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Counterpoint // Scientologist response remains true to form

Title: Counterpoint // Scientologist response remains true to form
Date: Monday, 2 August 1993
Publisher: Daily Bruin (University of California)
Author: Louis Jolyon West
Main source: link (119 KiB)

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Your July 26 "Counterpoint" gave space to L.S. Hight, international media coordinator for the "Church" of Scientology, who criticized an excellent Bruin article by Nancy Hsu ("Church Members File Suit Against Professor," May 17) in characteristic Scientology fashion: with a vicious personal attack upon me. Hight's diatribe was filled with lies and misrepresentations from beginning to end.

My track record on human rights is far superior to that of Hight, L. Ron Hubbard or any other Scientology official past or present, and has been so for nearly half a century.

I have put my job, my reputation and even my life on the line for human rights causes ranging from fascism in Europe to racism in America to apartheid in South Africa; from punitive policies against gays in the military (published in 1958!), to victims of terrorism and torture, to neglect and mistreatment of the poor, the
mentally ill and children everywhere.

In fact, it is precisely because of my outspoken criticism of Scientology's deceptive, manipulative, exploitive, dangerous, and even brutal practices, which have diminished the freedom and individuality of untold thousands of people, that they have long since identified me as "fair game" for their perennial harassment, vilification and character assassination.

The Center for Study of Life-Threatening Behavior which was proposed in the early 1970s by me and two dozen faculty colleagues at UCLA was extensively reviewed and approved by objective committees both within and outside the University. No such "experiments" as "chemical castration" or "implanting electrodes into people's brains" were proposed except perhaps in L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction stories.

The only project (among 17) in which minorities would have been over-represented was one in which model programs to diminish violence among students through peer-counseling techniques were to be tested at two Los Angeles inner-city schools — at their request.

As America's epidemic of interpersonal violence has continued to grow in the last 20 years, many knowledgeable people have expressed regret that the proposed center was never funded.

Contrary to Hight's allegations (which Scientology has repeated ad nauseam in Goebels' tradition of the Big Lie), I have never taken part in "mind-control" experiments funded by the CIA or anybody else. It is Scientology itself that has become wealthy and powerful by using mind-control techniques to exploit innocent seekers of self-improvement.

That I employ medications — and teach about their proper use — in the practice of psychiatry is no secret, but Hight's implications about any impropriety in this are totally false.

Finally, the "elephant story" is always thrown in by Scientologists in their attacks upon me as though it were some sort of shameful secret which they have exposed. You can read all about it and judge for yourself. (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: Its Effects on a Male Asiatic Elephant, Science, December 7, 1962, 138:34545, 1100-1103,) My co-authors were the distinguished African-American psychiatrist, Dr. Chester Pierce, now a professor at Harvard, and Dr. Warren Thomas, longtime director of the Los Angeles Zoo.

Beware of Scientology. It is basically a science-fiction psychotherapy cult concocted by one of our century's most extravagant liars (a cross between the Baron Munchausen and Rev. Jim Jones) and practiced by amateurs unrestricted by any code of professional ethics, any peer review or any respect for the content of modern behavioral science, clinical psychology or scientific medicine.

Dr. Jolyon West, M.D. is a professor in the School of Medicine.