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Barney Sticks to His Story
- more or less -

The Objective Standard  article  “Regarding Carl Barney and Scientology”  sprouted a Part Three, undated but advertised in TOS’s newsletter of 3 September 2019.  After a brief introduction by Craig Biddle that refers to “recent smears” against Barney without telling us where to find them, the rest of the article is a letter by Barney himself.  Yes, Barney is going to speak to us directly.

Before we get to it, what about those “recent smears?”  Barney’s critics have said nothing new.  We suspect that referring to “recent smears” is a dodge to hide the fact that Part Two no more convinced TOS readers than Part One did, so now TOS is going to try yet again.

Barney begins by thanking Mr. Biddle for Parts One and Two, reviewed  here  and  here.  It is reassuring, Barney says, that there are such people as Mr. Biddle willing to defend him.

The meat of Barney’s letter consists of two claims:  that the Church of Scientology was once a benevolent organization, and that he left it before it became corrupt, or anyway too corrupt.

The first claim:

“... I’ve heard that it has turned into a corrupt and reprehensible organization. It was not always so. In the early days, I got a lot of benefit from Scientology courses, as did many others. The courses in communication, personal efficiency, relationships, and counseling helped a lot of people. ... I do not regret and am not ashamed of anything I did while involved.”

Is that why he told a New York Times reporter that

“He toured India, and later ended up in California — dabbling briefly, he admits with some embarrassment, in Scientology — seeking meaning here and there ...”

shrinking a dozen years into briefly and major management into dabbling?  Is it why in the TOS article he never gives the  time period  when he was involved in Co$ mission leadership?  We have provided that essential piece of information: it was from 1968 or 69 to 1979 – at least ten years, during nine of which he owned and ran five Co$ franchises called missions. He hides ownership and management behind the word “involved.”

What does it matter that Barney feels no shame? The point is not his attitude toward what he did but what he did.

The counseling service as he calls it was hugely expensive, psychologically manipulative, and each level was a come-on to yet further expensive levels.  Barney continues his Scientology spiel of yesteryear:

“In addition to the courses, people gained value from the practice of ‘auditing’, which consists of asking structured questions that help a person to introspect, overcome mental blocks, and think more clearly about his life, goals and choices. ... it’s really a form of psychotherapy. And initially it helped a lot of people to improve their lives.”

He left out the E-meter, and I was looking forward to it too. Apparently “mental blocks” is Barney’s translation for us yokels of Hubbard’s “engrams.” [1]

“In time, however, to qualify Scientology as a religion, Hubbard added the weird science fiction stuff ...”

It was weird enough without the Thetans, but  “in time ? ”  L. Ron squeeze-my-cans Hubbard had introduced Thetans, part of its Xenu doctrine, into his Scientology nonsense back in 1952. He introduced the idea of “Operating Thetan,” a state of a person being good by Scientology standards, in 1958. Don’t look at me, I don’t know what they mean either.

In 1966 Hubbard began introducing levels of Operating Thetan, starting with Level I. Later he added higher levels, eventually up to VIII.  As more and more of the student’s Body Thetans get exorcised he gets better and better.

Our review of Mr. Biddle’s Part Two  links to a copy of The Auditor #41 published in 1968.  From the section “DEFINITIONS” (our external quote marks left off):

A being who is at knowing and willing cause over mental matter, energy, space, and time, as regards the first dynamic (survival for self).
OT (Operating Thetan):
A Clear who has been familiarized with his environment to a point of total cause over matter, energy, space, time and thought, and who is not in a body. There are eight sections of the OT Course.

“Cause” and “at knowing and willing” and “in a body” is more jargon but The Auditor gives no definitions.  Look over the whole issue. See how the word “success” gets used. In the article “Focus On Success” it means success in auditing.  The whole issue consists of extreme enthusiasm about jumping through ill-defined hoops constructed in the fevered imagination of L. Ron “I’d like to start a religion – that’s where the money is” Hubbard, riddled with pretentious jargon calculated to impress the ignorant.  Back to Barney:

“While he [Hubbard] incorporated Scientology as a religion in the ’50s, it was not until the ’70s that he mounted a massive campaign to provide the organization with the trappings of religion.”

The Church of Scientology was always presented as a religion – obviously!  But the presentation issue is immaterial. Whether Scientology was dressed in the trappings of religion or not, it was (and still is) an irrational and harmful scam; that is the only point that matters.

“He developed a cross ..., he insisted that franchises be called ‘missions’ and that his organizations be called ‘churches’ (rather than ‘organizations’ or ‘Orgs’).”

