Scientology: Germany May Be A Special Case

I am uncomfortable on general religious freedom grounds with Germany considering a  ban of Scientology.  But given the German’s history in the last century, they may just be a special case.

Problem number one is Germany’s unenviable track record in handling modernity.  As I note in my own commentary on modernity:

Part of the problem stemmed from that paragon of modernity itself, Germany. It was here where "modernity" as we understand it first became the philosophy of an entire society in the years leading up to World War I; indeed, the enthusiasm generated by those heady days fuelled Germany’s aggressive prewar stance and led to the war itself. Its defeat was not educational; Adolf Hitler simply used a more "populist" form of modernity to propel the rise of the National Socialists and the return of Germany as a world power, albeit unwelcome after 1 September 1939.

Germany’s place in modernity was better understood during the 1930’s and earlier than now. For some of those involved in aviation, an obvious centre of modernity, the temptation of admiration for Germany in the 1930’s was too much…the German influence on many during this period is too great to ignore. It is easier to see the horrors of Nazism in hindsight than through the lens of the 1930’s. There is a sober lesson: just because something is popular, successful and outwardly attractive, it doesn’t make it right.

Scientology is certainly a manifestation of modernity.  L. Ron Hubbard was in the middle of it, and as I note elsewhere:

…its (modernity’s) unleashing was a dangerous business for most of the twentieth century. Attempting to build a religion in that context is no safer of an enterprise than building a political system or an ideology. Hubbard added to it the element of fantasy, which is also a product of modernity. The ability of an individual, a political party or the state to build its power based on the projection of illusions was a well trodden path in the twentieth century.

It’s also interesting to note that the Germans were quick to pick up on the cash flow part of Scientology.

The Germans are trying to avoid a repeat of their past history with modernistic ideologies such as Nazism and Scientology.  It’s a sad commentary on themselves that they are considering this ban, but then again no one else wants a repeat of World War I and II–especially with the WMD’S out there unavailable to the Kaiser or Adolf Hitler.

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