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HandyHandle

Carl Barney and NYT article

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The article
The Times Smiles and Sneers at Carl Barney, Ayn Rand, and Private Colleges
from last year’s The Objective Standard reviews the then recent New York Times article
“An Ayn Rand Acolyte Selling Students a Self-Made Dream” (there’s a link to it in the TOS article).

The NYT article says that Carl Barney “admits with some embarrassment” of “dabbling briefly ... in Scientology.”  Anyone know about this?  Do you think it matters?

 

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I read part of L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics when I was younger.

The NYT article was referenced in the thread In the news. The Scientology reference didn't leap out then as it does in the OP.

If anything, it is a reflection on what the NYT considered significant enough to, as Craig Biddle at The Objective Standard noticed, use as a sneer, be it implicitly or explicitly intended.

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dream_weaver,
Is OP a reference to Peikoff’s book The Ominous Parallels?  If so, do you recall what he said about Dianetics or Scientology?  It’s been many years since I read the complete OP.

 

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OP, as in the Original Post.

Dianetics is cited by Wikipedia as being heavily influenced by Eastern Philosophy. It was pretty popular in the late 80's, based on seeing many copies on lots of books stands.

Looking it up again now, it was published in 1950. An LA Times article from June 28, 1990 attribute it to Scientologists and employees of publishing houses actively publicizing it (add to that Hubbard's passing away in January of 1986).

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7 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

The NYT article says that Carl Barney “admits with some embarrassment” of “dabbling briefly ... in Scientology.”  Anyone know about this?  Do you think it matters?

 

Matter how?  I have a friend who was a dyed in the wool fundamentalist Christian for decades before becoming an Objectivist.  He has a certain background he can draw on, that matters, in a sense.  I don't hold it against him, I don't think that would be right.  You could even say it's to his credit.

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9th Dr,

Your example of the reformed fundamentalist Christian makes sense but the reformation of a Scientologist is another matter.  Unlike Christianity, Scientology is a conscious fraud.  L. Ron Hubbard may have been a crackpot but he knew what he was doing, and so do David Miscavige and the rest of the Church of Scientology executives.  There is little analogy between Christianity and Scientology.

Though Christianity must be criticized there is much good in it.  Historically, despite its crimes it helped forge Western Civilization.  Scientology is a zero in every way, it has produced nothing and never will.  

A parishioner or even a priest might well be innocent and capable of reformation.  A “reverend” in the Church of Scientology is a crook and can be reformed only inversely to his crookedness.

So we should ask:  Was Carl Barney a mere student of Scientology who quickly dropped out, or did he climb to an executive position in the Church?   If the latter, how long did he stay?  Why did he leave?  In short, is he victim or perpetrator?  

The reformation of a former COS executive would be a major undertaking.  And afterwards he wouldn’t go about denying what he had been.

Barney told the NYT reporter he had dabbled briefly in Scientology.  Do an Internet search on  “who is carl barney” without the quotes and see if “dabbled” or “briefly” correctly describe the COS phase of his career.

Edited by HandyHandle

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OMG. Carl Barney is a plant?

HandyHandle, cudo's to you for "exposing" a plant (if—fens you did.) If existence is identity and consciousness is identification, how does a plant get around any demonstrable facts of reality?

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dream_weaver,

You must be into gardening, LOL.  There is a plant called “Barney,”  named after a 19th century botanist.  It’s a variety of chili pepper (capsicum).  

Googling
... who is carl barney ...
doesn’t show any vegetation.

 

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20 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

Barney told the NYT reporter he had dabbled briefly in Scientology. 

I checked the article and that line is not a quote.  So it's the reporter's characterization.  Though good chance it's an accurate characterization of whatever Barney said.  In which case he's probably embarrassed by it and wants to minimize it.  Or wants to forestall readers from associating his success with his time in Scientology.  There are plenty more or less innocent explanations.  Though this is rather like a person who attended seminary and was ordained a priest in their twenties, dropped out when they stopped believing in God, and then 40 years later said "yeah, I once dabbled in Catholicism". 

Nevertheless, I just don't see any big deal here. 

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A "plant" as in a covert operative.

A little gossip on an ex-scientologist board, with a link to another website, Consumerist, about a pending court case, challenging the verdict delivered, denying non-profit status for his chain of colleges.

