Fair Comment

By Terry E. Scott, England.


Back in the Fifties, L. Ron Hubbard spoke strongly on the subject of Authorities. He urged that a datum should be looked at on its own merits, rather than be taken as 'gospel' because the name of an Authority was associated with it.

Well, times moved on... and the L. Ron Hubbard of the 1960s and onwards became very much an Authority. Strictly speaking, an authority -knows- and, yes, Ron did indeed know much. Dogmatic authority is, of course, another matter.

The Church has turned his writings into scripture, and a Church member would be well advised not to question seriously a datum associated with the name L. Ron Hubbard. It is unlikely that such a person could apply Ron's 1950s philosophy and get away with it.

But independents would do well to confirm the formula Ron proposed in the mid-fifties, whenever we encounter any data - whether origination from the 'free zone' or the Church.

There are two poles to this. Mentally, remove the author's name from the piece, and ask whether it stands up on its own merits. As well, replace the Authority's name with the words 'Joe Bloggs'. For the second pole, assign the name of an Authority (for instance, L. Ron Hubbard) - purely imaginatively, of course - to an article written by another person. Does it make a difference? Well, again, it shouldn't have done.

Some newspapers omit bylines for factual reportage. There is some merit in this, for the reader has to read and to evaluate, instead of permitting the author do the thinking for him.

Having established those points, I'll add another essential. It is indeed a good thing to know the authorship of an article, car, hamburger, whatever. Brand name establishes responsibility and source. What I am pointing at is the hypnotic effect that a being can permit a brand or authority name to have upon himself. Our American readers might well remember the Edsel automobile, which surprised its manufacturers, Ford, by becoming a stellar flop.

'By their deeds shall ye know them'. Deliberately, I've omitted quoting source on that one!

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