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Mr. Burroughs, you're wrong about my husband

Title: Mr. Burroughs, you're wrong about my husband
Date: Monday, 1 June 1970
Publisher: Mayfair (magazine)
Author: Mary Sue (Whipp) Hubbard
Main source: link (324 KiB)

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We are trying to bring into confrontation two of the world's most revolutionary minds. World-famous author William Burroughs, in a recent Mayfair article, stirred up the controversial cult of Scientology by directly accusing its enigmatic leader, L. Ron Hubbard, with hiding tremendous psycho-therapeutic discoveries behind a neo-fascist organisation. Hubbard himself hasn't replied, but for the first time ever in a British publication, his wife Mary Sue Hubbard has come to his defence. This statement came direct from the Hubbard's yacht 'Apollo', currently on a cruise in the Aegean

[Picture / Caption: William Burroughs: he accused Scientology]

Other than L. Ron Hubbard, I have more direct knowledge in the background basis of Dianetics and Scientology and its history than any other individual, and I shall gladly answer Mr Burroughs' points as he has expressed them in his challenge.

Firstly, Freedom as an organ does not express the personal opinions of L. Ron Hubbard any more than it expresses those of the Church of Scientology.

Freedom has many contributors. It does not as yet have any set editorial policy and is in the process of evolution. The only policy it could be firmly said to have is that it is anti-psychiatric establishment.

Now, Mr Burroughs asks 'What is all this flap about psychiatrists?' The answer is three-fold.

Firstly, the laws regulating commitment procedures make it possible for anyone to be picked up, committed, and held against one's will without due process of law. Easy seizure! This makes it possible for any totalitarian establishment to grab anyone who does not conform to what the World Federation of Mental Health has termed 'the social autonomy'. The United States did it with Ezra Pound and Russia with Valeriy Tarsis. At the present moment in America, schizophrenia has been redefined from that of a person with the characteristics of a dual personality to that of a person who is withdrawn and indifferent to the end effect that many a young hippie, yippie or long-haired American who does not conform to the usual standards of the average American prototype has been seized or is being seized at this moment.

Such laws place the psychiatrist in the position of henchmen to the Establishment, a role they are more than willing to play since such is extremely profitable to them financially, besides satisfying their greed for power as sole arbiters of what is normal or what is sane behaviour.

Have you, Mr Burroughs, ever had the experience of having to prove your sanity or normalcy before a psychiatrist or physician? I never have, but I have met and spoken to many people who have, and it is a more than terrifying situation. I know of one person who was committed voluntarily, yet when he applied for release he was told that he would be committed involuntarily if he continued in his request and that his desire to leave was really an expression of his true desire to remain. Fortunately, he escaped and departed the American State in which this occurred.

Secondly, one has to consider what happens to an individual under the psychiatric establishment. I infinitely would prefer Ward 7 in Russia in comparison to what happens in a Western mental institution. At least in Russia, one is not force-fed drugs, and drugs appear to be the only therapy given as per that book.

But in Western mental institutions one can be sterilized, electric-shocked, insulin shocked, or de-brained – a not so very nice choice.

Further, the circumstances of life in an institution are completely demeaning and demoralizing.

No effort is made to sort out the insane from the mentally retarded, the alcoholic and the senile. The latter three categories really do not belong in mental institutions; it is just that the society in which we live has not provided otherwise for them.

Possessions are denied; the dress is drab and depressing and activities go little beyond those of helping to clean and maintain the institution and watching television. Even so, such an incarceration would not be too had if one could suffer it without such tortures as the electric shock machine and could emerge with one's sex and one's wits intact and unlessened. But such is the rare exception.

Have you ever talked with a person who has been electric shocked or who has had a lobotomy or trans-orbital leucotomy, Mr

[Picture / Caption: Mary Sue Hubbard: 'we're the niggers now']
[Picture / Caption: L. Ron Hubbard: the saviour stays silent]

Burroughs? If not, I would suggest no better means of obtaining a reality with regard to the true horrors of such experiences.

And finally the third answer as to why this flap about psychiatrists. It is the psychiatric establishment which has sought to ban Scientology which they consider as a very real threat to themselves. The first attacks originated in America and were started jointly by the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Since that time the pattern of attack has not varied in the least. Such attacks begin with giving Scientology the 'treatment' in the press. This then gives the psychiatric pressure groups the opportunity to collect bad reports in the files of governmental agencies whose members are of the psychiatric profession. These agencies then bring pressure to bear upon the local or national government to take action against Scientology either through the means of a rigged inquiry or through action by other governmental agencies. As the freedom of religion is protected under the American Constitution, the attacks upon Scientology in the United States have been confined chiefly to actions by governmental agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and Internal Revenue. Now we know why they attack us – it is because we are against such psychiatric tortures as electric shock, insulin shock, lobotomy and transorbital leucotomy to name the main ones and because we might deprive them of business. And now you know why we attack them.