 

Curious, the link to the original May 7, 2016 NYT article was posted here in May 22, 2016. Biddle posted his article on the 13th. The link to the original NYT was from a google search done sporadically at the time of news related to Ayn Rand. The Objectivist Standard is for a selective audience.

While it is nice to see that others do some investigation, it is curious why the magnifying glass is zeroed in over what it is now, rather than what it was then, and more importantly what specifically is so relevant about it.

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OMG! There's this constant danger of being exposed by ex-scientologists.

A tactical response is to have a second undercover operative expose the operation. But, not really. Instead, the way it works is that they bring it up in a way that gets the target community (in this case Objectivists, who are obviously a huge threat to Scientology) to come to the defense of the primary undercover agent. 

It works as inoculation, because the undercover agent has been embedded with a visible mission the opposite of the primary plant. They have long worked as a pair: the primary plant (let's say we call him Barney) gets to a leadership position in the enemy camp, while the second agent (let's give him any handy handle) positions himself as an attacker of leaders in the enemy organization.

When the second agent attacks the first, the natural response in the enemy camp is to defend the primary agent against the secondary, who they have classified as a regular attacker. This inoculates the enemy against the few sane people within the enemy camp who investigate and find genuine doubts. 

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On 4/6/2017 at 5:36 AM, HandyHandle said:

There is little analogy between Christianity and Scientology.

I know. Scientologists are yet to start any holy wars, burn anyone at the stake, or plunge humanity into the Dark Ages.

As far as I know, they're also yet to aid and protect an organized syndicate of pedophiles operating in their midst.

So lots and lots of differences. In fact the only thing they seem to have in common is taking money off of unsuspecting rubes, with stories of aliens, immortal ghosts, and a magical zombie that does unimpressive party tricks (I guess he was okay for his time, but, these days, Penn and Teller would make him look like an amateur).

That last part they're very similar in.

Edited by Nicky

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9th Dr.,

Barney led the NYT reporter to believe that he had only dabbled briefly in Scientology.

Is it true?  What is wanting in your reply is an investigation into Barney’s actual involvement in Scientology.  An Internet search (carl barney scientology) turns up a lot of material.  dream_weaver mentioned the Ex Scientology Message Board.  There you learn that Barney was studying Scientology long before he moved to California.  On the website Operation Clambake (an anti-Scientology website) you learn that in the 1970s he owned – as franchises – several Scientology “missions” in California.  Furthermore he didn’t leave voluntarily; Hubbard threw him out in 1979.  Barney would have been about 38 years old.

So when Barney led the NYT reporter to believe he only dabbled briefly in Scientology he wasn’t minimizing his association with the Church of Scientology, he was telling a whopper of a lie.

Searching on “carl barney” without “scientology” turns up this lawsuit initiated by two former Barney school employees:
www.republicreport.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Wride-Brooks-First-Amended-Complaint.pdf
It doesn’t seem to have been – what’s the word? – adjudicated yet.  The meat of it is section VI “Factual Allegations” and section VII “Claims for Relief.”  If true then even setting aside Barney’s Church of Scientology past he’s not someone we want going about calling himself an Objectivist.

 

Edited by HandyHandle

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Heaven forbid that a NYT reporter is not qualified to do the rudimentary investigation that is being both volunteered and requested here.

The NYT reporter tossed out some lemons here. Craig Biddle made some lemonade out of them. HandyHandle shows up a year after the fact (about the time the ex-scientology page on Carl Barney was started) to warn visitors to the Objectivism Online Forum about drinking the lemonade.

3 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

he’s not someone we want going about calling himself an Objectivist.

Who is the "we" you are referring to here? Is an Objectivist able to make such a judgment for himself? As Hank Rearden told the Washington boys—Don't try to tell me what I'm going to think. Don't tell me your evaluation. Give me the facts.

 

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I wasn't familiar with Penn and Tell before (unlike Scientology,) so I did a quick search to see what the "magic" was all about. Fittingly, the Smoking/Sleight of Hand Trick was predominantly featured.

Spoiler

 

Apropos, introduce seven basic principles of magic—1.) Hold, 2.) Ditch, 3.) Steal, 4.) Load, 5.) Simulation, 6.) Misdirection, 7.) Switch—between the trick and the exposure of the trick.

Introduce several details to quibble over (where every detail is not directly shown to be relevant to the trick.)

 

 

Edited by dream_weaver
punctuation correction.

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dream_weaver,

Apparently the NYT reporter took Barney at his word.  She didn’t verify his statement about the extent of his involvement in Scientology, obviously.

