Thursday, July 19, 2007

Could Scientology Survive a Free Market?

J Funk Era (L-KS)

One thing I hear a lot from my anti-Scientologist friends usually relates how Scientology skirts the rules and laws by agencies such as the IRS and the DEA and try to pressure government to not only fix the problem, but to create more rules to try to legislate Scientology out of existence. My question to them is are these even good laws to begin with and is it possible for Scientology to exist in a totally free market devoid from all regulation and taxation? They usually look at me bewildered and respond "WHAT!? That is what Scientology wants! You're giving them a free pass. We need the FDA, amongst other reasons, to help take down Scientology."

Of course I couldn't disagree more.

Fraud, Theft and the IRS; Nothing New.

We all know how Scientology's Operation: Snow White was a plan to get spies and plants into the IRS and the FBI and steal all files that reflect negatively about Scientology and wire tap them in order to polish L. Ron's apple, and to find some kind of collateral that they could use against the IRS to get it's tax exemption status. While they did this the IRS pressed on against their tax exemption eligibility until Scientology's scam was blown and FBI agents raided the Scientology Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA. Mysteriously the IRS blessed them with tax exemption. Why? Might It be that they had leverage over them because they had proof that the IRS was a corrupt organization itself? Or that there wasn't a law that requires the average worker to pay a federal income tax? What if I went back on topic? Taxation is slavery. Because we are all slaves to the state doesn't mean we should force Scientology to be to. Instead of working to get the IRS after them, we should work on getting rid of the IRS all together so we can all keep the money we earned.

The Ministry of Health; Sickness is Health.

The FDA is considering making all vitamins and supplements a prescription only and subject to the FDA approval process. This would sever a lot of income from Scientology which produces it's own vitamins though it's sister groups and member's private companies. Scientology does assert that you can cure any disease, condition or addiction though Scientology tech and vitamins. Of course the Church and it's adherents will deny this for legal reasons, but I find it hard to find an ex member of the church who admits this as being the case. Also the FDA mandated that all e-meters contain the following warning:

"The E-Meter is not medically or scientifically useful for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease. It is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone."

So the Federal Government mandated that it be expressed as above. Scientology refused and put it's own version of the warning on it's e-meter:

"By itself, this meter does nothing. It is solely for the guide of Ministers of the Church in Confessionals and pastoral counseling. The Electrometer is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily function of anyone and is for religious use by students and Ministers of the Church of Scientology only."

To date, the FDA has never done anything about it. Why? Because the government doesn't care. Why should it? Why bother with a small cult ripping people off? Why should it when some people in government are Scientologists themselves and start a political shell game? What can we do to get them to reverse their decisions to kick Scientology to the curb? Not a damn thing. They have no interest in pressuring them. Not even 10 million Tory Christmans could make that happen.

So what can we do? Abolish these organizations altogether. Now before you start sending those hate mails over I'll explain why this would be the best way, starting with the IRS.

If the IRS taxes Scientology, Scientology would just pass those costs onto it adherents who will gladly shell out for it and Scientology will be just as much of slave as we are. Also this will help the adherents from economic ruin because they would be able to keep all of the money they earned and not have to pay the hidden 22% tax when they shop at stores. People keeping all of their money would make them more wise about who or what they donate to and keep the economy booming. Besides, what did government ever do to earn your money anyways?

Anti-Scientologists want the FDA around for more than just taking down Scientology. They prevent bad drugs from getting on the market like the prenatal drug Thalidomide which deformed many children. What they fail to realize is all the quackery being sold today. Penis pills causing heart attach, herbal remedies causing chemical reactions that release poison gases, homeopathic "remedies" that are just diluted with water or other fillers to the point that usually contain not even one single molecule of the supposed "active ingredient” left. Even if this new ban comes along, these snake oil peddlers will still come out with more innovative ways around the laws as will Scientology and the FDA will do nothing. Don't forget about drugs like Phen-Fen and Vioxx approved by the FDA that caused death or serious health problems to it's users and that aspirin would not even make it though the FDA approval possess today.

So we can't expect them to do what they do right anyways, but even if they did a good job it still hurts. When you hear the spokesmen for the FDA announce that we might have found a cure for AIDS and it will save 400,000 people a year when it gets approved in 5 years. How many reporters ask the spokes man "So you are going to kill 2 million people by refusing them access to the drug?" What would the spokes man say? It takes up to 1 billion dollars and 12 years of research to approve a drug in this country with the FDA and we wonder why there are only a handful of pharmaceutical companies making drugs. It's not protecting people from bad drugs, it's protecting drug cartels from competition. A man who finds a cure for cancer in his kitchen could not sell his concoction even if there's no side effects because he doesn't have the means to get it passed though the FDA.

I think the most dangerous part of having an FDA is that anything that slips by it's regulation automatically gets a cloak of legitimacy from the state. People know, fallaciously I might add, that if the FDA allows a supplement to exist with out pulling it like it has ephedra, then it can't be bad for you or that it works. Even though the FDA mandates that these supplements supply this warning, it still doesn't inform them how the FDA operates when it comes to supplements.

"These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases."

People assume that the FDA will protect them from dubious health claims because that's what it was designed to do. So when it allows Scientology the ability to sell e-meter services and vitamins it is saying to people "We can't say it can cure anything, but it's good enough otherwise we'd ban it like we did ."

Governmentless; Now what?

Well so if we are damned if we do, but are we damned if we don't? I don't believe so.

To understand how this might work we need not look any further than the world of electronics. Without government regulation comes market regulations. People understand that electronic devices with out the Underwriters Laboratories approval stamp could mean exploding microwaves and iPods that incinerate themselves in your pocket. The average person, however, does not realize that this is a private company that charges fees to electronics manufacturers for there approval and not a government body. You can make an electronic device and sell it in America without their approval, but stores will not resell it and people will not buy it in bigger markets without it. No one will want to buy your police scanner if it melts before it picks up the signal about their house being on fire. The UL does have some government backing by them using it in their own endeavors which stifles it's competition but it still does an excellent job.

If the FDA were dissolved tomorrow, non-profits like the UL would spring up for food and drugs and competing testing groups would battle it out in the market place to provide the best testing at the lowest price to all food, supplement and drug manufacturers. If a organization kept approving bad drugs it's approval stamp would be disregarded by the retailers and the consumers and the manufacturers would not pay for for it's approval. An organization which has a great reputation from not approving dangerous drugs would be heralded and preferred by all. This would also keep the drug manufacturers responsible for the drug they sell and they wouldn't have a government body to pin an excuse on when it develops the next Phen-Fen.

Now because homeopathic medicines, Scientology, and other quackery simply would not get any of their approval and would be condemned by such organizations we could see them all dissolve rather quickly. Because there is only 1 FDA they can point out how they are using faulty evidence, manipulating the data, or how it's just an evil government conspiracy against them. But could it say the same thing about 10 independent organizations whom all condemned them without looking ridiculous to the public?

Yea, but...

Well we can keep doing more of the same which allow Scientology and Christian Science to thrive even in the face of controversy of murder and death. We can put more strict regulations on them to skirt and still hold some legitimacy. However it is pointless. We can't even trust the government to handle housing for poor people or reasons why we went to war, yet somehow we can trust them with our finances, retirement, and our health?

We can do a lot to get Scientology cleared from the plant, but using government to do it will just mean less freedom, more taxes and more of the same. Give me liberty or give me death!