways a group can operate. One way a group can operate is by having and following firm policy. A group run that way places no value on who you know, how much people like you or not, your race, color or anything else except the invariant policy the group runs on. Your value to the group would consist of how well you perform in getting production out within the rules and policy of the group. Rewards and penalties exist solely on the basis of the interplay of production and adherence to policy. Competence is valued above affection or admiration.

The other kind of group relies on politics. In this kind of group, there may be rules or policy, but such things are subordinate to who you know, who your 2D is, how much people like you, etc. Getting things done in such an organization is more a matter of following orders than policy, since policy and rules can often conflict with the politics of the group. Your ability to advance, and the rewards and penalties of the group may well depend on who you know and how well you’re liked. In such an organization, you may find that the ends justify the means.

You’ve probably seen lots of organizations which run on politics, and very few which run on policy. You may know of organizations which are a mix of the two. But really, once you deviate from the first type, you’re automatically dealing with the second type. A peculiarity of the first type is that, sometimes, you can be wildly successful in the first type, while ignoring policy, since competence is of such value there. Fail to produce in the first type of group, and nothing, including policy will protect you. Conversely, in the latter type of group, you can crash and burn even in the face of great production, if you get “crossways” with the wrong people or person. Or do fantastically well, even with bad production stats, just because of who you’re married to, etc.

When I first came on staff in the mid-70s, it was promoted to me that an Org was the former type of organization. The Staff Statuses further reinforced this idea. Ron made it clear that if you followed policy, you just couldn’t go wrong. Apparently, you were encouraged to exercise your big mouth when you saw policy being violated. I’m sure Ron intended it to be that way. And I was ecstatically happy with that. But as it turned out, I found Orgs were not run solely on policy. I found that politics were a significant part of how an Org was run.

Now you should understand (if it’s not clear already), I’m a smart aleck with a big mouth. My parents continually cautioned me about this when I was a kid. I got in more than my share of trouble as a kid simply by being smart alecky or having a big mouth. As I got older, I learned a little more about what adults call “good judgment” (shutting up or suppressing your own communication). I never gained perfection on this score, but I did learn to shut up at times. I learned the hard way that being there and communicating could be a crime.

My experience on staff locked that lesson in.

Believing what LRH wrote about Orgs, policy and the like, I exercised very little “control” over my big mouth. My seniors finally decided to Comm Ev me. You should have seen the Bill of Particulars. To just read the charges, you’d think I was Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Hannibal Lecter all rolled into one. In the end, it was all for naught. The Int Justice Chief dismissed the whole thing for lack of evidence and staledate. Of course that was after they tried to shut me up with a Non-Enturbulation Order. Ultimately, I was swept up in the worldwide “List 1 R/Sers” engram. (For those who weren’t there, thousands of staff were routed out of Orgs as List 1 R/Sers during this time period. Turns out there were faulty definitions of the “rock slam” e-meter read in widespread use, and that R/Ses found on Clears didn’t mean the same thing they did on people who weren’t Clear; and it turns out an awful lot of the people who got routed out were actually unsuspected last life and this life Clears.) Thereafter, I spent a year off staff wondering if I was an SP. That was fun, believe me. Since then, I’ve been back on staff three times (total four times, always with promises that “things are different/better now”), been declared, had to do steps A to E, been accused of being a PDH-ing government agent, and a variety of other fun stuff.

I used to think that the Sea Org would be fundamentally different from being regular staff. Surely, policy would reign supreme in the Sea Org, as it hadn’t in Orgs I’d been in. At least that was my fantasy. At one point, I was working in a Sea Org organization while on a “project prepare” (getting debts paid and such so you can come into the Sea Org). I berthed, messed (ate) and libertied (spent time off) with Sea Org. While there, I had senior Sea Org members clearly lying to me for no apparent reason, rejecting perfectly reasonably ethics conditions formulas, and trying to break up my marriage. This was in the late 70s, early 80s. So much for the Sea Org being a different game than Org staff.

Some years later, while doing a confidential pilot rundown as a public, I dealt with the question of whether I should be a staff member or not. In doing a Doubt formula on the subject, I decided that staff was entirely the wrong game for me, despite my natural tendency to want to be in the trenches with other staff and Sea Org members.

So I had the pre-Miscavige Church of Scientology throw the book at me more than once. It’s been many years since then, and I’ve had a lot of time to work out how I feel about the whole thing. I don’t particularly hold the Church or its staffs or administrators in contempt from all this. That’s because I understand two things. First, the people who have given me the most trouble in this connection were normally not OT. Any OTs who participated in these injustices generally apologized to me for their participation, one way or another. Second, those most responsible for these injustices were untrained, generally in both Tech and Admin.

Since all this transpired, David Miscavige and his ilk have turned the Church of Scientology on its head. So much so that I’m not even sure that policy registers as a blip on anyone’s radar screen any more. It’s all politics now. How much have you contributed to IAS? How much have to contributed to Super Power? Ideal Orgs? Wanna get out of ethics trouble? Just give us money! We don’t really make a lot of auditors any more. We make people who’ve been through their Basics courses instead. Oh by the way, disagree with or have critical thoughts about our Fearless Leader, and you will find yourself swabbing the decks in far Timbuktu. And forget about ever going OT. Ad nauseum.

As you can see, things were a lot better back when I first got into Scientology and on staff. And still, there was some non-zero amount of politics driving things along. Now things are at least an order of magnitude worse. Things were bad enough when I first got in, that had I been aware of the facts, I never would have signed a staff contract. Ever.

I’m sure that people are still supposed to do the Staff Status courses when they first come on staff. And I suspect they still imply that the Church of Scientology runs on LRH policy. But just as obviously, it should be clear to any but a mental cripple that, in fact, the Church of Scientology runs almost entirely on politics.

Maybe it’s just me. Having had the pre-Miscavige Church level both barrels at me and pull the trigger multiple times, and realizing that I’m still here, I long ago ceased to fear what the Church could supposedly do to me. And I realize that an organization based on politics, not policy, is that last place I’d want to be. Obviously, I don’t survive well in places like that. Hence, I can’t imagine why I would ever sign up to help a Miscavige era Church, or stay there a second longer than I absolutely had to.

So my question is, if you were in that situation where you were a staff or Sea Org member who signed on and did your Staff Statuses (or Products in the case of a Sea Org member), why in God’s name would you hang around once you realized what was really going on? I’m continually reading these angsty stories about people who were staff/SO, spent years at it during the Miscavige era, and eventually left. I get that people have trepidation about the possibility of losing their future Bridges and/or connections with their family and friends, not to mention being afraid of being unable to make a living in the real world after so much time as staff/Sea Org. My question is, why would it ever get to that point? Upon realizing the obvious fact that it’s all politics, why would you sign up in the first place? And once you did sign up and find that policy was obviously a minor footnote, why would you hang around a minute longer?

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One thought on “Politics Versus Policy

  1. SOFIA13 on said:

    I suppose some of those people stay because they believe there would be no Scientology here at all if someone didn’t stay there. The last time I was on staff, I left because I couldn’t survive in the off-policy, dog-eat-dog environment I was in.

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