Craig Biddle wrote a critical review of the NYT article.  He doesn’t address Barney’s Scientology past; perhaps, like the reporter, he’s unaware of it.  In any case his focus was on the lawsuit involving Barney’s schools.  I’m sympathetic to any objections to government regulation but if a person is going to accept government money government oversight is what it comes with.  

Biddle fails to address the other claims against Barney that have nothing to do with the government, described in the Wride-Brooks-First-Amended-Complaint (my previous post has a URL to a copy of it).  It could be argued that these claims have a connection to Barney’s COS past.  Assuming the claims are true then in some respects he was running his schools like he ran his missions of yesteryear.

I read Biddle’s TOS article and the NYT article a week ago.  Just because the articles are 11 months old doesn’t make them disappear or make them uninteresting.

Your objection to
“He [Barney] is not someone we want going about calling himself an Objectivist.”
is of course valid.  I made the mistake of assuming we were of like mind on this subject.  If you have no problem with Barney calling himself an Objectivist I can’t say you do.

I do claim, however, that associating with Barney is no way to promote Objectivism.

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6 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

I wasn't familiar with Penn and Tell before... 

The beauty of forums is that you often get good incidentals from discussion triggered by the most vacuous OP. You gotta check out their magic shows, not just their "Bullshit" TV series. Their magic shows are fun. 

Edited by softwareNerd

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16 hours ago, HandyHandle said:

9th Dr.,

Barney led the NYT reporter to believe that he had only dabbled briefly in Scientology.

 

Again, we don't know that Barney led the reporter to believe that.  We don't have access to an interview transcript.  And if he did, we can only speculate about his motives. 

This is a awfully weak foundation to build a critique of someone's present character on.  If he were to launch (or join) a Leah Remini type crusade against Scientology would that satisfy you?

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9th Dr.,

I assume the New York Times reporter, Patricia Cohen, knows her job.  I assume she actually did see and talk to Barney, that her quotes are faithful and not made up, that her paraphrases are accurate, that the photos are of Barney and not some impersonator.  

If she provided a transcript of the interview would you suggest that it might not be authentic?  My point is that at some point we have to trust Patricia Cohen.  Why not begin with her being an honest, competent reporter who has given us a faithful account of an actual interview?  

There’s a distinction between “Cohen infers” and “Barney implies” to be sure.  In effect Cohen said (not quoting anybody) “Barney implied that he dabbled briefly in COS,” yet she can in truth say only “I inferred from what Barney said that he dabbled briefly in COS.”  This infer-imply distinction goes for anything any reporter anywhere can say about any interview.  You’re splitting hairs like a criminal lawyer, with Barney as your defendant and Cohen as witness for the prosecution.

Not much speculation is necessary about Barney’s motive for saying to Cohen, in so many words, that he only dabbled briefly in COS.  He lied probably because his true COS history makes him look bad.  

He told Cohen that in the 1970s he was investing in real estate.  Yet throughout the 1970s he was running COS missions.  It looks like the money he earned in real estate enabled him to invest in for-profit colleges. Did he get the money to invest in real estate from running COS missions? An investigative reporter ought to look into it.  If true that’s another connection between his COS past and his current business.

The foundation for criticizing Barney’s character consists of two slabs.  One slab is his COS past, the other is his subsequent for-profit college career.  About the second, from 2002 to 2013 Barney’s schools received over $660,000,000 from the federal government. The Complaint against Barney (see my previous posts) alleges that this money was obtained fraudulently – the sections “Factual Allegations” & “Claims for Relief” go into detail.  The alleged fraud includes common law fraud as well as violating federal regulations most of which are reasonable (if we take for granted federal involvement in the first place).

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The more I read of what you capitulate here, HandyHandle, the more I wonder about what axe you have to grind with Carl Barney. If Barney's schools received over $660 million from the federal government, where does the fraudulence lie? Is it because Mr. Barney accepting the tuition, or because the federal government is providing it at taxpayer expense to "indoctrinate" the children? Is the real beef over for-profit/non-profit, or the failure to "indoctrinate" the government funded children?

What is your obsession with Carl Barney here, or should it be: what is your obsession with the Church of Scientology here? In viewing your diatribe on this matter here thus far, Patricia Cohen does come across as knowing her job.

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dream_weaver,

You ask “If Barney's schools received over $660 million from the federal government, where does the fraudulence lie?”