Barney went along with the changes easily enough. In 1970 his Scientology Coordinated Services – see  our review of Part One – published the first issue of its own journal called Source which referred to his five franchises as missions. Barney left the Church of Scientology eight or nine years later.  In the early days of Scientology, until 1967, Co$ published a monthly magazine called Ability. The cover of issue #147 dated March 1963 shows Hubbard’s cross. [2]

If several accounts of former Scientologists can be believed, and Mr. Biddle himself in his Part One – contradicted in his Part Two – Barney was kicked out, he didn’t leave voluntarily.  Barney continues:

“He [Hubbard] developed a series of ceremonies for weddings, funerals, etc. and called the officiants ‘Ministers’ or ‘Reverends.’ He even had people dress up in clerical garb. These changes were implemented primarily to gain tax-exempt status with the IRS. But they also indicated a shift in the direction of the organization that I and others opposed and that eventually became intolerable.”

The Auditor #110 reports that “Rev. Carl Barney” performed a marriage ceremony in Pasadena, California on 16 March 1975. Now we learn that he dressed himself in clerical garb to do it.

And after five years he found this sort of thing intolerable?  Are we supposed to feel sorry for the man?

An officient is someone who performs a religious rite, that’s what the word means. The “called” in the quote above was calling a spade a spade, not the deception Barney makes it out to be.

Note the word “even” in “He even” – as if Barney were on the side of the angels.  Note the word “people” without the word “I.”

Like Mr. Biddle, and others in organized Objectivism such as Yaron Brook, Barney uses self-righteousness as a weapon:

“... I’ve mostly ignored the defamation perpetrated against me, but it has caused harm.”

Oh please. A sincere journalistic investigation replete with references to source material is not defamation. A reporter doesn’t cause what he reports. Any harm Barney has suffered he brought on himself by his own extensive “involvement” in Scientology.

The last indented quote above sounds like a veiled threat.  I can see it now,  The New York Times, Section BU, Page 1 above the fold:  Chairman of CEHE Sues Objectivists for Exposing His Dabbling Briefly Fairytale.

Barney goes on to insinuate that his critics are home-wreckers.  Bracketed comments mine:

“... my romantic partner’s mother [in other words his mother-in-law had they been married] vehemently insisted that her daughter [his wife ditto] break off with me when she heard the distorted description of my past connection to Scientology.”

Even the information Barney and Mr. Biddle themselves provide – partly in reverse – in their three part article would be enough to turn most people against Barney.  By trying to defend the indefensible Barney jumped into a tar pit.

Barney again:

“... the rumor that I’m ‘almost a billionaire’ has caused some to ask for large sums of money. One person tried to extort millions of dollars.”

He puts “almost a billionaire” in quotes yet has anyone actually said this? Maybe I missed it but I cannot find it online. The Form 990 for the year 2014 of Barney’s CEHE foundation, available to the public, shows it valued at somewhat over half a billion dollars. Mention this and you encourage beggars and extortionists?  Get real Barney. Any begging and extorting was the responsibility of the beggars and extortionists. If someone said Bill Gates was worth a hundred billion dollars and— but why argue the obvious. [3]

Then Barney complains that people look him up on the Internet and find bad things about him.

“What they find in these attacks is a complete misrepresentation of who I am. Yet some are influenced by it or even believe it.”

A  “Carl Barney”  was scattered over the Internet long before our exposé.  What  is  new  is  the  identification  of  this  Scientology  Barney  with  the  ARI / CEHE / OSI  Barney.  That’s what all the ruckus is really about.  The identification is the “attack.”  It got out into the light of day and nothing can put it back into obscurity.  Though Barney would shoot the messenger the message is not going away.

To repeat, the “attack” Barney complains about consists of one simple revelation:  the Scientology Barney and the ARI / CEHE OSI Barney are one and the same man.  Yes, that has damaged his reputation.  He thinks “defamation perpetrated against me” is an appropriate description for not cooperating with his dabbling briefly deceit. [4]

I’ve made a sincere effort to find the truth about Barney and he hasn’t made it easy. What is there in Barney and Mr. Biddle’s Part Three that would correct the account on ARI Watch?  The  youthful-transgression  story (apparently abandoned)  and, not too consistently,  the  benevolent-Scientology  story,  are equally unbelievable.

Barney then spends over 400 words lamenting the persuasiveness of liars in general – forgetting that this could point in his direction – after which he concludes:

“It is so easy and inexpensive for malicious people to damage someone’s reputation today. Unless good people speak up, such merchants of hate are granted sanction and believed.

