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January 17th, 2013:

Pournelle on Hubbard and Scientology

The trouble with weblogs is the same as the trouble with library research. You read a posting, which teases you into reading the comments (there goes the day already), which forces you to follow some of the interesting-looking links, which….

This report comes to you because Johnathan Pearce yesterday posted at Samizdata a SQUOTD by Eric Raymond, and along with commenter Alisa urged us to read E.R.’s entire posting, so as to get to the punchline; to which posting he, Johnathan, provided the link.

Knowing the dangers described above, I nevertheless did so. And so should you, despite the obligatory religion-bashing, for the sake of the punchline. The Raymond posting, entitled “How Do You Bait a Trap for the Soul,” is about cults, at

Now, the fruits of proceeding down this dangerous path. A short way (relatively speaking, as there appear to be thousands of comments discussing cults, addictions, …) down in the comments, there was a link to a short write-up by Jerry Pournelle on L. Ron Hubbard, the invention of Dianetics, and the Church of Scientology. It’s an Afterword to his posting on the 1999 “Writers of the Future” Awards, with several photos from the conference.

It’s short, but I think informative (and readable*):

*”Readable”: Meaning “not dry.” But what am I supposed to say, that Mr. Pournelle’s writing here is “wet”? :)

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