At the moment, in three States of Australia, Scientology is banned. A person can be imprisoned for teaching or practising Scientology. Scientology books, tape recordings and E-Meters are illegal and any person's home or premises can be searched if it is suspected that he might possess such. Also Scientology is now undergoing an Inquiry in England and in South Africa. We do not know what the results of such will be, but unfortunately we realise only too well that you can't 'try' a body of knowledge by court procedure which is what has been and is being attempted. The final results can only be opinion, but when that opinion is biased, the result is legislative bills of attainder. This means simply that no laws have been found to have been violated so a law has to be passed against someone or something so as to make it illegal. 'Bill of attainder' is a very dirty word legally in these days of so-called human rights, but this is exactly what the laws against Scientology are.

In conclusion, although such attacks and counter-attacks might appear as of no import, the issues are themselves quite serious. Scientology wants protection for the individual against easy seizure; established psychiatry wants easy seizure without due process of law. Scientology wants an end to treatments which are harmful and not effective; established psychiatry says it can not do without them. The intention of Scientology is to bring about reforms in psychiatry, but the intention of psychiatry is completely to suppress Scientology as evidenced.

Politically, Scientology has been attacked as being reactionary and revolutionary. Rightists claim we are leftists and leftists claim we are rightists. I can't speak for Scientologists as a group, personally I feel that the only term which could be applied to myself is apolitical. Having a complete aversion to the worst in capitalism and the worst in communism, I feel that there has been no politically evolved system which is workable or which can not be twisted into some totalitarian monstrosity. There are some hopeful signs in America that some new system not yet fully expressed and not yet fully developed is in the offering. Certainly in Scientology, we try to help the individual become a rational, rather than a reactive being; therefore, no matter what the individual's personal political persuasion, we hope that he will at least be enlightened.

You bring up, Mr Burroughs, many objections to the organisation of Scientology, but please differentiate between the body of knowledge known as Scientology and the organisation which administers the technology of same. Organisations of Scientology are subject to the same errors that are inherent in any organisation. Organisationally, we do not claim to be perfect, if such is ever possible, we do [?] demand to be fairly and accurately reported upon in the press. I feel the perversion of press reporting has had an effect on the organisation to the extent that we have tried to control the conduct of individuals while at the same time to help them through auditing reach a point individually where such control is no longer necessary. You speak of niggers – well at the moment we are the niggers of the press. If a student of Scientology is arrested for drunkness, the headlines scream, 'Scientologist Arrested' and Scientology is blamed for his behaviour. It doesn't matter whether that student had a long history of arrests for drunknesses; the moment he became a student of Scientology, everything changed. This is basically the reason for Scientology ethics. Man, we feel for the black man because we have felt and experienced the same as he. Have you ever experienced the feeling that it doesn't matter what you are, what you say or what you do? Well, that's the way it is for Scientologists.

Now freedom of speech is fine, but when that freedom is perverted to mean freedom to lie, freedom to express opinion as fact and freedom to have a bigger audience through the public media than the individual has, then that's no more freedom than freedom to murder, because essentially it is the same thing – the assassination of the individual or the group through false reporting.

I don't wish to lay the blame of all organisational faults upon the press, but when one can be driven out of a country like we have been, one realises what a power for evil the press can be.

As regards researchers into the data contained in Scientology, it is all there. Contrary to your opinion, it is not isolated nor withheld. Anytime we have approached the standard lines of the Establishment (and science also has its Establishment, too), we have been refused. We have offered to increase the IQ of scientists, to unbrainwash the Korean veterans, to increase the reaction time of pilots, to assist the accident prone so as to decrease accident statistics, to help the mentally retarded, to make education faster and easier for students, and I could go on and on for several pages – all to no avail because our help, though offered freely, has been refused. The only offer we have had is to help in a project which would make people more suggestible, and I won't shame the government by name which made the offer. Such an action would be anathema to us, which only proves how Scientology is so frequently misunderstood.

So let Alex Trocchi, Julian Huxley, Eldridge Cleaver and others you name step forward, but remember they have to want to do so in the first place. Maybe, Mr Burroughs, you are the catalyst for just such a centre as you envision. Certainly the benefit to mankind of such researches into man's inner awareness would be greater than the doubtful good of man's current space programmes and much less costly.