“I am pleased that some people are speaking up and correcting the record. So, to you and them, a heartfelt thank you.”

Poor put upon Barney.  I’ll ignore the epithets except for that “merchants of hate.”  Hateful or not, no one gets a dime out of ARI Watch.  The other commentators providing facts or analysis about Barney are likewise unmonetized.   (On the other hand Mr. Biddle and his TOS (and now OSI) are partly monetized by Barney, who was very substantially monetized by the U.S. taxpayers.)

Will Mr. Biddle’s article sprout a Part Four?  The more Barney struggles the further he sinks into the tar.


About six weeks after Part Three appeared Mr. Biddle approved two new comments.  The first (16 July 2019) is by Jon Hersey, associate editor of TOS.  He says Barney’s critics  “sneer at those [meaning such as Barney] who leave behind irrational ideas and adopt better ones.”  Barney’s defenders are having trouble keeping their story straight. Barney claimed that Scientology changed, not him. Scientology went from rational to irrational; he himself was always rational. Barney is completely unrepentant about the time he spent in Scientology (which was well over ten years but at this point he does not admit to the extent of his involvement).

“Sneer” does not describe our reporting and analysis. Deriding and mocking where appropriate is not sneering. Barney’s deception and limited hangout deserves to be made fun of and laughed at.

Mr. Hersey then says people who criticize Barney are like Ellsworth Tohey fighting Howard Roark in The Fountanhead:

“Toohey knew to attack Roark. Although he may not always have been, Barney has become a fountainhead.”

Carl Barney as Howard Roark?

Mr. Hersey concludes:

“... anyone who cares about justice ought to thank him [Barney] a millionfold for his staggering contributions to the advancement of Objectivism and the incalculable positive impact these have made for [sic] all our lives.”

He thinks Barney’s financial support of ARI and TOS has helped spread Objectivism instead of perverting it. By helping these organizations Barney helped promote the Iraq War, homosexuality, homosexual marriage, open borders, Israel worship. TOS’s graphics are as generally anti-white as ARI’s. Barney makes a fitting financier for this cultural sludge.

The second new comment (17 October 2019) is by Chris Locke, formerly ARI’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications. She more or less repeats her earlier comment on Part One.  After lamenting

“the deafening silence of the many who have benefited from Carl's many years of generosity; not just of his financial donations, but of his time and expertise as a businessman and man of integrity.”

she hopes that those of us who don’t have the intestinal fortitude to defend Barney will correct the error of our ways.  Barney’s post-Scientology business methods and integrity are the subject of other ARI Watch articles. In any case, how could a financial donation today affect his past, or our judgement of that past, or his present claims about it?

1  For what some ex-Scientologists have to say on the subject see  Does Auditing Really Work?

2  Click  here  to see the cover of Ability #147 (March 1963). Page numbering begins with the cover. The  second page  shows the date; at the bottom:
“The Cross on the cover of this issue, and elsewhere in these pages, is the official cross of the Church of American Science and the Church of Scientology.”
On page 11 is “The Church of Scientology Creed” which uses the word “Church” several times and “God” twice, with two Co$ crosses at the bottom.  Scientology Books and Media  has all issues of Ability  here.

3  From  “Art Institute campuses are being sold to L.A.’s Dream Center Foundation”  by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Los Angeles Times, 3 March 2017:
“The Center for Excellence [in Higher Education] applied for nonprofit status shortly after purchasing Stevens-Henager College and College America from Carl Barney for $636 million in 2012. Education officials said they were uneasy with Barney retaining primary control of the colleges and collecting rent on some of the campuses when becoming a nonprofit school is supposed to mean placing control in the hands of trustees who operate with no financial benefit.”
Ms. Douglas-Gabriel left out the fact that Barney gave CEHE $205 million of the $636 million and loaned it the rest, $431 million. This is on paper, he was in effect giving and loaning to himself. In any case, according to the reporter $636 million was what Barney wanted people to believe his property was worth. Did she cause, and was she responsible for, someone trying to extort money from him?

4  If people think the less of Barney after learning of his once extensive “involvement” in the Scientology racket, are those who discovered and reported it responsible?  Which came first, Barney and his behavior or the reporter and his perceptiveness?

Barney seems to have hypnotized himself into believing that his history is blameless, that reporters are liars and he their innocent victim.

Andrew Bernstein’s Tribute to Carl Barney  »