The fraud lies in how Barney obtained the .66 billion.  It’s explained in the Brooks-Wride-U.S. Complaint against Barney.   I’ll copy part of the Idaho District Court’s summary of that Complaint at the end of this post.

You characterize my interest in Barney as “obsession.”  Though this thread is about Barney not me, if you want to know why I am interested in Barney ... 

I’m interested in the spread of Objectivism. Objectivists – at least those in the Rand Institute orbit – are associating Objectivism with a man (1) who was a top manager for about nine years in a racket calling itself the Church of Scientology, leaving only because he was thrown out around the age of 38, (2) who now lies about it, (3) who got rich – several hundreds of millions of dollars rich – from receiving government funds obtained – if the Complaint allegations hold up in court – by fraud, (4) who lectures us on Objectivist Ethics.

His for-profit schools’ profit margin was extraordinarily high; most of the .66 billion went into his pocket.  The virtue of selfishness?  In practice he gives a meaning to “selfishness” that Objectivists have been fighting since day one.

The following is from the Idaho District Court’s summary of the Complaint against Barney et al:

Quote

Relators Katie Brooks and Nannette Wride worked as admissions consultants at defendant Stevens-Henager’s Orem, Utah campus during 2009 to 2011. They say that the school paid them bonuses for enrolling students – in violation of the incentive-compensation ban. Relators further allege that this practice was implemented at all defendants’ schools, not just at the Orem campus where they worked.

Relators also allege two other types of misconduct. First, they allege that the schools falsely certified compliance with the so-called “90-10 rule.” This rule requires for-profit schools to obtain at least 10% of their revenue from non-government sources. [In other words, they claim Barney got over 90% of his revenue from the government.] ...  Second, relators allege that the schools gave false information about faculty qualifications, attendance-taking practices, and student academic performance to an accrediting body. ...  According to relators, the Department of Education then relied on the schools’ accreditation to determine that they were eligible to participate in Title IV [government backed loans] programs.

 

 

Edited by HandyHandle

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So the illegality threshold is set by the government  via the so-called "90-10 rule."

All heil to the state. 90% of funding coming from the state seems extraordinary to me. It seems that Carl Barney was simply trying to adhere to the "letter of the law" and cut it too close. As to the spread of Objectivism, Carl Barney has been caught in the cross-hairs, and picked to serve as an example to those who might practice taking similar advantage of government offered largess.

The Church of Scientology angle still seems like an incidental angle of opportunity to attempt to crucify Carl Barney here.

Keep in mind that the tree of reason cannot thrive for long in the swamps of irrationality. You haven't actually provided a clear cut reason for his having been excommunicated from the Church of Scientology.

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Hey, HandyHandle. You seem to be engaged in a campaign against a fellow Objectivist...which is fine, you have the right to do that.

But, at the same time, he has the right to know who's attacking him. So would you mind posting your real name, as well as any kind of affiliation you have with the AR Institute, or any other Oist or political/religious organizations?

If what you're saying about your interest in Carl Barney (that it's not anything personal, you're merely interested in protecting the image of the Oist movement) is true, then telling everyone who you are will help lend credibility to what you're saying. It proves that you are willing to stand behind it, and stake your reputation on it, you're not just engaging in an anonymous smear campaign.

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dream_weaver,

I’m not trying to “crucify” Barney (Jesus Christ!) any more than I’m “obsessed” with him.  This thread is about Barney, not me, and the arguments don’t depend on who’s making them.

About Barney’s excommunication from the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard told mission staff he’d been skimming COS funds.  Even if LRH falsely accused Barney the salient point is that Barney did not leave the COS voluntarily.  While busily roping in suckers for “Auditing” so they could become “Clear” – price $6,000 (they don’t call it Church of $ for nothing) – he was suddenly expelled.

You haven’t addressed the two sections of the Complaint I pointed out.  For example you ignored the allegation that upper management of Barney’s schools knowingly misrepresented teachers’ qualifications, including (this is in the Complaint but not the summary) teachers in medical fields.  Or was that just “trying to adhere to the ‘letter of the law’” too?

If the Complaint is true then you tendentiously call skirting the law “trying to adhere to the ‘letter of the law’.” Others would call it fraud and greed for the unearned.  This is a fellow Objectivist?

Hello Ninth Doctor? What do you say about all this?

 

Edited by HandyHandle

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