On Fri, 2 Nov 2001 09:09:35 -0800, Zinj <[email protected]> wrote:
>Once this is done, who cares about OSA? If the information is public and
>people still want to be defrauded, it's their choice. If people allow
>themselves to be abused, there is little beyond information that an
>outsider can offer.
Zinj, my strong libertarian tendency to agree with you has been seriously undermined in the last few years as I have come to understand the imprint of a million years of evolution on the psychology of humans. There are people (fortunately not a large fraction of the population) who some combination of genes and environment has left "blind" to infection by various memes or, to put it another way, to exploitation by a certain class of "leaders" and followers previously recruited. They are not be as obvious as people carrying a red and white cane, but they are as handicapped as a blind person. Perhaps even more so because blind people at least know they are handicapped and these people figuratively walk off cliffs without knowing they are doing so. And it is not just that tripping a blind person is a nasty act, people 'blind to the inducement of cults" can be an extreme danger to the rest of us. Just ask the people who were at the WTC or the Pentagon 9/11. What can we do about vulnerable people being exploited? The situation is most similar to a public health problem. The vulnerable people are those whose mental immune system is not up to the task. I see no reason in principle this should not be as measurable as a person's T- cell counts. Being exploited by cults is not the only risk these people face. They are also ripped off by con artists the world over. (In the Lopez case, were the people who cleaned him out acting as scientologists, con artists, or both?) Lopez lost his ability to detect a scam through brain damage. But there are lots of people around who--for genetic or development reasons--are as exploitable. Can people be trained to be less exploitable? Perhaps. Certainly it is a question of great importance. The Molko v.Holy Spirit Association case established the right of those tricked into exposing themselves to coercive persuasion to sue for fraud. I think legislation should go further and provide for jail sentences for those who take advantage of this particular form of mental blindness. It could be fairly simple. Grab the leader, test the followers and if they turn out to be below a certain level on the Lopez scale, it is an automatic conviction and you disband the cult. This does not deal with the problems outside this country, but, if you are going to solve this most serious public health problem at all, you need to start at home. Keith Henson