From: FHD@vm.tamu.edu (H Alan Montgomery)
Subject: It is the Structure not the People
Date: Mon, 29 Jun 98 01:18:07 CDT
This post is long because I am trying to address a problem that has plagued me since I have started watching ARS as my soap opera. The Co$ appears to be made up of smiling, dedicated, intelligent people. The Co$ is made up of zombified monsters bent on taking over the world. How can the two pictures be so far apart and yet both be true?
I belong to the Kiwanis Club of College Station, TX. We do a lot of community service. Mostly we try to help kids. Locally our big projects are supporting Reading Is Fundamental, sponsoring a Boy Scout Troop, a Circle K at Texas A&M, and Key Club in the local high school. Districtwide we sponsor scholarships for high school kids to go to college. Internationally Kiwanis is involved in eliminating Iodine Deficiency Disorder by sponsoring iodized salt mills in areas of the world that do not have them as yet. In short, we walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Now, as the secretary of the club I have all the papers and by-laws and such. The structure of the club is such that the members of the club control the club. The checks and balances are extreme. If the president starts doing stuff the members do not like there are procedures for removing him or her. If the membership is not able to get results from our Board of Directors, then there are procedures for asking the District and International offices to intervene. What constitutes abuse of the club is spelled out and all members know what is good and bad behavior and what will be tolerated and what will not be tolerated. In addition, it is spelled out that when the policies of the club conflict with laws of the community, the club has to bow to the law.
Let us walk over here into the Twilight Zone that is the Co$. They CLAIM that they are doing massive community service. When you examine the level of money spent on community service compared to the money they are pulling in, you begin to doubt your sanity as well as theirs. They claim all these front groups are doing such great things, but where is the beef? Where is the proof that they are having a good effect? The truth becomes slippery and it is not clear that they are doing ANYTHING, but they are producing massive PR that says that they are. What is objectively true becomes a casualty of the need to "MAKE MORE MONEY! MAKE OTHER PEOPLE MAKE MORE MONEY!"
Then there is the structure of the Co$. Over and over again you find abuses of members and nonmembers. A member is forced to disconnect from a loved one, because they MIGHT criticize Co$, not because they have in fact criticized Co$. A picketer is beaten up. Yet these practices are not uniform throughout the Co$. In some orgs, abuses happen daily and are easily seen. In others it happens rarely, so you have members saying that they have NEVER seen anything like the levels of abuse that critics claim. That is really not the issue. Co$ should be reined in for no other reason than the structure of the organization allows for unconstrained abuse without methods of true checks and balances.
The Co$ make the point that they have in place methods for members to voice complaints and get problems with upper level management resolved. The problem is that they do not uniformly apply these procedures. I mentioned above that Kiwanis has massive checks and balances. The Co$ does as well, but there are too many ways to circumvent the wishes of the members. Because the upper level management can without restriction send someone to Ethics, there is no way to actually bring up abuses of the codes of conduct that Co$ claims to adhere to. Make no mistake there are a large number of ways set up in Co$ to curb the bad behavior of members and management. The problem is that if upper level management decides on a course of action, there is no way to deter them from implementing it.
Then there is the strangest organizational twist in the Co$ management structure: When the law of the community conflicts with the policies of Co$, the laws should give way, except where it might cause a bad PR situation. As far as I can see, the Co$ feels that clearing the planet is such a fantastic task that such things as the Rule of Law and civilized behavior are unimportant. Again, I am not talking about individuals within the organization. I am saying that the structure of Co$ allows abuses of law and membership to occur unchecked, because clearing the planet must come first.
Here is where it gets real spooky and causes the most disagreement among critics and Co$ members alike. The Co$ HAS methods of fixing internal problems. The policy letters and such are real explicit about how to get certain results. Any current member can point to these policies and exclaim how perfect and how well crafted and how smart LRH was. The problem is that the structure of Co$ does not allow these procedures and policies to be implemented. No current member will ever know this until they actually try to force management to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Am I getting through to you? All the current members are told that the tech will allow for fixing abuses. They are exhorted to adhere to this really nice and ideal set of values constrained by a set of policy and procedures that look like they can actually work. They do not disbelieve any of the things they are told until they actually have to try to get Co$ justice.
The bottom line is this: Co$ has a goal of clearing the planet thus all policies and procedures in Co$ are subjugated to that goal. Co$ is an organization that has rules and regulations, but they are too easily circumvented by upper level management. Co$ should be opposed, because they cannot be constrained by members within their own organization. Until policies and procedures within Co$ actually allow for members to question and actually implement the checks and balances in the tech, the abuses that we hear so much about will go on.